Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad

Our Band Could Be Your Life

This is the never-before-told story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties--when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives reenergized American rock with punk rock's do-it-yourself credo and created music that was deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging, and immensely influential. This sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear,...


Details Our Band Could Be Your Life

TitleOur Band Could Be Your Life
ISBN9780316787536
Author
Release DateJul 2nd, 2002
PublisherBack Bay Books
LanguageEnglish
GenreMusic, Nonfiction, History, Biography, Punk
Rating

Reviews Our Band Could Be Your Life

  • brian
    2013-03-16
    as a kid i assumed punk & hardcore was right-wing music; from the safe confines of long island it seemed the nose-ringed & mohawked or shirtless & skinheaded were all about death and destruction and i naturally figured they'd be so inclined to support the party which always seemed to advocate dropping bombs and throwing some 'fuck you' to the poor -- yeah, dead wrong about the punks and a bit of a caricature regarding the grand ol' party. must ad...
  • Caroline
    2011-01-18
    This one took me a while to get through and occasionally led to existential crises in the nature of, "WHY AM I READING A 50 PAGE CHAPTER ABOUT THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS WHEN THERE ARE PEOPLE FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST?"There are certainly places where this book delves into "More information than I could possibly need about people I really don't care about." But overall, this is a fascinating reading experience, and I think just about an...
  • Eddie Watkins
    2013-02-12
    I missed the entire “Indie Revolution” as I spent the late 80’s – early 90’s first as a psychically fragile (nearly suicidal) drifter-type (though I worked sporadically) living in Baltimore without a music collection, then as a wash-up living back in my parents’ basement in small town Delaware, and finally as a practitioner of Zen and social isolate living in Denver who listened to little more than classical music. This book helped me...
  • Pamela
    2013-05-06
    This is such a GUY book. The band histories are filled with the drama and backbiting you would expect from teenage girls, but are posited as Very Important Cultural Happenings. I guess that is the book's strength, and its entire reason for existing: documenting a whole bunch of assholes and taking them seriously, even at their most hapless and idiotic. I mean, he manages to write a deathly serious chapter on Black Flag, whereas I just giggle at t...
  • Meagan
    2011-07-21
    This is right up there with "Please Kill Me" and "The True Adventures of The Rolling Stones" as one of those foundational rocknroll books with a "You Are There" feeling throughout. Basically, if you were under the impression that punk died when Mick Jones got kicked out of The Clash and wasn't revived until Nirvana released Nevermind, do yourself a favor and read this book. Yes, there are a few omissions (okay, just one that kind of sticks out in...
  • Dave
    2007-03-21
    Wow, what a read. The big plus for this tome is that Azerrad spills as much ink on some bands who were slipping off the radar - notably Mission of Burma (at least at the time the hardcover was published, pre-reunion) - and on how he's able to let the story of one band from this geographic region lead into this band from that region... so at the end the reader has an idea of how 6,7,8 different little underground scenes birthed a nationwide networ...
  • Elizabeth
    2011-05-28
    I have read the chapters on Black Flag and The Minutemen and am loving this book. It revived so many old feelings and memories, and I didn't know it was possible to love Mike Watt any more than I already did, but I find myself even more enamored of The Minutemen. Next I think I'll skip to the Husker Du chapter--should be interesting in light of Bob Mould's recent 'coming-out' memoir.I just finished the book and absolutely adored it. I think Azerr...
  • Kerry
    2009-11-16
    I'm going to be candid here...wait, when am I not? This book is really only for the hard-core music fans. The ones that want to know everything about it. From the formation and inspiration of the music to the gritty work ethics so many musicians and bands take to make it. What I love best about this one this is that this book is purely about true indie bands. These were the bands that didn't want to sign with major-labels bc they felt it would sa...
  • Sebastian
    2009-11-29
    Our Band Could Be Your Life is the most absorbing book about music I have ever read. While it's not perfect, it's essential reading for anyone interested in independent music, be it of the era covered by this book (1981-1991) or today. Composed of about a dozen profiles of bands from across the country, it's long-form journalism at its best. Interesting tid bits (and occasionally scandalous details) abound, but more importantly the larger portrai...
  • A.J. Howard
    2014-10-09
    This is the story of how a bunch of kids who appreciated the Beatles, the Stones, and the Stooges, but came of age after they left the scene. These kids became alienated with new mainstream bands like Aerosmith, the Eagles, and Genesis but then the Ramones put out a record and these kids found solace and a sense of identity in the music of the Clash, Television, and Talking Heads. They took these new ideas and formed great bands like the Minuteme...
  • Elizabeth
    2008-01-09
    I loved this book. Azerad profiles bands like Black Flag, Minutemen, Mission of BUrma, Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, Big BLack, Minor Threat, The Replacements, Fugazi, BEat Happening, Mudhoney, and Dinosaur Jr. It's the royaly of 80s underground music in America. There are bands that could have been incouded, namely the Pixies, but Azerad wanted to focus on bands that made a big splash in America. And while the Pixies were an American band, they...
  • Mack Hayden
    2017-07-17
    I would've been totally shocked if I didn't love this book. With that said, I wound up enjoying it even more than I anticipated. The bands, record labels, and general era in the history of music described here are all favorites of mine. It's so cool seeing all these great college rock bands crossing paths, witnessing their internal drama, and seeing indie rock as we know it ascend to a place of prominence. It really conveys the vitality and joy o...
  • Joshua Buhs
    2014-08-14
    Alternate title: 13 arguments that music in the 1980s wasn't all a vast wasteland.This is a journalistic recounting of independent music during the 1980s (well, late 1970s to early 1990s) told as the story of thirteen different bands. It is really good, at times brilliant, though there are structural issues--tough ones, not ones I could even imagine solving--that ultimately keep the book from being as transcendent as the bands it chronicles.In th...
  • Ari Eris
    2013-02-27
    I've always thought music writing was pretentious, boring, and not very good, but Our Band Could Be Your Life has proven me wrong. I may have missed this pivotal era in music history (boo!) but Michael Azerrad brings the scene and the music to life in a way that stirred up feelings in me as if I had really been there. I've always been a big fan of Black Flag, Minor Threat and Fugazi, but after reading this book I think I might actually be in love...
  • Julien
    2012-06-15
    How much you like this book will depend on how much you like the bands. I liked the chapters on Black Flag, The Minutemen, and the Butthole Surfers the best, but was a bit bored with those on Husker Du and The Replacements because I was never terribly interested in their music. But aside from a few embarrassing descriptions of music (which I almost always dislike, no matter what), there's a lot of good information and stories about a group of inf...
  • Ralph
    2011-12-20
    Surprisingly disappointing collection of stories about bands I suddenly remembered I didn't care all that much about in the first place. I had read about all my favorites -- the Replacements, Husker Du, Minutemen -- while standing in the aisles of Barnes and Noble, so I had already hit the high points. After a couple of chapters, the stories kinda meld into one -- two weirdos meet in high school and start playing songs, then meet another goofball...
  • Joe Cross
    2017-04-16
    For anyone even remotely interested in indie rock, I'd call this an essential read, and throughout I kept wishing that Michael Azerrad would do similar profiles of '90s bands like Modest Mouse and Yo La Tengo. So why 4 stars instead of 4.5 or 5? Well, at 501 pages, it's, for lack of a better word, long, and some chapters are repetitive or unnecessary (see: the Big Black chapter, which did nothing but reaffirm my dislike of Steve Albini, or the So...
  • Kerry
    2018-08-04
    Exhaustive. This book took me forever to read. My favorite chapters: The Minutemen, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney. My least favorite chapters: Black Flag, Big Black, Butthole Surfers. I think the main thing I learned from this book is almost everyone in a band is an asshole. And also men are big fucking babies/martyrs. I’ve never read a book that made me want to be in a band any less. It seems like a miserable existence. I’m still g...
  • Serdar
    2017-09-03
    This book has immense personal significance for a reason I'll get to in a moment.The book itself is a grand overview of, as the title notes, the indie underground music scene in the U.S. throughout the '80s. Anyone remotely curious about the times, the manners, and the tunes should pick this up. You'll not only get a hint of how the crews in question got going, but perhaps learn about a band or two that you didn't know about.The other thing that ...
  • Ron
    2016-03-21
    Azerrad writes brilliantly, which is not the contradiction of punk terms that it would seem, tracing the history of the underground from its secondary movement to the birth of Nirvana and the eventual (inevitable?) sell out to the mainstream. The punk ethos was ever about thinking for one's self and expressing individuality, but the original movement had few bands of any lasting merit--Ramones, Clash, Blondie, Talking Heads--and while the latter ...
  • Nicholas Moryl
    2012-09-15
    This book mimics a common complaint you'll find in record reviews: the first half is interesting, but the second half just drags. At 500 pages, that's an awful lot of dragging.The book stumbles as soon as it starts. In the brief introduction, Azerrad characterizes the struggle indie music faced as against the system, opposing the status quo, tearing down the regime--all well and good when you're talking about the Reagan era--but the problem is th...
  • Adam Dupaski
    2010-05-02
    This was super enjoyable almost all the way through, and the chapters on bands I love more than compensated for those on bands I never really got into. Here's my ranking of the chapters based on insight, appreciation, and entertainment:-1st: The Minutemen (sets the tone for ideals tracked throughout the book as well as the SST label model)-2nd: Black Flag (dark dank Rollins + Ginn + SST + Pettibon power)-3rd: Fugazi (great exploration of early co...
  • Timothy Hallinan
    2013-03-08
    This is rock writing that's as good as rock itself. Michael Azzerad traces the rise and--well, endurance--of American indie rock through astute (and often very funny) profiles of many of the bands that paved the way for Nirvana, Pearl Jam, et. al. These pioneers, some forgotten except for a few aging thrashers and some still either going strong or head-banging in people's memories, include The Minutemen, Mission of Burma, The Replacements, Sonic ...
  • Jeff
    2015-04-04
    Overall a pretty great book, especially (and obviously) if you are a fan of 80s "underground" rock. Azerrad does a great job relating the histories of both seminal 80s bands as well as the labels themselves. Just how SST, Sub Pop, K Records etc started, evolved, and ran their businesses is fascinating stuff given the humongous obstacles in the way at the time. Azerrad also does a nice job with profiles of some of the big figures in the movement, ...
  • Paul
    2009-02-23
    Really cool book, especially if you were born ten to fifteen years before I was. Aside from Sonic Youth and the Replacements, I knew next to nothing about these bands, and most I had never heard before -- one (Beat Happening) I'd never even heard of. (Embarrassing to admit as a Washingtonian). Still, the collection was well written and interesting. Every single piece of music writing I've ever read always falls into that ridiculous and annoying h...
  • Amber
    2008-10-21
    In high school, I subscribed to Spin magazine like it was my job (I was heartbroken when the changed the paper and made it smaller and took out "Genius Lessons"! END OF AN ERA, PEOPLE). It pretty much was my job, I guess, as an angsty-youth with the eyeliner and ridiculous clothes, and it recommended this to me. Despite the fact that I am sure I would have been really into them at the time, I asked for (and received) this book for Christmas my Ju...
  • Lee Fritz
    2010-10-26
    "Our Band Could Be Your Life" is about USA underground rock from '81 to '91, and so many of the bands and stories reminded me about our experiences with Roy G. Biv from about '98 to '04. Among the topics discussed:- Punk as an attitude rather than a style of music. check. (not conforming to the Blink 182 pervasive riffs of VP "pop punk")- Bands like Black Flag and Minutemen establishing the series of small clubs across the country and then Husker...
  • AJ
    2007-10-18
    What a great book. I found it a bit slow at first while it went over some bands that I wasn't terribly familiar with, but it's such an informative and interesting history of indie rock in the 80s and 90s. It covers the bands and indie labels that evolved into some of my favorite music of all time.The author has a chapter on each band covered in the book, from Black Flag to Beat Happening and everyone in between. My favorite chapters were on Mudho...
  • Richie
    2013-03-18
    This was an interesting book, but not for the reason I had expected. I initially bought the book because I was listening to some of the 1980s underground bands that were featured in it, like Husker Du, Black Flag, and The Replacements, and wanted to learn more about them. Instead, I found that the stories about how the indie underground was founded to be more interesting. Learning more about the economics of the industry (of the lack thereof), an...
  • Michael Logan
    2014-10-24
    Wheeeeee!!!!!!!!!! This book was, as I expected it to be, so far up my scuzzy alley that it ran the risk of being mugged.Yes, it is at times a little repetitive - but how could it not be, when it is the account of 13 bands full of, for the most part, principled young musicians making music and going DIY with the recording, distribution, etc. But the overarching message of making music for the love of it, instead of going for the money, resonates ...