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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Arrested Development Album Release Has Bluth Fans and Mitch Hurwitz Chicken Dancing

The Record Parlour is normally the home to 15,000 vinyl discs, but Tuesday night the Hollywood shop was taken over by just one, which isn't really a vinyl disc but a digital download: At Long Last ... Music and Songs From Arrested Development.

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The Offspring Let Us Stuff Our Faces During Their Album Release Party at Chronic Tacos in Huntington Beach

the Offspring pic1.jpg
Andrew Youssef
Dinner is fuckin' served!

Free tacos, Gringo Bandito hot sauce, competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, a mariachi band and the Offspring are all making an appearance at Chronic Tacos in Huntington Beach on 11th street tomorrow, June 26 from 5pm-7pm, to celebrate the release of the band's ninth studio album Days Go By.

When we interviewed Dexter Holland of the Offspring for last week's feature, the bleached blond frontman couldn't hide his unabashed enthusiasm for the new album, which finally hits stores this Tuesday (hence the free taco madness). While many big-name bands tend to shun their Orange County roots, the band are waving their OC flag high by throwing a local record release party.

For the low price of free 99, you get to witness the world-renowned eating machine Kobayashi show the kids how to wolf down an ungodly amount of tacos in a few minutes. The following taco eating contest will definitely generate some laughs as a mariachi band serenades your epic pig out session.

The Offspring will be on hand to autograph their new album or sign your old vinyl copy of "Ignition," along with exclusive limited Offspring T-shirts that will be screened at Chronic Tacos and handed out to some lucky patrons. So assemble your friends and cruise down Main Street in Huntington Beach blaring "Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk) at full volume on your way to Chronic Tacos. Did we mention free tacos?!

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Lou Reed Signing - Some of Our Favorite People And Their Items

Daniel Kohn
Reed ready to sign
On Friday, Lou Reed, did an in-store at Fingerprints in Long Beach. As expected, there were fans from all walks of love at the beloved record store. The line, per usual, extended from the store's front on 4th St. and around Elm. Unlike the recent Brian Wilson signing, there were less people and alas, less time for the Velvet Underground impresinario to sign. However, all wasn't lost as Reed performed a poetry reading during the middle of the signing session. As we waited on-line for the Long Island-native to make his way to the store, here are some of our favorite people we encountered and what they had signed.
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Brian Wilson Signing at Fingerprints: Three People We Met

Lilledeshan Bose/OC Weekly
Brian Wilson with his wife Melinda. Click here to see more photos frrom the night.
Brian Wilson owes the world nothing. Nope, not you, mega fan. Nor you, guy who owns a mint condition 45 of Heroes And Villains. Nor you, guy who traded in his Sublime records for a copy of Pet Sounds.

But Wilson made a super rare public appearance and held an autograph session for the long awaited, never-completed-album-until-now, The Smile Sessions boxed set. Did he have to do it? Of course not. But he did and he chose the perfect venue for the evening: Fingerprints Records.

Wilson signed non-stop for a little over two hours for approximately 350 fans filing politely in from a line stretching down 4th St. and around Elm. The flock consisted of the old, the young, the hip and the not-so-hip, all holding onto prized copies of favorite LPs or brand new CDs. Here's a sampling of the kind of people we met in line.

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It's True: Brian Wilson Will Be at Fingerprints Tomorrow!

The word "legend" applies only to a few people on this planet. One of those people is Brian Wilson. The man behind the Beach Boys is a bona fide musical genius and most certainly a legend in my book, which is why everyone reading this should stop what they are doing and go to Fingerprints in Long Beach right now because Wilson will be there Tuesday at 7 p.m. signing copies of the Smile Sessions box set.

Pretty awesome, right? Right.

However -- and it pains me to say this -- don't expect much from Wilson other than his signature on your record. I "met" Wilson once and have done two phone interviews with him and to say he is uncomfortable around people he doesn't know is like saying Pet Sounds is just "some record."

The time I "met" him went like this: I was backstage at a Brian Wilson/Paul Simon show at the Greek Theatre. There was a small room of about 20 people waiting for the post-gig meet and greet, which should have been titled the "Brian Wilson walks into a doorway, sees 20 people waiting for him, makes a face like he caught his parents having sex, then tries to escape before anyone notices but can't because the entire room starts clapping as he is quietly high-tailing it out of there."

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Free for Lunch? Watch Airborne Toxic Event at Fingerprints Today!

Chad Sengstock/OC Weekly
We just gleaned this from Fingerprints Records' Facebook page a few minutes ago: "Oh, look. We just found 30 spots on the guest list, no purchase necessary, for today's performance by The Airborne Toxic Event. It's at 1:00pm, and you can bring your lunch. Lets do this. 562.433.4996"

And you know, you should check out the indie rockers' moody, high-drama tunes if you can--watch what you could be seeing in two hours after the jump.

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420 Art Show Up In Smoke

This is what we get for running with a press release about an art show with the word "chronic" in the title.

Last week we received an e-mail from a gentleman named Sergio Sandoval associated with skate, surf and smoke-lifestyle company, Long Beach Chronic. The impresario was promoting a 420 event featuring works by various artists including Opie Ortiz and former Rat Fink illustrator, The Pizz, among others. The theme was, take a guess-- weed--as visualized on a quintessential  southern California canvas--the skateboard deck. Sounded promising.

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All Time Low Wristbands Available at Main Place Hot Topic Today for April 15 In-Store

Meet your new guilty pleasure: All Time Low. Even if you weren't a 15-year-old girl, I think you'd agree the band is pretty cute. So cute, in fact, that you'd think about prepurchasing their major-label debut Dirty Work to get a wristband today to have them sign autographs at Hot Topic in Santa Ana's Main Place on April 15.

All Time Low singer/guitarist Alex Gaskarth teamed up with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo to write "I Feel Like Dancin,'" off the new album. It's also available digitally today here

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Free In-Stores! The Dears and Tapes N' Tapes at Fingerprints

It's a big weekend for Long Beach's Fingerprints record store--both The Dears and Tapes N' Tapes are performing in-stores on Saturday and Sunday.

Montreal's the Dears are in town pre-SxSw to perform a warm-up gig featuring songs from their latest set, Degeneration Street. The Eulogies also open the in-store appearance, so you get two intensely atmospheric bands for the price of none. RSVP at (562) 433-4996; if you buy Degeneration Street (CD or LP) or the Eulogies' Here Anonymous (LP with CD), you get in first and receive a poster from the event.

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