There's a whole apparatus for indie bands now, but back in the eighties it was just getting built. The early people really took it on the chin.

Michael Azerrad

In eras past, mainstream culture was blandly, blindly complacent, so underground music was angry and dissatisfied. But now, mainstream culture isn’t complacent, it’s stupid and angry; underground culture reacts by becoming smarter, more serene. That’s not wimpy—it’s powerful and productive.

Michael Azerrad

Back in the day, in '91 or so, I tried to interview Fugazi for Rolling Stone, which the band felt stood for everything they detested about corporate infiltration of music. They said, 'We'll do the interview if you give us a million dollars of cash in a suitcase.' Which was their way of saying no.

Michael Azerrad

The most surprising and rewarding chapter to write was the Butthole Surfers chapter. I'd always thought of them as a bunch of drug-addled reprobates - which maybe they were - but it turned out to be more complicated than that.

Michael Azerrad

I just wanted to tell the story of a bunch of musicians who had never had their story told before. There's no preaching or theorizing.

Michael Azerrad

I would roll out of bed and immediately start working, and keep working until it was so late at night that I couldn't stay awake anymore. Then I'd go to sleep and wake up the next morning and do the same thing all over again. I did that every day for three years.

Michael Azerrad

As a journalist, I'm not supposed to be the subject, but as an author, I'm fair game - another ingredient in the media soup.

Michael Azerrad

Naturally, no one knows more about music than musicians. They talk about their own work all the time, but they rarely get to talk about other people's music.

Michael Azerrad

I'm not sure I ever try to make a case for the music. I mean, sometimes the music isn't even that good. I just tell the band's stories; if I describe the music, it's to explain how it moved the overall story along.

Michael Azerrad

I'm always very careful to make the distinction between music criticism and music journalism. A lot of people don't. But criticism doesn't require reporting. You can write criticism at home in your underwear. On the other hand, journalism takes legwork - you have to get out there and see things and talk to people.

Michael Azerrad

Critics and fans use the music of their youth as reference points. For years, people seriously wondered who "the next Beatles" were going to be, and classic rock bands were the de facto yardstick for rock quality.

Michael Azerrad

The American indie underground made music for like-minded people who thought for themselves. Thinking for yourself is intrinsically subversive.

Michael Azerrad

Ten percent of the American population thinks that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Those are the people that have not learned the skill of filtering information from the vast barrage of inaccurate information that we're all faced with everyday. I think that's a very 21st century skill.

Michael Azerrad

Now that the generation that grew up on '80s indie-rock has attained influential positions in the culture, that music is the new yardstick. And that will shift yet again some day.

Michael Azerrad

For Nirvana, putting out their first major-label record was like getting into a new car. But the runaway success was like suddenly discovering that the car was a Ferrari and the accelerator pedal was Krazy Glued to the floorboard.

Michael Azerrad

A lot of music fans are still interested in insightful perspectives on music - maybe even more interested than ever, since everyone needs help making sense of the incredible variety of sounds that have sprung up in the wake of the Internet revolution. There's a lot of room for unique, qualified voices who can provide good reads.

Michael Azerrad

You didn't have to be a huge rock star; you just had to do well enough to continue doing what you wanted to do. It wasn't about hitting the jackpot, it was about sustainability.

Michael Azerrad

Bon Jovi's trick is to use heavy-metal chords and still sound absolutely safe. Rock & roll used to be rebellion disguised as commercialism; now so much of it is commercialism disguised as rebellion.

Michael Azerrad

People didn't get to see how other towns interpreted the underground ethos, and so they developed their own unique versions of it.

Michael Azerrad

The online musical universe has become Balkanized, with many sites focusing on minute niches. That works well for reaching very specific demographics, which is wonderful for advertising, but it flies in the face of the common wisdom that people's tastes have become more diverse as music of any description has become a mouse-click away.

Michael Azerrad

I'll leave it to other people to evaluate the legacy of my book, but I'm very moved when musicians tell me that they've been inspired by my book.

Michael Azerrad

When you're writing, you're only a brain and some fingers, but drumming, you're involving all four limbs, and you're hearing stuff and you're converting your ideas into physical motions, getting physical feedback from things you are touching - it's pretty cool. It's a really a nice contrast to writing.

Michael Azerrad

To begin with, the key principle of American indie rock wasn't a circumscribed musical style; it was the punk ethos of DIY, or do-it-yourself. The equation was simple: If punk was rebellious and DIY was rebellious, then doing it yourself was punk. 'Punk was about more than just starting a band,' former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt once said, 'it was about starting a label, it was about touring, it was about taking control. It was like songwriting; you just do it. You want a record, you pay the pressing plant. That's what it was all about.'

Michael Azerrad