PRAISE FOR THE HIGH DESERT
There’s something so recognizable in The High Desert…I suspect in a way we were all there at one time in our lives, navigating and negotiating as we figured out just who the fuck we were and who
was with us. I loved this book.
- IAN MacKAYE - Minor Threat / Fugazi
BLACK. PUNK. NOWHERE.
Scene: Apple Valley, California, in the eighties, a thirsty, miserable desert.
Teenage James Spooner hates that he and his mom are back in town after years away. The one silver lining—new school, new you, right? But the few Black kids at school seem to be gang-banging, and the other kids fall on a spectrum of micro-aggressors to future Neo-Nazis. Mixed race, acutely aware of his Blackness, James doesn't know where he fits until he meets Ty, a young Black punk who introduces him to the school outsiders—skaters, unhappy young rebels, caught up in the punk groundswell sweeping the country.
A haircut, a few Sex Pistols, Misfits and Black Flag records later: suddenly, James has friends, romantic prospects, and knows the difference between a bass and a guitar. But this desolate landscape hides brutal, building undercurrents: a classmate overdoses, a friend must prove himself to his white supremacist brother and the local Aryan brotherhood through a show of violence. Everything and everyone are set to collide at one of the year's biggest shows in town...
Weaving in the Black roots of punk rock and a vivid interlude in the thriving eighties DIY and punk scene in New York's East Village, this is the memoir of a budding punk, artist, and activist.