While its hardly possible to create an all-encompassing book on 80s underground/indie scene, one book came very close to accomplishing just that.
Michael Azerrad’s “Our Band Could Be Your Life” is a collection of writings on the likes of Minuteman, Fugazi, Big Black, Sonic Youth and numerous other bands that represented the backbone of underground indie/alternative scene of the 80s.
Since “Our Band” was published in 2001, the flood gates have opened and countless authors decided to follow suit. Recent years saw books on Black Flag (Stevie Chick’s “Spray Paint The Walls“), Replacements (Jim Walsh’s “All Over But The Shouting“), Sonic Youth (David Browne’s “Goodbye 20th Century“), among many others. Finally, there’s a long-overdue Husker Du biography.
In his book, Memphis based author/humorist Andrew Earles focuses mostly on Minneapolis trio underground days (“Land Speed Records” through “Flip Your Wig”) and touches lightly on the subject of their major label work (“Candy Apple Gray” and “Warehouse: Songs And Stories” albums) as well as post-Du’s activity of Greg, Bob and Grant (Sugar, Nova Mob etc).
The book includes interviews with Greg Norton and Grant Hart (Bob Mould refused to be interviewed for the book, so there’s quotes taken from interviews that he’s given to various fanzines), as well as Tom Hazelmeyer, Julie Panebianco and others. There’s also a hefty appendix, which lists the band’s discography, a list of tributes and Husker Du covers, bands influenced by Du and various interesting facts.
As many reviewers pointed out, the fact that Earle omits much of band’s Warner Bros. activity turns this into an incomplete (albeit, still vital) introduction to one of most important/creative bands of all time. Also, some of the editing problems arise (see Nutpunks review of the book for an explanation).
Personally, I would prefer to see more photographs of the band and I disagree on author’s opinion on some of the songs (i.e. – “Turn On The News” sounding horribly outdated), but all is forgiven in the light of the fact that so far this is the only book dedicated entirely to Huskers (there’s also an upcoming Bob Mould’s autobiography, which is briefly discussed at the end).
All in all – highly recommended to all the fans of Du!
Visit: Andrew Earles Blog and/or read his interview with about the book (courtesy of Seattle PI) or another interview (courtesy of Chunklet)
Buy book: Amazon | RevHQ
See also: Exile On Moan Street | FFanzeen | Gumshoe Grove | Manic Pop Thrills | PopMatters | Tangle Of Wires | Three Thousand | The Unblinking Ear | Waved Rumor