Review By: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

If you’re a punk rock enthusiast, then “Disco’s Out, Murder’s In!” is the book for you! This captivating read takes you on a wild ride through the underground world of Punk gangs in Los Angeles, Orange County, and South Bay, and explains about the bands – whose music played such an important part of this savage landscape. The British Punk Rock scene suddenly looks very tame and innocent in comparison.

Not only does this book delve into the revolutionary aspects of Punk Rock, such as its musical, political, sexual identity, and even (ironically) its consumerist ideas, but it also sheds light on the lesser-known gangster ethos that existed within that same scene. Much like Ron Young’s ‘Judge This Book By It’s Cover’, takes an extraordinarily candid and unflinching look at the author’s life.

I’d originally believed that the book title came from the song by Suicidal Tendencies, from their legendary ‘Lights! Camera! Revolution!’ album. It seemed very fitting, as particularly in their earliest days, the band was allegedly followed and idolised by some of the most violent and dangerous Los Angeles gangs, and violence was often a feature of their concerts. As it happens, the term actually precedes ST themselves by quite a few years. See? I learned a thing today.

Through the personal accounts of former gang members, we learn about the blue-collar kids who turned to Punk Rock as an outlet for their aggression, and how this led to the formation of punk gangs – that engaged in beatings, drug dealing, and even murder. It is equal parts enthralling yet conversely horrifying, as the sheer scale of the lawlessness explored is breath-taking. The coldness of the description of bloody violence is shocking too.

One gang, in particular, stands out as the most notorious – La Mirada Punks or LMP, and their chieftain Frank the Shank, who candidly admits his culpability in various bloodshed incidents, including murder. But what sets this book apart is the unexpected turn of events, where Frank is bailed out of prison by a genuine Mafia(?) mob gangster, leading him to reflect on the consequences of the cities Punk gang violence, and how it came close to totally ruining the genre.

This book is not just an exploration of Punk gangs, but also a poignant reminder of the far-reaching impact of violence and the choices we make. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the gritty and unvarnished truth behind the Los Angeles Punk scene. ‘Disco’s Out…Murder’s In’ by Heath Mattiolli and David Spacone – is a gripping and candid memoir that takes us on a journey through the violent and dangerous world of gangs in Los Angeles. From the very first page, Frank’s story grabs hold, and doesn’t let go.

What sets ‘Disco’s Out…Murder’s In’ apart from other gang memoirs is the fascinating mix of cultures that make up the LMP gang. Italian-American kids, Mexican cholo gangsters, and punk rock fans all come together in a way that is both intriguing and unexpected. Frank’s honest portrayal of the gang’s inner workings, along with his own experiences as underboss, provides a unique and riveting insight into this world.

Despite the brutality and aggression that comes with gang life, Frank makes it clear that LMP is not a racist organization. This is just one example of the nuanced and thought-provoking reflections that Frank offers throughout the book. He doesn’t shy away from the violence and destruction he caused, but also voices regret for the gang’s violent acts of gay bashing. Through his growing maturity, and eventual disillusionment with gang life, Frank offers a powerful message about the destructive nature of violence and the importance of finding a way out.

But ‘Disco’s Out…Murder’s In’ isn’t just a harrowing tale of gang life. It is also an insightful look into the local Punk music scene, with Frank providing candid opinions on famous and obscure bands, as well as posers and rival gangs. Few of us could ever begin to imagine the lifestyles described here – if you didn’t already exist – you would have to make it up as a very frightening film. Why do I suddenly here the voice of ‘Cyrus’ from the legendary film ‘The Warriors’?:

Can you count, suckers? I say, the future is ours… if you can count! You’re standing right now with nine delegates from 100 gangs. And there’s over a hundred more. That’s 20,000 hardcore members. Forty-thousand, counting affiliates, and twenty-thousand more, not organized, but ready to fight: 60,000 soldiers! Now, there ain’t but 20,000 police in the whole town. Can you dig it?’

In summary, ‘Disco’s Out…Murder’s In’ is an enthralling and thought-provoking tome, that offers a unique perspective on gangs and the vast Punk Rock movement in L.A. Frank’s story is both captivating and inspiring, reminding us of the power of redemption and the importance of finding our own path in life. A must-read for those seeking a different kind of truth.