Oktober 4th, 2022

Corporate Rock Sucks – the rise & fall of SST RECORDS, jim ruland

Posted in bücher by Dolf

Hachette Book Group, 121 N Enterprise Blvd., Lebanon, IN 46052, Usa

Originally SST was the abbreviation for Solid State Transformers, a small mail order, out of Hermosa Beach, for ham radio enthusiasts. Only when the founder, Greg Ginn, could not find a label for his band Black Flag, it became SST Records and history was made. First it was a punk label, then it was the most important indie label of the mid 80‘s and later it became a smorgasbord for all kinds of music. But it was most famous for bands like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Bad Brains, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, Bl‘ast, Dicks, The Last, Lawndale, Descendents just to name a few. The label released almost 400 titles, many of which should have never been releases, but that is another story.

The author named the fourteen chapters SST vs.: Bomp, Hollywood, the Media, MCA, Unicorn, Hardcore, College Radio, Death, New York, MTV, the Northwest, Negativland, Techno and History. Unfortunately the person who founded the company, Greg Ginn, is only quoted several times from older interviews, but Ruland did not speak to him personally. So what the reader gets is a lot of opinion of other people, that did work at the company or bandmembers. And considering that Ginn seems to be a very strange dude (simplified said), it is no surprise the author did not talk to him. Anyway, Jim Ruland did a great job in documenting the history of the label. Of course the story of Black Flag is tight interwoven with the label, but for my taste there is too much of band history for certain bands in here that necessarily have not so much to do with the history of the label, but of course, that is debatable. And, while he does that well, after all he is a experienced music journalist, I personally did not enjoy reading „about“ music in this context, others might love exactly that. Anyway, this history book shows what was going on with the label and while some might say the characters where very strong personalities, others read that they always wanted to “be right”, like a lot of young men all over the world, who think, again and again, they have to fight against the rest of the world. Luckily these guys here choose music and business and not something worse. And by doing what they did, they trail blazed a path for many more bands and labels to come, so they do deserve a lot of credit. How and how bad, things then in the end turned out for a lot of the bands (not getting paid) and the label itself (bankruptcy) can be found out reading this book. If English is not your first language, it can be a bit difficult in parts (it was for me), since Ruland likes to use vocabulary, but maybe there will be a German edition in the future? SST did a lot of great stuff and released so many awesome records, but it also has to be said that a lot of the other releases where, err, at least not punk and unfortunately also some shit, that should have never been pressed on vinyl. The book contains also a bunch of photos, I would have not minded a few more. It is in most parts a enjoyable read with a lot of redundant knowledge but many people will enjoy exactly that diligent work (yes, also a complete list of all releases, many notes and a extensive index). Definitely a must have for every punk book collection. And, there is no doubt: Corporate Rock STILL Sucks. 422 pages, hardcover, 30,00 $ US (dolf)

Isbn 978-0306925481

[Trust # 215 August 2022]

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