Selected Bibliography 
In this technology age it seems like reading books has somehow become uncool but we still like it.  The criteria for inclusion on this list:  Books must be written by or about musicians who played at the Electric Banana or must mention the Electric Banana.  Some meet more than one criterion.  We didn't read all of these books, so some of the descriptions are paraphrased from other sources.  They're listed in the classic bibliography style we all learned in fourth grade.  For those of you who were absent that day, it goes like this:  author (last name first), title, date and place of publication, and publishing company.   

Azerrad, Michael, Our Band Could be Your Life:  Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, 2001, USA, Little, Brown and Company.  Big, workmanlike chronicle of the careers of 13 bands, among them Black Flag, Husker Du, the Minutemen, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth.

Mike Watt.  See below for photo credit.
Blush, Stephen and Petros, George (ed.), American Hardcore:  A Tribal History, USA, 2010, Feral House.  An oral history of American hardcore that includes a page on the Pittsburgh scene that pays homage to the Five, Real Enemy, and Half Life.   

Chabon, Michael, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, 1988, USA, William Morrow & Co.  The author's career as lead singer of the Bats was short-lived but fortunately commemorated on vinyl by Mind Cure Records.  One of many novels he's written, this one is set in 1980s Pittsburgh and was adapted to the big screen.

Chick, Steve, Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag, 2011, USA, PM Press. Based on interviews with band members and their contemporaries, it's said to be the definitive work on Black Flag.

Collins, Paul with Nolan, Chuck, I Don't Fit In: My Wild Ride Through the Punk & Power Pop Trenches with The NERVES & The BEAT, 2020, USA, Hozac Books. Funny and honest memoir and coming-of-age story, loaded with classic photos and ephemera. We cheated here because this book doesn't meet our criteria for inclusion, but Collins did release a couple of albums on Get Hip and told me in an email that he and Johnny Banana had some mutual friends. Close enough!

Earles, Andrew, Husker Du:  The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock, 2010, USA, Voyager Press.  The story of a great and influential band, although reasonable people may debate whether they in fact "launched modern rock."  The second book on this list that mentions Half Life and Mike LaVella.   

Ferris, D.X., Slayer's Reign in Blood (33 1/3), 2008, USA, Bloomsbury Publishing USA.  Meticulously-researched story of the making of the album.   

Fine, Jon, Your Band Sucks:  What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear), 2015, USA, Penguin Group (USA) LLC.  One-time guitarist for Bitch Magnet and Don Caballero tells of life as part of a preinternet underground music scene that reaped many rewards, few of which were financial, and also caused some hearing loss. 

Gordon, Kim, Girl in a Band:  A Memoir, 2015, USA, Day Street Books.  Autobiography from a founding member of Sonic Youth and a New York Times Best Seller.  

Hell, Richard, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp:  An Autobiography, 2013, USA, Ecco.  17-year-old comes to New York with designs on becoming a poet, jump starts the CBGB's punk movement in Television and the Voidoids, and writes the anthemic "Blank Generation."  

Jakelia, Lori, Miss New York Has Everything, 2006, USA, 5 Spot.  Young woman leaves Pittsburgh in search of a more exciting life in New York.  

McDevitt, Cody, Pittsburgh Drinks:  A History of Cocktails, Nightlife, and Bartending Tradition, 2017, USA, The History Press.  A section on Oakland music nightclubs is included.

Miret, Roger and Weiderhorn, Jon, My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grits, Guts & Glory, 2017, USA, Lesser Gods. Family flees Cuba for New York, lives in poverty, son deals drugs, does time in prison, and joins an influential hardcore band.  Not to be confused with Roger Moret, the 1970s Red Sox/Rangers pitcher whose career ended when he was found in the locker room, immobile and unresponsive, holding a slipper.

Kim Gordon.  See below for photo credit.
Moore, Thurston
, The Art of Cassette Culture, 2005, USA, Universe. Sonic Youth member explores the art of the mix tape. Kids, ask your parents.  

Morris, Keith and Ruland, Jim, My Damage:  The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor, 2016, USA, De Capo Press.  Entertaining and often funny memoir by the original singer of Black Flag and current singer of OFF! who performed at the Electric Banana with the Circle Jerks.  Yes, he relates his version of "the incident."   

Mould, Bob and Azerrad, Michael, See a Little Light:  The Trail of Rage and Melody, 2011, USA, Little, Brown and Company.  A revealing autobiography of Husker Du's singer/guitarist.  We're told some of it is at odds with the Andrew Earles book, above.  Fans of the band will want to read both and make up their own minds.   

Rollins, Henry, Get in the Van:  On the Road With Black Flag, 1994, USA, 2 13 61.  Henry's detailed, no-holds-barred tour diary covering his six years with Black Flag.   

Secich, Frank, Circumstantial Evidence, 2015, Australia, High Voltage Publishing.  Easily readable collection of amusing short tales, most only a page or two long, about the author's exploits with Stiv Bators, the Dead Boys, the Infidels, Blue Ash, the Deadbeat Poets, and Club Wow.  Jim's Records is mentioned.  

Watt, Mike, Spiels of a Minuteman, 2003, Canada, L'Oei De Cravan.  All of the lyrics Mike wrote for the Minutemen and a diary from their Eurpoean tour with Black Flag.  Joe Carducci, Thurston Moore, and Richard Meltzer contributed essays.  Art by Raymond Pettibon.   

Watt, Mike, On and Off Bass, 2012, USA, Three Rooms Press.  Photographic memoir by the legendary bassist who appeared at the Electric Banana with the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, and the Black Gang.

List last updated 8/16/20.

Keith Morris, second from right with microphone, performing with OFF! at the Casbah in San Diego on 5/14/12.  See below for photo credit information.

Photo Credits
Photo of OFF!:  By IllaZilla - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Photo of Mike Watt performing in 2010 with Iggy and the Stooges:  Mikejamesshaw / CC BY-SA (

Photo of Kim Gordon performing with Sonic Youth on 7/10/09 at the Bijou in Knoxville, TN: 
kcarpenter_ / CC BY (

We're not totally sure what all this stuff means, only that we're supposed to post it if we post the photos.  So should you if you use these photos for any purpose.

Links last checked 8/20/21