Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) (Paperback)
"The first I’d ever heard of Jon Fine was in an old issue of Forced Exposure. Steve Albini, the famously opinionated recording engineer, was griping about how Fine’s band, Bitch Magnet, had credited him as a ‘producer’ on their record, despite his specifically asking them not to. If you have ever heard of Forced Exposure, Bitch Magnet or, more likely, Steve Albini, there is a solid chance you will enjoy Your Band Sucks. The autobiography situates itself in the collegerock-transitioning-to-indie-rock environs of the 1980s and early 1990s. Pockets of undergraduates (this writer included) across this great nation zealously followed bands like Naked Raygun, Big Black, Laughing Hyenas, Squirrel Bait, Volcano Suns and Sonic Youth. This was way before Nirvana hit, so these penniless musical ensembles nourished themselves on a bizarre form of earned obscurity. Jon Fine’s book examines how his band, Bitch Magnet, achieved a very specific form of success, one not easily measured by the outside world. If you were there, listening to your local college radio station and buying the latest releases from Homestead and SST, you might very well dig Your Band Sucks. Also worth mentioning, local heroes Six Finger Satellite and Peter Prescott figure prominently."
— From Guest Recommendations
A memoir charting thirty years of the American indie rock underground by a musician who was at its center
Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes, at no point were any of those bands ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame. Yet when the members of his 1980s post-hardcore band Bitch Magnet came together for an unlikely reunion tour in 2011, diehard fans traveled from far and wide to attend their shows, despite creeping middle-age obligations of parenthood and 9-to-5 jobs.
Their devotion was testament to the remarkable staying power of indie culture. In indie rock's pre-Internet glory days, bands like Bitch Magnet, Black Flag, Mission of Burma, and Sonic Youth operating far outside commercial radio and major label promotion attracted fans through word of mouth, college DJs, record stores, and zines. They found glory in all-night recording sessions, shoestring van tours, and endless appearances in grimy clubs. Some bands with a foot in this scene, like REM and Nirvana, eventually attained mainstream success. Many others, like Bitch Magnet, were beloved only by the most obsessed fans of the time.
Your Band Sucks is an insider's look at that fascinating, outrageous culture how it emerged and evolved, how it grappled with the mainstream and vice versa, and its odd rebirth in recent years as countless bands reunited, briefly and bittersweetly. With backstage access to many key characters on the scene and plenty of wit and sharply worded opinion Fine delivers a memoir that affectionately yet critically portrays an important, heady moment in music history.
Praise for Your Band Sucks
Everything a cult-fave musician's memoir should be: It's a seductively readable book that requires no previous knowledge of the author, Bitch Magnet or any other band with which he's played. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Jon Fine has produced as evocative a portrait of the underground music scene as any wistful, graying post-punk could wish for. The Atlantic
About the Author
Jon Fine is the executive editor of Inc. magazine. As a guitarist in Bitch Magnet, Coptic Light, and Don Caballero, among others he s performed around the world and appeared on MTV. As a writer, Fine s long-running BusinessWeek column Media Centric won both American Society of Business Publication Editors and National Headliner awards, and his work for Food & Wine won a James Beard Award. He has served as an on-air contributor to CNBC, and his work has also appeared in the Atlantic, GQ, and Details."