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Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life Hardcover – March 6, 2007

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Wild Bill Wellman by William Wellman Jr.
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sellers, who has written for GQ and the Atlantic, was born in 1970, so his radio was ready when the "indie rock" scene took off in the '80s. Even as a youngster, he had rejected his dad's favoriteBob Dylanin favor of pop music. Before long, he was trying to one-up his schoolmates by listening to only the very coolest bands. As he got older, he drank a lot of beer, went to clubs and even bluffed his way into frat parties. Ultimately, he came to understand his own musical taste: "I required complex, pretty, inscrutable songs turned up very loud to help me avoid thinking that I didn't like myself very much." He idolized many groups, including Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Pavement and Guided by Voices. He collected their music, went to their gigs and even drank beer with Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard. Pollard "drinks capably," Sellers confides, although when he doesn't, that's also "[a]wesome." Sellers carries on debates with himself in footnotes, which can go on for pages (yielding howlers like "Ian Curtis... who hung himself on his coatrack"). More a blog (his blog name is Angry John Sellers) than a book, there's little of lasting substance here.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Useful as an update and adjunct to Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life (2001), Sellers' memoir celebrates the self-conscious, (often) low-tech, deliberately nonmainstream, alternatively distributed (i.e., outside of the major recording companies' channels) music known as indie rock. Sellers bares his soul from the start--the refreshing opening broadside is titled "I Hate Bob Dylan"--and thoroughly explores what he finds valuable in indie rock and, for that matter, much of life. An accomplished slinger of invective, he provides a rousing evaluation of a phenomenon as ill-defined as its predecessor, alternative rock (alternative to what?), while maintaining the theme of how the mainstream music biz, whenever it's attracted by indie-rock commercial success, threatens to undercut the qualities of the music that its cultlike following most esteems. Spot-on observations and a willingness to name names and ascribe blame as well as credit make this one of the best resources to date on indie rock, whatever it is. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743277082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743277082
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,920,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It's good stuff that made me laugh out loud many times.
First, the encyclopedic jaunt through indie (and other) music is a treat if you are at all a music obsessive, and the writing style is unique and entertaining.
Joel K
His barrage of pop-culture references and "I'm-right-you're-wrong" writing is tiresome and provides little more than what you might find on a teenager's blog.
Sir Grand Citizen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By T. Macek on March 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book really surprised me. It surprised me, in that, the subject matter was completely different from what I had expected. For anyone who is of the age that grew up listening to bands that used to be known as college rock and later indie rock, this is a real trip down memory lane.

Sellers uses a mix of autobiographical anecdotes as well as an obsessive base of knowledge of bands that span everything from the early days of MTV (R.E.M, The Cure, The Smiths) to the coming-of-age/college years for many Gen X-ers and bands such as The Pixies, Pavement, and The Stone Roses.

Unlike prior works by Sellers, this book is much more of a narrative of the author's life and the great importance and influence music has had on him. A good dose of band histories, best-ofs, interesting facts are mixed in, without being an over-the-top, ultimate guide to the genre.

Instead, the story is one that translates to anyone who ever was completely blown away by U2's War or The Stone Roses' first album or for anyone who can identify as a period in their life in which no other music mattered (as in "That was the summer of The Replacements").

Sellers admits that he will obsess over a band (see later chapters on Guided By Voices) to the point that he finds himself hopelessly tracking down every album, EP, and factoid about his particular band du jour that it becomes a compulsion to consume everything in his life, be it Dinasour Jr. or Husker Du or Pavement....a cycle that ends with John's ultimate allegiance to GBV, ending in a near-doom experience with the band for which he would most likely sell a kidney.

I found myself laughing out loud while reading this book. It's an amusing narrative with a college rock station soudtrack. But, it's also an important insight into growing up, coming of age, and realizing what awesome power music has on shaping your experiences and your memories.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Sir Grand Citizen on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Since Mr. Sellers can't seem to help himself when it comes to lists, I think a review which parrots that particular form is fitting.

TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID BUYING "Perfect From Now On" by John Sellers:

5 - Sellers (by his own admission) is more interested in appearing "with it" than actually enjoying the music. He bases his musical choices/obsessions on how 'obscure' they are, and how knowledgeable he can be regarding the band in question.

4 - His holier-than-thou (and occasionally hypocritical) approach to:
- drugs (although he abuses alcohol like a fiend)
- other parts of the world (although he grew up in Michigan?!)
- any music he doesn't deem 'worthy'

3 - The (sub)title of the book... nowhere is there any indication that 'Indie Rock' did anything greater for Sellers than give him a soundtrack to his studies and drinking. That isn't "saving" your life-- it's what EVERYBODY uses music for.

2 - Guided By Voices. Sure, I love them too, had an intense period of listening/collecting/concert going. But come one man... enough. It's just downright embarrassing reading about Sellers' slavish idol-worship. Plus, he didn't even get on board with GBV until the end of 2002? For somebody who seems desperate to be on the 'cutting edge of music', there is simply no excuse.

1 - The condescending tone of the book. Sellers doesn't just come across as a passionate music fan (really- who isn't?). No, reading this book, Sellers comes-across as a snippy, shallow know-it-all. His barrage of pop-culture references and "I'm-right-you're-wrong" writing is tiresome and provides little more than what you might find on a teenager's blog.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Satawa on August 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
To any true music fan, there is often times as much joy in debating the relative merit of one artist against another as listening to the music itself. I suspect that is true with most things (sports talk radio comes to mind). That is why I was excited to read this book. Going in, you understand there you are not getting anything that is plot driven or even has a point. What you expect is that the author will lay out arguement as to why he loves a certain band/genre of music and you can silently juxstapose those against your own biases. I am willing to concede almost any point in these debates when I engage in them with friends, with the understanding that they are nothing if not totally arbitrary, so long as there seems to be a sense the opposing viewpoint has a heartfelt conviction about the subject matter. That is why I was hugely dissapointed with this book.

While there is no doubt that the author seems to have a sincere conviction that indie music is a superior medium, it seems borne out of a sense of what he thinks is cool rather than what indie artists produce. For example, if The Pixies has acheived the same level of commercial sucess as Pearl Jam, there is no doubt in my mind the author would dismiss them with the same contempt he holds for Journey. It becomes exhausting to read the contempt he has for anything that exists outside the very obscure or how a band he loved at one point he now regrads with a sneer simply because they eventually achieved broad acceptance.

Another point of contention I have with the overall tone of the book is that Sellers comes off as fairly spineless. A large chunk of the narrative is devoted to him getting to meet Bob Pollard from Guided By Voices.
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