As teenagers in 1981, David Markey and his best friend Jordan Schwartz founded We Got Power, a fanzine dedicated to the first-generation hardcore punk music community in their native Los Angeles. Their text and cameras captured the early punk spirit of Black Flag, the Minutemen, Social Distortion, Red Cross/Redd Kross, Suicidal Tendencies, the Descendents, White Flag, the Last, the Gun Club, Saccharine Trust, Sin 34, Nip Drivers, Circle One, M.D.C., Big Boys, Youth Brigade, D.R.I., the Butthole Surfers, Firehose, and many others at the height of their precocious punk powers.
In the process, the duo’s amazing photographs also captured the dilapidated suburbs, abandoned storefronts, and dereliction of the early Reagan era—a rubble-strewn social apocalypse that demanded a youth uprising! Never before seen except in crude fanzine form, these detailed and richly narrative photos are now collected to present an intimate portrayal of a uniquely fertile creative moment.
Presenting original essays, capturing nearly 400 photos from the dawn of hardcore punk in Southern California, and reprinting every issue of the influential We Got Power zine from 1981 through 1983, the WE GOT POWER! book measures 304 large format landscape pages and is slated for August 2012 release. BLACK FLAG veterans Henry Rollins, Chuck Dukowski, Keith Morris, and Dez Cadena have each contributed essays to the massive upcoming book.
In his piece, Henry Rollins broods: "I arrived in Los Angeles in the summer of 1981 as Black Flag's new vocalist. I had been to the city before, but had never spent any significant amount of time there. It has, over the last thirty years, become somewhat of a home to me. It is not a place I miss. It is not a place I think about with any degree of fondness, but it is a place where I have seen and learned much..."
Chuck Dukowski recalls the book's authors at work: "The Black Flag bus rolled out to the San Fernando Valley to hear Minor Threat play. Jordan Schwartz was there, looking like a reporter straight out of some '30s movie, wearing a trench coat and a fedora with press pass in the hatband, holding a camera with an old-style flash reflector. It was a pivotal conceptual moment..."
WE GOT POWER! will be available worldwide wherever books are sold, and is available for preorder now in a bonus package from Bazillion Points Books.
"This was a very early Suicidal Tendencies show in Culver City. They had yet to record their first record and were only known on the West Side because all these kids cut their hair the same and formed a gang around the band. This was a really early lineup—the only member of the band who survived to the later incarnations was Louiche Mayorga. David Markey: "I’d known Louiche since junior high school. Mike Muir went there too, but he was expelled pretty early on for wearing a swastika T-shirt."