Mike Wolf on Carducci

SST, L.A. and all that…
by Mike Wolf
April 1st, 2008
Time Out New York

It’s rare that a book concerning music history can uproot long-held beliefs in you. By you, yeah, I mean me. More often, when you read about how and why they did it back whenever, your reactions tend more toward the, “Oh, wow, I did not know that,” and, “That’s interesting, I’ll have to look into that more,” and, “Really—Satan himself?” Joe Carducci’s Enter Naomi, which came out last year, was different. It had more of a “knock me down, pick me up by the feet and shake out a dose of the stupid that had been rattling around my brainpan” sort of effect.

Having grown up as a kid out East, and grown up the rest of the way (such as I am) in the Midwest, I had a too-typical unexamined bias against SoCal punk (all the more dumb on account of Agent Orange was my first punk show). It wasn’t that I saw the West Coast stuff as second-rate—more like I just didn’t think about it much at all beyond Black Flag and the Germs and the Urinals. In fact, looking back, I think it just intimidated me. Straight-up punk nihilism was easy to figure out—these guys were smart though.

In Enter Naomi, Carducci lays out the desperate skin-of-their-teeth’s-ass day-by-day of the early SST bands and the label itself (where he worked) in Orange County, time-slipping ahead and back to reconstruct the enthusiastic life of Naomi Petersen, a punk kid who bum-rushed her way through the door and across a testosterone minefield to become the label’s staff photographer. That Carducci is able to tell us about his late friend Naomi, the times, the bands and the label simultaneously, lovingly and often hilariously but without much nostalgia or sentimentality, is what made the book one of 2007’s musts for anyone who wonders why most music today seems dry and weak and lacking in effort and desire. It reads the way good music vibes, when you feel like you’re really getting it.

You don’t need to take my word for it, though—Carducci’s in town to read and talk tonight (Wed 2) at Other Music, at 7:30pm, for free.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

One thought on “Mike Wolf on Carducci

  1. Pingback: Mike Wolf on Carducci » Agnostic Front News

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