Nomeansno: Going Nowhere: By Mark Black, 93 pgs. By Ty

Mar 07, 2013

It is a fact that Nomeansno is one of the greatest bands to come out of Canada. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to write a book about them. Now it is a reality. My initial reactions to seeing the book was that it must be unauthorized. It is also so tiny. I assumed that the author must not have had much to go on since the key members didn’t talk to him. I was wrong.

The book is legitimate and features the band in either direct quotes or from other interviews. It’s at this point that I realized that there is something wrong. Why is the book so small? For a book about a band whose career has moved into its third decade and has almost thirty releases, it should really have broken a hundred pages.

The whole thing seems rushed. The time between the bands inception (1979) until guitarist Andy Kerr leaves (1992) is encapsulated in thirty-five pages. Sure, it’s almost half of the book, but when you realize that the book’s introduction, which outlines the author’s love of the band, is seven pages long, and the entire last chapter is dedicated to how the band fits into his life, you are left with the feeling that a little more time could have been spent on the biographic end rather than the autobiographical.

I also found it odd that while major parts of Nomeansno’s history were glossed over, there was two full chapters dedicated to their hockey and Ramones-fuelled side project The Hanson Brothers. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Hanson Brothers. I may be one of the rare Nomeansno fans that listens to The Hanson Brothers more often that Nomeansno, but even to me it seemed rather lopsided. How could you have an in depth discussion about the re-mastering of The Hanson Brothers second LP Sudden Death but barely mention Nomeansno’s amazing 0+2=1,Live & Cuddly, or Worldhood of the World (As Such) albums?

My last complaint is one that goes for many “punk rock” books that I’ve read over the years. Attention to detail. If you’re going to write about a band, please get the information right. Off the top of my head; the local hockey team that John Wright loved is the Victoria Cougars, not Canucks. It’s a miniscule detail that might bother only of us who live here in Victoria, but as Johnny Hanson, John always wears his Cougars jersey on stage. Always. Also, the author attributes the band’s song “Ya Little Creep” to “the band’s 12” release Clam Chowder and Ice.” In fact, it was on a compilation LP called Clam Chowder and Ice vs. Big Macs and Bombers that was released by Nardwuar the Human Serviette. A little search engine love goes a long way.

I really hate bagging on this book. I can tell that the author really loves the band, but isn’t that all the more reason to go further in depth? At this time I can think of a couple of websites that have a more comprehensive biography of Nomeansno. –Ty Stranglehold (Invisible, invisiblepublishing.com)

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