Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene (Hardcover)

Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene By Scott Crawford Cover Image

Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene (Hardcover)

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An oral and photographic history of the Washington, DC punk rock scene, including Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Fugazi, and more.


“The pictures, which include some posed portraits but are mostly concert shots, are the chief attraction. They freeze moments of adolescent release, vein-bulging intensity and sweaty communion that fuses performer and audience . . . Vivid and evocative.” —Washington Post


“A forthright testament to a kaleidoscopic community. This is a rounded collection, with surprises on every page . . . It’s a collection that rocks.” —Shelf Awareness for Readers


The Washington, DC punk music scene of the 1980s gave birth to influential bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Fugazi. Here that era is portrayed in its purest form: an oral history by the creators themselves, including nearly two hundred photographs capturing the power and spirit of this politically progressive corner of American underground music. This stunning and intimate collection features rare images from Jim Saah, Cynthia Connolly, Bert Queiroz, and many others who documented this vibrant community. Compiled by Scott Crawford—whose critically acclaimed film Salad Days provided an unprecedented exploration into the 1980s DC punk scene—Spoke delves deeper into one of the most dynamic movements in US music history.


Featuring: BAD BRAINS, THE TEEN IDLES, BLACK MARKET BABY, SOA, MINOR THREAT, GOVERNMENT ISSUE, VOID, IRON CROSS, THE FAITH, SCREAM, MARGINAL MAN, GRAY MATTER, BEEFEATER, KING FACE, RITES OF SPRING, DAG NASTY, EMBRACE, SOULSIDE, FIRE PARTY, SHUDDER TO THINK, IGNITION, FUGAZI, SWIZ, THE NATION OF ULYSSES, and JAWBOX.



Scott Crawford is a filmmaker, music journalist, and graphic designer. As a teenager, he founded Metrozine, a fanzine dedicated to the DC hardcore punk scene. In 2001, he launched Harp magazine and served as its editor-in-chief for over seven years. His documentary debut, Salad Days, played around the world and received critical accolades from the New York Times to Rolling Stone. He lives in Washington, DC.
Product Details ISBN: 9781617755002
ISBN-10: 1617755001
Publisher: Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Pages: 128
Language: English
Scott Crawford, the man behind the acclaimed documentary Salad Days, has given us another taste of the best-kept secret of 80s in his new book Spoke: Washington DC’s hardcore punk scene.

— Dazed, from a Q&A with editor Scott Crawford

Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Void, Swiz, Government Issue… Where would hardcore be without the ’80s DC scene? Spoke: Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington, DC Punk Scene features rare images from the photographers that documented the movement. Curated by Scott Crawford—the guy behind the superb Salad Days documentary—Spoke covers all of the usual suspects but also includes lesser-known yet important DC bands like Beefeater and Marginal Man. Its coffee table size is also a bonus, making any living room 100% cooler with it in it.

— No Echo, Included in the Holiday Gift Guide 2017

As a visual record, the coffee-table book succeeds commendably with page after page of gorgeous, oversized, black-and-white images of the prime movers in D.C. punk circa the Me Decade. So you get the expected – Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Fugazi – but also a hefty dose of the underdogs – Fire Party, Beefeater, Nation of Ulysses. The photos tell the story better than accompanying texts – all kinetic action, the pages are almost humid with sweat and spit.
— Orlando Weekly

Spoke . . . adroitly uses both photographs and oral histories to capture the importance of what can best be described as a cultural revolution within the nation’s capital.

— Shepherd Express

This volume serves as a visual and narrative companion to Salad Days, a 2014 documentary, also by Crawford, that explores the 1980s Washington, DC, hardcore punk scene. Like the film, the book sheds light on the ways in which the music coming out of the nation’s capital, by bands such as Bad Brains and Fugazi, served as a mode of political and economic critique.

— Publishers Weekly