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An unintended identity: A sub-cultural study of New York garage bands in the 1960’s

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  1. Introduction
  2. Identity
    1. The effects of local or regional identity in a musical context
    2. Garage rock's identity
    3. The appropriation of mainstream culture
  3. Authenticity
    1. The components of authencity
    2. Garage rock's identity
  4. Band origins
    1. Rock N Roll roots
    2. New technologies
    3. Rock musical styles
  5. Cover bands
    1. Cover song as a guideline
    2. Rein-interpretation through the cover song
  6. Competition
    1. Battle of the bands
    2. Club competition
  7. Demographics
    1. Class
    2. Age
    3. Setting
    4. Gender and race
  8. Aesthetics and style
    1. Style
    2. Sound
  9. Patterns of consumption
    1. Records
    2. Television and radio
  10. Modes of production
    1. Marketing
    2. Independent record labels
  11. Cultural trade / performance
    1. Cultural trade
    2. Interaction through performance
    3. Leisure activities
    4. Drug culture
  12. The peculiarity of politics
  13. Conclusion
  14. Notes

The year is 1964, the exact day, February 9th. Many people mark the day as the historic beginning of the so called ?British Invasion.? Some may even go as far to say the day changed the face of American popular music. It's significance is simple. The Fab Four, the Beatles, played on Ed Sullivan's show for the first time. Americans were exposed to the new form of blues influenced popular music that the Beatles exemplified. That very week, hundreds, even thousands, of teenagers all across the country picked up musical instruments and strummed, hit, or sang along to their favorite Beatles songs. It wasn't long until they started forming bands, trying desperately to replicate popular music's sound. And so, garage rock was born.

This paper orients itself in the realm of popular culture identity studies. Popular culture, as anything other than a capitalist exploitation of mass culture, was originally studied by scholars such as Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall. Williams argued that popular culture should be studied in light of the connections it creates between the individuals of a society. He called this the structure of feeling. The structure of feeling opened up completely new avenues for popular culture research. In its wake, academics studied popular culture both critically and analytically.

[...] Though battle of the bands were important to many of these bands, playing in teen clubs or high schools in their hometowns, competition took on a new level in the New York club scene. Venues such as Trude Heller's were very hard to book, and so there was a constant goal of beating out other bands to the best venues in town. The competition that occurred for club booking was different from battle of the bands because the deciding factor was the club owner. [...]


[...] The work examines the ways in which garage bands placed an emphasis on individualism representing post-modern values of angst and frustration. Paul Kauppila, in his study of San Jose garage bands, observed the community in relation to its psychedelic counterparts in San Francisco[v]. He explored the ways in which garage bands defined themselves against these other bands. She explores several layers of how garage bands did chose to define themselves, especially in comparison to psychedelic bands. My research continues the tradition of popular music in an exploration of the question of garage band identity. [...]


[...] [iii] Lawrence Grossberg, Dancing In Spite of Myself, Durham: Duke University Press Greil Marcus, Mystery Train, New York: Plume Eric Abbey, Garage Rock and Its Roots, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Paul Kauppila, Sound of the Suburbs: A Case Study of Three Garage Bands in San Jose, California during the 1960's.? Popular Music and Society no (July 2005): 391-405. Both Paul Kauppila and Eric Abbeyexamine a small subset of bands in a very large scene in San Jose and Detroit, respectively [vii] Lawrence Grossberg, ?Another Boring Day in Paradise? Popular Music 4. [...]

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