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Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 Paperback – July 2, 2002
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From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
"A timely reminder that Cobain and company were merely a key regiment in the motley alt-rock army...Our Band Could Be Your Life narrates, down to the homemade posters and tour van repairs, how these bands gradually built up an audience large enough to make record labels and critics take notice."―Benjamin Nugent, Time.com
"In the decade Azerrad covers, indie America proved that world-class rock could be created outside corporate structures...Our Band Could Be Your Life passionately resurrects thirteen indie groups...Azerrad is adept at drawing out musicians' war stories -- and this bare-bones movement was full of them."―Eric Weisbard, New York Times Book Review
- ASIN : 0316787531
- Publisher : Back Bay Books; 1st edition (July 2, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780316787536
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316787536
- Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.55 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #38,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you are of the age group of the 'Indie' records, you will identify and like reading about the known groups. If you missed the generation and always wondered what it was all about, you'll learn about what these groups went through just for getting their music heard.
I was impressed with their desire to make their own songs, have a friend make the labels and distribute their records the old fashion way, locally. All this with boyhood angst, they created a new genre.
I might add, there are quite a few youtubes with footage from many of their gigs, so you can listen to them. I found this most helpful whilst reading each chapter. ~
As it turned out, I was hooked from the first chapter about the shenanigans of Black Flag. This is a very entertaining read, not only for the standard stories of punk rock misbehavior (the Butthole Surfers chapter alone is worth the cost of the book), but also because the reader can't help but be struck by the dedication and sacrifices made by these artists. Their work ethic was astounding, and the rewards few and far between. Every spoiled college student, every armchair punk who sniffs about their once-favorite band selling out should be have this book carved into their sunken chests.
Azerrad does a great job of combining entertaining storytelling with insightful analysis. Each band profiled had a different personality (or several), but they all show up in each other's stories, and the reader is afforded a view of the larger picture that is often lacking in individual bands' stories. As you read, you understand why he chose the bands he did, though there are a few more I would like to have seen profiled, as they are mentioned so often in the book as influences, e.g.: Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains and Meat Puppets.
I finished this book right around the time the Video Music Awards were on MTV, and I'm ready to start an underground band now. We need another revolution! Any volunteers?
These were the Punks after Punk, No Wave, and Post-Punk had all fizzled out and they were extremely instrumental in shaping the music industry of today and the widely accepted independent style that is utilized by all sorts of bands and artists. It's very worth buying this and learning about the history of these bands.
I found it slow-going at times, but I think part of that was my own focus.
Overall, if you're interested in this tumultuous time in music or if you've got a liking for one or more of the bands contained therein, it's definitely worth a read :)
Top reviews from other countries
When you read this you will be heading back to Amazon to see if you can get some absolutely belting albums by bands like Husker Du, Black flag and The replacements.