- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Touchstone ed. edition (May 22 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743202279
- ISBN-13: 978-0743202275
- Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 2.5 x 22.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 494 g
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,002,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota Hardcover – May 22 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Klosterman's highly touted debut has as much to do with Fargo, N.D., as the Coen brothers' slice of Americabre, Fargo. That is, nothing at all, really. Misleadingly titled to cash in on Fargo's cinematic mystique, Klosterman's memoir about growing up a sexually repressed metalhead, with a humiliating (mom-dictated) Richie Cunningham haircut is actually set in Wyndmere, N.D. Klosterman starts up with a bang ("You know, I've never had long hair"), shifts gears often (from memoir to music criticism, somewhat jarringly at times), and rarely idles. Ultimately, though, Klosterman, ironic throughout the book, does not write with enough sincerity to prove his thesis "that all that poofy, sexist, shallow glam rock was important." Granted, it's a daunting task to write a hymn of praise to the genre that spawned David Lee Roth so the author wisely stretches his pop-culture references like taffy. In the final chapter Klosterman, now an arts critic for Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal, quotes a friend's definition of a "guilty pleasure" "something I pretend to like ironically, but in truth is something I really just like" to explain how he really feels about glam metal. His closing summation of what metal means to isolated kids in the heartland will strike a power chord for many readers. (May)Forecast: Klosterman has tapped a gold mine. Fans of 1980s Mtley Cre, Poison and Ratt are pushing 30 and 40 and seeking a nostalgia trip. Also, Gear magazine will run an excerpt of the book along with a conversation between Klosterman and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Let it be known that Fargo Rock City does not detail a burgeoning music scene in North Dakota's largest city (population: 70,000). Nor is it a yarn about a heavy metal band gigging across the frozen tundra of the Red River Valley. Rather, it's one Middle American's memoir of growing up with and loving 1980s heavy metal (e.g., Ratt, Poison, and Guns 'n' Roses). In other words, this book is for the myriad metal-heads from Fargo to Phoenix who inked "M?tley Cr?e" on their notebooks during high school study halls. The music, film, and culture critic at Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal, Klosterman uses refreshingly candid language: reading his debut is like overhearing a drunken discussion between two music fans. He nicely blends metal music theory with compelling tales of self-realization. Perhaps more than a memoir, this is a seriocomedic defense of a culture that was only cool to those who participated in it. Recommended for all public libraries, especially those in the heartland.
- Robert Morast, "Argus Leader Daily," Sioux Falls, SD
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Klosterman offers an analytical point of view on this music. He makes some strong points and some of them are very valid. Particularly when he says "I have both so and so in my collection, it doesn't matter which one is better they're both part of the soundtrack to my life" and proves most opinions are just that, opinions and can be irrelevant. His view is that if a song means something to you then it automatically becomes important somehow because that song is now part of your life. He makes further interesting assertions such as when he says Rush is a Christian band (and attempts to explain why that is) or that Ozzy is bothered by people calling him a Satanist. Chuck is somewhat of a music critic and has worked for magazines and published reviews which may explain why he feels the need to explain and analyze everything. His arguments on Guns N'Roses and Axl Rose more specifically are very well thought out and he does make some valid points when interpreting what Axl felt and why Chinese Democracy took such a long time to release. He suggests that Axl's pain was real but as time went on he couldn't replicate or fake it, keep in mind at the time of writing the album wasn't yet released.
Reading about Chuck's hometown and what it was like for him actually reminded me of my teenage years. I found Rock/Heavy Metal music in a place that no one would have expected me to. His story about the ATM machine that made him rich and allowed him to buy practically anything he wanted and the way he tells it is captivating. The personal bits on his life did not downgrade the book by any means, it added a biographical factor and those parts of Chuck's life were well integrated. I particularly enjoyed the author's list of albums you'd have to pay him not to listen to anymore. I found his picks interesting and liked how he defended his picks and the matter in which he chose to validate and explain his decisions. I liked the artists he picked but wondered about some of the selections he made (seriously of the studio albums KISS released Animalize is their best?).
It seems that Klosterman mostly like the 1980's Glam bands, as he pays little attention to what people who liked metal called "metal" like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Slayer and so on. He doesn't go deep into genres and stays within the stereotyped idea of "Heavy Metal" and besides KISS, Bowie and a few others gives little importance to bands that preceded the bands largely discussed in Fargo Rock City. If you're looking for a read that talks about the popular Glam bands of the day this will be in your alley but if your definition of Metal and Rock music is broader then you honestly cannot expect a book that is in any way reflective of the entire genre and that Klosterman covers all. Not that there is anything wrong with what he does here, I'm just giving you a heads up.
I think the original title of Appetite for Deconstruction would have been more proper and suitable for this book and it seems the author thinks so as well according to the. Fargo is a fun ride and definitely made me want to read the author's other books. One of the most remarkable things about Fargo Rock City is that Mr. Klosterman wrote this book before it become cool again like Heavy Metal in the advent of the 2000's with biographies such as Motley Crue's The Dirt, he really was a fan all along. If anything it probably won't make you rush to buy those albums he talks about whenever he mentions his favorite bands but. I'm not sure that Klosterman answers his initial thesis or that he really proves anything here and doesn't entirely succeeds at validating why the "Hair" bands were important and why they are important to him. Chances are even if you're not a fan of Glam Metal, don't have the slightest idea where Fargo is located you will find Chuck Klosterman's Fargo Rock City to be a least entertaining because through his writing he manages to be interesting and knows how to tell a story but it really helps if you're familiar with or like the music. Overall excellent and highly entertaining read.
It was the same for Mr. Klosterman, as told in Fargo Rock City. The glam-metal bands of his time set out a full plate of crashing chords, easy women, and free-flowing booze. He (nor I,)never tasted any of those things personally, but the bands painted a vivid enough picture to focus on a better life in the wide world - after high school, when your mom could no longer dictate your hairstyle.
This is a light read, certainly. Mr. Klosterman's book is meant as no more than a remembrance of things past. Even his dissection of what separates "poseur" bands from the "real rockers" is a throwback - what is easily recognized as rock marketing today could get you in fistfights with your Slayer-loving brethren back in '88.
So scratch your itch for "serious" lit elsewhere - Fargo Rock City is meant for fun, and Mr. Klosterman does an admirable job of providing it.
overlooked by journalists who think they're to hip to write about Heavy Metal. As my receeding hairline gives testimony to
the fact that 20 years has past since I strutted my stuff on the Sunset Strip, I gotta tell you this book is an amazing
trip down Metal lane. Though some won't admit it,most of us thirty somethings all had our spandex and FinalNet at the ready
for that next Van Halen or Motley Crue show. For a guy from the
Midwest,Klosterman's life completely mirrored my own. This is truly the first book I read, that from front to back, seemed like chapters of my own life.If you lived through the 80's with even one metal tape in your collection, you will thoroughly enjoy this book.I lived the metal experience out in Hollywood and I would like to thank Klosterman for helping me to relive it.His humor and insight gives Heavy Metal the respect it deserves for a music that really did own the world for a decade.This is an enjoyable book for any music fan.
Today, I have a "normal" job as a Financial Professional for a midwestern insurance company. And in my office, I have the following CDs that I play constantly: Motley Crue-Shout at the Devil, Faster Pussycat, LA Guns-Cocked & Loaded, Pretty Boy Floyd, Ratt-Out of the Cellar, etc. When I was listening to these as a teenager, I just "knew" I'd one day be a rock star, ya know?
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