Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   A>sked their favorite genre of music, a common reply fromteens is simply "alternative." This label has come to mean all types ofmodern rock music, especially punk-influenced music. There was a time, however,when this type of music actually was what its title suggests: literally analternative to mainstream music. Michael Azerrad documents this era in Our BandCould be Your Life.

Focusing on 13 bands, including Black Flag, MinorThreat, Hüsker Dü, and Sonic Youth, Azerrad describes the undergroundpunk movement of the 1980s, a time between the initial punk explosion of the lateྂs and the emergence of bands such as Nirvana in the early ྖs. What thesebands lacked in mainstream success they more than made up for in their youthfulenergy and pursuit of musical greatness while maintaining an often-strict code ofartistic integrity.

Azerrad chooses to deal only with those bands whooperated on independent record labels, which meant they lacked the capital forslick records or well-promoted concerts. They did not let this stop them, though,and used what they had at their disposal to make their bands work.

Theycreated an underground network of clubs, independent record labels, college radiostations and fan-produced magazines. They often operated under primitiveconditions, touring the country in beat-up vans, sleeping on floors andscrounging for food. In the process, they created some of the most original andinfluential music rock has ever known.

Azerrad documents this movementwith more depth and detail than any book to date. He presents a large amount ofinformation in a very readable form. Especially memorable are the quotes takenfrom his interviews with such punk legends as Henry Rollins and Mike Watt. Foranyone interested in learning about the evolution and history of punk music, andhow it has greatly influenced the alternative music of the past decade, this bookis a must-read.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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