She was raised in Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach, so how could Donna Gaines have emerged from
grad school as anything but a rock-music sociologist? A Misfit's Manifesto is Gaines' memoir of how a slightly overweight Jewish girl in 1950s-era Queens, New York, managed to overcome the deaths of her father and stepfather, learned to drive Catholic boys crazy with her feminine wiles, wrote a definitive study of teen-metalhead culture (1991 's Teenage Wasteland), and became a confidante of her borough's patron saint, Joey Ramone, in his final years. An unrepentant romantic (and Spin contributor), Gaines relates how her early love of girl groups like the Shangri-Las yielded quickly to surf rock and how an obsession with hometown boy Johnny Thunders turned her on to punk rock and heavy metal. "I grew up an abject fat girl" says Gaines, "and people need to see that they don't have to end up feeling miserable and crazy. They can grow up to feel really proud of who they are." These days, she lives in Manhattan, though she's spending more and more time on eastern Long Island pursuing her second love: target shooting. "People are either gonna love it or hate it: she says of her intensely personal writing style. "I worry about how I'll react if reviewers say something mean about me personally. But I have all sorts of ways to protect myself. One is, I collect guns."

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