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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Skate Punk Legends JFA to Sign Autographs at Vinyl Solution

Categories: in store
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On Thursday evening, legendary punk band JFA is swinging by to hang with fans at Vinyl Solution Records and Tapes in Huntington Beach. The Phoenix-born skate punkers will sign autographs in advance of their Friday show at the Observatory in Santa Ana, where they'll open for fellow legends, the Angry Samoans. 

"They're going to be here signing people's shit and we're going to have posters available," store owner Drak (yeah, just Drak) told the Weekly yesterday. He added that the in-store appearance was made possible through the efforts of the Observatory crew. "We're hoping to do (in stores) regularly," Drak said. 

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MEN at Fingerprints Last Night (+ Win an Autographed Poster!)

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Feb. 3, 2011

Click here to see the photos!

There's not much on the walls, and all the merch that aren't CDs or vinyl are nowhere to be found, but if you squint long and hard enough, you can see that the new Fingerprints location near the intersection of Fourth Street and Long Beach Boulevard is going to be an improvement over the cramped quarters of its former Second Street abode.

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A Gimmick From Record Stores and Slayer on Black Friday? No Way!

Categories: holidays, in store
Thanksgiving, Schanksgiving. As a music geek who lives to shop, Black Friday gimmicks are near and dear to my heart.

This year has a bunch of Black Friday gimmicks that sound pretty interesting.

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Saturday: Burger In-Store with Clorox Girls and Welcome Home Walker

Categories: in store

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For those who never thought the phrase "pop punk" would ever be used again to describe something worth listening to, Portland trio Clorox Girls--no actual girls in this group by the way-- is on a mission to change your mind. Invading the neon-green walls of Fullerton's Burger Records this Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. for a free all-ages show, this thrashing pack of Oregonians trade in catchy, three-chord choruses that blend skateboard punk, campy lyrics and garage band recklessness.More »

THIS WEEK: Nathen Maxwell and Jay Reatard Perform Back to Back at Fingerprints

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You can call it a "creative departure" or use words like "progression" and "mature", but the bottom line is that all great music reaches a metamorphosis at some point. It could be subtle as a whisper or cataclysmic like a dirty bomb exploding under their entire musical foundation. Either way, you know it when you hear it.

Starting tomorrow Fingerprints Record store presents another round of in-store performances featuring two artists who prepare to submit their own reinvented sounds to the masses. Tomorrow, Nathen Maxwell (bassist for seminal Celtic punk band Flogging Molly), pictured, offers you a little bit of...reggae?

Yes, Nathen Maxwell and the Original Bunny Gang present a sound that has been a decade in the making: a slow melting glass of reggae, ska and folk. And though none of these words come to mind when you think of classic albums like Drunken Lullabies, Maxwell's music is finally being released at the perfect time, during FM's extended hiatus following a relentless round of touring. His new album, White Rabbit will be in stores tomorrow, Aug. 18 and so will Maxwell himself, who will be strumming for the audience at Fingerprints alongside his band (producer and former Flogging Molly guitar player Ted Hutt, Flogging Molly accordion player/skateboard legend Matt Hensley and drummer Maxwellvision, otherwise know as Nathen's cool).

But the fun doesn't end there. The very next night, garage punk provocateur Jay Reatard  is coming through to jam some tunes off of his new album Watch Me Fall, also in stores Aug. 18. And though his new sound doesn't include a jam with his pops, Reatard Sr., it does bring a melodic change of pace for him and his band. By now, most fans of Reatard (for some reason it never feels right, typing that out) have digested the pop-tinged tenor of the single "Aint Gonna Same Me" which peels away some his fast and furious guitar styling for something a little more structured. Though the overall change is not enough to put "pop" and "punk" in the same sentence.

But good music aside, the real good news for fans of the freebie is that unlike some of their past in-stores, Fingerprints doesn't require you to have pre-ordered theses artists' albums to get a good spot at the show since the guest list is now open to all! But for the sake of Maxwell and Reatard's economic well being, we're gonna suggest that you buy their records anyway.

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TODAY: Noisettes In-store performance at Fingerprints

Categories: in store, today

If London garage-soul band Noisettes ever decided to consider a name change, might I suggest the "Freakish DNA"? It seems to fit them to a "T". Let's start with their front woman, Shingai Shoniwa. C'mon, a beautiful woman who can sing AND play bass? Can you say rare? Then of course there is the stunning intermingling of the band's sonic make up, thanks in part to guitarist Dan Smith and drummer Jamie Morrison. Together the band are a prime example when it comes to adding their own spin on sultry Motown era R&B by injecting a dose of distorted lightning and Shoniwa's signature vocals. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out their myspace HERE.

Today, the band finds itself in the L.A./Long Beach area, first in the studio at KCRW 89.9 FM and later on at Fingerprints record store in Long Beach. Unfortunately their new album isn't on the shelves yet, but really, who cares as long as you can here them live? They are doing a special acoustic performance starting at 7 pm inside the store which will be recorded, and probably sold to you at a later date. Of course if you want to go to the show, I would suggest calling the store ahead of time and getting your name on the RSVP list. This in-store, like almost all the others at Fingerprints, is sure to get crowded.

Tomorrow: Free In-store performance by Zee Avi at Finger Prints


If there were ever a study to test the boundless possibilities of music via You Tube, I'm thinking Malaysia might be a good place to start. For there is probably no other way to explain how the beautiful, chirpy talents of singer song writer Zee Avi landed on the roster of Jack Johnson's Brush Fire Records other than the divine timing of an internet video she made the day before her 22nd birthday. After a whirlwind year of label buzz and continually falling into the hands of the right people (including White Stripes/The Shins manager  Ian Montone and Matt Costa) who loved her music, Avi found herself on a plane. She flew from her hometown of Kuala Lumpur to L.A. on an inevitable quest to record her Monotone/Brushfire self-titled debut.

The album officially hits stores tomorrow and the 23-year old songstress is already hitting the ground running with a FREE in-store performance at Finger Prints record store in Long Beach at 7 p.m. The store has had it's hands full with great in-stores lately, including Black Lips and Iron and Wine (which we failed to warn you about last week, sorry). And Avi's toe-tapping blend of prohibition-era jazz and effervescent folk offers another great chapter to a recent history of memorable shows. It's a sound so brilliant and airy that it can make songs like "Poppy", her grim tale of a relationship marred by drug use, sound like something you'd hear at a garden wedding among actual Poppies (no, not the heroin kind). It also doesn't hurt when you share your touring band members with Matt Costa, some of whom you will recognize should you stop being a lazy ass and arrive at the show on time to get a good look.

And since you'll be voting in the special election tomorrow anyway (right?!) why not make a special selection (yeah, I took it there) and choose to support indie music at an indie music store. Really, does it get much better than that on a Tuesday? Follow me after the JUMP and check out one of Avi's many You Tube videos along with a link to her Myspace...yeah, they've got that in Malaysia too. 

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The Long, Slow Death of CDs Continues, But There Are Bargains to Be Had!

Categories: in store

Compact discs have lasted nearly three decades--first on the market in October 1982!--but their farewell tour is hitting another stop, as Borders is dropping their stock of CDs (and DVDs).

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