Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything…
An Interview with Bryan Ray Turcotte
CVLT Nation is proud to present a killer interview with Bryan Ray Turcotte, creator of Fucked Up & Photocopied (1999) and Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything (2007). These books bring together both the spoken and the unspoken of artists of the early 80’s punk rock movement, and documents a culture that continues to touch people, fashion and politics. Both Fucked Up & Punk is Dead truly convey the DIY spirit of the early 80’s movement.
These books are special to me because they encompass my teenage years, and document the music that inspires me to this day. Look out for my story in Punk is Dead, Punk is Everything, alongside stories from Wayne Kramer, Arturo Vega, Kid Congo, David Yow, Annie Anxiety, Duane Peters, Marc McCoy, Tony Alva, Don Bolles, Trudie and Pat Smear. Punk is Dead also features interviews with iconic figures like Malcolm McLaren and Ian Mackaye. But first and foremost are the flyers, photos, set lists and more that fill the pages with unparalleled visual impact. Brian Ray Turcotte sat down with me and shared his vision for his books, and also some stories from his own experience.
Yes yes Bryan, how are you doing?
Killer Brother. Thanks for asking.
When you started this book series, did you intend for these books to be historical documents?
No, not really. In fact I had only intended to include stuff from California in Fucked Up + Photocopied cuz thats all I really had in my collection. It was after talking to Joey from DOA that I realized I needed to include more pioneering artists from the entire USA and Canada to make real sense of Punk to the outside reader. But that being said, I still never intended for it to cover the whole history of punk. It would have taken me a lifetime to pull all that together. I just gave myself a time limit, and included what I had collected up to that date. As a whole, I think it covers a lot of ground still. But it wasn’t until I finished Punk Is Dead Punk Is Everything that I felt it was a more complete story. But still, it’s not everything. It would not be punk of me to spend my whole life collecting stuff just so some bookworm would respect my effort. The Encyclopedia of Punk, it’s not, but I think is has the true PUNK feel? I don’t think anyone previous has gotten the feeling right. I think Fucked Up and Punk Is Dead feel like how I remember it being.
Why did you choose Fucked up + Photocopied and Punk is dead, Punk is Everything as the titles of your books?
I chose Fucked Up + Photocopied because I thought I really captured the feel of punk rock and art through only use of those words. It’s simple and tough. The flyers themselves were so fucked up in terms of art direction AND the fact that they were mostly torn off telephone poles or folded up in a sweaty pocket and tossed around in a pit before making its way to my book twenty years later. PUNK IS DEAD PUNK IS EVERYTHING is a direct comment to much of the reaction I received from doing FU+P. The idea to do the books in general was not to be nostalgic, but to inspire another youth movement. Punk ala 1981 is WAY dead but, fucking hell, just look around to see how the seeds of that have spread to make it more alive than ever. Its EVERYTHING and Everywhere.
What’s it like creating books as elaborate as these? It has to be a labor of love.
It’s WAY a labor of love. Fucked Up took me two years, one year of collecting and one solid year of design. I had to teach myself Photoshop during all this. Punk Is Dead took me FIVE years. I knew following up Fucked Up was going to be tough and it had to be perfect. I went through three crews of designers and a slew of production people and then at one point after two years of work everything was lost in a hard drive failure. But, we started from scratch and built it back up slowly and after another two and a half years we finished it. 40 pages over and WAY over budget, but I love it. Its like counting tiny pieces of sand, doing these books takes time. I had to look over every minor detail a million times. And then when I thought I was all done, I went back and added more. The crazy little things people find after looking through it for the tenth time is the stuff I dig.
Punk is dead, Punk is Everything is broken down into some really cool sections what are some of your favorites?
I tried to reach deep into the philosophy behind Punk with P.I.D.. The idea that the fan was just as important and the band, or that the baby bands in the suburbs might even me more relevant that say The Sex Pistols. So for P.I.D. we re-examined the bands, the fans the artists and the unsung heroes that made punk strong, but for some strange reason have been left out of the history books. My favorite section is probably the Death Metal Speed Glam chapter just because it reminds us that the Necros opened up for Megadeth and that 45 Grave and Fear shared the same stage. Cool times. No boundaries.
Tell us your favorite story about one of the people you got a stories or flyers from these books?
With Fucked Up it would have to be Pushead. He wouldn’t give us any art, but said we could use what we found. His story and input was entirely by Fax. He hand wrote all comments etc., and we had this back and forth via fax machine for like a month. I have em all saved. With PID I think it would have to be Cali’s story just cuz its so radical that he threw it out there so hard. And the flyers and art would have to be getting access to all Howie Pyros archive. Fucking hell! A ton of stuff he has! And its ALL good and super old. That was like a super joy, to go through all his art.
How did the early 80’s hardcore movement shape your life?
It shaped and changed me the biggest way imaginable. The idea of DOING instead of talking about doing is a direct application of Punk Rocks influence on me.
What scene did you see yourself as belonging to?
PUNK rock. San Francisco 1979-1985
What role did the hardcore movement have in shaping art?
Everything I do in terms of art is pulled from punk. Cut and paste, re interpreting and re inventing, appropriating and twisting it around to make it your own. That’s my style.
How Punk affected the WORLD of art I think is seen in everything today. At least I see it in everything.
Do you feel that punk rock had an influence in shaping your political views?
No. I think my papa and my teachers had more of an effect on shaping my political views. Punk helped me to express them, once I had them, for sure. Crucifix and CRASS for sure shed some light on things happening around me that I might not have been aware of otherwise, but my politics came from my family for sure.
Bryan do you have a massive record collection?
Massive? Not really. Very big, yes. I have thousands of CD’s due to the fact that I am a music producer and a music supervisor, but in terms of Vinyl, I only have PUNK, Reggae Jazz, and 50’s rock and soul. My Punk 7 INCH collection is pretty huge I guess. I guess you could say it’s massive by most standards. You’ve seen it. Is it Massive?
Do you feel that hardcore, & your books, has inspired fashion?
Ooo, good question. I think yes. I mean we did do TWO Mad Marc Rude special Rockers NYC T shirts? That’s killer! I see people using the books as style guides alot and even see companies like Tsubi ripping off images straight out, so yes I think it does have an impact.
Tell the world something about the hardcore movement that they might not know?
Well, lets see In San Fran first came the Swivel, then the Pogo and THEN the Slam Dance. It was beautiful to see a sea of punks doing the swivel to Crucifix at the DeAnza College auditorium.