Vote Blue 2020

Vote Blue 2020

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Our Band Could Be Your Life


And now for that really good book.  It's called "Our Band Could Be Your Life."  A book by Michael Azerrad about some bands you may know:  The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Fugazi, Husker Du, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, and some you might not, Beat Happening, Minor Threat, Mission to Burma, Mudhoney, The Butthole Surfers.

Even if you don't know any of these bands, it's still a very good read.  The book is really about the 1980's Indie movement that sprung up post punk - some called it Hardcore.  Most of these bands shunned the mainstream, and they built an alternate reality.  They founded their own record companies, they drove their own vans, they schlepped their own equipment.  Sometimes they'd play to a handful of people in a dingy club somewhere in the heartland.

Almost all of them had small, devoted groups of fans.  Actually many of them, especially Black Flag, the Minutemen, Fugazi were leaders of a community with it's own code of honor.  Their shows were intense, communal. Almost all of them were inspiring.  They were inspirers.

You will meet some really cool characters: Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, Henry Rollins from Black Flag, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, Mike Watt and D. Boon of the Minutemen.  These guys, (it was primarily a guy thing - but there were a few women, for instance Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth) were charismatic, pragmatic, idealistic.  They believed in DYI - and you didn't need to sell out to a higher power.  You could find power by touching the people right in the same room.

By the way, most of these bands can be found on YouTube.  Above is Fugazi in their prime.  It's not easy listening - but it has it all - these guys are the definitive example of the movement - they played all ages shows (no discrimination against youth), charged no more than $5 bucks, wrote songs that the audience could sing too.  Cathartic!

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