Fargo Rock City

A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota
A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota
…”Photograph” is the best Journey song ever made.
I grew up in the 80s.  I grew up in what was, for all intents and purposes, a small town in South Louisiana.  I grew up liking 80s metal.
There I said it.
Ratt was my favorite band.  Or maybe it was Van Halen.  Eventually it was Guns ‘n Roses.
I know I wasn’t alone.  There were a lot of people at the concerts.  It just seems that in our post-grunge world everyone has an entire decade of “lost time” right where the 80s used to be when it comes to rock.
Not Chuck Klosterman.
In this combination memoir/analysis, he confronts his glam rock fandom head-on.  The odyssey begins when a young Chuck finds a casette copy of “Shout at the Devil” in his brother’s duffle bag.  From that moment on, Klosterman’s life as a “rocker” is cemented.
That’s pretty much how it happened for most of us.  I didn’t have an older brother, but I had a friend that did.  It wasn’t Motley Crue for me, it was Kiss.  That first album was “Love Gun.”
Klosterman’s book alternates from a funny recollection of his rock life in North Dakota.  There was no MTV, but there were bootleg “Friday Night Video” tapes.  Some music was better for tractor driving that others. 
What makes this book so enjoyable is the time Klosterman spends not so much defending the music, but reminding us why we all loved it once upon a time.  He spends an entire chapter discussing which glam rock albums he would have to be paid to never listen to again, and how much.  The winner?  Appetite for Destruction.
Did I mention the Gene Simmons cow on the cover?
The book was written in 2001, so the chapter on the new bands that are most “metal” seems a little dated, but its still a fun read.
No music in recent memory has been so vilified as 80s hard rock/heavy metal.  Now, with a little time and distance between us and the music, its time to take another, less snide look at the soundtrack of our teens.
This book is a really good first step.

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