Cover image for False prophet : fieldnotes from the punk underground
Title:
False prophet : fieldnotes from the punk underground
Author:
Taylor, Steven, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Middletown, Conn. : Wesleyan University Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
ix, 332 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm + 1 audio disc (digital ; 4 3/4 in.).
Language:
English
Corporate Subject:
ISBN:
9780819566676

9780819566683
Format :
Book

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ML3534 .T39 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

On the road with a punk rock band.


Summary

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.


Author Notes

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.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Taylor, in the punk band False Prophets as a temporary replacement for five years (1988-93), contends that punk is intellectually undervalued and examines the punk paradox and the problem of culture. The punk community is a disorderly group . . . initiated and codified as a movement by musicians and dancers. Music/dance is . . . the forum where \lquote identity' is constituted and questioned. Punk enacts identity as paradox. Egad! Downright Peter Townshendian in blustery depth, Taylor follows an interesting line of inquiry for those inclined to the semiotic way of life. He also coherently conveys a sense of what an ambitious band was trying to accomplish, and just so his words won't get terminally in the way of the music, an accompanying CD samples the Prophets at their best. And after all, they were just a bunch of guys on the road trying to make it in the music biz. --Mike Tribby Copyright 2003 Booklist


Choice Review

Taylor (writing, poetics, and interarts/music, Naropa Univ.) has constructed a rich combination of scholarship and personal experience in exploring punk music. He begins with a scholarly analysis and brief historical background, with discussions of the Fugs, MC5, and other seminal groups. He also contrasts the American and British wings of punk, the latter producing such working-class groups as the Sex Pistols. But Taylor draws the majority of his detailed account from his experiences as a band member of False Prophets from 1988 to 1993 (seemingly long past punk's prime). He mostly quotes from his lengthy journal notes, weaving them together with numerous comments and interpretations. Though committed to a hard life on the road, both in the US and Europe (the group lived a meager existence, with mostly difficult times), Taylor thrilled at being a punk performer, an enthusiasm he captures here. Numerous illustrations, notes, and a bibliography are most helpful. The lyrics to the songs on the accompanying False Prophets CD are also useful. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Large collections supporting study of popular music; lower/upper-division undergraduates and above. R. D. Cohen Indiana University Northwest


Booklist Review

Taylor, in the punk band False Prophets as a temporary replacement for five years (1988-93), contends that punk is intellectually undervalued and examines the punk paradox and the problem of culture. The punk community is a disorderly group . . . initiated and codified as a movement by musicians and dancers. Music/dance is . . . the forum where \lquote identity' is constituted and questioned. Punk enacts identity as paradox. Egad! Downright Peter Townshendian in blustery depth, Taylor follows an interesting line of inquiry for those inclined to the semiotic way of life. He also coherently conveys a sense of what an ambitious band was trying to accomplish, and just so his words won't get terminally in the way of the music, an accompanying CD samples the Prophets at their best. And after all, they were just a bunch of guys on the road trying to make it in the music biz. --Mike Tribby Copyright 2003 Booklist


Choice Review

Taylor (writing, poetics, and interarts/music, Naropa Univ.) has constructed a rich combination of scholarship and personal experience in exploring punk music. He begins with a scholarly analysis and brief historical background, with discussions of the Fugs, MC5, and other seminal groups. He also contrasts the American and British wings of punk, the latter producing such working-class groups as the Sex Pistols. But Taylor draws the majority of his detailed account from his experiences as a band member of False Prophets from 1988 to 1993 (seemingly long past punk's prime). He mostly quotes from his lengthy journal notes, weaving them together with numerous comments and interpretations. Though committed to a hard life on the road, both in the US and Europe (the group lived a meager existence, with mostly difficult times), Taylor thrilled at being a punk performer, an enthusiasm he captures here. Numerous illustrations, notes, and a bibliography are most helpful. The lyrics to the songs on the accompanying False Prophets CD are also useful. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Large collections supporting study of popular music; lower/upper-division undergraduates and above. R. D. Cohen Indiana University Northwest


Table of Contents

BOOK 1 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
Hardcore
Between Reality and Thesis
BOOK 2 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
BOOK 1 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
Hardcore
Between Reality and Thesis
BOOK 2 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