Written By: Marlinda Gallardo
Edited By: Adina Vega and Michelle Sosa
UCLA Special Collections Punk Archive
Lead singer of the hardcore punk band Refuse once sang (or rather screamed):
“How can we expect anyone to listen if we use the same old voice? We need a new noise. New art for real people.”
This cry was not dismissed. Proof of this was a gigantic wave of punk music and culture taking over Los Angeles and Hollywood, CA, in the late 1970s. Evidence of this takeover can be found in the UCLA Library Special Collections Punk Archive.
The people running the Punk Archive are a group of punks interested in collecting and preserving the music and culture of the Los Angeles County punk scene. The working group began in 2014 and comprises catalogers, archivists, audiovisual archivists, library staff, students, faculty, and other community members. They collect the primary source materials of punk musicians, promoters, producers, managers, photographers, roadies, groupies, reviewers, artists, and any voices involved to highlight LA punk’s diverse music and culture. By archiving and preserving personal and business papers, photographs, sound recordings, oral histories, ‘zines, publications, ephemera, flyers, buttons, and other items, the Punk Archive’s mission is to inspire punk discovery and advance punk research.
Since the Punk Archive is a special collection, its artifacts are not digitally displayed on the UCLA Library website nor in circulation. However, two videos from the collection have been digitized for a presentation and can be viewed here. To view any items, mozzie down to the Charles E. Young Research Library at the UCLA campus. Before you go, set up a UCLA Library Special Collection (LSC) User Account, which is free and open to the public. Once in your portal, you request the item(s) you want to view, and they bring them to you. As a special treat, you can visit the Music Library and listen to some of LA’s most prominent and baddest punk band recordings. While there, if you have the urge to pull out your air guitar, dye your hair neon green, and raid your mom’s safety pin collection, then you know you are in the right place because punk rock isn’t a style of music; it’s a lifestyle.