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Tony G. Rocco is a California-based freelance technical writer and author of biographical non-fiction, first-person journalism and essays. His work can be found on the BrooWaha.com community newspaper under his own name and his pen name, cityfeller. No Regrets: Memoirs of a Punk, his first eBook, grew out of a piece he wrote for BrooWaha. It recounts his early days on the San Francisco punk scene, and tells the tale of a young Catholic boy who escapes his conservative Texas upbringing to live the life of a free-spirited punk rocker in the San Francisco of the 1970's.
on May 25, 2013 :
Just to be clear - READ IT! It has power and will transport you.
I had been waiting for its release and was intrigued to at least read the Preface right off. Zapped like a cricket on a chameleon's tongue I was, it was about sixteen pages before I could pull away. Had to return at first chance to read it straight through.
I think maybe it should have been called, 'No Regrets, Memoirs of a Punk - The Transformation of Tony G Rocco'.
He nests you in the American zeitgeist, invites you in the front door of his childhood home and gives a ringside, high-def version of his formative experiences. Brutal honesty trumps all and his path leading to the San Francisco punk scene is what sticks most in my mind.
Once there (SF), it is a memory bending venture for those of us whose personal journeys landed us in the same life changing epicenter. For me at least, it's subjectivity adds perspective to my own same-time-same-place different-but-equally-compelling experience. His words are worth a thousand photographs - but I did kinda wish there were one or two pre SF pics.
I've wondered on occasion what became of some of the people who disappeared into the two dimensional world of my box of photos. His memoir makes me realize how firmly planted in the present I was during that time. A state of being posted in endless memes now on fb. I guess staying present often comes more easily with youth.
The memoir makes me realize how little I actually knew about the people I spent time with.. the music was too good and too loud and I was too busy having fun. Young as we were, it is now clear that one of the things that brought us all together to enjoy or create that scene was some discord in our short past lives or some drive to escape Dodge.
I made a cathartic departure from San Francisco and its fabulous punk scene in 1984. In retrospect my life has telescoped in a series of adventures and I was on to the next one. But the seven years I spent there was so indelible, so vibrantly alive, I actually had withdrawals - and like Tony, no regrets... well maybe a few.
How funny it is to get to know someone so suddenly, in the space of a few hours of reading and what a gift that is. Tony is a brave soul to lay himself out. It's a work of art. I loved it.
In making some sense of our past and relating it to who we are now, liberating the mind seems a fine goal - but beware invisible walls. Why imagine the best is behind? It was indeed a unique time but the author certainly retains the creative energy he had back then and adventures are no doubt still to be had.
..... to those who shared this unrepeatable era, you have a great infusion here and, like it or not, once you've read it, a new old friend.
If you didn't live in SF at that time here is a window to look through. An insight into the punk scene that will make you wish you had at least had a brush with all that energy.
The only mystery is the 'G'.
(review of free book)