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My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Distillers, Bad Religion---How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream

2.84  ·  Rating details ·  95 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
When it began, punk was an underground revolution that raged against the mainstream; now punk is the mainstream. Tracing the origins of Grammy-winning icons Green Day and the triumphant resurgence of neo-punk legends Bad Religion through MTV's embrace of pop-punk bands like Yellowcard, music journalist Matt Diehl explores the history of new punk, exposing how this once cul ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like to get angry when reading
Recommended to bibliogrrl by: no one, found it at Quimby's. I'm a sucker for Punk Histories.
This book completely sucks. But I can't stop reading it.

I'm going to try to stop editing this review, and let awful dogs lie. It's just... bad. It is badly written, badly edited, riddled with inconsistencies, bad information... UGH. In this internet age, there is no reason for the book to be so full of this many factual errors.

I'll stop now. I need to finish reading this awful book.


so, I'm reading this book NOW, and it is SERIOUSLY PISSING ME OFF. I kind of had the feeling it would.

Andy Gre
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was a huge disappointment on re-reading. Its full of typos and factual errors. They did a chapter on gender, race and class in punk and spent it talking about The Clash and Green Day *yawn*. The chapters either generously paraphrased books that were probably better or they relied on the same 5 interviews. I wanted to like this book. I really really did. "neo punk" (worst term ever btw) was the punk that I discovered first and I still have a fondness for and I was excited to read a book ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I'm giving up on this awful, awful book. I'm loathe to even give it one star - it's badly researched, badly organized, and badly written. I've counted hundreds of easy typos that even a spellchecker on Word would have caught and found several factual errors. Diehl's argument seems to be that punk is no longer really punk, and he would know because he's always been punk. He puts down nearly every band he talks about, save for the Distillers and maybe Rancid. This book is just bad. I'm a little sh ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
I'm about halfway through, but I'm thinking the title should have been revised to be:
"I have a HUGE hard on for Brody Dalle, so I wrote a book about how nifty she is. P.S. I hope she notices me" The amount of time he's spent going over her and the Distillers got old by the second chapter. Also there has been some poor editing, he's misnamed songs and attributed a song by the Offspring to Social Distortion.

It's an interesting take on the subject, but not a particularly good one.

At the end - his
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
So I'm in borders one day killing time and I see this book on an end cap. Just for kicks i opened it to a random page and voila! There is this letter written by Tony Brummel to the heads of all these major labels telling them how much more successful Hawthorne Heights is than all of their bands just because they had a better ratio of radio spins to album sales. I thought the letter was hilarious to say the least and I basically read this book based on that alone. All in all it was kind of a bori ...more
Jan 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
I saw this at the library so I had to check it out. The author is completely obsessed with Brody Dalle of the Distillers and while the idea that there is even anything that could still be considered punk these days is laughable, he gives a decent history of bands like Rancid, Green Day, Bad Religion and some other "neo-punk" bands. I hate all of these bands so it was probably a goofy idea to check this book out but his insight boiled down into a large excuse to do his Master's thesis on the reas ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE

worst book about punk/hardocore EVER.
Paolo Jose Cruz
I was 15 years old, when I first heard “Basket Case” – the carrier single from Green Day’s breakthrough album, Dookie – blaring from the car radio in antiseptic Singapore. Since then, I’ve been more or less engaged with punk rock in varying degrees – as a listener, a gig organizer, a zinester, and a natural smart-ass with an opinion about everything. And like so many others with a few notches in our spiked belts, I’m a little ambivalent towards many things associated with punk, circa 2008. Grant ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was bought off the discount shelf at HMV, and it shows.

The premise suffers from the author's view of any band formed after 1981 as "neo-punk" and a bewildering insistence that the Distillers are the apotheosis of that genre/movement/taxonomic classification. Written in 2006, and determined to stay there, this did not age well.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A mostly interesting read, but definitely a little outdated. Dude was definitely convinced the Distillers were about to take over the world.
Marissa M
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was fairly good. I was enthusiastic about it because it discussed and analyzed, in detail, some of my favorite bands from high school, most of whom still hold a place very close to my heart. I was engrossed for most of the book, but towards the end I started to falter, mainly because the topics discussed have been tread over thousands of time--mainly the idea of "selling out," covered here in terms of growing up and out of the punk scene, running a successful record label, Warped Tour ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Oh man, I wanted to loooove this book. I wanted to get all those warm fuzzy feelings I get when I hear people talking about the punk that I grew up on and how it fostered a new generation of bands.

But all I can say is that someone like Matt Diehl should know better than writing a book like this. He's got a good pedigree and by and large knows what he's talking about, but man does that get overshadowed by a LOT of inconsistencies and an obsession with Brody Dalle. Now I'm not a punk elitist and
May 31, 2008 rated it liked it
It had its moments. I learned some things. There were some good quotes. And a lot of the talk of the business side of things was very interesting.

But I feel like there was too much repetition, not enough analysis and the Fall Out Boy got short shrift (not that I mind that at all, but the band is mentioned in the subtitle). And too much of the analysis was put in the hands of Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus. And the whole suicide girls chapter seemed odd -- yeah, I get it, they seem themselves as
Jan 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
you know when you first meet a person, and you're utterly infatuated? when they can do no wrong, and they're the coolest, most fascinating person you've ever met? yeah, that's how this book was for me. it was totally: woah, a book about semi-current punk music (a genre i'm attached too), and i actually know some of the bands the author's talking about. awesome!and then (to carry the analogy) you learn that the person is actually a prep, or secretly a republican, or really likes britney spears - ...more
Anthony Crutcher
Nov 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is a look into punk and pop punks place and transformation in the music world in the mid 90s. This novel is an interesting look into the behind the scenes of what happened during the nineties in punk rock. The author knows many of the artists who were involved since he was a music journalist at the time and a enthusiast himself. Although the author didn't play in a band involved himself he was there and therefore has his own insight as well as the facts and the interviews. I learned fr ...more
Ed Wagemann
Apr 03, 2012 added it
Shelves: rock
Why Everything You Think You Know About Punk Is Completely Wrong:

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Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is an interesting look into the world of punk rock in the 1990's and 2000's. Most of the punk books are about early punk, think 1970's and 1980's, so it was good to see more recent years represented. However, it was largely based upon a false premise that Brody Dalle and the Distillers were going to save punk rock. Personally, I don't agree with that, but the book was published in 2004 so maybe I would feel differently if I had read it at that time.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
One take on 90's punk. I thought there was too much emphasis on The Distillers. I never got into them. Likely because I am from the opposite coast and they never played the Moose club in my hometown.

I also wouldn't call Bad Religion "neo" punk. Second wave, maybe.

Several bands mentioned in the book aren't punk at all - to me. But isn't that the question: What's punk?

Fast read, recommended for people who are too young to remember 1994.
Gerry LaFemina
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I have a fairly extensive library of books on punk, and this one is poorly written--filled with redundancies--and becomes at times a fan's affair with Brodie Dalle of the Distillers. I like the Distillers, but Diehl dedicates way too much time in this book to his belief that she will be the salvation of punk (umm, nope didn't turn out that way) and to his fandom for the band so that he loses all journalistic objectiveness. I just started flipping pages after awhile...
Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Dont read this for punk history!!!! This book could have been a lot shorter. It felt like he had a handful of points and just kept making them in anyway he could. It seemed at times he would ramble and just say what came to mind. Plus it seems like he's in love with Brodie Dalle and thinks way too highly of her band.
John Marr
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Pretty mediocre look at mall punk from someone who sounds like he should know better. Pretty funny, though, the way he drools over one would-be punk diva that never quite became the voice of her (or any) generation
Leah Fitzgerald
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
Weirdly repetitive. Obviously has a giant boner for Brody Dalle. Didn't really give me any insight on Bad Religion or any bands that were actually interesting. Some interesting tidbits in it here and there, though.
Amy Kinard
Dec 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
This seemed to be more about Brody Dalle and the Distillers than anything else. Quite honestly, it was pretty boring and not worth the read.
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
The topic looked interesting when I found this book at Half Price Books, but it just wasn't very well written at all.


2007 Read
Agatha Donkar
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: popculture, 2014
Solidly between an oral history and a think piece. Needed more Pete Wentz but was otherwise deeply engaging.

Plus Diehl is a Carl, so I'm predisposed to like his stuff.
Matt Cooper
rated it really liked it
Nov 16, 2015
Mary (BookHounds)
rated it liked it
Sep 19, 2008
Alyssa Davila
rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2012
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