- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Feral House (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1936239124
- ISBN-13: 978-1936239122
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
The proximity of the East L.A. barrio to Hollywood is as close as a short drive on the 101 freeway, but the cultural divide is enormous. Born to Mexican-born and American-naturalized parents, Alicia Armendariz migrated a few miles west to participate in the free-range birth of the 1970s punk movement. Alicia adopted the punk name Alice Bag, and became lead singer for The Bags, early punk visionaries who starred in Penelope Spheeris' documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.
Here is a life of many crossed boundaries, from East L.A.'s musica ranchera to Hollywood's punk rock; from a violent male-dominated family to female-dominated transgressive rock bands. Alice's feminist sympathies can be understood by the name of her satiric all-girl early Goth band Castration Squad.
Violence Girl takes us from a violent upbringing to an aggressive punk sensibility; this time a difficult coming-of-age memoir culminates with a satisfying conclusion, complete with a happy marriage and children. Nearly a hundred excellent photographs energize the text in remarkable ways.
Alice Bag's work and influence can be seen this year in the traveling Smithsonian exhibition "American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music."
"It's rare that someone at the real beginning of something so monumentally influential is around long enough to put it down in writing. I recommend Violence Girl." - Henry Rollins, LA Weekly
"A riveting autobiographical reflection from the former lead singer of The Bags, equal parts Chicana Lit and punk rock." - OC Weekly
"An autobiography unlike any other. Powerfully yet simply written. Brutally honest and often tragic. A story of hope and redemption against all odds, with a revolving cast that is sometimes mind-boggling. Deeply personal." - Australian Hysteria Magazine, Feb 2012
"Fierce and funny, feminist and political, and punk as f___, Violence Girl is a true survivor's tale. An introduction to an irrepressible spirit you'll be glad you met." - Bitch
"Absolutely inspiring..in Violence Girl, we find a thoroughly moving story of personal triumph." - The Stranger
"Violence Girl is not some sentimental look back at how great it all was. Alice [Bag], without exaggeration, allows the reader to understand how exciting and in-the-moment things could be—but also how quickly and easily things can go bad and come to an end.With The Bags in the middle of it, it was a time of incredible innovation, explosive creativity and recordings that stand the test of time."—Henry Rollins for LA Weekly
"The book’s slices of punk life from thirty-five years ago also document a flashpoint for a city rich with talent and anger, erupting into something completely oppositional to the feel-good, pastoral, and often saccharine Laurel Canyon melodies and glistening surf music of the preceding decade." - City Watch LA
"Now 52 years old and a lot less angry, Alice is an author. Last year she published her first book Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, A Chicana Punk Story (Feral House) which spawned from a blog she started for fun. Violence Girl details stories of the 70s punk scene, her complicated relationship with her parents, her father’s rage, her nationality, drugs, growing up poor in East LA and rising into a punk icon." -Vice
"After decades of dudes telling their stories of punk's formative years in memoir, we finally get one of L.A. punk's most crucial figures—Alice Bag, frontwoman of The Bags—telling her tale. Unsentimental and tough, she gets out from under her patriarchal family and finds her place among a crew of motley, misfit kids as they accidentally invented the American West Coast punk in bands like X, Black Flag, Germs and her own band, The Bags." --Jessica Hopper, Rookie
About the Author
Alice Bag was there at the origins of L.A. punk, at the famed Masque and Whisky-a-Go-Go, hanging out with Darby Crash and the Go-Gos. But she started as Alicia Velasquez, and English was her second language. She knew Mariachis better than rock music. A certain violence was passed on to her from her Mexican-American father. Alice's feminist qualities were seen in the notorious Castration Squad band she formed in the late '70s.
Alice and her Bags band was featured in the notorious documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization. She is currently married, has children, and lives in Phoenix, Arizona.