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Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  5,907 ratings  ·  622 reviews
Joining the ranks of the classics Please Kill Me, Our Band Could Be Your Life, and Cant Stop Wont Stop, an intriguing oral history of the post-9/11 decline of the old-guard music industry and rebirth of the New York rock scene, led by a group of iconoclastic rock bands.

In the second half of the twentieth-century New York was the source of new sounds, including the
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Hardcover, 622 pages
Published May 23rd 2017 by Dey Street Books
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  5,907 ratings  ·  622 reviews


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El_kiablo
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is fine. It is also a complete existential nightmare.

Look: oral histories tend to be very readable, especially if the people being interviewed have big personalities. Sure enough, this book is very readable because it's full of a bunch of successful/inspired/crazy people saying interesting things.

But while reading Meet Me In The Bathroom is a pleasant enough experience it is also a stone-cold bummer because: damn, man, I don't want my generation to descend up its own butthole the same
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Mark Graham
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will there ever be another "scene" like the one that Lizzy Goodman describes in MMITB? Whether it was Seattle for grunge, the Sunset Strip for hair metal, Boston for '80s era "college" music, Laurel Canyon in the early '70s, Motown in the '60s, or any other number of scenes, so much of music history can be traced back to a bunch of bands emanating from one central location playing stylistically-similar jams. MMITB does a tremendous job of capturing the dynamic LES/rock scene of the early Aughts, ...more
Meike
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
I'm not going to lie, I got so emotional reading this tome, as it talks about music I love, no, music I LOVE. Quoting a vast range of musicians, journalists, bloggers, and people from the music industry, Goodman creates a mosaic of voices and thus evokes the spirit of NYC and its music scene in the first decade of the new millennium. Three narrative strands hold the book together: The stories of The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and DFA with James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy. Goodman talks about ...more
Andy
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The musical-era biography is probably my favorite type of reading material, that and/or artist memoirs/autobiographies. Our Band Could Be Your Life remains a seminal experience for how much music it led me to discover and come to love; the ideals espoused by those 80s punks whose lives and work were all intertwined deeply affected me, inspired me, and/or served as fodder for appropriation/regurgitation.

Prior to the publication of Meet Me in the Bathroom the function of books like this for me
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Q Adams
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
A great book to browse through and realize you dont actually care what male rockers were doing in New York City from 2001 to 2011. ...more
Mat Davies
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I cant begin to tell you the sense of relief when I finished this book. It had been staring at me-unfinished-for weeks.

Youd think that an oral history of the New York City music scene from the early 00s (well, the white, middle class, trust fund bit of it) would be accessible and inviting but what emerges from this overlong, extraordinarily self regarding book are a pile of pretty unpleasant human beings and, in some instances, cocksure charlatans feted as if they were some kind of artistic
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Anaïs
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
RB
Aug 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Message to Julian Casablancas and Ryan Adams: set a date somewhere chill, roll countless joints, smoke them, kiss and make up.

Now, the book . . .

"Meet Me in the Bathroom: Or How to Be Hypocrites and Pick on Ryan Adams," by Lizzy Goodman has everything an oral history needs to be spectacular but instead it falls for the gossip, the drugs, the sex, the weirdness, the hipster bickering. And it does this while ignoring any valuable information on the music these (mostly) great bands made. If you're
...more
Sydney
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: big-books-2017, 2017
3.5 stars

I'm a huge Strokes fan, so when I heard this book was coming out, I knew I had to read it. I also really like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes, and TV on the Radio, while being a casual fan of most of the other bands featured in this book.

I enjoyed it for the most part, but I did have some issues, the format being the main one.

It's told in an interview style, where the person's name precedes their quote. For example:
Julian Casablancas: quote.
Karen O: quote.

This wasn't a huge
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Jeremy
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
The low rating is based on two factors:

1). I love oral histories but the actual structure used in this book is extremely hard to follow. People pop in and out without any reintroduction or explanation for why they are there. Some anecdotes are placed right in the middle of longer overarching stories with no point or connection.

2). The people covered in this story are just not that compelling. As opposed to say Please Kill Me, or Other Hollywood, a lot of the stories told are thorough snore feats
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Tristy
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Literally pages and pages and pages of one-liners from mostly men about the rock scene in New York City from 2001-2011. As usual, women have a tiny sliver of representation and when they are quoted, they are mostly talking about other male musicians. What a huge disappointment.
steph mitesser
Dec 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
while i give the author credit for the amount of work that obviously went into this, it is ultimately a lot of wealthy white NYC transplants making sweeping statements about "new york culture" and speaking with great disdain about the people who actually make new york culture; the number of references to "junkies and trannys" made my skin crawl. that dynamic alone made it difficult for me to enjoy this.

more importantly, this book describes a scene that ended far too recently to unpack with any
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Matthew
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"We always thought that the misfits were the stars," journalist/author Rob Sheffield waxes early on in Lizzy Goodman's exhilarating and comprehensive oral history Meet Me in the Bathroom. It's one of many great quotes from an exhaustive catalog of these "misfits" - the rockers, writers and artists who helped shape one of the most iconic and important eras of rock music. Or so is the opinion of this particular reviewer.

To be fair I am of a similar age to many of those documented in Goodman's
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Big Al
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, music-related
Oral history in the style of Please Kill Me hyping up a more recent New York music scene. Not nearly as iconic or fun to read about as the 70s punk scene in Please Kill Me, but still an entertaining and nostalgic look back on a time (not that long ago) when rock music still mattered. Right from the beginning I was not feeling the over the top glorification of New York City (THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD that matters for cool people apparently), nor did I think the long page count was justified. I ...more
Emma
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
love the music, but these people are assholes. right?
Izzy
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Last spring, I had my wisdom teeth removed. My oral surgeon was young-ish, and he was playing a Vampire Weekend album in the operating room. As the anesthesiologist did her thing, we began to discuss I launched into a monologue on my very complicated feelings about that band, and the next thing I knew I was waking up, no surgeon in sight, completely, fully, even ragingly, ready to complete my train of thought. It was definitely a mental coitus interruptus situation and I'm still mad about it. I ...more
Zachary Houle
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I feel exhausted after reading Lizzy Goodmans compelling oral history of the aughts music scene in New York City, Meet Me in the Bathroom. I read the book in mostly one sitting, and it took me, Id estimate, a little more than 10 hours to get through. Theres 640 pages in the book, according to the publishers information (my copy was downloaded on the Kindle), and, man, do you feel it. Practically no stone is left unturned in this account of what it was like to be a musician in the 2000s in New ...more
Stevie Dunbar
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Where is the bathroom
zan
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and its trip down memory lane (or at least as many memories as we could possibly retain from that era), but can't say how much of that was because I remember half these people and places first-hand. Like: seeing Interpol at Brownies, or Mooney Suzuki at Tiswas, or being at Mercury Lounge for a Delays show next to Sarah Lewitinn, or reading every week about Misshapes on some blog. Even Lit, a bar I used to go to all the time but have already nearly forgotten about, ...more
Caitlin
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
This was great fun - I couldnt put it down. If you were a fan of any of these bands or the overall scene, you might want to pick this up. From what I understand, Goodman conducted at least six years worth of interviews so she had a really big job picking apart narrative threads to weave together. And I think she succeeded. Yes, some voices are missing - some folks, like Meg White, have left completely and apparently declined to be interviewed. But Goodman managed to get ahold of most of the ...more
Jamie
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, new-york, music
They're not overselling the comparison of this to other music oral histories in the intro - I enjoyed it every bit as much as Our band could be your life and Can't stop won't stop, and ALMOST as much as Please Kill Me. It sent me to spotify again and again to relisten to stuff I hadn't listened to in a while, and stoked my already burning LCD Soundsystem fire.

What's funny is, though James Murphy comes across as a dick, his dickishness is kind of awesome and I love him all the more. Ryan Adams,
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Colleen
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm from NYC and, even though I loved the music that came out of this scene, I always had the feeling a lot of people at the heart of it were self-important rich kids who saw NYC as their personal adult playground. Well, in this book the artists, venue owners, and label reps describe firsthand how they descended from the suburbs (or from their Upper West Side private school) onto Williamsburg and the LES, completely secure in their entitlement to treat these neighborhoods as blank slates to ...more
Sara
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone feels like their college music scene was the most special, but ours at least now has a killer book to go with it. This book was everything I wanted it to be.
Prince William Public Libraries
Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman is an oral history of New York City rock and roll in the first decade of the new millennium. Goodman collects interviews with over one hundred musicians, journalists, bloggers, managers, scenesters, and record label execs, giving a broad and thorough overview of the citys rock scene in the aughts. She covers the indie rock explosion from its early days and initial breakthrough to its mainstream dominance and eventual implosion, ending with a section on ...more
Paul
Definitely an engrossing read -- Goodman did an insane amount of interviews with almost every good band from NYC at the time, and the "oral history" format is actually very effective when done well. So many interesting bits of information, like that Pharrell Williams was the "kid[s] who are coming up from behind" in LCD's Losing My Edge (I'd guessed it was German DJs or something), or Murphy's experience with MDMA as turning him onto the possibilities of dance music, or the unsurprising news ...more
Jordan Wannemacher
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You guys, I need the Spotify playlist for this book. MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM: REBIRTH AND ROCK AND ROLL IN NYC, 2001-2011 was so entertaining, a perfect Memorial Day weekend read. 2001-2011 was a formative time for music for me. I was/am a fan of most of the bands discussed and followed this scene from afar with the help of the Internet. I remember the time I saw Regina Spektor and the Strokes live, or when I heard Interpol's "NYC" for the first time. My best friend and I were OBSESSED with ...more
Zach Payne
Aug 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
white privilege: the oral history
Radu
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much, if only because it reminded me of the music that I was listening to in high school and the first years of college (and which I still listen to nowadays, to be honest). The book chronicles the first decade of this millenium from the standpoint of the New York music scene, the origin (or main influence) of some of the most influential bands of the time. Such bands include The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, Vampire Weekend, TV On The Radio, ...more
Jo Coleman
A hoot! An oral history of the New York indie music scene at the beginning of this century, starting with the Strokes and ending with Vampire Weekend, and pieced together from many, many interviews with musicians, managers, journalists and people who went to nightclubs in an era where that seemed an important thing to do. I changed my mind twenty times as to whether it was an interesting history of how gentrification and the internet changed the music industry, or whether it was just a massively ...more
Cassandra
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved The Strokes so much as a preteen. Room on Fire came out when I was 12 and I loved that album so much I tried taking guitar lessons for part of grade 7 because of it. That didn't really go anywhere, but I still credit that band with expanding my musical horizons in such a profound way. From them, I remember buying albums from Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, and The Killers. Hot Fuss still slaps.

I can't say I knew much about a whole bunch of the other bands discussed in this book, but I still
...more
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Lizzy Goodman is a journalist whose writing on rock and roll, fashion, and popular culture has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and NME. She is a contributing editor at ELLE and a regular contributor to New York magazine. She lives in upstate New York with her two basset hounds, Joni Mitchell and Jerry Orbach.

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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
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“Stewart Lipton: Our fling lasted on and off between girlfriends for our whole career, sort of. I don’t think she would be that excited about me telling you that.

Erin Norris: How is Stevie, by the way? I fucking hate his guts.”
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“You know how they say Black Flag got in a van, and they brought punk rock to the world? The Strokes got on a bus, and they brought “downtown cool” to the world. Along with the Internet, they were changing everything, not just music. They were changing attitudes. The Strokes were making New York travel with them. I saw kids in Connecticut and Maine and Philadelphia and DC looking like they had just been drinking on Avenue A all night. Sixteen-year-old kids in white belts and Converse Chuck Taylors with the greasy hair—hair that had been clean a week ago. Those kids had probably never even smelled the inside of a thrift store before Is This It came out. They found a band that they wanted to be like. They found their band. APRIL” 1 likes
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