Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear)

By Jon Fine
A memoir charting thirty years of the American indie rock underground by a musician who was at its center

Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes, at no point were any of those bands "ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame." Yet when the members of his 1980s post-hardcore band Bitch Magnet came together for an unlikely reunion tour in 2011, diehard fans traveled from far and wide to attend their shows, despite creeping middle-age obligations of parenthood and 9-to-5 jobs.

Their devotion was testament to the remarkable staying power of indie culture. In indie rock's pre-Internet glory days, bands like Bitch Magnet, Black Flag, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth--operating far outside commercial radio and major label promotion--attracted fans through word of mouth, college DJs, record stores, and zines. They 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 the time.

Your Band Sucks is an insider's look at that fascinating, outrageous culture--how it emerged and evolved, how it grappled with the mainstream and vice versa, and its odd rebirth in recent years as countless bands reunited, briefly and bittersweetly. With backstage access to many key characters on 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.

Praise for Your Band Sucks
"Everything a cult-fave musician's memoir should be: It's a seductively readable book that requires no previous knowledge of the author, Bitch Magnet or any other band with which he's played." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Jon Fine has produced as evocative a portrait of the underground music scene as any wistful, graying post-punk could wish for." --The Atlantic

Praise for "Your Band Sucks" [E]verything a cult-fave musician s memoir should be: It s a seductively readable book that requires no previous knowledge of the author, Bitch Magnet or any other band with which he s played. Janet Maslin, "The New York Times" Jon Fine has produced as evocative a portrait of the underground music scene as any wistful, graying post-punk could wish for. "The Atlantic" More striking than Fine's clever words is his incisive commentary, which examines everything we've come to know about music in the digital age, from cyber communities to music streaming services to major record labels. A deft stylist, Fine captures the uncompromising drive of 20-something men on a mission to change the world through music played at high volume . . . . Fine has provided an immersion into a lost indie world so vivid, that you can smell the tour van. " Publishers Weekly" The short shelf of great books on indie rock adds another an unlikely memoir about an obscure band that somehow found demand for its reunion in the Internet age . . . I don't regret a thing, writes Fine, and neither will readers who live vicariously through the author's eyes and memory. "Kirkus Reviews" (starred) Fine knows his stuff, from back then and now, and he covers the cover bands, the start-ups, and those who came and went, noting the musicianship, the T-shirts, the joy of libido and an open road, and the surprise of fame (or lack thereof), and his enthusiasm is infectious and thrilling. This is a richly detailed walk through the wild side of the underground music business. True fans will recognize the bands, but anyone interested in the indie-rock phenomenon will recognize many of the players, and the angst and the joy will strike all readers. " Booklist" Jon Fine has done something miraculous: he managed to drag me through a time in my life that I hated and made me actually miss it. Both a hilarious personal memoir and an obsessive guide to that weird moment in underground music before the great tsunami of the Internet changed everything forever, "Your Band Sucks" reminds you that one self-confessed rock-nerd s journey through rejection, triumph, and cheap motels is as universal as any well-told story. James Murphy, singer and founder, LCD Soundsystem; founder, DFA Records "Your Band Sucks" is a beautiful, balls-out, hilarious, rich memoir about one guitarist s epic immersion in the world of indie music but it s also the story of an entire generation and time. Has anyone ever written a better book about indie music? I don t think so. Kate Christensen, author of PEN/Faulkner award-winning novel "The Great Man" and"Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites" "Your Band Sucks" is a fantastic document of a culture-defining era of rock music. It paints a detailed portrait of the scene before corporations bought music s soul. A tremendous read. Stuart Braithwaite, guitarist and founder of Mogwai When we played festivals, we used to have this thing where we d walk up to the other bands and ask, What shitty band are you in? I would dare never have asked Bitch Magnet that same question. In fact, I would probably have run and hid from them the same way I would have from Wire or Iggy Pop, or a tear-streaked, mascara-running Courtney Love, in her Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? dress, being escorted through the backstage area on the arms of a couple of police officers. Their music was that intimidatingly good. And in Your Band Sucks, Jon Fine lovingly chronicles, with strong accuracy, the zeitgeist in which his band excelled. Robert Pollard, singer-songwriter and founder of Guided by Voices

"From the Hardcover edition.""


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ISBN: 9780143108283

About the Paperback

Publisher Penguin Books
Publish date 05/03/2016
Pages 320
ISBN-13 9780143108283
ISBN-10 014310828X
Language English

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