In “Your Band Sucks,” author Jon Fine writes about his experiences as a member of a rock band.
I was in a band that, in fact, did suck (but we had a great time). I related to much of what Fine wrote about the good and bad of making music with other people who sometimes did not share your “vision,” such as it was.
But an under-appreciated facet of his book is his description of the labors of finding music in the 1980s that wasn’t in the top 40.
You might hear part of a song on the radio, maybe get a band name or just a song title, then spend days, weeks, months trying to find that album.
I spent hours upon hours going through the stacks of every music store in Reno and Sparks, looking for bands I didn’t know.
I bought albums based on the band name alone. I bought albums based on the title alone. I even bought one album based on the title of the third song on the second side.
I bought a lot of bad albums.
But I also had a few great finds and the elation that came from those was only matched by the moments of personal glory I enjoyed during 18 years of athletic competition (there were two).
While wrestling with how to describe this process, I stumbled on an article by Dwight Garner in the June-July Esquire magazine.
“The point of possessing books and music, for most of my life, has been the search for them,” Garner wrote.
There’s no searching now. I hear the name of a band for the first time and, within a minute, I am listening to that band on some streaming service.
I love streaming services. I can find all the music I wasn’t able to find in the ’80s. I “discovered” Wire’s “Pink Flag,” which is a masterpiece, last year on Spotify.
It was released in 1977.
But growing up, the search itself was often the point and, to an extent, I miss that process. There’s no labor involved now and, thus, the reward for finding a great album is not as satisfying.
— Rick Hoover