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Our Band Could Be Your Life

Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991
Length: 21 hrs and 6 mins
4.9 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Summary

This is the never-before-told story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan '80s - when a small but sprawling network of bands, labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives reenergized American rock with punk rock'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 has been recognized as an indie rock classic in its own right.

Among the bands profiled: Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur, Jr.

©2012 Michael Azerrad (P)2019 Hachette Audio

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I’m a @#*king grown adult

Listen, the books great - it’s very entertaining, but I’m only a couple of chapters in and I’m sick of the bleeped out swear words. I’m clearly a grown adult cos you took the money from my bank account. So if I’m listening to a fucking book about fucking punk rock - don’t bleep the words out you cunts!

5 people found this helpful

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An important history of American Indie music

A must for anyone with an interest in American indie music from Minute Men to Nirvana.

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  • Tim Hofsommer
  • 11-02-20

Sonic Youth chapter

As far as I can tell, the issue reported with the Sonic Youth chapter having a missing section seems to be no longer true. I didn't notice any censorship, either.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Russell
  • 29-07-19

Missing content

The last hour of the Sonic Youth chapter is silent, due to an error with the editor trying to bleep out a curse word. I’m not sure which part of that sentence is most disappointing.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jeff Koeppen
  • 22-12-19

Comprehenisve History of Some 1980s Indie Bands

When I found out about Azerrad's book Our Band Could Be Your Life I knew I would find interesting and I thought I would enjoy it, and it exceeded my expectations! This long book (21 hours on Audible) devotes almost two hours each to a deep dive in to the history of thirteen punk / indie rock bands. The author did his homework. This book is full of great quotes and interviews, and by the time each chapter is over you feel like you know each band member. I have very different opinions (better and worse) about quite a few musicians after listening to this. I knew a lot of these bands through college radio (Radio K - University of Minnesota) and Twin Cities alternative radio stations in the mid to late 1980s and really haven't listened to them much since, with the exception of Sonic Youth, The Replacements, and Hüsker Dü. The Hüskers were one of my favorite bands and Bob Mould remains my favorite musician to this day (Azerrad also co-wrote Bob's autobiography See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody). I've seen Bob live countless times in Minneapolis and twice in Chicago, and met him a few times at events. But some of these bands I wasn't a huge fan of back in the day, and haven't heard at all since the 80s or 90s. It was fun going back and listening to their albums again. Each chapter is narrated by a musician or author who was inspired by that particular band. The bands an narrators are: Black Flag - Corey Taylor (singer, Slipknot) The Minutemen - Jeff Tweedy (singer, Wilco) Mission of Burma - Jonathan Franzen (author, The Corrections) Minor Threat - Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) Hüsker Dü - Colin Meloy (singer, The Decemberists) The Replacements - Jon Wurster (drummer; Superchunk, The Mountain Goats, Bob Mould) Sonic Youth - Merrill Garbus (singer, Tune-Yards) Butthole Surfers - Fred Armisen (drummer, comedian) Big Black - Dave Longstreth (singer, The Dirty Projectors) Dinosaur Jr. - Sharon Van Etten (singer/songwriter) Fugazi - Michael Azerrad (author) Mudhoney - Phil Elverum (singer, Mount Eerie) Beat Happening - Stephin Merritt (singer, Magnetic Fields) If you were / are a fan of any of the aforementioned bands or are interested in the punk / indie rock scene of the 1980s I would highly recommend this book to you. Rock on!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-07-19

WTF! Why Is the Sonic Youth Chapter Missing!?

The biggest reason for me getting this audiobook (the Sonic Youth Chapter) is mostly missing!! Everything else is great but it aint worth it till this is fixed...

4 people found this helpful

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  • Briboflavin
  • 12-06-19

Serious as a heart attack!

This is one of my favorite books, so it's a real treat to finally have it in my Audible library. As we move closer to total global corporate domination, it's never felt more relevant or refreshing to delve into the worlds of these creative misfits following their passion, doing it all on their own, and making shit up as they go along. The bands covered (Black Flag, The Minutemen, Mission of Burma, Minor Threat, Husker Du, The Replacements, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Dinosaur Jr, Fugazi, Mudhoney, and Beat Happening each get a chapter) range from capital-G *Great* (Fugazi, 'Mats) to capital I *Influential* (Surfers, Mudhoney), and many are deserving of full-length chronicles in their own right. Until then, Azerrad's book remains an indispensable inside look at some of the best bands that most people have never heard of. (It would have been super cool if snippets of each band's music could have been included in their respective chapters, but I suppose that would have been a copyright nightmare.) You'll fall in love with D. Boon and Mike Watt, become enamored of Ian MacKaye's uncompromising attitude, and have a hard time deciding whether you hate J. Mascis or Lou Barlow more. Mostly, though, you'll be inspired to rediscover some tremendous music and appreciate it all over again with a better understanding of the lives and circumstances from which it emerged.

4 people found this helpful

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  • C. Holford
  • 16-07-19

I can’t believe there are beeped words in this book

That’s all. I just can’t believe that the producers chose to beep an offensive word in this book. It’s completely insane, and next you hear a non-beeped “motherfucker.” Needless fig leaves on a beautiful work of art and an important document. A terrible decision.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Nick J.
  • 10-03-20

Why is this bleeped?

The number of bleeps is crazy. Great story, but this isn't PG-13. You can say bad words in audiobooks. What were they thinking censoring this?

2 people found this helpful

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  • dylan2k
  • 07-04-20

I thought I knew all this stuff!

This invaluable resource wil shed light on the aspects of indie that you never even cvonsidered - or at least I didn't. Some of the history is rather ugly, some is good enough to be justification for the behaviors I always was like "WTF?" I Listened rabidly and am going to now read other histories by Mr Azerrad. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick Boberg
  • 25-06-19

Essential

This book blasted open a door I had only ducked my head through. The audiobook adds a layer of accessibility that makes it all that much more powerful. I can't to relisten. The chapters on The Butthole Surfers, Big Black, The Minutemen, and The Replacements are life-changing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ex
  • 26-03-20

chapters depend somewhat on the band

each chapter lives or dies more so on the selected reader's performance. I don't like the BT surfers, but armisen's enthusiasm for the material made it fascinating. other bands I really liked that were covered had somewhat bland performances and were slow to get through.