Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Band Could Be Your Life

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I tend to mainly read books about music. The only outliers in my world of music reading obsession are Chuck Palahuniuk and books my friends make me read because they're either:

A. totally about our group of friends
B. being made into a movie
C. being made into a movie starring Robert Pattinson

Sitting pretty at #6 on my Top 10 list of favorite books of all time is "Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991" by Michael Azerrad. This book is essentially a guide to the most underrated, under appreciated and underground punk bands of the 80's and early 90's. Before reading this book, I hadn't spent much time listening to Fugazi or Beat Happening. This book helped me explore some of the best music I never would have heard otherwise. It's an essential cool kid's guide to Punk music- not well known enough that you're listing The Beatles of Punk Rock, Nirvana (who I live and die for), but not so obscure that everyone will think you're a one upper (god, one uppers are THE WORST!) Warning: it's long- nearly 500 pages. But as a person who has the attention span of I child, I can proudly proclaim that I read it all the way through and didn't get bored at all. That's pretty much the equivalent of a chihuahua watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy straight through.

Michael Azerrad's writing makes you feel like these are your friends- you get to know the inner workings of Black Flag, Mudhoney, and Minor Threat from real interviews and actual first hand knowledge from people who were there through it all. As someone who deeply believes I should have been born a decade earlier and had my formative years in the late 80s/early 90s, this book is everything I've ever wanted. It makes me feel like I actually lived through these bands in real time, as opposed to a years later and out of context in my bedroom with purple carpet and floral wallpaper (my Mom's choice.) This book puts you in the music and in the scene. You learn why bands like Sonic Youth stuck around, and others didn't. You peek behind the curtain of success, which at some point can just be defined as not killing each other after being in a band together for three decades. But also failure... See: Everyone else. JK! OMG totes JK.

A must read if you music of the punk persuasion, or have an obsession with Henry Rollins. I just so happen to fall into both of those categories.

Click here to buy from Amazon. carmen

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