We Got Power began life as a fanzine started by Dave Markey and Jordan Schwartz in the early '80s as the hardcore punk scene was taking off in Southern California. The book features essays by many of the pioneers from that time who we now recognize as members of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Red Kross, and many other bands. Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, and Dez Cadena are just some of the many contributors who provide personal narratives to accompany the photographs of that era. The book contains first-generation L.A. hardcore images, many of which you can see in person starting this Friday at Modified Arts.
We talked to both founders about what it was like to be at the shows that they documented using the 35mm camera they were given for Christmas, and how their passion for the music scene led them to pen the first issue.
Up on the Sun: The photographs in the book are so emotive and capture the energy of that era--whether its an audience in thrall to a band, a singer connecting with the crowd, or teenagers on couches at parties. What was it like when you were first looking back at these original photographs from the '80s that ended up in the book?
Dave Markey: The minute we put the negatives in after scanning them, we were just completely blown away by what we were seeing. I mean, it was our lives at the time.