Matt Groening signing a copy of the WE GOT POWER! book while comparing realities with hardcore punk pioneer Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag/CD6. [photo by Jordan Schwartz]
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons/Futurama/Life in Hell, joined an all-ages throng of thousands at Track 16/Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA, on Saturday night (9/8) for a visually stunning exhibit of photos from the new hardcover book WE GOT POWER!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California, by David Markey and Jordan Schwartz.
WE GOT POWER! documents the earliest days of L.A.’s forays into hardcore punk, from Suicidal Tendencies to Black Flag to the Descendents, featuring over 400 photos by Markey and Schwartz dating back to 1981, plus the complete color reprints of their We Got Power! fanzine. Groening was an avid reader of the zine, praising it in 1983 in the Los Angeles Reader as “essential reading.”
“We Got Power! is the goofiest, funniest of the local magazines,” Groening wrote, “reviewing police raids on a sarcastic one-to-five asterisk system…”
The over-capacity blowout unveiled the latest in a line of hardcore punk book and heavy metal offerings from Bazillion Points Books, and featured live appearances by the Adolescents, Saccharine Trust, Dead Issue, and the Last. Greg Hetson of the Circle Jerks/Red Cross/Bad Religion joined White Flag onstage to cap off their historic final performance with wheelchair-bound former singer Al Bum. L.A. luminaries from age 8 months to 80 included members of the Germs, OFF!, Redd Kross, Circle One, Chemical People, Black Flag, and the local skateboard legends the Z-Boys.
Marking the significance of the occasion in true L.A. fashion, the Bergamot Station exit on the 405 freeway was backed up for nearly a mile, and gallery visitors were forced to park up to two miles away. The show continues through October 6, after which Track 16 will be demolished. The one confirmed party casualty was a recording rig used to capture the evening’s performances, which was shattered during an outburst of stagediving at this truly historic and spirited book release event.
The Adolescents perform “Amoeba” at Track 16’s We Got Power! night:
View details on the book WE GOT POWER! here::