Book Review: Perfect From Now On

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Guy grows up in a mid-size Midwestern city listening to radio stations that play Journey, Bad Company, and Styx, is introduced to “new? music through U2 and in college discovers such English bands as New Order and Joy Division and later champions “indie? band such as Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, and The Replacements. Finally the guy later discovers Guided By Voices years after their best albums comes out and is infatuated to the point that he collects everything they’ve ever recorded. Big deal, my life story right? Except that it isn’t me, it’s the story of John Sellers and he writes about it in the engaging book: Perfect From Now On, How Indie Rock Saved My Life.

If any of the above sounds familiar to you (and I know it does for many of this blog’s readers) then I suggest you either buy or get this book from the library. Besides being pretty funny, it is nice to read something that you yourself have lived. I remember those days in the 70’s when Styx was the high point of rock, and I knew, just knew, there were better bands out there. Also the excitement of being infatuated with a band that few knew about is downright palpable.

The books also has a number of quirks, like numerous asides in footnotes, including a 10-page(!) footnote, describing what Sellers did to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Ian Curtis’ suicide, numerous lists, a la High Fidelity, and an intricate formula you can use to determine how good a band is.

For me the highlight was the last third of the book where Sellers describes his discovery of Guided By Voices and through dumb luck and strategic friendships, is able to meet the band and Robert Pollard, gets to drink with them, and was able to attend their last shows. Also because he wrote about his experience, was ostracized by the GbV community and almost excommunicated by Pollard. As someone likewise infatuated with GBV, this part of the book was great. In fact I re-read these passages while listening to GBV, I think Sellers would understand.

10 Comments

Thanks for the head's up on this book, Free. I have never heard of it, but will be purchasing it this weekend! By the way, one of the other books featured on that Amazon link - Our Band Could Be Your Life - is outstanding. Have you read that one?

Jeff T, I am sure you will love PFNO. You were one of the people I thought of who would really appreciate it. I'll be interested to hear your take.

Yes I have read Our Band Could Be Your Life. Excellent too!

Well, a sincere thanks for the shout-out and awesome review. I wanted to write a book that perfectly coincided with Alien Lanes in the way that The Wizard of Oz can be played while listening to Dark Side of the Moon but it didn't really work out.

Uh, obviously that post above is from me.

Hey John thanks for stopping by. Notice in the review I didn't mention anything about your early infatuation with Duran Duran? What's your next book?

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on May 5, 2008 9:29 AM.

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