We Got the Neutron Bomb by Brendan Mullen

We Got the Neutron Bomb

Taking us back to late ’70s and early ’80s Hollywood—pre-crack, pre-AIDS, pre-Reagan—We Got the Neutron Bomb re-creates word for word the rage, intensity, and anarchic glory of the Los Angeles punk scene, straight from the mouths of the scenesters, zinesters, groupies, filmmakers, and musicians who were there.“California was wide-open sex—no condoms, no birth control, no morality, no guilt.” —Kim Fowley“The Runaways were rebels,...

Details We Got the Neutron Bomb

TitleWe Got the Neutron Bomb
Release DateNov 13th, 2001
PublisherThree Rivers Press
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, Punk, History

Reviews We Got the Neutron Bomb

  • RandomAnthony
    This list emerges when I play California punk rock word association: Black Flag SST records X Flipper The Dead Kennedys Some other bands The Decline of Western Civilization The Minutemen I don't mean to be all name-droppy. I've learned my musical knowledge, of which I'm pathetically and unreasonably proud, is incomplete to the point of embarrassment. I was too young (yay!) for most of the classic punk years and have spent decades hearing grandma ...
  • Liana Polimeni
    This is so hard to rate because on one hand, this book was incredibly fun to read, and on the other hand... I don't actually know how well it was done/how much of it I should be taking seriously. It is an oral history by way of snippets of past interviews pasted together to almost seem like a cohesive story and conversation. That alone makes you wonder how much is cut out and edited to just make the story flow better. As with any oral history the...
  • Andy
    Since I'm all over this book I'm not going to review it (other than the five stars), however I just want to comment that some reviewers have gone into a New York vs. Los Angeles punk debate. That wasn't Brendan Mullen's intention: he simply wanted to document a brief period of time when the Hollywood punk scene was a strange, underground phenomenon.I think Brendan should have put a time period in the title (1977-1980) as it would have been less d...
  • teresa
    The subtitle of this book is, The Untold Story of LA Punk. It is an oral history of the LA punk movement in the 70's and 80's--a parallel to the NY book Please Kill Me. If you have seen the movie, The Mayor Sunset Strip, about Rodney Bingenheimer you will be familiar with some of the main characters at the beginning of the movement--Bingenheimer and Kim Fowley. I think after reading this I should finally try and see The Decline of Western Civiliz...
  • Mark Davess
    It kind of makes sense to me in terms of music to make the 70s actually something like 1972 to 10 years later, and this book tells the story of LA punk over pretty much that timescale, from early beginnings in an underground yet open and accessible hard-partying, glitter-rock alternative to the more sedate singer-songwriter and country-rock mainstream of the day, through to around the 'point' at which the differing agenda of suburban kids eventua...
  • Adam
    One of three great oral histories of punk I've read. This one focuses on the L.A. scene, which is usually downplayed, if not completely disregarded altogether in punk histories. Overall, it supports the broad characterization of the NYC scene as artsy/intellectual (Patti Smith/Television), the London scene as political (The Clash), and the L.A. scene as fun (The Weirdos). The really interesting thing about this book is that it reveals how the L.A...
  • Avis Black
    The book does an unusually good job of documenting punk during this time and place. It's basically an oral history, and the editor managed to trim the interviews in a manner that kept everyone from wandering off into pointless blather. But there is one big problem with LA punk that kept it from becoming better known. Lack of talent. The only really good underground bands LA produced during this time period (and they weren't exactly punk, either) ...
  • Caroline
    As an oral history, this could have been meatier. It's chopped up into small, focused chapters of a few pages each. For such a diverse and interesting scene, this book could definitely have been longer. But I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. The early LA punk scene was more open to women and queers than other punk scenes, and for better or worse it kinda arose in a vacuum unto itself. And then hardcore came around and white dudes fro...
  • catechism
    There was some good stuff in here, but I was left feeling pretty frustrated and disappointed by most of it. I felt like it was just scratching the surface of what was going on, and found it very disjointed. It's no "Please Kill Me," I'll say that.
  • DrimbleWedge
    This book is a great primer for the west coast punk scene. Written in a similar style to "pleas kill me", it's an excellent introduction to the characters that litter the scene. It focuses mostly on the pre-hardcore era, but discusses its effect on the scene. I'm following it up by reading "American Hardcore".
  • Amanda-Has-A-Bookcase
    As a huge fan of LA Punk Rock this book is full of fun vignettes detailing the rise and fall of some of my favorite bands like X, Black Flag, Blasters, Germs and many more. So many thoughts and views from those who lived it. And as a side note, if you haven't watched The Decline of Western Civilization you need to do so asap!
  • Larry Holt
    The book covered one of my favorite music scenes-and goes in depth on X, Germs, Black Flag & the Go-Go's. It's no 'Please Kill Me', but a solid oral history nonetheless. The book covered one of my favorite music scenes-and goes in depth on X, Germs, Black Flag & the Go-Go's. It's no 'Please Kill Me', but a solid oral history nonetheless.
  • Steven Werber
    Really incredible history!!
  • Doug Birkitt
    Entertaining. Kim Fowley and Jack Grisham will never win a mr congeniality award that is for sure.
  • Luz
    As a punk living close to LA, this was an entertaining read. It was interesting to learn more about punk history and to think about how much it's changed and what hasn't changed.
  • Doris Raines
  • Craig Spraggon
    Too much Darby and not enough Jeffrey Lee. Must we always mythologize those that die young . Plus it really ends abysmally. No sign off from John Doe ? Obviously still a fantastic read though.
  • Joshua
    Similar style of edited interviews telling of the L.A. punk scene in the later 70's into the 1980's.
  • Alejo
    From Boho-Punk to Violent Hardcore, this book has a wide scope to fully understand the phenomenom of LA Punk, and it's interesting to understand the different points of view of those involved in it.
  • Rob S
    We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk is an ambitious book, following up on its cousin Please Don't Kill Me which covers the NY Punk scene. The authors themselves are the first to admit they aren't able to cover everything and despite wanting to stay distinct from the NY Punk scene, the L.A. Punk scene seems to be in the shadow of what was going on elsewhere in the entire book.I have gotten to enjoy the oral interview format for ...
  • DJ Yossarian
    Even though I'm using "Boston Not LA" as my Goodreads icon/avatar/profile pic/whatever, I've never really had any particular dislike for the LA punk scene. I'm nice like that. I'm glad this book exists, and the authors have a point that the LA scene doesn't get the accolades that the NYC or London scenes have traditionally received. Unfortunately after reading the book I've come to the conclusion that even given the diminished expectations LA did...
  • Ed
    Really entertaining and thought provoking, funny and sad. Punks in their own words, decades after the scene's peak. My only complaint is that this book's target audience is clearly only people already 'in the know.' I'm sure I missed a lot of references, and there were gaps in the narrative left to be filled by the reader's own previous understanding of the subject, or simply left unfilled. But it put an incredibly important phenomenon, one the c...
  • East Bay J
    We Got The Neutron Bomb is a great oral history of the early L.A. punk scene. It’s kind of the L.A. vrersion of Please Kill Me. It’s just as entertaining, too. Crazy stories abound and you get to read about all the killer bands. People from X, The Blasters, The Flesh Eaters, Black Randy & The Metrosquad, The Germs, The Screamers, The Weirdos, etc. weigh in with their memories of the times. There is a photo at the beginning of each chapter, wh...
  • David
    i bought this becuase i was so bored one day with nothing to do. i guess i was waiting around for someone. so i went to rhino records and bought this a few days before christmas.i never knew a whole lot about the l.a. punk scene or even punk music for that matter and i felt that it has been calling me all my life. so i purchased it, sat down at my work and began to read it.to my surprise it was a very interesting book and and a pretty easy read. ...
  • matt
    Yet another reminder that those on the front lines were mostly a bunch of strung out lunkheads. Like a less comprehensive/important addendum to "Please Kill Me," this oral history covers much of the same ground (Iggy was an embarrassment, Bowie was a carpetbagger) along with descriptions of LA's major players like The Runaways, X, the Go-Gos and the Germs (Black Flag, listed on the cover, aren't mentioned until 200+ pages). This book can be boile...
  • Bob Schnell
    The history of punk rock in Los Angeles and surrounding communities is told in "Please Kill Me" interview fashion with many of the major figures from the scene getting their 2 cents in. It is quite eye-opening for those who weren't there and think they might know all about it from the documentary Decline of Western Civilization. Darby Crash takes center stage and gets things going with the Germs, based mostly on media reports of the British punk ...
  • Carolee Wheeler
    I read this in one weekend despite not knowing (or liking) L.A. punk very much. What struck me the most was the obvious difference between people who embraced punk as a means of artistic expression--people who'd been rejected or marginalized elsewhere--and the people who were just in it for the scene or to make trouble--Belinda Carlisle (imo) and the later hardcore fistfighters. To me, it came down to being an outsider because that's who you are ...
  • Christopher
    I've long been a fan of the NYC punk scene of the 1970s. It had a literate, yet fun, aspect to it, and frankly, there were a lot of great 'pop' songs that came out of that scene. The oral history book, Please Kill Me, is one of my favorites.When it comes to L.A. punk, I've never given it much thought. The very idea immediately conjures Bad Religion, Black Flag, etc. Stuff that I'm not all that into. My buddy Slim loaned me this book though, and I...
  • Dr. Detroit
    A companion piece to its New York counterpart "Please Kill Me," "We've Got The Neutron Bomb" is comprised entirely of interviews with scenesters, groupies, hangers-on, wanna-be's, and, oh yeah, the musicians who were actually there in L.A. between roughly 1970 until 1981, when, as this tome opines, the whole scene imploded with the signing of The Go-Go's to I.R.S. and the birth of MTV. Of particular interest, to me anyway, is the theory that Jim ...
  • Laura
    I liked the book and thought the timeline of events covered was good, but a few things bugged me:1. I wanted more photos and flyers.2. Was it that hard to identify people when they were first quoted? I had to keep flipping back to the sort of cast list in the back. Super irritating.3. Brendan Mullen's (RIP) quotes were way too rock critic-y and flowery. I think they may have been lifted from his LA Weekly work, but the guy was there. Couldn't he ...