By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
National Coalition of Free Men-Los Angeles
WORD UP, GANGBANGERS:
LIVE AND LET LIVE
Dear Ms. Pelisek, I don’t know what ex–gang members you talked to [“Silver Lake Gang War,” October 10–16]. But you have NO idea how bad gangs are in the Silver Lake, Sunset, Marathon, Vendome and Parkman area. They drag race on Silver Lake Boulevard every night, from around 3 a.m. until daybreak. All you hear are gunshots, broken glass, car alarms, barking dogs, and people climbing over fences, trying to open doors or windows of apartments.
After your article, there were six “moving” garage sales. The next weekend there were 11 that I saw. Two of our tenants moved, and I am looking for a place as well.
The Weirdos were hardly shortchanged or victims of “ham-fisted revisionism” in We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk, as Jonny Whiteside suggests with his churlish, ill-informed dismissal of our book [“Destroy All Music,” December 5–11]. We clearly state in the intro that we weren’t doing full bios of each band but were attempting to create an overview of a culture, time and place through oral history. The 300-page book covers 10 years with more than 150 witnesses offering testimony.
Obviously, it was impossible to record every participant’s stories, and so, for example, in the chapter on the Weirdos, John Denney speaks for the band while at least seven people (folks from other bands, scenesters) attest to the Weirdos’ talents as great songwriters as well as being the first real L.A. punk band. Hardly a “gnat’s bladder worth of ink” as Whiteside would have it, nor “murky” or “selective.” In fact, Whiteside shows his bias with his crack about Darby Crash: “Death Is the Best Career Move.”
Whiteside’s charge of revisionism is a curious one. If only we had that kind of power over 150-plus people — and often contentious souls at that! While our subjects certainly had plenty of conflicts of memory, we tried to relay as faithfully as possible what was told to us, contradictions and all.
Until it’s bettered (and we hope someday it will be), We Got the Neutron Bomb still stands as the most in-depth and widely distributed history of the Weirdos’ significance to date. As for borrowing the title of our book from a Weirdos song, that simply emphasizes how important we thought the Weirdos were to L.A.’s punk scene. Besides, Please Lick Mewas rejected.
Editor’s note: Brendan Mullen is a regular contributor to theL.A. Weekly.
REPEATING THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST
In our 25th-anniversary issue article “Chicks With Wit” (December 12–18), we repeated two errors made 25 years ago in the very first issue of the L.A. Weekly. In that issue, the name of comic Cathy Cahn was misspelled, and comic Diane Nichols was misidentified as Ann Kellogg. Both women appeared on the cover of that first issue. Nichols is “still a working comic,” and Cahn says, “I’m still in the business, acting, writing and producing.”