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  • Preface ix

    The Eighties / Anthony DeCurtis 1

    The Church of the Sonic Guitar / Robert Palmer 13

    The Enemy Within: Censorship in Rock Music in the 1950s / Trent Hill 39

    A Corpse in Your Mouth: Adventures of a Metaphor, or Modern Cannibalism / Greil Marcus 73

    Why Don't We Do It in the Classroom? / Glenn Gass 93

    Playing for England / Paul Smith 101

    Rock & Roll as a Cultural Practice / David R. Shumway 117

    Tracking / Robert B. Ray 135

    Signposts on the Road to Nowhere: Laurie Anderson's Crisis of Meaning / Mark Dery 149

    Concerning the Progress of Rock & Roll / Michael Jarrett 167

    Los Angeles, 1999 / Paul Evans 183

    Sexual Mobilities in Bruce Springsteen: Performance as Commentary / Martha Nell Smith 197

    About a Salary or Reality?- Rap's Recurrent Conflict / Alan Light 219

    Voguing at the Carnival: Desire and Pleasure on MTV / Dan Rubey 235

    Living by Night in the Land of Opportunity: Observations on Life in a Rock & Roll Band / Jeff Calder 271

    Index 303

    Notes on Contributors 315
  • Anthony DeCurtis

    Trent Hill

    Greil Marcus

    Glenn Gass

    Paul Julian Smith

    David R. Shumway

    Robert B. Ray

    Mark Dery

    Michael Jarrett

    Paul Evans

    Martha Nell Smith

    Alan Light

    Dan Rubey

    Jeff Calder

  • Present Tense is compelling and vital; not simply as a literate take on rock culture, but as a document of the struggle to come to terms with rock’n’roll’s technologies and an attempt to capture the essence of those forms by forging unique styles of criticism.”

    “If you aspire to a career in music, there are plenty of how-to books on the subject. But perhaps the sagest advice on the subject can be found in an unlikely place

    Reviews

  • Present Tense is compelling and vital; not simply as a literate take on rock culture, but as a document of the struggle to come to terms with rock’n’roll’s technologies and an attempt to capture the essence of those forms by forging unique styles of criticism.”

    “If you aspire to a career in music, there are plenty of how-to books on the subject. But perhaps the sagest advice on the subject can be found in an unlikely place

  • "Ever since people started writing about rock, other people have made fun of them. Anthony DeCurtis's anthology, with its clutch of academics, rock writers and musicians, will strike cynics as inherently pretentious. They will be wrong: This is a smart, witty, ingeniously balanced assortment of rock commentary, with a healthy number of pieces that seem prescient and, even, moving." — John Rockwell, European Cultural Correspondent,, The New York Times

    "This collection brings together two of the cultural right's favorite targets—mass culture and high theory—and demonstrates brilliantly how mutually illuminating they can be as a way of understanding the American scene." — Stanley Fish, Duke University

    "This collection is a useful and provocative addition to rock literature. Its collage of forms—scholarship, journalism, interviews, and fiction—allows access to a variety of readers, and provides a diverse forum for addressing the current consciousness about rock." — Andrew Ross, Princeton University

    "This shit rocks! To wit: Exhibiting a wide range of critical music writing, this collection speaks volumes about how music, and our varied perceptions of it, are intrinsically woven into the social and ideological web of end-of-the-century thought." — Michael Stipe, R.E.M.

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  • Description

    The most compelling art form to emerge from the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, rock & roll stands in an edgy relationship with its own mythology, its own musicological history and the broader culture in which it plays a part. In Present Tense, Anthony DeCurtis brings together writers from a wide variety of fields to explore how rock & roll is made, consumed, and experienced in our time.
    In this collection, Greil Marcus creates a collage of words and pictures that evokes and explores Elvis Presley's grisly fate as an American cultural image, while Robert Palmer tells the gripping tale of the origins and meanings of the electric guitar. Rap music, MTV, and the issue of gender identity in the work of Bruce Springsteen all undergo thorough examination; rock & roll's complex relationship with the forces of censorship gets a remarkably fresh reading; and the mainstreaming of rock & roll in the 1980s is detailed and analyzed. And, in an interview with Laurie Anderson and an essay by Atlanta musician Jeff Calder, the artists speak for themselves.

    Contributors. Jeff Calder, Anthony DeCurtis, Mark Dery, Paul Evans, Glenn Gass, Trent Hill, Michael Jarrett, Alan Light, Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, Robert B. Ray, Dan Rubey, David R. Shumway, Martha Nell Smith, Paul Smith

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