Heebie Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk

( 11 )

Overview


Based in part on the recent interviews with more than 125 people —among them Tommy Ramone, Chris Stein (Blondie), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Hilly Kristal (CBGBs owner), and John Zorn—this book focuses on punk’s beginnings in New York City to show that punk was the most Jewish of rock movements, in both makeup and attitude. As it originated in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the early 1970s, punk rock was the apotheosis of a Jewish cultural tradition that found its ultimate expression in the ...
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The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk

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Overview


Based in part on the recent interviews with more than 125 people —among them Tommy Ramone, Chris Stein (Blondie), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Hilly Kristal (CBGBs owner), and John Zorn—this book focuses on punk’s beginnings in New York City to show that punk was the most Jewish of rock movements, in both makeup and attitude. As it originated in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the early 1970s, punk rock was the apotheosis of a Jewish cultural tradition that found its ultimate expression in the generation born after the Holocaust. Beginning with Lenny Bruce, “the patron saint of punk,” and following pre-punk progenitors such as Lou Reed, Jonathan Richman, Suicide, and the Dictators, this fascinating mixture of biography, cultural studies, and musical analysis delves into the lives of these and other Jewish punks—including Richard Hell and Joey Ramone—to create a fascinating historical overview of the scene. Reflecting the irony, romanticism, and, above all, the humor of the Jewish experience, this tale of changing Jewish identity in America reveals the conscious and unconscious forces that drove New York Jewish rockers to reinvent themselves—and popular music.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A unique new perspective on the history of punk rock."  —Tommy Ramone, The Ramones

"Shocking confessions of an eternally wicked tribe of dysfunctional kids in search of an identity."  —Malcolm McLaren, manager for the Sex Pistols

"A beautiful, well-written book that's not only the kind you can't put down but also a true revelation."  —Alan Vega, Suicide

"A remarkably rich and rewarding read."  —The Dallas Morning News

"Beeber is an original thinker with an impressive gift for sociology, psychology and gossip."   —Ketzel Levine, NPR

"The best account of punk’s nascent years."  —The Boston Globe

"Mines a vein in punk’s needle-marked history that no one else has explored and is highly recommended."  —Vanity Fair

"Entertaining, engrossing, and provocative."  —The Villager

Columbia Daily Tribune
Uses sociological and historical analysis to relate how punk, its artists and CBGBs inherited the Jewish tradition from each other in a synergetic fashion.
Metroland Holiday Gift Guide
This isn't merely a look-who's-Jewish tour, but an exploration of Jewish identity in the second half of the 20th century.
The Villager
Entertaining, engrossing, and provocative.
American Jewish Life Magazine
Digs so deep and thus paints so vivid a picture of . . . the Jewish experience.
Vanity Fair
Mines a vein in punk's needle-marked history that no one else has explored and is highly recommended.
Publishers Weekly
In this welcome addition to the annals of punk, journalist Beeber does a commendable job of illuminating the Jewish backgrounds of many of punk's pioneers, including Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman), Tommy Ramone (Tamas Erdelyi), as well as Lou Reed, Lenny Kaye, Blondie's Chris Stein, CBGB owner Hilly Kristal right up to the heir-apparent to the Jewish-punk crown, the Beastie Boys. The scene was centered in 1970s New York's Jewish Lower East Side, so it's fitting that punk might have a strong Jewish tradition. Beeber ably cobbles together interesting biographical sketches of the preeminent Jewish punks, rather astutely placing the punk rockers among the pantheon of Jewish entertainers, including the controversial comic Lenny Bruce. He also neatly ties the irreverent punk ethos to the American Jewish experience. Still, the book overreaches at times, straining under the weight of too much tangential cultural history and an overly academic tone. Beeber, however, has clearly done his homework, with more than 100 primary interviews and a clear grasp of the Jewish traditions within which he places punk. And just in time: with "Jewish-owned punk landmark" CBGB slated to close on September 30, Beeber's book will open a hidden chapter for many fans. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Punk is Jewish-that's the central tenet of Beeber's (editor, Awake!: A Reader for the Sleepless) Heebie-Jeebies. Whereas most punk histories focus on England as the "true" epicenter of punk, Beeber's work posits an alternative punk time line rooted in New York City that begins with Lenny Bruce and ends with the new Beastie Boys album. Chapters on the Ramones, the Dictators, CBGBs, and Suicide are revelations, even to the seasoned punk fan. However, many of Beeber's subjects (e.g., musicians Jonathan Richman, Richard Hell, and Martin Rev) declined to be interviewed, and that's a shame, as this lack of primary sources damages the book somewhat. Beeber is left to theorize and conceptualize, often moving away from "secret history" and more toward cultural studies. That said, strong writing and even stronger subject matter keep one enthralled. Pair this with Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's seminal Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk or Victor Bockris's New York-centric Beat Punks anthology to provide another perspective on punk's Lower East Side roots. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-Matthew Moyer, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556526138
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 989,256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Lee Beeber has written for many publications, including Bridge, Conduit, Fiction, Heeb, Maxim, MOJO, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Playboy.com, Rain Taxi, and Spin. He is the editor of Awake: A Reader for the Sleepless, an anthology featuring work by writers including Margaret Atwood, Aimee Bender, Joyce Carol Oates, and Davy Rothbart.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2006

    Entertaining and Intellectually Stimulating Analysis of a Cultural Movement

    This book is great. Steven Beeber examines the relationship between Judaism and punk rock and argues that punk was a logical outgrowth of the post-Holocaust generation in this country. I grew up in NY and came of age in the mid-70s, so i was lucky enough to have seen many of the bands profiled in this book. It's chock-a-block with interviews and profiles of folks like Danny Fields, Lou Reed, Jonathan Richman, Alan Vega and Marty Rev,Tommy Erdelyi, Richard Hell, Hilly Kristal, Lenny Kaye, the Dictators, Genya Ravan, etc. It's a great read -- lots of funny stuff, very illuminating, sometimes quite provocative. A must-read for fans of the New York punk scene.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    This book is so stupid it's actually kind of funny. You also rea

    This book is so stupid it's actually kind of funny. You also realize how stupid some musicians are. I suppose Jews might find it cool to find out that a lot of Jews were involved in punk rock but so what. So were lots of Catholics, Protestants, and a few Muslims. The author tries to make it sound like Jews invented punk rock and that it wouldn't have existed were it not for them. That just idiotic. Not only that, the book is realllllly boring. I found it hard to get through it. I'm sorry I spent money on it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    If u are lookin for a gf....

    Go to match making res 11 to meet a girl named isabel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013

    Ashleey

    Heyo :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Harmony.

    Ugh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Merleah

    Sees Abby waiting. "Dont bother. Hes gonna be a while"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Ashley tps the bathrooom!!^_^

    Runs out ..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    Hidy

    O.o

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    Bathroom

    Relieve yourself of various cases of substance abuse. It's a single room with a toilet and a roll of toilet paper on a hockey stick, but h<_>ell, we've made it work for years now!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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