On September 24, 1991, an album called Nevermind by a band called Nirvana came out, went gold in a matter of weeks, bumped Michael Jackson off the number one spot on the Billboard album charts soon afterward, and prompted music journalist Gina Arnold to proclaim, “We won.” But who was “we”? And why were “we” so different from “them”?
“We” was a sprawling cooperative of fanzines, underground and college radio stations, local cable access shows, mom-and-pop record stores, independent distributors and record labels, tip sheets, nightclubs and alternative venues, booking agents, bands, and fans that had been thriving for more than a decade before the mainstream took notice.
Beneath the radar of the corporate behemoths, these enterprising, frankly entrepreneurial people had built an effective shadow distribution, communications, and promotion network—a cultural underground railroad. “In an age of big entertainment conglomerates/big management/big media, touring the lowest-rent rock clubs of America in an Econoline is the equivalent of fighting a ground war strategy in an age of strategic nuclear forces,” wrote Joe Carducci in Rock and the Pop Narcotic. And Nirvana, ground war strategy and all, had miraculously emerged as the victor.
Our Band Could be Your Life is one of several books I'm currently reading. I've wanted to read the book for some time. It has been on a stack of books I'd read "someday." (An admittedly large pile.) I picked it up recently and read the text above, which is the first three paragraphs of the book. As I read, a connection was made in my mind between pure psychoanalysis and what I'm going to call pure punk rock to applied psychoanalysis and applied punk rock.
- Pure Psychoanalysis is psychoanalysis that produces psychoanalysts, the people who practice psychoanalysis.
- Pure Punk Rock is the punk rock that produces punk rockers (i.e., musicians that make more punk rock.)
This is a new idea for me. I've got lots more thinking to do around it. Be that as it may, I thought I'd jot it down here.
I'll blog more thoughts about this later.