For close to 50 years now, rocking out has been an almost automatic rite of passage for kids leaving the deadly center of American culture for whatever wilder margins have seemed possible. From rock ’n’ roll to psychedelic blues, metal to hip hop, punk to grunge, with anthems from Little Richard’s “Rip it Up” to Run DMC’s “Raising Hell” to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to DJ Assault’s “Ass ’n’ Titties,” rock’s battle cries have promised to change life as we snoozed it. And true fans have shown the rest of the world what “commitment” is all about: not selling out, doing it yourself, keeping it real and fighting for our right to party.
Looking back over the hopes and dreams (shattered or actually lived) that the music has always inspired, four of Metro Times’ sonic scribes review some of the latest books on the sounds we love to obsess over, from Dylan to DIY.
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991
Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America
Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited
Positively Fourth Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña
Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural Nörth Daköta