This book may not be for everyone but it was fascinating for me, with an interest in music and music scenes and the way bands can flourish and disappear given the cultural moments. Lizzy Goodman — in Meet Me in the Bathroom — conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with musicians around New York City just before, during and then after The Strokes hit the scene, causing ripples still being felt in rock and roll.
The story arc is familiar — a band (in this case, The Strokes) shakes off the dust of a stagnant music scene, creates excitement for audience and other musicians, companies come calling, other bands ride the wave, money impacts musicians in different ways, scene ends with a thud (sort of).
I can’t say I was ever a Strokes fan beyond casual listener. In fact, I am more of a fan of Vampire Weekend, one of the bands that came on the far end of the wave in New York City. They were not punk like The Strokes. Instead, Vampire Weekend merged global music and beats with a poetic sensibility.
What I liked about Meet Me in the Bathroom is the oral history format, as Goodman (who was part of the scene) explores the music of The Strokes and then all those who came after (or began during) the time they were suddenly “known.” Some of the bands I know and many I did not know.
Here is an incomplete list of bands mentioned (Note: + means I know and have listened while * means they are new to me)
The Strokes +
The Killers +
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs +
TV on the Radio *
Franz Ferdinand +
The Hold Steady +
Vampire Weekend +
The Moldy Peaches
The National +
Dirty Projectors *
Kings of Leon +
The White Stripes +
Sonic Youth +
I am going to dive my way into YouTube and see what I can hear.
Peace (and rock and roll),
These rock groups come and disappear at such a high rate,….. its difficult to keep track. One minute they are on fire, playing on all radio stations all the time. Next minute they’re gone, never to be heard from again.