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Rock 'Til You Drop: The Decline from Rebellion to Nostalgia Hardcover – August 17, 2001

3.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Clever, angry and articulate, New York Press editor and longtime music critic Strausbaugh collects and expands his writings on "colostomy rock," 1960s-era rock music and its current milieu: "Rock simply should not be played by fifty-five-year-old men with triple chins wearing bad wighats, pretending to still be excited about playing songs they wrote... thirty-five years ago . Its prime audience should not be middle-aged, balding, jelly-bellied dads." Calling rock a music of "youthful energies, youthful rebellion, youthful anxieties and anger," Strausbaugh says, "Colostomy rock is... the antithesis of rebellion: it's nostalgia. And nostalgia is the death of rock." He skewers some easy targets: the Rolling Stones' "Steel Wheelchairs tour... was a stadium spectacle... more like a football game"; Jefferson Airplane and the MC5 "made the media look and sound more cool, the better to market their products and their advertisers"; Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner "seems to have stopped liking or understanding the music by the mid-'70s"; and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "is a multimillion-dollar monument to the sad fact that my generation has completely forgotten what makes rock cool or fun or even `important.' " Like other angry music writers Lester Bangs, Nick Tosches Strausbaugh never bores. But his opening and closing chapters on general pop-culture issues and his abiding love for the music elevate this above mere anti-baby-boomer ranting. He differentiates himself from boomer critics like Robert Christgau and Greil Marcus: "I don't consider my liking or not liking new rock music relevant.... A man approaching fifty is far out of the context in which new music is made and received." This intelligent, entertaining book should infuriate nostalgic boomers and delight anyone who cares about pop music. Photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

It's perplexing that Verso squandered tons of tree pulp on this monomaniacal shriek, full of falsehoods and contradictions. Surprisingly, this was produced by the author of two outstanding books: E: Reflections on the Birth of the Elvis Faith (LJ 11/15/95) and Alone with the President (LJ 1/94). Here, however, New York Press editor Strausbaugh abandons his earlier wholeness and balance to rant against music "recently" produced by "colostomy-rockers." Their music, he argues, is de nature incapable of being sincere, meaningful, or artistically valid. And although time is his primary obsession, Strausbaugh curiously fails to state the cut-off dates crucial to his argument. On the up side, pivotally influential rock impresarios Giorgio Gomelsky and Malcolm McLaren, have never before been treated with the perception, gestalt, and succinct clarity shown here. To his credit, Strausbaugh also addresses the intimate, symbiotic relationship between rock and pop fashion. Nonetheless, this is not recommended; instead, keep hold of your copies of Angela McRobbie's Zoot Suits and Second-Hand Dresses (o.p.). Bill Piekarski, formerly with Villa Maria Coll., Cheektowaga, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (August 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859846297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859846292
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,418,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read "Rock Til You Drop" initially with some degree of amusement. Nobody enjoys a boomer rant more than me, and Mr. Strausbaugh equals author Joe Queenan ("Balsamic Dreams" available on Amazon) in his disdain for the lamness of boomers everywhere. But after finishing the book and considering it for a while, I realized that I never quite "got" what Mr. Strausbaugh would rather have us listen to.
True, "colostomy rockers" as he puts it, are pathetic caracatures of thier former selves. True, dopes like the the Jefferson Airplane and the Rolling Stones screamed revolution and then became the very thing they "rebeled" against (Did it really require a whole chapter for this foregone conclusion?). But Mr. Strausbaugh's blatant dismissal of the importance and influence of people like David Bowie is just plain incorrect.
Rock music is art. Yes, in the truest sense of the word, it is "white R&B" or electrified blues. But many people listen to and create "rock music" for reasons other than to rebel or to espouse some youthful rantings.
I would challenge Mr. Strausbaugh as to why we can't just enjoy rock music for the fun of it? For those who want to merely appreciate rock songs because they are pleasing to listen to, are catchy, and make us feel good, the message is often secondary. (Perhaps there needs to be a really good definition of "rock music" because perhaps some artists have been incorrectly identified as such).
As for being too old, there are mountains of great bands making music currently, especially on the indie scene.
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Format: Hardcover
You've got to love the book for no other reason than finally, finally someone is willing to say that Lenny Kravitz is 'the lamest rockstar of all time'.
This book is not a balanced, well-thought, and comprehensive argument, nor is it meant to be. It is the voice of an angry fan writing about music he obviously cares about. This is not a scientific study, it is unfair and impulsive and energetic, just like the music. There is no doubt that you'll disagree with some of what he is saying, and sometimes Strausbaugh seems determined to incite the readers for no other reason than promote argument (he never makes a great case for the 'Rock should End at Age 30' proclamation beyond citing a lot of rockers who, indeed, should have stopped at age 30). There are also some huge omissions (I don't believe Bob Dylan is mentioned even once) that he would have had a difficult time explaining away with his argument.
The most convincing writing is when he vents on institutions like the Stones and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that are generally, weirdly, beyond reproach by the popular press. I have myself always felt that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was the death knell for the joy and rebellion that rock music had inspired and promoted, and I've always been surprised that so many bands and performers that I otherwise held in esteem would buy in wholesale to such crassly commercial venture. Even Mr. "The Note's for You" Neil Young wouldn't dare criticize the place too fiercely. Finally someone has the courage to ask just what the criteria for getting into the Hall of Fame is supposed to be. The chapter when he relates attending a Hall of Fame induction ceremony is excellent and very funny.
On the down side, Strausbaugh concludes this book with a reverent bow to The Fugs.
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Format: Hardcover
Maybe Strausbaugh [made] a few diehard Stones fans [mad]. The point he makes is much greater than a mere provocation on the expense of aging rock fans. Mainstream's adaption of the rebel pose, especially in advertising and marketing, did indeed take the wind out of subculture's sails. When the spirit of counterculture becomes a fashionable pose to sell compact cars and dorky pants, whilest the whole generation of baby boomers still claims the authority on youth and pop culture, it's no wonder that nihilism found it's ugly way into today's sub- and counter cultures. "Don't trust anybody over 30" is still a valid battle cry for youth. Today's Mick Jagger is an icon of an era past, just like Sinatra songs still carry the nostalgic aura of the wonderyears just after WW II.
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By Saint on September 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After Strausbaugh very early makes the obvious point that the Stones USED to be good but NOW are bad the book is a rehashing of this tired truism.
You almost feel bad for the guy writing about has-beens at this point in his life instead of discovering new music. Also, anyone who uses the band "Furious George" as a cultural signifier is a joke. Their lead singer writes for the same weekly Strausbaugh works for and once wrote a VERY ugly piece on why women should not be rock musicians.
Use your money to buy the new "White Stripes" or "Oneida"
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Format: Hardcover
Being a life long rock and roller tried to read this, and I did make it all the way to the end. Reading a book by someone who is bitter because they never made it in the music business? Really could be full of humor, yet this book is boring and filled with jealous ranting's. Bought this because it does have a picture of Mick Jagger on the cover and expected some cool stories. Again, this is the story of a loser who never did anything substantial, yet rambles on as if we all knew him well. Tossed in the fireplace this last winter. At least it served a reason to be printed.
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