In the early seventies, Detroit was the musical hub of America. Everything from the chart topping sounds of Motown Records to the vicious proto-punk of The Stooges was being brewed out there and it seemed like there was no end in sight. But by the early eighties, the city was both a physical and cultural wasteland due to major label buyouts of the artists as well as the crippling drug habits of some of the others. Detroit’s most known musical export at the time was the vapid sounds of New Wave heartthrobs The Romantics; this wasn’t good. It took a gaggle of suburban skateboarders, a grade school teacher and a census bureau clerk to wake this city up from its slumber and start one of the first hardcore punk scenes in America. Why Be Something That You’re Not chronicles the first wave of Detroit hardcore from its origins in the late seventies to its demise in the mid-eighties. Through a combination of oral history and extensive imagery, the book proves that even though the Southern California beach towns might have created the look and style of hardcore punk, it was the Detroit scene - along with a handful of other cities across the country - that cultivated the music’s grassroots aesthetic before most cultural hot spots around the globe even knew what the music was about. The book includes interviews with members of The Fix, Violent Apathy, Negative Aproach, Necros, Pagans, Bored Youth, and L-Seven along with other people who had a hand in the early hardcore scene like Ian MacKaye (MINOR THREAT), Tesco Vee and Dave Stimson (Touch & Go Fanzine).
"The Michigan hardcore scene was a crazy mixture of DC-style teen-thug-purists and debauched elders with a taste for the newest in high energy freedom. Tony Rettman has done a great service to Western Culture by interviewing the prime knuckleheads involved in this scene and reporting what he finds." — Byron Coley Co-Author of No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980.
"A previously under documented small and insular scene’s story is now legend for good reason; the music. The Necros, The Meatmen, Negative Aproach... WBSTYN unfurls in insightful and often hilarious dialog from its participants. Consider this the mid-west Please Kill Me." — Dave Markey Director of "1991 - The Year Punk Broke" & music videos by Sonic Youth, Black Flag, etc.