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False Prophet
Field Notes from the Punk Underground
Steven Taylor


2004 • 355 pp. 25 illus. 6 1/4 x 9 1/2"
Music / Cultural Studies

$29.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6668-3

Audio CD.

On the road with a punk rock band.

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.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“A sort of Das Kapital and Odyssey of anarcho-punk hardcore—theory, praxis, and plenty of head-banging. Ethnomusicologically speaking, a bloody masterpiece.” —Hakim Bey, author of T.A.Z., the Temporary Autonomous Zone

“Steve Taylor brings to his music a steely discipline, brilliance and high-speed creativity delivered with fantastic precision and verve. He has brought that same panoply of skills to his scholarly yet accessible history of his experiences touring and creating with the band, The False Prophets. It’s more than his own experiences, of course. Taylor reaches out through history for a complicated and very interesting examination of a phenomenon as old as the Poetics of Aristotle touring, performing, writing tunes and achieving community through living and sharing the life of a band.”—Edward Sanders is the co-founder of the Fugs, the author of The Family (on the Manson group)

From the Book:

“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

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.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:52:30 -0500