Season 2 - Ep. 17 - James Spooner - The High Desert and How Racism Affected His Punk Experience


I am going to be speaking with author, filmmaker, tattoo artist, and all around good dude, James Spooner.

James is the man responsible for the 2003 documentary on punk rock and its racially divided history called Afropunk, and has many other projects previously released, but he has a new book coming out on May 19th, 2022 called The High Desert which is an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in Apple Valley, California and becoming a punk rocker.

The book is a firestorm of the radical new music scene, growing up with separated parents, and dealing with racism and acceptance in White America in the 80’s.

I’ll be speaking with James Spooner about this incredible story right after this.

Intro Music: "Colorado" by Birds Love Filters

Outro Music: "Snail Mail" by Speedway Sleeper

Order The High Desert:

James Spooner's Website:

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James Spooner's Events:

▬ Contents of this video ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

0:00 - Intro
1:19 - What was the catalyst for James Spooner to write The High Desert?
5:40 - Does James Spooner regret not standing up to Neo Nazis in high school?
11:17 - Why did James Spooner say he wished he was white in The High Desert?
15:39 - What does it mean to live the "Black Experience" in America to James Spooner?
18:02 - What part of punk rock music appealed to James Spooner as a teen?
22:48 - What about white privilege is apparent within the punk community?
32:23 - Did James Spooner write The High Desert with a broad audience in mind?
37:35 - What influence did black musicians have on punk rock from its formation, and why does white America always take over African-American trends?
44:09 - Final words from James Spooner
45:12 - Outro

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