Dance Of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital
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Dance Of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  618 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Our nation's capital's churning, politically-insurgent punk scene is studied for the first time, by D.C. activist Mark Andersen. D.C. spawned Straight-Edge Hardcore, the ascetic rejection of the world's addictions and dysfunction, as well as Emo-Punk, the tendency to rage with an emotive, howling melodicism. Andersen and Jenkins focuses on Ian MacKaye, Dischord Records, an...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published July 10th 2001 by Soft Skull Press (first published 2001)
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justin
Jun 09, 2007 justin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of High Black Chairs, Circus Loopus
Despite giving a comprehensive account of the mid to late 70s DC music scene, this book is (as can be expected) more or less dominated by the plight of Ian Mackaye and Dischord Records. No huge surprise, given the title of the book (Or the photographs of two Mackaye bands on the front and back cover out of four pictures total). Nevertheless, the man is my hero so i loved reading this. Lots of great coverage on other well known and lesser known DC or DC-related bands, including the interesting tr...more
Scott
There have been many other books that have either been written specifically about the Washington D.C. punk/hardcore scene (“Banned in D.C.”) or that have touched on it significantly in the course of a wider discussion (“American Hardcore”, “Our Band Could Be Your Life”), but no others provide as much detail and depth as “Dance of Days”. From the earliest beginnings of punk rock in the D.C. area through modern times, this book, written by long-time scene insider Mark Andersen, has everything. It...more
Leslie Clague


Mark Andersen interviewed me for this book, along w/ pretty much everyone else on the scene at the time. Mark worked very hard and spent years putting this book together, and it's dense with detail about what people were thinking, doing, arguing, in the process of forming bands, record labels, etc.

I read this immediately after it was published, and my reaction was that it was too respectful--and I say this from the point of view of someone who knew and liked--in some cases, loves--the people an...more
Sonicage
Don't make the mistake of thinking that this is some encyclopedia of DC punk. It's not. It's the story of a specific group of connections with its center being Mark Andersen (mostly as an avid observer, but often as a political ally). Anyone positively touched by these particular connections will enjoy this book. There are many other books to be written about DC music. And if you don't like Fugazi, this book most likely is not for you.
Lbkyle
Shoots into the Atmosphere of Obscurity Mid 70's Era of DC, Late 70's Era with a Cracked out HR, then into the Sprungnation of Flex Your head and all the greatness surrounding this, then into the Revolutionary summer, Late 80's of one Rollins Band, Hopping along into the nineties of Fugazi and pushing forward into the Future. Not at all a bad read, Alot of Untold Stories, more informative than most.
Jennifer
Great book on DC hardcore scene. Loved the DC music scene, though I wasn't old enough to experience the "glory" days of it. It of course was cool that I knew and hung out with a few of the people in it. Did learn some stuff I didn't know, like the fact Joy Division was supposed to inaugurate the 930Club (F St.). Oh the memories there. A must read for anyone that is into the DC hardcore scene.
Edwina
an excellent book that tells how the hardcore punk scene started and thrived for twenty years in Washington, DC. Bands such as Rites of Spring, Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Dg Nasty, Government Issue, Bad Brains stories are told by the members themselves and people who were involved in the scene at the time.
Patrick
I thought it was a good read, but I can see how people who are a) not into punk rock or b) aren't from DC could get a bit bored with it all. The best parts are in the middle, when Minor Threat is really in their prime, through the start of "emo" and then to Fugazi. The start is a bit slow.
Scott
Aight.

This book was seriously my bible when I was nineteen and an asshole. I just loved DC music culture detritus. This book is full of it. There are some great pictures and some good vignettes from the DC underground.

The overall narrative of the book is shaped by Mark Andersen with a bit on early DC punk stuff by the much more interesting Mark Jenkins. Andersen is clearly involved emotionally in the arc he's telling, but probably a bit too much so. The central plot is essentially geared toward...more
Ryan Mishap
Finally picked this up after being hesitant for so long. I got into punk with the help of the early D.C. scene, but I didn’t think a book centered around one city would be that interesting. I was wrong, but, celebrating one scene out of hundreds seems, well, not punk. Especially since D.C. and the hardcore spawned there is already elevated and on a pedestal. Given the sheer amount of punk rock history around the world, each scene probably deserves its own book, and Andersen has collected D.C.’s....more
Steven
A non-fiction account of the Washington, DC punk/hardcore scene from it's inception until nearly present day. This book carefully traces the foundation of what would become and is still today one of the most viable and thriving scenes in the country.

As someone who has followed the bands and record labels from this community for the last 20 years, it was nice to have some of the gaps in time filled in and learn new facts about how certain bands came to be or broke up. This book is detailed in it'...more
J
Having been into bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Scream, Fugazi, Void, Bikini Kill, Nation Of Ulysses, etc., I bought Dance Of Days shortly after it was published in 2001. I devoured the book at the time and I can remember being moved by the narrative, especially the actions not words mentality of the D.C. scene.

I have always thought the D.C. scene was amazing. I know there were other scenes full of active, motivated people but, for me, D.C. stands as the epitome of the form. Perhaps it’s b...more
Venessa
Dec 21, 2012 Venessa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates music
I finally finished this excellent book, which took me so long to read because having grown up listening to harDCore, this book really brought memories back, some hard to deal with. (It also got me writing about them, which while painful, was a truly cathartic process - and now I have some solid material I'm proud of having written.) Anyone who appreciates punk music should read this book, which traces the history of the DC hardcore scene, not only the music, but the activism and politics.

I reall...more
Martin Sertich


I was 12/13(around 1983) when I first discovered Minor Threat and started following most of the records DISCHORD was putting out. $3.50 for a full album with an insert and another insert with the records that were still in press? I was sold. Quality, which still holds true today. I'll admit that I lost some interest in the mid-90s until the remasters of my favorites. The book itself(what I'm supposed to be reviewing is thorough and exhausting(in a good way. 5 stars on everything except that I w...more
Andrea
Jul 09, 2008 Andrea rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who spent time in Fugazi House, grew up in or near DC, or likes music histories in general
Recommended to Andrea by: Andrew gave it to me for my birthday in '01
This is either a very in-depth account of the DC Music Scene or a love letter to Fugazi. I can't decide. Since I really don't like Fugazi, I'm going with the former. Kidding aside, this is a phenomenal historical account of what were some very heady days, and what turned out to be a highly influential and far-reaching musical sub-culture.

Living in the 'burbs outside of DC, I was fortunate enough to get a slight taste of it. If you weren't, or just can't let it go, then this book is for you.

Ah, s...more
Ed Wagemann
Apr 03, 2012 Ed Wagemann marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rock
Why Everything You Think You Know About Punk Is Completely Wrong:
http://generation-add.blogspot.com/20...

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Brad
A meticulously well-detailed history of the DC punk movement. Not just about the aesthetic and the bands, but also the motivations of those involved and the social/physical environment in which they existed/exist. I came up in the DC punk scene of the late-80s and early 90s and this book really helped me put it all in perspective. The 2 Marks do a great job of trying to see it from all angles, and clearly spent a lot of time researching it...well indexed too.
Anton
Written from an insiders' perspective, this is a great tale of the rise of the record label dischord, which is a local Washington D.C. construct of significant musical importance. The later chapters fall rather flat for me, but I suppose that for someone with more interest in the late 80s and early 90s indie rock-ish scene it might read differently. I was much more engrossed by the early 80s and the formative years of what we've come to know as U.S. hardcore punk.
Chris Landry
I'm disappointed to report that I didn't actually read this. It was leant to me. The forward makes a big deal about the fact that at hardcore shows hippies with long hair were ridiculed for not being 'with it'. I'm sure I'd learn about a lot of great bands by reading this. But I just want to listen to 'Let England Shake' by PJ Harvey and read books that seem more vital to me. I don't care about how DC show-goers wore their hair in 1982.
Tomas Moniz
I initially started this for the section on riot grrrl, but quickly got pulled into the narrative of the growth of hardcore and the history of things like the x on the hand, the term moshing and slam dancing; it was a very nicely paced book, weaving various stories of groups together. the only part the slowed down was the mid 80s when it seemed to really be too closely focused on the DC scene...but a great story and history.
Paul
another great book about the underground written by someone who was actually involved in it. very comprehensive history of dc harDCore dating from the mid/late-70's all the way up through the end of the 90's. worth it for the bad brains information alone. ian mackaye is the godfather of artistic and moral integrity.
Kami
Jun 07, 2007 Kami rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the punks
This history of the harDCore scene made me realize that I was born a decade too late. The tales are personal and real. While memory and forgetting obviously plays a role, it seems honest without being overly nostalgic. Made me wish there was a force around these parts strong enough to recreate Revolution Summer.
Thomas
Punk has been so important to me and specifically that from Dischord Records. An incredible book with rich photography, quotes and stories that help to prove and validate how a small (60+ square mile) area could have such a strong (and positive) effect on music and the people that heard the music.
Chi Chi
A decent overview of the DC punk scene. I think it would help more if I was more into that music, but I'm not, so this was mostly an academic read. I just wish more of this guys had a sense of humor.
Geoff
Mar 20, 2013 Geoff marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A really good article on H.R. from the city paper, written by Anderson, sad but also really interesting: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/ar...
Paul
Overall a fascinating book if you're interested in the DC punk scene. But the authors sometimes seem to just worship some of the bands and musicians, which means it lacks any critical distance.
brian thunder
This book is great, and brings me back at times. However, lots of the photos are of things i recall but are missing familiar faces.
Definitely worth checking out.
Terence
This is a great companion to my favorite "Banned in DC" book. Sometimes it gets a bit much and tangential but it is still a great portrait of a complicated scene.
Erik Carl son


Allow me to brag: I bought this first edition after an interview w Ian in DC. It was a highlight of my life that skewed any review of this book I may have.
Eric
This is an interesting look at the DC scene from Anderson's point of view. Good histories of punk and hardcore are a bit hard to find. This one is pretty good.
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Mark Andersen is a punk rock activist and author who lives in Washington D.C.. He was born and raised in rural Montana, and moved to Washington D.C. in 1984 to attend graduate school at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Andersen co-founded of the punk activist organization Positive Force D.C. in 1985. He is the director of the We Are Family Group, a division of Wash...more
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