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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  955 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Examines the history of the Washington D.C. punk rock music scene that led to the rise of such bands as Positive Force, Riot Grrrl, Fugazi, and Bikini Kill.
Paperback, 437 pages
Published August 15th 2003 by Akashic Books (first published 2001)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  955 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it

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
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Tomas Moniz
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pop_culture
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.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Lavender Rathman
While it feels a bit slow to start as it chronicles the scene maturing the questions raised also do. In the edition that I read the author also points to where punk stands today and how we can continue forward, or rather leaves those answers open ended.

That's probably not why people pick up this book, but it's the reason I loved it the most.
Mitch Grady
Eventually it devolves into a history of Fugazi. Which is fine and to a degree understandable, but I imagine other bands in the DC scene weren't too happy about it.
East Bay 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
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

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
Davi Lanna
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
No começo achei que esse livro seria meio maçante, por se tratar do movimento punk em uma comunidade específica, abordando bandas que em sua maioria não me interessam muito musicalmente. Eu já conhecia e gosto de Fugazi, Minor Threat, Embrace(todas do Ian Mckaye), Bad Brains...Acontece que esse livro, apesar de detalhar minuciosamente o movimento em DC, coloca o punk como fenômeno particular que se expande para se tornar universal nos anos 90; como uma árvore, com seus ramos podres(nazismo, viol ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it
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'
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
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Martin Sertich
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Jul 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Chris Landry
Apr 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Ed Wagemann
Apr 03, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: rock
Why Everything You Think You Know About Punk Is Completely Wrong:

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Carlos Panhoca Da silva
Fica bem claro que um dos autores tá sendo racional e o outro está emotivamente envolvido com a história para narrar ela imparcialmente.

O entusiasmo que ele narra o empenho em resolver os problemas contrasta com a narrativa corrida dos problemas que são gerados. Mesmo assim, o livro é bom.

Não leia se você não goste de Fugazi, foca principalmente neles.
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
A really good article on H.R. from the city paper, written by Anderson, sad but also really interesting:
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
Made me love being a Punk even more when I was 17 ! Looks at more than just the music, but the progression of a community..
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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