This slim volume is a punk-rock memoir of sorts, composed of four novellas which, when taken together, tell the semi-autobiographical story of Jimmy Reject - aka James Harrington, who survived substance abuse, mental illness, and a modestly successful career as a professional musician to write this book.
It’s a familiar story about an outsider who finds redemption (but also self-destruction) in the hardcore-punk sub-culture of the Eighties, with G.G. Allin as his role model and infamous NYC scenester Donny The Punk as a mentor.
Along the way, the author provides a wealth of lurid (but recognizable) details of punk rock’s seamy underbelly, including drugs, alcoholism, kinky sex, and schizophrenia.
Although Reject tends to overwrite at times, the chapters on his induction into the NYC hardcore scene in the ’80s, the novella about a G.G. Allin-like touring punk band in the early ’90s and the story of his personal descent into mental illness all ring true, with a gritty realism and an almost terrifyingly casual acceptance of the violence and squalor of those times that will be all but unrecognizable to kids reared in today’s affluent, candy-coated emo and pop-punk scenes.
If you were there, this book will bring back a lot of memories - some of them unpleasant, but all worth remembering. If you missed it, I commend this narrative for an eye-opening, first-hand look at a part of punk rock history that you’ll never read about in Punk Planet or see relived on VH1. (Blueboy Productions, 115 W Squantum St. #203, Quincy MA 02171)