Kiss This

Gina Arnold, Author
Gina Arnold, Author St. Martin's Griffin $11.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-15521-6
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In Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana, Arnold followed the history of punk from Sex Pistols to Nirvana, and here she comes full circle with the story of punk from Nirvana to the 1996 revival of the Sex Pistols. Punk rock is important to Arnold, and she writes most effectively when she reminisces about her favorite performances by punk bands; her informal, personal style is conducive to painting a convincing self-portrait. However, when applied to larger topics about the cultural relevance of punk, for instance, Arnold's careless prose grows tedious. Furthermore, her book contains embarrassing factual errors. Arnold attributes the saying ""writing about music is like dancing about architecture"" to Nick Lowe (it was Elvis Costello). She also attributes a famous song (Eye of the Tiger) to both the wrong singer (it was Survivor, not Frank Stallone) and the wrong soundtrack (it was neither Rocky II nor Rambo, but Rocky III). One would be inclined to forgive such mistakes if they were made in a charitable spirit, as if Arnold were too caught up in her passion for punk rock to attend to trifling details, but her tone is generally self-righteous and snobby. If not for Arnold's access to such famous rockers as Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion, her book would be overwhelmed by her incoherent, self-contradictory arguments for and against contemporary punk. (Oct.)
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