Eric Davidson on We Never Learn

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Musician and music journalist Eric Davidson, the singer of the Columbus punk band New Bomb Turks, visits from Brooklyn to celebrate the publication of his new book, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988–2001, with Columbus music fans and friends.

Davidson, who has written for the Village Voice, CMJ, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, was there as the last great wave of punk rock crested and broke. Hear how he tracked the inspiration and beautiful destruction of this largely undocumented musical movement in We Never Learn, the first and only book on punk of this period. He’ll tell stories, read excepts, and show rare videos of the bands discussed in the book.

The Black Lips, the late Jay Reatard, the Dirtbombs, the White Stripes, the Reigning Sound, and the Hives (to name but a few) all sprang from an underground music scene filled with similarly raw bands, enjoying various degrees of success and hard luck. They played in venues ranging from dive bars to massive festivals but were mostly ignored by a music industry focused on mega-bands and shiny pop stars. They reveled in 1950s’ rock ‘n’ roll and 1960s’ garage rock as much as they did Iggy Pop, the Ramones, and Black Flag, while creating their own wave of gut-busting riffs and rhythm.

The majority of bands that populate this book—the Dwarves, the Gories, the Supersuckers, the Mummies, the Oblivians, Billy Childish, Rocket from the Crypt, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cheater Slicks, Teengenerate, Donnas, and New Bomb Turks among them—gained little long-term reward from their nonstop touring and brain-slapping records. What they did get was an arguably crazy good time, all the while building a dedicated fan base around the world.

Davidson has had his share of sleazy good times and success with the New Bomb Turks (est. 1990), who have played hundreds of gigs in dozens of countries on four continents and released scores of records on countless labels.

Cosponsored by the Wexner Center Store and GenWex.


Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Ohio Arts Council



Eric Davidson on We Never Learn