Author Craig Lewis Explains Why Punk Rock is a Haven For the Mentally Unstable

Max Braverman
Craig Lewis

Many authors speak in front of live audiences in hopes of selling books. Craig Lewis, however, has a different agenda.

The 40-year-old's lecture Saturday night at TKO Records in Huntington Beach will address issues regarding mental health, but in a way many are unfamiliar with. You see, Lewis -- like Sheena -- is a punk rocker.

To the uninformed, punk rock is nothing more than Sid Vicious shooting dope and (allegedly) killing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, but people actively involved in punk understand the genre is more than a deceased Sex Pistol. The culture's do-it-yourself spirit empowers its followers and allows them to be as expressive and individualistic as they choose. Often, Lewis says, punk's open-door policy welcomes artists, misfits, weirdos and anti-authoritarian types. The scene also becomes a sanctuary for people with mental health issues.

Unfortunately, Lewis -- a certified peer specialist -- says mental health is an issue still not fully addressed in his community, which is why he published Better Days: A Mental Health Recovery Workbook and You're Crazy, a collection of 27 essays by punkers addressing their mental health issues and addiction. It's a sentiment that Lewis understands as he was first placed into a psychiatric home at 14 and later spent a decade getting high. Lewis says he's been drug-and-alcohol -free since 2001 and focuses on having good minutes, good hours and good days, which he attributes to his being "healthy now...for the most part."

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Chrysalis Records Co-Founder Praised the Specials, Passed on the Sex Pistols (Twice!)

Categories: books

Courtesy of Chris Wright
He's a multi-millionaire, a music industry pioneer, business tycoon and co-founder of one of the most important record labels in history. And though Chris Wright's name probably doesn't ring a bell to you, acts like Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, The Specials and Billy Idol, who owe much of their careers to his label Chrysalis Records, probably do. Wright started the label in 1969 with business partner Terry Ellis (Chris + Ellis= Chrysalis, get it?) and grew it into an empire that provided a portal for dozens of British acts to tour and record in the US in the 70s. In the 80s, he was responsible for launching the careers of American bands like Blondie and Huey Lewis and the News. In1991, he sold the label rights to EMI. Of course, Wright went on to do other things outside the music industry, own soccer and ruby teams as well as a fistful of radio stations and production companies.

He charts his life story in his recently-released autobiography, One Way or Another, in which he details growing up poor on the eastern coastline of England to becoming a full-blown entertainment mogul with plenty of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll along the way. It's rock history through the lens of a top executive who learned on the job and stuck to his music tastes and ethics--almost to a fault (he famously signed Billy Idol after passing on a record deal with Sex Pistols not once, but twice!). His memoirs bare a unique perspective on some of our most beloved rock gods--one that's unflinching, honest and overall pretty memorable. We spent some time with Wright discussing his book, and his involvement with some of the biggest artists in the world.

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Jack Grisham of TSOL's Latest Book, 'Code Blue,' Addresses Teenage Angst, Necrophilia

Before we begin our conversation, TSOL frontman/author/OC Weekly columnist Jack Grisham jokingly asks, "Is there anything we have to talk about that I can't talk about with my daughter?"

The topic of the day was Code Blue, Grisham's third and latest book on all the typical issues that arise within the confines of a high school: bullying, the parent-child dynamic, isolation, gossip, death ... and maybe some necrophilia. Presented much like a children's book might be presented--hard cover, full-page illustrations by Scott Aicher, large font presented on an approximate 30-40 pages--Code Blue is based on what might be TSOL's most notorious song of the same name. (Sample lyrics? "I never got along with the girls at my school/Filling me up with all their morals and their rules/They'd pile all their problems on my head I'd rather go out and fuck the dead")

"Well, it's not a bad story," Grisham says with a laugh. "It's a well-written story." 
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John Heffron Is Coming to You from the Future.

I've wanted to write a book forever!
John Heffron is one busy mofo. On top of his regular touring across the country, the stand-up comic recently became an author. His new book "I Come to You from the Future" hit Amazon and iBooks with a bang just in time for the holidays and while in the midst of his gig at the Brea Improv this weekend, we talked to Heffron about his new venture into the literary world with his book that offers advice for both men and women. Ehhh hemmm...stocking stuffers anyone?

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New KISStory Book Reveals the Band's Early Misadventures

Categories: books

Fin Costello/KISS Catalog Ltd.
Alternate "Alive!" front cover image, Michigan Palace, Detroit, May 15, 1975
By: Bob Ruggiero
Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)
By Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
It Books, 560 pp., $29.99

If a 500-plus page oral history about a band which only covers the period before their first hit sounds like it's over the top, it doesn't when you realize that the band is KISS.

Ken Sharp, who also co-wrote official KISS biography Behind the Mask, conducts more than 200 interviews with band members (including former players Ace Frehley and Peter Criss), managers, promoters, journalists, fans, agents, roadies, club owners, costume designers and just about every musician who either opened for KISS or watched helplessly trying to follow their spectacle.

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Avenged Sevenfold Used to Cover Their Groupies in Piss

Categories: books

Courtesy BB Gun Press
By John Wiederhorn and Katherine Truman
Avenged Sevenfold have always occupied a weird space in the annals of OC metal, or metalcore, whatever you want to call it. Despite being rejected by some old-school metal fans (i.e. anyone with a sleeveless denim jacket, a Napalm Death concert stub and tattoos older than you), Avenged Sevenfold have one of the most rabid young fan bases in the game. Their power could be resurfacing again with the release of their sixth album, Hail to the King, on August 27.

Coming up alongside the brutal shredding of colleagues like Eighteen Visions and Atreyu, the band dubbed A7X were one of the first bands to really embrace a more glammed-out '80s resurgence of noodling guitar riffs, guy-liner, and a ghoulish identity. Despite the untimely death of drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan, vocalist Matthew "M.Shadows" Sanders and company have persevered. To date, they've sold more than 4 million albums worldwide. While on tour during their City of Evil era, their idea of a good time often meant leaving a trail of drugs, destruction and piss (like, R.Kelly amounts of piss) in their wake. To learn more, once again we decided to bust open a copy of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by John Wiederhorn and Katherine Truman to let you hear about their insane antics in their own words. (Nate Jackson)

See also: The Ten Greatest OC Metal Bands of All Time

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Atreyu Were Hated By Other OC Bands When They Started Out. Thankfully, That Changed.

Categories: books

By: Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman
Last week, the Weekly published our unscientific list of the 10 Greatest OC Metal Bands of All Time. Some of you may have noticed the absence of Atreyu on that list--one of the pioneering metalcore bands to blow up in OC with the advent of their 2002 Victory Records debut Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses. Sure, it was a mild oversight on our part. But chances are, if you're a local, longtime fan of the band you know that in a way, Atreyu's omission from some congratulatory Internet listicle is par for the course when it came to the band.

In the early years of their career, the Yorba Linda natives were often seen as outsiders in OC's burgeoning metalcore scene for things that often had nothing to do with their music. But in the years to come, they'd prove to be one of the biggest bands to come out of the county for their 80s metal shredding and melodic screaming/singing vocal style. Though the band has remained dormant for a couple years while they work on other projects, the promise of new material in the future is definitely not out of the question. As we continue to unearth a little bit of OC's metalcore history, we turn to the book Louder Than Hell: A Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman for an excerpt that allows Atreyu to explain their early struggles in the scene in their own words. (Nate Jackson)

See Also: How Eighteen Visions Became the OC Band Known for Inventing "Fashioncore"

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How Eighteen Visions Became The OC Metal Band Known For Inventing "Fashioncore"

Categories: books

Jeremy Saffer
Eighteen Visions
By: John Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman
Like it or not, the history of the OC metal scene owes a lot to the phrase "guyliner," specifically a subgenre dubbed Metalcore that reared its head in the early 2000s. Brought forth by musicians who mixed Iron Maiden guitar chops with brutal break downs and glam rock and throat-shredding vocals, Orange County bred several bands that took the genre to mainstream heights. In a recently released book called Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, OC gets some special attention in it's chapter on Metalcore, including an interview with now defunct band Eighteen Visions who broke up in 2007. This year, the former members were sad to report that Mick Morris, the former bassist of the band, passed away in June. But before they called it quits, 18V played a definitive role in shaping and styling a subgenre of Metalcore that would come to be known as "Fashioncore," a once popular style to which Hot Topic still owes a huge debt of gratitude. Hear from the band about how Fashioncore first came about.

From Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal:

Even with its revolving-door lineup, Eighteen Visions played a major role in changing the look of California metalcore. During their peak years in the early 2000s they dressed sharply, wore makeup, and styled their hair like glam musicians. The band was
musically innovative as well, changing styles over the course of their career from bruising hardcore metal to melodic alternative rock, predating similar moves by Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold.

BRANDAN SCHIEPPATI: Since Javier was in hair school, his whole thing was wanting to cut everybody's hair. So we all had freaky haircuts. We modeled ourselves a little bit after Unbroken, who were very sharply dressed because they were
the heaviest band around and they didn't look it, which we thought was fuckin' cool.

See Also:*Top 10 Metal Albums to Listen to Before You Die

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30 Facts About Ke$ha We Learned From Her New Book 'My Crazy Beautiful Life'

Categories: books


By: Brian McManus

If you listen closely to Ke$ha's songs (and is there any other way to listen to Ke$ha? ), you already know quite a bit about her. She wakes up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy. She uses a bottle of Jack to brush her teeth (which sounds dangerous). Etc. Etc. So on. So forth. ANYWAY, to learn more, we had an army of interns thumb through her new book, Ke$ha My Crazy Beautiful Life, and told them to find 100 fascinating facts about everyone's favorite glitter addicted C U Next Tuesday. They found 30. We listed them below. Because that's how these things work.More »

The Guy Who Got No Doubt Discovered Needs Your Help With His New Book

Tazy Phyllipz

Tazy Phyllipz has literally made a career out of helping unknown bands grow their audiences. If you don't believe me, just ask No Doubt, Sublime and Maroon 5 - three groups who received airplay on Phyllipz's radio program The Ska Parade long before corporate America knew what a hollaback girl was. But now it's time for that good fortune to come Phyllipz's way as the radio host - who broadcasts The Ska Parade on Phoenix, Ariz.'s KUKQ from his home studio - has created an Indiegogo campaign to fund a book he is writing that will detail his experiences in the music industry. The Irvine resident has a goal of $35,000 and hopes that money will cover expenses for things such as a page designer and a copy editor.

 The Ska Parade has been on the air for more than 20 years, which means Phyllipz has a lot of potential stories to include. Because of these numerous tales and his financial situation, the would-be author says his book is not yet finished, but explains that more money equals more chapters. As of this writing, Phyllipz's campaign has 31 days remaining and has earned a total of $816, so if it's ska stories you want, you best be donating! We caught up with Phyllipz via email to talk about his book and his motivation for wanting to spill the beans.

See Also:
*No Doubt in Their Own Words
*Sublime vs. No Doubt?
*Sophie Muller on Filming No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom Days

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