“Invisible Publishing was looking for pitches for their Bibliophonic Series and I pitched four different ideas,” says Cape Breton native Mark Black who will celebrate the launch of his first book, NoMeansNo: Going Nowhere, Monday, December 17 at the Island Arts Cafe on Prince Street in Sydney.
NoMeansNo: Going Nowhere tells the story of an unsung Canadian punk rock band whose career has spanned three decades, 14 albums and spawned an alter-ego that’s become as much a part of the Canadian consciousness as Harold Snepsts or SCTV. Through interviews with band members, friends and fans, this book explores how a punk band from Victoria, BC influenced musicians across the world and continues to be force in punk rock.
“I chose NoMeansNo because they have had such a long and interesting career, but still remain a bit of an enigma to a lot of people. They’re an important band in punk rock, but what exactly is their place in all of that? What informs their songwriting? Basically what are NoMeansNo about. I felt that people had bits and pieces of that, but no overarching narrative. I wanted to try and give their story some semblance of that and that was the impetus behind the book.”
Currently in the Masters of Library and Information Studies program at Dalhousie University, Black’s lived in Halifax on and off for the last 13 years. “I’ve worked on television programs like Artzooka, Street Cents, and Chef Abroad with Chef Michael Smith among others,” he says. “I’ve been a
freelance writer for the Coast for the past 7 years, as well as writing and blogging for other magazines and websites.” Black has also played in a few Halifax-based touring bands like Die Brücke and Minivan Halen.
Growing up in Cape Breton, mostly in the South End of Sydney, Black was involved in the early days of Locals as a contributor and wrote a ‘zine called Just Another Teenage Anthem. Black played in a few local bands like Crazy Knees Carbone and Asscribed and put on a couple dozen all ages shows as well as working with Food Not Bombs and a couple of other “politically ‘left’ groups”, as he describes them.
NoMeansNo: Going Nowhere, released in October, sold out of its initial run in less than a month. It is now in its second printing. Copies of the book will be available for sale during the launch at the Island Arts Cafe on Monday, December 17.