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

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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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Chicano Batman Love the Challenge of "Latin Psych Soul"

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Jessica Augustine
Chicano Batman
When new, exceptionally talented bands without a previously categorized sound come out, writers all over from Pitchfork to regional publications tend to throw any label at them that will stick, from "coldwave" to "afro-indie." The taxonomy behind music is something journalists and writers spend countless hours hammering away at, but when a band like southern California's Chicano Batman arises, Rialto-raised guitarist Carlos Arevalo has inadvertently discovered the best way to describe his group's relentlessly eclectic sound: a Venn diagram.

"If there was a Venn diagram with Latin and psychedelic soul, that middle ground is where we'd exist," he says.

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Duane Peters Pleads 'Not Guilty' to Domestic Violence Charges [Update]

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John Gilhooely/OC Weekly
Duane Peters (left)

See update number one with details on the felony charges at the bottom of this post. Update two has arraignment details. Update three has information on Peters' not guilty plea.

ORIGINAL POST, Jan. 8, 6:00 P.M.: Iconic punk musician and professional skateboarder Duane Peters was arrested by the Long Beach Police Department on felony charges just before midnight Friday. According to records provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LACSD), 52-year-old Peters is currently being held on $50,000 bail on undisclosed felony charges at the Long Beach Police Department.

The LACSD records report Peters was arrested at 11:59 P.M. Friday and booked at the Long Beach Police Station at 6:20 A.M. Visitation to Peters is not currently allowed.

See also: Duane's Addictions: Skateboarding, Punk Rock, Tattoos, Sobriety

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Duane Peters Gets Released, Lost and Found

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John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Duane Peters in better days
Pleas for information on the whereabouts of Duane Peters circulated around social media on Valentine's Day after the punk and skateboarding icon was released on $50,000 bail early Thursday morning.

Peters was incarcerated at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles after being arrested on felony domestic violence charges at the home he and his girlfriend reportedly shared in Long Beach around midnight Feb. 8.

His ex, Corey Parks, took to social media Friday night imploring the public for information on her former lover and father of her son's location. A screenshot of her Instagram post follows:

See also: Duane Peters Could Face Up To Four Years In Prison For Assault Charges [Update]

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Kid Congo Powers on the Communal Power of the Punk Scene

Categories: Punk as Fuck

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Courtesy of Kid Congo Powers
Kid Congo Powers is becoming a little sentimental lately. Even though he spent time playing with seminal punk groups the Gun Club, the Cramps, the Fall, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, he can't get over how cool it is when people come up to him after one of his live sets to tell him how important his music has been to them. Younger generations of listeners still have an appreciation for early punk, a fact that warms his heart.

For as much as Powers' legend has been cemented in punk's history books, he's not out to promote a nostalgia trip; instead, he's interested in sharing new music. His current group, the Pink Monkey Birds, is still somewhat informed by the spirit of the early punk scene in which Powers came of age. As a front man, Powers channels similar musical elements as some of his earlier rock incarnations, such as blues, surf, punk, even some fuzz guitar for a spooky, garage sound illuminated by his haunting vocals. Beyond that, there's a deep connection with the listener that Powers strives for in his music. "I like taking old music and mixing it up to create a new language," he says. "But I want people to enjoy themselves. In the end, we're a rock & roll band, and we have fun."


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

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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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Bad Religion's Greg Graffin Challenges Authority Through Science

Categories: Punk as Fuck

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By Jason Roche

For over 30 years, Bad Religion have carved out a niche as the thinking man's punk rock band. When they formed in Los Angeles in 1980, the inspiration for their lyrics came from the topic of corporate greed and the conflicts between philosophy, science, and religion. The band's 16th full-length album True North, released this past January, continues the band's lifelong exploration of these topics.

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The Top Five Black Flag Guitar Recordings

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A recently reunited Black Flag plays tonight and tomorrow at the Observatory, which got me thinking: What songs do I want to hear live? The easy answer is "all of them," but let's face it, I don't want to hear any band do every song they know. Then I started thinking, "Ok, what are my favorite Black Flag songs I sure as hell hope they play?"

This isn't an easy answer seeing as how the group had four singers, one rhythm guitar player, three bassists and six drummers between its initial run from 1976 through 1986. As you might have guessed, each lineup transformed the group into something it wasn't before. Whereas the original lineup with guitarist Greg Ginn, singer Keith Morris, bassist Chuck Dukowski and drummer Bryan Migdol drew heavily from the Ramones, by the time Ginn, singer Henry Rollins, bassist C'el Revuelta and drummer Anthony Martinez toured in 1986, Black Flag was a heavy blues band that borrowed as much from Black Sabbath and Ornette Coleman than they did the Ramones.

Add the fact that Ginn -- the sole constant -- has reformed his group with second singer Ron Reyes (featured on the Jealous Again EP and the documentary The Decline of Western Civilization) and a new rhythm section (bassist Dave Klein and drummer Gregory Moore aka "Drummer") and you've got a headache as pounding as the second side to the band's 1984 record My War.


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Why I'll Never Stop Playing Punk Rock

Categories: Punk as Fuck

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Nofx's Fat Mike hits the links.
By: Jimmy Eberle
Punk rock is a money toilet. The record/mp3 collecting involved is the most addictive drug that I've ever encountered, and most of my alcoholic/drug addict/straight edge friends would probably agree. But are we all just living in a dumber cliché than the one we're supposedly and lazily rebelling against?

See Also:
*10 Punk Rock Albums to Listen to Before You Die

*The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time


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TSOL's Jack Grisham Releases New Novel, 'Untamed,' Throws a Party to Celebrate

Categories: Punk as Fuck

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John Gilhooley
Jack Grisham with TSOL at his last book release party for 'An American Demon' in Long Beach

The second novel by TSOL frontman Jack Grisham is ready for your perusal: Titled Untamed, the book consists of 10 messed-up-yet-entertaining (would you expect anything less from Grisham?) short stories complete with illustrations by psychedelic artist Scott Aicher.

Sex, suicide, murder, and sex with stuffed bunny rabbits--it's all in Untamed, which Grisham says is still based on his own life experiences.

"[The stories] are kinda based on whatever--betrayal, you know. Honesty and truth and the nature of human beings," Grisham says. "And what we can be."

To celebrate, Grisham's throwing a book release show--while his last novel came with a boat party, this time, Grisham is hosting an all-ages matinee with TSOL, the Detours, Unit F and the 405 Pile-Up on June 9 at the Observatory.


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