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Mutations cover art

Mutations

Written by: Sam McPheeters,Tobi Vail - introduction
Narrated by: Sam McPheeters
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Publisher's Summary

How can so many people pledge allegiance to punk, something with no fixed identity? Depending on who and where you are, punk can be an outlet, excuse, lifestyle, escapism, conversation, community, ideology, sales category, social movement, punishable offense, badge of authenticity, reason to drink beer forever, or an aesthetic of belligerent incompetence. And if someone has a strong belief about what punk is, odds are they have even stronger feelings about what punk is not. 

Sam McPheeters championed many different versions. Over the course of two decades, he fronted Born Against, released dozens of records and fanzines, and toured 17 times across the northern hemisphere. In this collection of essays, profiles, criticism, and personal history, he examines the diverse realms he intersected - New York hardcore, Riot Grrrl, Gilman street, the hidden enclaves of Olympia, New England, and downtown Los Angeles - and the forces of mental illness and creative inspiration that drove him, and others, in the first place.

©2020 Sam McPheeter (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Mutations

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim family
  • 18-05-20

Good but incomplete version - no footnotes

Main issue is the there are no endnotes as a friend informs me exist, and are probably a loss given the main body digressions and asides are both funny and relevant to the overall thrust of the essays. Maybe no easy way to do that within audio format, but seems like a pretty big omission not to have in either PDF format for those who have the audio version.

Apart from that, story itself is good hence the rating. 70% new-ish content, hybrid memoir/observations about the weirdo / wackadoo punk scene in a series of 10-20 minute essays, with Sam is able to warily comment with just a bit of detachment yet still engage with those who are more sincere / less embarassed by their output. Sam is also generally hilarious and a good writer and the underlying theme is pretty consistent so the book doesn't feel too random. Nothing drags, he's pretty pithy, and even if there are some things that aren't of interest to you (I don't care much for, say, Discharge) the essays are short enough enough that it all moves along well.

As for the reading, Sam's enunciation is sometimes a bit overdone, but it's nice to hear in his voice.

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  • Fred Cederstrom
  • 01-05-22

Can't complain at all

I am super biased, so take this with a grain of salt.
Crucial Listening

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-07-21

Boring

By far the most boring meaningless book I ever listened to. Definitely can not say enough on how bad that was

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  • Upsidedan
  • 07-07-20

I loved this sofa king much! Sam Mcpheeters!

Its a dream to hear about the love of hardcore punk from a hero while I was living the same moments as he was. His cynical viewpoint and sarcastic artistry put into words and explanations of how and why our love of music gives us hope and strength and then disappoints and depresses. Interesting and powerful....

I wish there was more book.

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  • P. J. Burn
  • 02-06-20

The time has come to let it go. .. but how?

Mutations should be a mandatory companion piece to American Hardcore. Where that book points firmly to the 'golden age', Mutations has more depth, insight and clarity as to what being a participant and observer in this sub culture actually means. A thought provoking and brutally honest assessment of an often glorified movement. 'The Debate' chapter is the highlight here, a first hand look at his experience in Born Against and repercussions shown in it's effects on the author's mental health. Hearing Sam McPheeters narrate this makes it feel much more real and has a pain still real decades later. A fantastic and compelling listen, this gets an automatic 10/10 for having a chapter on Die Kreuzen!

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  • W. M
  • 11-04-20

Deep dive

The wonders of outsiders in music and arts. Excellence and sadness. The great experience of no hope.