We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
John Strausbaugh’s Rock Til You Drop: The Decline From Rebellion to Nostalgia has generated as much buzz as any rock book published this year. How? By coming up with a premise “so simple and obvious, the only thing remarkable about it is how easily you can start arguments with it.” Namely, that rock is youth music and that “colostomy rockers” such as the mummified Rolling Stones should pack it in. But if Strausbaugh’s book were nothing more than a scholarly diatribe against the commodification of rock as nostalgia, I’d have never finished it. The true joy of the book is the catty way in which Strausbaugheditor of the New York Pressgleefully savages everything that’s wrong with rock, from the out-of-it pages of Rolling Stone to that abomination in Cleveland (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum). Strausbaugh can be very bitchy: He slags Melissa Etheridge as “an affirmative-action rock mediocrity better known for her lesbianism and her fawning friendships with more powerful rock industry figures than for any musical talent.” And he refers to a certain somebody as “Mr. davidbowie.com,” adding, “[H]e’s not a rock star anymore, he’s an ISP.” But if, like me, you happen to like bitchyor have merely waited years for somebody to dismiss the criminally overrated Patti Smith as “Jim Carroll with breasts”this book’s for you. Strausbaugh will read from and discuss Rock Til You Drop at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-8646. (Michael Little)