You don’t have to be a punk to enjoy The Hard Times—but it helps.
Why is it funny that The Ramones forced their studio’s janitor to change his name to Gary Ramone? Because none of The Ramones were related in real life and all changed their name to enter the band. Why did a punk survive the Kool-Aid at Jonestown? Practice, practice, practice (of ingesting all manner of substances at punk rock concerts).
The articles collected here are actual reprints from the magazine during the past four decades. In between the original stories are a behind-the-scenes look at the zine’s creation and a bit of punk’s evolution over the years. Beginning with the 90s, the zine began covering emo, grunge, and alternative rock bands too.
I was pretty heavily into the LA punk scene from the late 70s through the 80s so I really enjoyed The Hard Times. It reminded me of bands I haven’t thought of in decades. Even if you are not into punk, the stories frequently have a Mad Magazine sense of parody that is enjoyable. 4 stars!
Thanks to Mariner Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.