HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie…
Loading...

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But…

by Jon Fine

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
321347,362 (3.8)None
2015 (1) 2015 NEW (1) ICA (1) memoir (1) music (2) non-fiction (1) read (1) to-read (5)

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Back in the eighties, I was an avid follower of many obscure [and mostly] East Coast indie rock bands. Most of my favorites came out of scenes in Hoboken NJ, New Haven CT, Athens GA, Winston-Salem NC and Boston MA. I was the textbook music geek, on a first name basis with the clerks at my local independent record store, scouring the Goldmine magazine classifieds for choice bootlegs and avidly awaiting the next issue of Matter magazine (to which Bitch Magnet engineer Steve Albini was a frequent contributor) to get the latest info on bands like The Individuals, Oh-OK, Beat Rodeo, Winter Hours and The Chris Stamey Group, to name but a few. Pretty much every group I loved and came out to support at every dive bar and grotty club within reasonable driving distance never made it beyond playing these small venues for the same group of hardcore fans. Some went a bit farther up the food chain than others – notably The Bongos and Miracle Legion – but ultimately all of them fell into relative obscurity. The music industry playing field is littered with rock and roll’s also rans. And so it was with great interest that I picked up Jon Fine’s Your Band Sucks, which chronicles his years on the indie band circuit long before the days of the internet and social media. While my taste in music is extremely different than his (and I know he’d sneer at every last one of those bands I named), I’m sure the experience of being in a working rock band, on the lowest rung of the music industry ladder, is basically the same for all musicians.

At close to fifty, Fine’s take on the whole experience is well-considered and pretty philosophical. However, reading the early chapters, his dogmatic attitude regarding what constitutes good music vs. [basically] everything else, is a little tough to handle. Does one really have to experience all music in their “crotch” for it to be enjoyable? That seems a bit narrow to me, but my husband, a musician with similar experiences to Fine’s and equally strident in his opinions, suggested maybe Fine was writing from the perspective of his nineteen year-old self, so I cut him some slack and read on. The story of Fine’s musical career, particularly with his first and most well-known band, Bitch Magnet makes for interesting reading. As a self-published author (with a book that sold only 250 copies) and the wife of a journeyman guitarist who ultimately settled for an office job, so much of his experience was easy to relate to. In the chapter, “Walter Mondale, George McGovern, and your Sh***y Band,” Fine writes, “You still have to act like you believe, even though the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that no one else does. But that evidence gradually gnaws a hole in you.” It really speaks to the despair felt by any artist who just wants to get his work out there and feels that he’s only failed in so far as he was unable to reach the right people - the people who’ll get it.

The structure is interesting and for the most part makes for fun, easy reading. Roughly chronological, but not rigidly so, Fine is mostly interested in organizing the stories based on their relevance to a particular idea he’s trying to convey in each chapter (for example, “The Glory, the Madness and the Van,” hilariously focuses on the horrors of the typical band van) rather than its place on the timeline. Only occasionally did the jumping around confuse me. But I do think the book might be improved by a tighter focus (on Bitch Magnet alone) and, particularly toward the end, much less minutiae. I mean, does the pre-show dump really deserve a mention? Really? I think if Fine had left out some of the material about his subsequent bands and heavily edited the chapters chronicling the reunion tour, the book would be damn near perfect.

This is a really great read. Intelligent and introspective, brutally revealing at times and heartbreakingly relatable. If you’re interested in music, musicians or the music scene, this is worth checking out. ( )
1 vote blakefraina | May 23, 2015 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067002659X, Hardcover)

A New York Times Summer Reading List selection • A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book of 2015 

A memoir charting thirty years of the American independent rock underground by a musician who knows it intimately

 
Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played various forms of aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes in this memoir, at no point were any of those bands “ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame.” Yet when members of his first band, Bitch Magnet, reunited after twenty-one years to tour Europe, Asia, and America, diehard longtime fans traveled from far and wide to attend those shows, despite creeping middle-age obligations of parenthood and 9-to-5 jobs, testament to the remarkable staying power of the indie culture that the bands predating the likes of Bitch Magnet--among them Black Flag, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth --willed into existence through sheer determination and a shared disdain for the mediocrity of contemporary popular music.
 
In indie rock’s pre-Internet glory days of the 1980s, such defiant bands attracted fans only through samizdat networks that encompassed word of mouth, college radio, tiny record stores and ‘zines. Eschewing the superficiality of performers who gained fame through MTV, indie bands instead found glory in all-night recording sessions, shoestring van tours and endless appearances in grimy clubs. Some bands with a foot in this scene, like REM and Nirvana, eventually attained mainstream success. Many others, like Bitch Magnet, were beloved only by the most obsessed fans of this time.
 
Like Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen ConfidentialYour Band Sucks is an insider’s look at a fascinating and ferociously loved subculture. In it, Fine tracks how the indie-rock underground emerged and evolved, how it grappled with the mainstream and vice versa, and how it led many bands to an odd rebirth in the 21 st  Century in which they reunited, briefly and bittersweetly, after being broken up for decades. Like Patti Smith’s Just KidsYour Band Sucks is a unique evocation of a particular aesthetic moment. With backstage access to many key characters in the scene—and plenty of wit and sharply-worded opinion—Fine delivers a memoir that affectionately yet critically portrays an important, heady moment in music history.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 05 Jul 2015 18:52:54 -0400)

"Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played various forms of aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes in this memoir, at no point were any of those bands 'ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame.' Yet when members of his first band, Bitch Magnet, reunited after twenty-one years to tour ... diehard longtime fans traveled from far and wide to attend those shows, despite creeping middle-age obligations of parenthood and 9-to-5 jobs, testament to the remarkable staying power of the indie culture that the bands predating the likes of Bitch Magnet--among them Black Flag, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth --willed into existence through sheer determination and a shared disdain for the mediocrity of contemporary popular music"--Amazon.com.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.8)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 1
3.5
4 4
4.5
5

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 125,349,465 books! | Top bar: Always visible