In 1987, off-the-grid punk agitator Larry Livermore began documenting the burgeoning DIY East Bay punk rock scene with the newly founded Lookout Records. He had no idea this little label, first run out of his solar powered cabin in the Northern California mountains, then a cramped room in the backstreets of Berkeley, would rise to international prominence, introducing the world to the likes of Green Day, Operation Ivy, and a host of other artists.
How To Ru(i)n A Record Label documents the author’s experiences from Gilman Street to Bialystok, Poland, as he built Lookout from the ground up, only to find himself losing control of the label a mere ten years later, and abruptly walking away from the multi-million dollar company when it was at its peak of success.
Throughout that time, however, he was central to the influential scene that gave birth to Gilman Street, Maximum Rocknroll, and a new generation of independent music that has had an everlasting effect on both the underground and mainstream. In the process, he just might even have found himself.
Larry Livermore was the co-founder of Lookout Records, the editor and publisher of Lookout magazine, and a longtime columnist for Maximum Rocknroll and Punk Planet. His first memoir, Spy Rock Memories, was published in 2013 by Don Giovanni Records. He lives in Brooklyn.
Praise For How To Ru(i)n A Record Label
“A great book by a true veteran. Well told, funny and entertainingly opinionated.” – Jesse Michaels, Operation Ivy
“How To Ru(i)n A Record Label is Larry Livermore’s engrossing account of being in the epicenter of the East Bay punk scene when it exploded, told from the perspective of the man holding the detonator.” – Liz Prince, author of Tomboy
“While Green Day and Nirvana were causing kids to start bands, labels like Lookout were inspiring them to start record labels.” – Joe Steinhardt, Don Giovanni Records
“[Larry Livermore] created Lookout Records for all the right reasons.” –Mike Dirnt, Green Day
“Larry Livermore’s memoirs offer invaluable insight into his life not only as a champion of Lookout Records, but also as an activist, author, and intrepid adventurer” – Marissa Paternoster, Screaming Females
“It’s so rare to get to have an independent label that’s putting out bands that are in a scene, a place like Gilman Street, where we come from. They [Lookout] were putting out my favorite records at the time, whether it was Crimpshrine, Operation Ivy, [or] Isocracy . . .” – Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day
“Larry writes incisively and tellingly about an era he didn’t just witness, but helped define.”– Danny Penman, author of You Are Not Your Pain and Mindfulness For Creativity
“A brilliant book by one of the greatest tastemakers in the history of punk rock”. – Grant Lawrence, award-winning broadcaster and author, former lead singer of the SmugglersTracklist: