10 Year Old Book Is Still Inspiring A New Generation Of D.I.Y. Musicians

image from www.amazon.com Published in 2001 - long before the internet disrupted the music industry as we knew it - the book "Our Band Could Be Your Life " provided a history lesson of what could loosely be called punk rock by sharing the stories of a dozen bands who found a reasonable level of success without any help from major record labels. A decade later, a number of young musicians are finding inspiration and sound advice there.

"It's funny — Our Band Could Be Your Life has been out for 10 years," the books author Michael Azerrrad told NPR. "But in the past maybe three years, I haven't been able to go out to an indie rock show without someone in the audience or someone in a band walking up to me and telling me they were inspired to do what they do by reading it." 

"That (book) was a really empowering thing for a young kid like me — to learn that all these supposedly legendary groups were people just like me and my friends, who were just doing their thing in their own communities with their own resources," said Patrick Stickles, frontman of the New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus. "It made me dream of someday getting to do that."

Chicago punk band Big Black led by Steve Albini is one of the band's featured in the book. "I prided myself on the fact that my band never undertook a tour where we didn't make money," said Albini. "You don't get anywhere by pretending to be a big shot. You accomplish things by working within your means, and by keeping as much control of your own existence as possible."

The decade 1981-1991 covered in the book, "was the period during which the independent bands and labels got their sea legs and established a solid foundation for all of the other independent artists to work with," Albini continued. "You could have a comfortable existence completely outside of the mainstream music business."

Purchase: Our Band Could Be Your Life (Amazon affiliate link)


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