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NoMeansNo: From Obscurity to Oblivion Puts the Pivotal Punk Act into Perspective

Have you heard the one about the Canadian hardcore band that refused to break into the mainstream?

by Lindsay Clarke

You can’t talk about Canadian punk without talking about NoMeansNo. Except, it’s very likely that you’ve never heard of them.

Thanks to hours of hard work and crazy amounts of passion from writer, radio host, and all-around friendly punk Jason Lamb, that’s about to change — At least for those who read his new book, NoMeansNo: From Obscurity to Oblivion.

When Lamb decided it was about time someone documented the story of his favourite band, NoMeansNo, he figured his main roadblock would be the fact that the band didn’t like to be documented. The members not only agreed to let him write their story, but they became his friends along the way. And as it turns out, they have a lot of friends and fans who all have stories to tell.


Lamb is the man to put those stories together. He’s the kind of guy who moved our interview so he could get tickets to Punk Rock Bowling, and he reminded me to go enjoy my local punk scene.

He put thousands of hours, hundreds of interviews, and countless pictures into creating NoMeansNo: From Obscurity to Oblivion. Tales told through incredibly interwoven stories from an insane range of people, including band members’ childhood music teachers, fellow musicians, fans like actor Fred Armisen, author China Melville, members of Soundgarden, their tour managers, and fans from every corner of the world.

The result is the story of a band who toured the world, from British Columbia to Russia, and gave hundreds of punks a home in their music. All this without the conventions of sex, drugs and rock and roll (okay, there were some drugs), and purposely refusing to break into the mainstream.

NoMeansNo: From Obscurity to Oblivion is a great addition to any music fan’s bookshelf, packed with stories that make you laugh, cry, and wonder how the hell you’ve never heard of NoMeansNo in the first place. Now go listen to them and buy this book for extra punk points!