© 2019

Capitals of Punk

DC, Paris, and Circulation in the Urban Underground


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Tyler Sonnichsen
    Pages 9-43
  3. Tyler Sonnichsen
    Pages 97-114
  4. Tyler Sonnichsen
    Pages 115-126
  5. Tyler Sonnichsen
    Pages 127-155
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 183-211

About this book


Capitals of Punk tells the story of Franco-American circulation of punk music, politics, and culture, focusing on the legendary Washington, DC hardcore punk scene and its less-heralded counterpart in Paris. This book tells the story of how the underground music scenes of two major world cities have influenced one another over the past fifty years. 
This book compiles exclusive accounts across multiple eras from a long list of iconic punk musicians, promoters, writers, and fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Through understanding how and why punk culture circulated, it tells a greater story of (sub)urban blight, the nature of counterculture, and the street-level dynamics of that centuries-old relationship between France and the United States.


music geography punk DC Paris gentrification music tourism urban geography subculture underground Bad Brains Fugazi Ian Mackaye punk history hardcore ethnomusicology Minor Threat Dischord Records

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Tennessee at KnoxvilleKnoxville, TNUSA

About the authors

Dr. Tyler Sonnichsen works at Central Michigan University, USA. He completed his PhD in Geography at Tennessee in 2017, specializing in musical geography, urban history, and American Popular Culture.

Bibliographic information


Capitals of Punk offers a valuable and original contribution to the cultural geography of music. Tyler Sonnichsen shows how residual spaces, individual destinies, photocopies, and vinyl scratched with fast and short sonic attacks matter in defining places across continents, languages and cultures. Through a unique exploration of independent labels, fanzines, family histories of activism, live gigs, oral stories of urban violence, and the history of the Franco-American relations, the author builds a powerful portrait of what in the end we are able to recognize as vital capitals of punk.” (Giacomo Bottà, University of Helsinki, Finland)

“Capitals of Punk is a highly original, insightful and engaging book. Tyler Sonnichsen's social geography approach for understanding the development of two distinct scenes and the global conduits of exchange that connect them is one of the freshest and most unique contributions I have read in some time.” (Kevin Dunn, co-director of Africana Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, USA)