Your Band Sucks: A Book on the Failed Revolution of Indie Rock

Your Band Sucks - Jon Fine

Now this sounds like an interesting book.  Jon Fine, guitarist with Bitch Magnet, has a different take on the culture that emerged out of the indie rock of the 1980s, the music that eventually resulted in the grunge explosion and the Alternative Nation of the 90s.  Here’s an excerpt from an interview he did with Salon:

By the time Bitch Magnet came along – in 1986 – we’d seen a few years of alt-rock, college-radio infrastructure building, and the development of a club circuit. But “Nevermind” hadn’t happened yet; indie rock hadn’t broken through. What was that period like?

My generation of bands was really fortunate – we were coming into it just after the really difficult battles had been fought. Bands like Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and the Ramones had carved out the circuit and they toured, along with bands like Mission of Burma, at a time when people would get violently upset at weird music. They didn’t know how to react.

With Black Flag doing 200 shows a year, Sonic Youth and the early SST bands on the East Coast… This is the first generation where the hardcore circuit has been established, and a sense that it’s not just hardcore bands who are gonna do it: There’s all this other stuff.

Eighty-four, ’85, ’86 – just off the top of my head, all these records came out: “Zen Arcade” by Hüsker Dü, “Slip It In” by Black Flag, “EVOL” and “Bad Moon Rising” by Sonic Youth… it was a really good time. There was a bit of energy that was starting to gather, and to disperse. And there was a circuit. And it opens up gradually. I can’t remember who said it, but every time Black Flag toured, there were more places to play.

So ‘85 to ‘90 to me is the really great flowering. I had the fortune working at a radio station at the time, so a lot of it flowed in: “Here’s a package from Touch & Go – maybe it’s the new Laughing Hyenas record, a great band from Detroit.” But more than that, you’d get these 7-inches from these weird bands from anywhere – Sister Ray from Youngstown, Ohio… The connections were all getting started – you had a sense that this was happening not just in New York and L.A. or Seattle – it was happening in places like Richmond, Louisville, Texas…

Read the whole thing here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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