Why You Should Read Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 Written by Michael Azerrad
If you want to know the bands that shook things up during the 1980s, read “Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991.” Written by Michael Azerrad, and through brilliant research, this book brings attention to thirteen specific bands who revolutionized sound and culture in between the years of the early punk scene in New York to Nirvana. Tracing the bands’ lineage and impact, Azerrad proves that punk never laid dormant but scorched the masses in its unforgotten home – the underground.
Before I go on about the book, let’s take a moment to talk about Michael Azerrad, shall we? The man has written for Spin, Rolling Stone, and New York Times. Some of your favorite musicians in history have sat across the table from him to reveal their creative process giving us readers an inside scoop. Musician himself, the dude was part of the noise-pop band “Nada Surf” and has collaborated with plenty of musicians throughout his career. At the end of the day, he has established himself as a key figure in writing for the underground scene, making the subject of this post all that more worthwhile to read.
Now back to the book. “Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991” explores a multitude of bands that include “Minutemen (hence the title),” “Hüsker Dü,” “Butthole Surfers,” “Big Black,” “Dinosaur Jr,” “Fugazi,” and a ton more you have probably heard of but don’t know enough about. Each chapter isn’t just an exploration of these various iconic bands’ formation – hell no – he aims to look at their DIY ethos and tell you exactly why these bands were revolutionary for their time.
Of course, to know what these bands did, you have to understand the life and times of America during their reign. Many of the bands were Reagan-hating, non-conformity-loving, crazed people (in a good way) seeking to change and bring awareness to the flaws in the United States. For that, Michael Azerrad does a mighty fine job dishing out the cultural and social context for the time, giving you an even better understanding of these bands’ commitment to their craft and the challenges they faced for recognition and artistic independence.
To put it simply, if you want to feel the passion of music from some of the best creators and the ethos of punk at its finest, “Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991” is a book you should read. You can walk away happy with the knowledge of your favorite bands, knowing the impact they had not only on yourself but the world. And understand the right, true story for these unbelievable artists that should never be forgotten.