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Our Band Could Be Your Life: A concert to honor '80s indie music

Michael Azerrad

Michael Azerrad Photo Credit: Getty

During the last few years, indie rock has achieved new levels of success, with Arcade Fire winning the Grammy for Album of the Year, and bands such as the Shins and the Black Keys scoring Top 5 albums.

But none of this would have been possible unless bands such as the Replacements, Fugazi and Black Flag laid the groundwork while toiling in relative obscurity during the 1980s.

The definitive book about that era is Michael Azerrad’s “Our Band Could Be Your Life.” To celebrate the book’s 10th anniversary, current indie-rock stars such as Ted Leo, Dan Deacon and St. Vincent will cover their ’80s forefathers at a tribute concert.

Azerrad dished on the ’80s covers concert.

How did the idea for this concert come about?
Many younger bands have come up to me at shows and parties over the past decade and told me how the book inspired them. A concert that celebrated the continuity between those two musical generations seemed like the right thing to do.

Why is the music of the ‘80s underground so important?
The music certainly inspired plenty of bands, but I think the community and infrastructure those bands created is just as important. Those people started a long trail of venues, independent labels and underground media, as well as a do-it-yourself attitude that had been missing from rock for many, many years.

Why do you think those groups don’t get the notoriety of ’70s bands such as the Ramones?
The Ramones sold far more records than most of the American indie bands from the ‘80s ... But the ‘80s American indie underground bands are like that cliché about the Velvet Underground: Not many people have heard them, but the ones who did started a band.

What do you think about the state of indie music today?
The state of indie music today is incredible. This is one of the best times for music in my lifetime. Bands like the Arcade Fire, Interpol, Vampire Weekend and Spoon have already lasted longer than some of the big alt-rock bands of the ‘90s ... These bands are in it for the long run.

If you go: The “Our Band Could Be Your Life” concert is at the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday at 8 p.m. 6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111. $25.


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