Cover image for Recipe for hate / Warren Kinsella.
Recipe for hate / Warren Kinsella.
Publication Information:
Toronto : Dundurn, [2017]

Physical Description:
299 pages ; 21 cm
Based on real events, a small, loyal band of punk rockers in Portland, Maine, led by the mysterious Christopher X, investigate the murders of two of their friends, while fending off a local incursion of neo-Nazis.
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KIN Paperback Teen Collection
KIN Book Teen Collection

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How a group of Portland, Maine, punks defeated a murderous gang of neo-Nazis.

The X Gang is a group of punks led by the scarred, silent, and mostly unreadable Christopher X. His best friend, Kurt Blank, is a hulking and talented punk guitarist living in the closet. Sisters Patti and Betty Upchuck form the core of the feminist Punk Rock Virgins band, and are the closest to X and Kurt. Assorted hangers-on and young upstarts fill out the X Gang's orbit: the Hot Nasties, the Social Blemishes, and even the legendary Joe Strummer of the Clash. Together, they've all but taken over Gary's, an old biker bar. Then over one dark weekend, a bloody crime nearly brings it all to an end.

Based on real events, Warren Kinsella tells the story of the X Gang's punk lives -- the community hall gigs, the antiracism rallies, the fanzines and poetry and art, and what happened after the brutal murders of two of their friends.

Author Notes

Warren Kinsella is an author, musician, lawyer, and political consultant. Recipe for Hate is book one in the X Gang series. Warren plays bass in a punk rock group called SFH and runs the popular blog The War Room . He lives in Toronto.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Adult author Kinsella (Fight the Right) sets this riveting murder mystery in Portland, Maine, in the late 1970s. After the gruesome slaying of two of their friends, teenage punk musicians called the X gang are targeted by an unknown enemy and by "anti-punk hysteria" in their community. The group is named after its enigmatic leader, X, best friend to Kurt Lank, who narrates Kinsella's novel with a hard edge that befits its overall brutality ("For me, punk rock opened up this fucking huge range of creative possibilities-for my art, for my photography, for my music-and it did not give one shit, not one, if I was gay"). Compelled to defend their underground culture and frustrated by the police's inability to solve the murders, the X gang begins its own investigations, uncovering a neo-Nazi religious movement seeking to destroy punks and other undesirables; simultaneously, Kurt and the others try to discern which adults they can trust. Tension starts high and stays there in this unflinching page-turner, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the early punk scene and a moving testament to the power of friendship. Ages 14-up. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.



X entered Gary's from the front, off Brown Street, likealways. Many of us preferred to come and go throughthe door to the alleyway, because we were nervous aboutthe regulars. It was also a good way to avoid paying acover, if there was one. But X preferred to use the front. X, my best friend, was like that. On the heavy, reinforced black doors, below thenumber 13, a prehistoric sign had been screwed intoplace at eye level: "NO COLORS, NO KNIVES." For afew years there, Gary's had been a biker bar -- mainlyOutlaws, but some other gangs, too. Before punk arrivedon the Portland scene, the bikers had filledthe basement tavern every night. They'd chug cheap,watered-down draft in the long, narrow part of the bar.And, where it opened up at the other end, near thestage, they'd hate-stare any country-and-western orcover band stupid enough to agree to play. If they werereally pissed off, they'd throw beer glasses at the stage. None of us ever argued about the bikers' claim toGary's. It was their place, no question. But toward theend of the '70s, they were getting arrested a lot morethan they used to. As Portland grew, and as it importedmore yuppie douchebags from New York andBoston or wherever, tolerance for the Outlaws basicallydisappeared. A few blocks away, at City Hall, ouridiot mayor had decreed that Gary's attracted the sortof customers who didn't fit into the "new Portland." Sothe police started cracking down and most of the bikersstarted to move on. The hookers and junkies, too. Gary's owner was pretty unhappy at the thought of redecoratingthe place to attract a new crop of patrons, mainlybecause he was a cheap bastard. But he also knew that noself-preserving, upwardly mobile, Ivy League couple wouldever come near Gary's: it was a temple of filth. It was thechurch of dirt. Which kind of made us love it even more. Dirt and dust and grime were everywhere. There wasthe ancient carpet that stretched from the front doorsto the cracked tile on the dance floor. No one couldmake out the pattern anymore because it was so fuckingdirty. There were these mismatched metal chairs withtorn strips of vinyl-covered padding on the seats. Thetiny round tables were covered with stained, orangecloths. There were frames containing ghostly paintingsof plants and cowboys on the walls, decades of dust andcigarette smoke stuck to the cracked glass. A few yellowishlight bulbs hung from what was left of the fixturesoverhead. And there was the air itself, always reeking ofcigarette smoke and dust and sweat and piss. It was awesome. Earlier in 1978, Gary's owners had read in the localpaper, the Portland Press Herald , that those of us invarious local punk bands were putting on our ownshows in veterans' halls and community centers aroundthe city. We were attracting hundreds of kids by wordof mouth alone, the article said. The arch-conservativepaper hated us, of course, but Gary's owners decided tolet us book bands a couple nights a week. Maybe they'dturn a profit on beer sales, they figured. And they sure did. The bikers didn't like the change,at first. But, eventually, they were sort of amused by us-- these skinny, acne-scarred kids with weird clothesand dyed hair. We punks were misfits, like the bikerswere, but we were also completely different. In theearly days of the Portland scene, the punks were mostlyMaine College of Art students, gays and lesbians,cross-dressers, poets, nonconformists, anarchists,socialists, the socially awkward, the overweight, thealienated, the angry, the underage, and assorted otherurban outcasts. The factions that made up the localsubculture were diverse, but somehow we all got alongback in those days. So the bikers stayed up near the front doors, and wepunks were stuck at the back, hanging out around the stageand the subterranean alleyway exit. We left each otheralone, sticking to our side of Gary's demilitarized zone. Gary's owner -- who rarely, if ever, enforced drinkingage limits -- was happy because our friends likedto drink almost as much as the bikers. Soon enough, then, our bands were on stage every night of the weekexcept Sundays, when every bar was still required byMaine law to be closed. The Portland punk scene got ahub. It started to grow. Christopher X! X, thou art Christopher. He moved through the mass of hulking bikers, completelyunfazed. Some of them looked up and glared.They had heard about X, and a lot of them didn't likehim much. Unlike the other scrawny suburban kids,who seemed to cower whenever they were nearby, X wascompletely disinterested in them. To the other punks,the bikers were menacing, intimidating. But not to mybuddy, X. And the bikers took notice. Under one arm, X had a few copies of the NewMusical Express -- the super-hard -to-get British tabloidthat had promoted the punk rock revolution first --along with a couple of notebooks. Under the otherarm, he cradled some LPs, likely borrowed, by bandsmost people had never heard of. But it was him -- hispale face, his blank expression, his total indifference toeverything around him -- that stood out. X was an outsider,even to the outsiders who made up the Portlandscene. He was a misfit among the misfits. X sat down with us, up near Gary's tiny stage,where the Hot Nasties had played earlier -- and wherethe Punk Rock Virgins were still playing, but had justgone on a break. X had called some of us that day, saying that he hadsome big news. He moved a couple glasses of draft out of the way and dumped the LPs, the notebooks, andthe copies of the New Musical Express on the centerof the table. "Where's Jimmy?" he asked. I pointed at Gary's rear door, toward the alleyway. "Ithink he's moving the van to the side, so nobody swipeseverything again." I punched X in his leather-jacketedarm. I was a bit loaded. "Now buy me a beer, fag." I could tell what he was thinking: Fag? Really? X looked at me for a moment, an eyebrow up, thenshook his head. He got up and went over to the bar to buya couple of draft s for me and an RC Cola for himself. Hereturned to the table and pointed at the newer-lookingcopy of the New Musical Express . "Take a look," he said,expressionless. "The Nasties are in it." Conversation stopped. We lunged at the magazines. The Hot Nasties, as it turned out, had beaten everyoneelse in Portland at making a record, which was apretty fucking big deal. They were one of the first punkbands in New England to do that. It had been Jimmywho'd pushed them into putting it together. The bandrecorded the four songs over three weekends at a garageconverted into a mini-studio in Bayside. The twohippies who owned the place had never seen or heardanything like it before. They were totally disgusted. The Nasties, however, were totally ecstatic with theresults of the recording session. They came out of it withfour original songs: "I Am a Confused Teenager," "Th eSecret of Immortality," "The October of Seven Oh," and"The Invasion of the Tribbles." Jimmy and Sam were big Star Trek fans, and they stuck references to the old TVshow in a lot of their songs -- along with plenty of otherreferences to junk culture, because we loved junk culture.Serial killers, The Flintstones , AMC Pacers. The good stuff. The Hot Nasties didn't have a recording contract;in 1978, no Portland punk bands did. So they put outthe EP on their own made-up label, Martian MartianRecords, taking the name from a Jonathan Richmansong. The band members designed the sleeve. Thecover had one of my photos of the Nasties, smilingoutside Gary's one night, clutching some smashed-topiecesguitars and drums from a particularly dementedgig. We glued the sleeves together late one drunkennight at Sam's parents' place in Parkside, and then X --pretending to be their manager -- sent a couple copiesoff to the New Musical Express , which along with Creem magazine and Melody Maker , were all we generallyread, pretty much. Someone -- incredibly, unbelievably -- had noticed.Buried within the pages of the NME , there wasa section called "New and Noteworthy." In there, in asingle paragraph, titled "Portland Punk Pressing,"a writer with the initials CSM had written: "If youcan't locate Portland, Maine, on a map, fret not. Wecan't either. But if tuneful, snappy punk rock still mattersin late '78, then the four lads in the Hot Nastiesmay well succeed in getting their portside hometownbetter known. The quartet is Sam Shiller, lead guitar;Luke Macdonald, rhythm guitar; Eddie Igglesden on skins; and bassist and lead screamer, Jimmy Cleary.Their debut EP, issued on their own label, crackles withBuzzcockian wit and snottiness, and is therefore worth aspin. Available through money order only, The Invasionof the Tribbles EP argues convincingly that punk --at least on the other side of the pond -- ain't dead yet. Aquid will get it winging its way to you. Check it out." Holy shit. HOLY SHIT! A thumbs-up from the New Musical Express : it waslike getting a great review from God. We all stared at thereview, speechless. Without warning, Luke jumped up onhis chair and let out a Tarzan scream, beating his chest.He hollered: "I love you, X! I fucking love you! When weare famous rock stars, I will let you visit my mansion!" We all laughed and read and reread the review. A fewothers started to wander over to see what was going on. When X had told the Nasties that he'd sent their EPto the NME , none of them thought that it would ever getnoticed. The magazine paid attention to the Clash andthe Sex Pistols and other big British bands -- not a bandlike the Hot Nasties, in Outer Buttfuck, New England,U.S.A. But X told me he thought the record was reallygood, like the Ramones. So he mailed it off with a coverletter that had somehow caught the attention of Charlesfucking Shaar Murray at the fucking New MusicalExpress , for fuck sakes. Still hollering that he was goingto be famous, Luke wrapped his arms around X, whowas trying to resist smiling. X didn't ever smile. Excerpted from Recipe for Hate by Warren Kinsella All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.