Synopses & Reviews
A bewitching account of the lures, torments, and rewards of making and performing some of the most interesting music in some of the most iconic indie bands (Galaxie 500, Luna) in recent memory
What do you do if you're an outsider with a funny accent coming of age in alien bastions of privilege in New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts? If you're a certain sort of kid, you front a rock band. And if you're Dean Wareham, you end up founding a rock band, Galaxie 500, that continues to enjoy what can be called notable postmortem cult success. And then you start a new band, Luna, which enjoys even more spectacular, albeit still "cult" success (which means they don't play your songs on mainstream radio and you never crack MTV), until, some fifteen years after it began, that band reaches its natural end too. And then you write a book about it all: an unsentimental journey through the great, world-wide indiemusic landscape.
A wickedly honest and unsparing account of a journey through the music world-the artistry and the hustle, the effortless success and the high living as well as the bitter pills and self-inflicted wounds-by a brilliant and fearless participant-observer, Black Postcards is absurdly rich in rewards for anyone who was ever in a band or just took an interest in indie music over the past twenty years-a sort of Kitchen Confidential written by a different species of front man. Black Postcards also captures what has happened, for good and ill, to the entire ecosystem of popular music over this time of radical change, a time when categories like "indie" and "alternative" started to morph beyond all recognition. Rolling Stone called Dean Wareham's band Luna "the greatest band you've never heard of " and named its album Penthouse one of its 100 greatest rock albums of our time. Black Postcards is also about what it's like to have to pretend to be civil as you answer the same helpful question over and over again, "Why aren't you guys more famous?" Why indeed?
"In his grumpy but informative memoir, Wareham, the lead guitarist and vocalist for seminal independent rock bands Galaxie 500 and Luna, recounts the highs and lows of his life as a musician. While Wareham's narrative voice is not particularly warm, he is refreshingly frank (though quite defensive) about the personal conflicts that broke up Galaxie 500, as well as about his later, somewhat more conventional rock and roll antics, which included drug use and infidelity. For most readers, the heart of the book will come in the first hundred odd pages, which focus on the financially difficult but artistically fruitful run of Galaxie 500, featuring Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang, in the late 1980s and early '90s. The stories of nights spent on the floors of college radio station managers and recording classic albums in three days are the stuff of do-it-yourself legend, and at its best, the book serves as a clear narrative of the travails of independent musicians in the days before mp3s and Pitchfork Media (which gets a snarky shout-out). Wareham gets a lot of mileage out of frustration with booking agents, band mates and radio stations, and over the course of the book, one gets a prevailing sense of how truly difficult it can be for some great musicians to break through the mass media wall." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this wickedly honest and unsparing account of a journey through the music world, "Black Postcards" captures what has happened, for good and ill, to the entire ecosystem of popular music from someone who's been there.
A bewitching memoir about the lures, torments, and rewards of making and performing music in the indie rock world
Dean Wareham's seminal bands Galaxie 500 and Luna have long been adored by a devoted cult following and extolled by rock critics. Now he brings us the blunt, heartbreaking, and wickedly charismatic account of his personal journey through the music world-the artistry and the hustle, the effortless success and the high living, as well as the bitter pills and self-inflicted wounds. It captures, unsparingly, what has happened to the entire ecosystem of popular music over a time of radical change, when categories such as "indie" and "alternative" meant nothing to those creating the music, but everything to the major labels willing to pay for it. Black Postcards is a must-have for Wareham's many fans, anyone who has ever been in a band, or the listeners who have taken an interest in the indie rock scene over the last twenty years.
About the Author
Dean Wareham was born in New Zealand in 1963. He has recorded sixteen albums, including On Fire (with Galaxie 500), Penthouse (with Luna) and most recently Back Numbers (as one half of Dean & Britta).