Why Be Something That You’re Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979–1985: By Tony Rettman, 240 pgs. By Garrett Barnwell

Mar 17, 2011

After being slighted in the American Hardcore book and movie, Detroit hardcore is finally getting its due with the publication of Tony Rettman’s Why Be Something That You’re Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979–1985. The book covers the bands, the scenesters, and the record label that arguably helped to define hardcore by documenting what was happening musically around the Detroit area. Despite only basically covering a handful of bands and characters, Rettman does a masterful job of weaving a compelling tale by letting the participants tell their stories in their own words. Members of the Fix, Negative Approach, the Necros, and the Meatmen, along with others, recount what was happening in such a way that the book is hard to put down. This book actually makes a nice companion to Touch And Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ‘79–‘83 that came out a few months ago, as it helps to place some context to some of the material presented in that book. The book is also filled with photos, flyers, and other ephemera that make the book pretty essential for anyone who is a fan of the above-mentioned bands. (Revelation Records Publishing, PO Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA 92615)

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