Steven Blush is an American author, journalist, record collector and film maker who is best known for his book American Hardcore and the movie of the same name. Blush has written five books, is the founder of Seconds magazine and has written articles for many magazines. Two of his books have been made into movies. Blush's work mainly specializes in hardcore punk music.
Blush grew up in a Jewish family in suburban New Jersey. He would travel into the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City with his father who owned a print shop there. In New York he would frequent music bars like CBGB and the Lismar Lounge and stores like Trash and Vaudeville. He witnessed the start of bands like the Ramones and Talking Heads and he found that he enjoyed small scale shows like that over larger shows like Led Zeppelin. He spent some time in England where he discovered UK punk bands like the Clash and Sham 69. He moved to Washington, D.C. to attend George Washington University, with a view to becoming a lawyer, but that changed when he saw his first Black Flag concert there, which led to his getting involved with hardcore, working with bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat, the Circle Jerks and the Dead Kennedys. he briefly managed the noise band No Trend.
Blush was a DJ for the college radio station and would play hardcore bands on the air. He booked his first show through the radio station, booking the Dead Kennedys to play in the college cafeteria. After graduation, he returned to New York where he would DJ in many clubs in the city.
Even though Blush had no experience as a journalist, he started writing articles for magazines such as Spin, Details and Kerrang!. His first assignment was an interview with local hardcore band, the Cro-mags. He was the senior editor at Paper and he started his own magazine called Seconds, where his interviews included Glenn Danzig of the Misfits. Forty-five of Blush's interviews, conducted over his 18 years with Seconds magazine, were compiled into a book called .45 Dangerous Minds: The Most Intense Interviews From Seconds Magazine (The Art of the Interview). He has also written for Vice, High Times, The Village Voice and Interview
After moving on from Seconds magazine, Blush decided to chronicle his hardcore musical journey in a book. He started writing the book, American Hardcore, in the mid-1990s when bands like Green Day and The Offspring were popular. He saw a documentary titled The History of Rock and Roll on PBS, which he described as going "straight from the Sex Pistols and Clash (I believe it mentions X) to Nirvana, as if this decade had never happened. It was like the untold story of rock." Blush said that hardcore was like a "dirty little secret that nobody really talked about when it came to music." The book is Blush's first hand account of the hardcore music scene from 1980-1986 and it exposed the punk rock underground lifestyle to a more mainstream audience, revealing it as an alternative to what many considered the life of a "rock star".
In 2006 a movie version of the book was produced, which included interviews with bands such as Black Flag, Minor Threat and Bad Brains. The Dead Kennedys and Misfits declined to participate. The file was an official selection of both the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.
American Hair Metal
Blush's second book, American Hair Metal, was written partially to buck conformity. Blush discovered hair metal through the band Cinderella. Even though he was a "punk dude", he appreciated their "majestic bluesy groove". Other bands covered in the book include Britny Fox, Danger Danger, Roxx Gang, Vinnie Vincent Invasion, and Nitro.
Spin said: "In the '80s, before decorum was invented, we liked our rockers flammably coiffed. Author Steven Blush's 'American Hair Metal' remembers that era with philosophical quips from Poison and Mötley Crüe."
Lost Rockers profiles the lives of certain artists and musicians who almost made it to the big time but did not. These folks knew all the right people, etc. but somehow they never crossed the line into stardom and are largely now forgotten.
In 2017 a movie was made of the book.
New York Rock
New York Rock chronicles the music of the city, starting with the rise of the Velvet Underground in 1966, to the closing of the CBGB bar in 2006, some 40 years later. Blush chose those milestones because he believed the Velvet Underground where the first rock and roll band to appeal to "adult sensibilities", and because he felt that the end of CBGB marked the end of an era.
In a review for The Big Takeover, critic James Mann said that Blush has "brought together a wealth of history charting the rise of rock and roll in the Big Apple". The Kirkus Review described the book as a "brisk overview of New York City's rock 'n' roll tradition, from doo-wop to hard core, mirroring the city’s transformations. Writing for AM New York, Hal Bienstock said: "Author, promoter and DJ Steven Blush has been covering the scene for decades, and his new book is a comprehensive look at the city's rock music, highlighting both the legends and the lesser-known acts." DJ Jason said "It’s actually pretty amazing that something so special and prosperous in NYC has been overlooked by journalists for so long."
- American Hardcore: A Tribal History – October 2001[Books 1]
- .45 Dangerous Minds – March 28, 2005[Books 2]
- American Hair Metal – October 1, 2006[Books 3]
- American Hardcore: A Tribal History (Second Edition) – October 2010[Books 4]
- Lost Rockers: Broken Dreams and Crashed Careers – March 8, 2016[Books 5]
- New York Rock: From the Rise of The Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB – October 4, 2016[Books 6]
- Has written for most others including:
References - Blush's books
- Blush, Steven; Petros, George (Oct 1, 2001). American Hardcore: A Tribal History. Feral House. ISBN 9780922915712. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Blush, Steven; Petros, George (Mar 28, 2005). .45 Dangerous Minds: The Most Intense Interviews From Seconds Magazine. Creation Books. ISBN 9781840681246. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (Oct 1, 2006). American Hair Metal. Feral House. ISBN 9781932595185. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Blush, Steven; Petros, George (Oct 19, 2010). American Hardcore (Second Edition): A Tribal History. Feral House. ISBN 9781932595895. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Blush, Steven; Rachman, Paul; Mann, Tony (Mar 1, 2016). Lost Rockers: Broken Dreams and Crashed Careers. powerHouse Books. ISBN 9781576877661. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (Oct 4, 2016). New York Rock: From the Rise of The Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-1250083616. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
References - Blush's articles
- Blush, Steven (1996). Soundgarden interview. Seconds. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (July 12, 2012). American Hardcode Author Steven Blush Weighs in on Harley Flanagan's Cro-Mags Attack. Paper. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (Apr 12, 2016). This Guy Wrote a Book About Fame and Oblivion So We Asked Him to List Five Artists History Forgot. Vice. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (Feb 1991). Still crazy after all these years - AC/DC. Spin. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (1988). The Young and the Rasta - Bad Brains. Details. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Blush, Steven (1994). Where's the Old Testament - Testament. Kerrang!. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Paz, Eilon (September 1, 2009). "Steven Blush - NY, NY". Dust and Grooves. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Richman, Alan (March 6, 2017). "Author Steven Blush connects rock 'n' roll with Jewish experience". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Friedman, Michael (Apr 20, 2016). "The Secret of Steven Blush's Success - A new definition of 'rock star'". Psychology Today. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Friedman, Ph.D., Michael (Oct 4, 2016). "Steven Blush's Guide to Being The Underdog". The Huffington Post. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Bergen, Marissa (October 31, 2016). "Spotlight On Local: Author Steven Blush: Saving Rock N' Roll, One Book At A Time". Geeks of Doom. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Datre, Angela (Jul 19, 2017). "10 Questions with Author Steven Blush". How We Are. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Moldy (July 19, 2002). "Steven Blush - American Hardcore [book] (2001)". Punknews.org. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Mamone, Jordan N. (Jan 15, 2002). "No Trend Didn't Just Go Against the Grain, They Shoved It in the Faces of the Pretentious Hardcore Fans". New York Press. Retrieved Aug 8, 2017.
- Pajot, S. (January 7, 2011). "American Hardcore's Steven Blush Talks the Middle Class, Youth Culture, and Loud Fast Riffs". Miami New Times. Retrieved Aug 9, 2017.
- Flicker, Jonah (November 17, 2010). "Rock and Roll Archaeology: Steven Blush & American Hardcore". Blurt. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- "New York Rock: From the Rise of the Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB". Publishers Weekly. Oct 2016. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Hood, John (Jan 12, 2011). "NiteTalk: Step Into the Mosh Pit with American Hardcore Author Steven Blush". NBC Miami. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- King, C. Richard; Leonard, David J. (August 22, 2014). Beyond Hate: White Power and Popular Culture. Routledge. ISBN 978-1472427496. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Durbin, Jonathan (May 2005). "A Dangerous Mind". Paper. Retrieved Aug 8, 2017.
- Hutchings, Nick (Dec 21, 2016). "Steven Blush, Author - Song For Ewe". Velvet Sheep. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- Babayan, Siran (Feb 3, 2011). ""Hardcore Is a Complete, Legitimate California-born Music Form": An Interview with "American Hardcore" Author Steven Blush, Who Speaks Today at Book Soup with Keith Morris and Others". LA Weekly. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- York, William (Nov 22, 2010). "Historian Steven Blush on Indiana hardcore". NUVO. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Melnick, Jordan (Jan 11, 2011). "Interview with American Hardcore Author Steven Blush". Beached Miami. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Eakin, Marah (Dec 2, 2010). "American Hardcore's Steven Blush". The A.V. Club. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- American Hardcore on IMDb
- Alen, Michael (Jan 13, 2011). "Interview with Steven Blush author of American Hardcore". Miami Herald. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- McKenzie, Scott (January 17, 2007). "Interview: Steven Blush, Author". slushpile.net. Retrieved Aug 8, 2017.
- "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow". Spin. Dec 2006. Retrieved Aug 8, 2017.
- Lost Rockers on IMDb
- Pinfield, Matt (May 4, 2017). "104 – 'NEW YORK ROCK' – author Steven Blush, Tony Man, and Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin on the New York scene, Mike's friendship with the late Cliff Burton, and Steven's latest book 'New York Rock'". Westwood One. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Mann, James (October 17, 2016). "New York Rock: From The Rise of the Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB". The Big takeover. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.
- "NEW YORK ROCK - From the Rise of the Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB". Kirkus Reviews. July 19, 2016. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- Bienstock, Hal (Oct 26, 2016). "Steven Blush's 'New York Rock' chronicles local music scene". AM New York. Retrieved Aug 5, 2017.
- DJ Jason (Apr 8, 2016). "New Music Journalism Book includes the History of the NYC goth". absolution.nyc. Retrieved Aug 4, 2017.