Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


This is my absolute favorite music book - in-depth looks at indie rock bands all across the country during the late 1970s and 1980s showcasing the diversity of music on the margins throughout that decade. Punk aggression, twee affectations, jangly power pop, and college radio bands are all linked in their rejection of the mainstream (at least until they signed to major labels).

— David

Description


The definitive chronicle of underground music in the 1980s tells the stories of Black Flag, Sonic Youth, The Replacements, and other seminal bands whose DIY revolution changed American music forever.

Our Band Could Be Your Life is the never-before-told story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties -- when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives re-energized American rock with punk's do-it-yourself credo and created music that was deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging, and immensely influential. This sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear, loathing, and faith is an indie rock classic in its own right.

The bands profiled include:

  • Sonic Youth
  • Black Flag
  • The Replacements
  • Minutemen
  • Husker Du
  • Minor Threat
  • Mission of Burma
  • Butthole Surfers
  • Big Black
  • Fugazi
  • Mudhoney
  • Beat Happening
  • Dinosaur Jr.

About the Author


Michael Azerrad is the author of the books Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, and Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. His writings on music and musicians have appeared in numerous magazines, including Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, Spin, and the New York Times. He lives in New York City.

Praise For…


"Altogether rockin'...Azerrad's coup here is in getting most of the major players to talk...A scrapbook from the last time music mattered."—Patrick Beach, Austin American-Statesman

"A timely reminder that Cobain and company were merely a key regiment in the motley alt-rock army...Our Band Could Be Your Life narrates, down to the homemade posters and tour van repairs, how these bands gradually built up an audience large enough to make record labels and critics take notice."—Benjamin Nugent, Time.com

"In the decade Azerrad covers, indie America proved that world-class rock could be created outside corporate structures...Our Band Could Be Your Life passionately resurrects thirteen indie groups...Azerrad is adept at drawing out musicians' war stories -- and this bare-bones movement was full of them."—Eric Weisbard, New York Times Book Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316787536
ISBN-10: 0316787531
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2002
Pages: 528
Language: English