False Prophet: Field Notes from the Punk Underground

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From 1988 through 1993, guitarist/vocalist Steven Taylor toured the U.S. and Europe with the alternative rock group False Prophets, keeping a detailed journal with the intent of documenting the role of musicians in the international anarchist youth movement. His fieldnotes form the core of the book, accounting with honesty and aplomb the sometimes hilarious, sometimes harrowing, always engaging highs and lows of life on the road.

False Prophet situates punk, and the diary itself, in relation to contemporary critiques of identity and ethnographic representation, and links punk’s emergence to the oral poetry renaissance of the 1950s, free jazz, and the do-it-yourself trend set by underground filmmakers in the 1960s. This innovative ethnography provides a theoretically informed account of a little understood genre of popular music, and a rare, intimate view into the everyday life of a working band. The audio CD contains some of False Prophets’ most popular cuts.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"A sort of Das Kapital and Odyssey of anarcho-punk hardcore-theory, praxis, and plenty of head-banging. Ethnomusicologically speaking, a bloody masterpiece."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819566683
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2004
  • Series: Music Culture
  • Edition description: Audio CD.
  • Pages: 355
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVEN TAYLOR is a musician, poet and ethnomusicologist; for twenty years, he was Allen Ginsberg's primary musical collaborator. Since 1984 he has been a member of the Fugs, a seminal poetry/rock group. He is Chair of the Department of Writing and Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder Colorado.
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Read an Excerpt

"It was as if the passing of punk's fifteen minutes of fame in the late 1970s meant the death of a whole way of being. Clearly, punk was very much alive, and there was much more to it than loud, fast music and bizarre spectacle."-from the Introduction
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Table of Contents

BOOK ONE The Subject in Question: Punk Paradox and the Problem of Culture
Who You Calling a Punk, Punk?
Revolution in Punk Poetics
Identity Is the Crisis, Can’t You See?
Death and Transfiguration: The Rock Alternative and Alternative Rock
What Good Is It?
Deliberate Amnesia: Punk’s Origin Myths
Baudelaire’s Dandy and a Chick Who Looks Like a Crow
No Future
Between Reality and Thesis

BOOK TWO You Want to Get Paid? Oh. I’ll Have to Talk to the Band
On the Road o So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star
To Hell and Back
How Do You Feel about Your Negative Result?
Back to Hell
Never Again (Again)
Last Blast
P.S. When’s the Reunion?
Appendix: Invisible People: Lyrics to accompanying CD

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