Punk News

New Book Shares Images of Punk’s Most Intimate Moments

Three decades of punk’s rebellious heart and soul has been captured in a revealing new book by photographer Michael Grecco.

Acclaimed photographer Michael Grecco has brought the vitality, chaos and energy of late ’70s to early ’90s Punk in his newest collection of images, Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978-1991.

The Cramps lead guitarist Poison Ivy by Michael Grecco
Lead guitarist Poison Ivy (born Kristy Marlana Wallace) of the punk rock band “The Cramps” is backstage before performing at a theater in 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Grecco has brought together a collection of black-and-white images of bands that defined the punk rock genre, including The Slits, The Dead Kennedys, The Cramps and Billy Idol.

“The bands and youth wanted a voice, and punk brought that voice.” Michael Grecco

Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face doesn’t over analyse the punk movements political depths but rather captures the raw anarchy of the stage-front crowd and the back-stage debaucherous intimacies. Often the images as dissident as the music itself.

Wendy O The Plasmatics by Michael Grecco
Punk rock band lead singer Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics performing on stage on November 13, 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the book Grecco retrospectively surmises what that time represented to so many: “Upon reflection, looking back forty years, you have to think, ‘Wow, what an amazing life. Now, given my upbringing with an oppressive old-world Italian mother, of course, at times I felt guilty about it. You slept with someone new every night; you were always doing drugs, you were always drinking too much. I was having not just fun, but debauched fun – sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.”

Lux Interior the Cramps Michael Grecco
Lux Interior of the Cramps” performing on stage at a theatre in 1980 in Boston.

Grecco was inspired by a friend and colleague to release these raw and honest photos that chronical an iconic era in music. He said recently in an Interview with GBH – “You know, I have a wonderful archivist that’s worked for me for almost 20 years, Mykle Parker. And she just kept pulling out pictures out of the file.”

Jello Biafra Dead Kennedys by Michael Grecco
Jello Biafra, performing on stage in April 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Grecco goes on to reveal how Parker and gallery directory David Fahey gave him the inspiration to release the photos to the world. “Parker said, ‘Like, dude, you got to do something with this. You got to do something with this. And one of the gallerists here, David Fahey of the Fahey Klein Gallery, has helped me with this project. And he basically said, ‘you know, things like this just get better with age. No one would have given it the same appreciation 30 or 40 years ago when I moved to L.A., and I was showing these images. I think that they just get better with the historical perspective.”

Al Jourgensen Ministry Michael Grecco
Ministry lead singer Al Jourgensen poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California on November 03, 1998.

 Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978-1991 is out now.

All photos courtesy of Michael Grecco Productions Inc. / MGP, Inc.

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