Did you know the last week of September is Banned Books Week? While that event raises the profile on challenged books and the importance of intellectual freedom in libraries, we thought we'd have a little pun-y fun by sharing some of our favorite "band" books. Here's what we think you should add to your reading list, along with some recommended musical accompaniment:


Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock by Andrew Beaujon
An incredibly interesting and unbiased outsiders look into the world of Christian rock. Shows the historical background, marketing, and struggles of people who are no longer believers but still a part of that scene.
Written by Andrew Beaujon, former member of TeenBeat Records' Eggs and editor at Spin.

Suggested Listening:
Evanescence - Fallen
P.O.D. - Satellite
Sixpence None the Richer - Sixpence None the Richer


Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm
Mark Yarm (not to be confused with Mark Arm from Mudhoney) performed over 250 interviews to document the evolution of the rock music coming out of the Pacific Northwest over the past 30 years (don't call it Grunge, please). I was amazed reading about the chutzpah of the Sub Pop guys, dazzled by the lightning in a bottle that was Nirvana, and realized that I still can't get into Candlebox.

Suggested Listening:
Green River - Come on Down
Mother Love Bone - Mother Love Bone
Nirvana - Nevermind


Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 by David Browne
For anyone who gets sucked into the culture and music of the late '60s/early '70s, David Browne’s Fire and Rain is a fascinating read. The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and CSNY intertwined and crossed paths in completely unexpected ways, and affected folks including Joni Mitchell, Clive Davis, Mike Nichols, Peter Asher, Dr. Arthur Janov, Carole King and Devo along the way.

Suggested Listening:
The Beatles - Let It Be
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu
James Taylor - Sweet Baby James


Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga by Steven Davis
The granddaddy of lascivious rock tell-alls, Steven Davis' recounting of Led Zeppelin's lumbering rise to the '70s golden gods is filled with anecdote after anecdote that seem like Spinal-Tap-esque fiction, but may really have happened. Warning: You may end up having Peter Grant and/or mudshark-related nightmares.

Suggested Listening:
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV
Physical Graffiti


I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum
Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum oral history of MTV was pretty eye-opening in that it illustrates how the channel was started by a scrappy bunch of people that didn't really know what they were building. Also, the VJs were treated like second-class citizens, Michael Bay and David Fincher would not be where they are today without MTV (for better or for worse), and one video can completely kill your career...just ask Billy Squier.

Suggested Listening:
Various Artists - MTV: Best of 120 Minutes, Vol. 1
Various Artists - Yo! MTV Raps: Hits
Nirvana - Unplugged in New York


Motley Crue: The Dirt - Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
Oh man, if you read Hammer Of The Gods and thought it was a bit too tame, then Mötley Crüe's The Dirt is for you. Each of the band members try to recall their early days and horrifying exploits in hilarious detail. Rolling Stone's Joe Levy described the book perfectly when he said "It is completely compelling and utterly revolting.” Like a motorcycle crash happening in front of you, you just can't turn away.

Suggested Listening:
Too Fast for Love
Shout at the Devil
Red, White & Crüe


Mozipedia: The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and The Smiths by Simon Goddard
There's so much more to Morrissey than sadness and vegetarianism! Well, OK, there isn't MUCH more, but still, the Mozipedia has everything one could possibly need to know about one of the world's most idiosyncratic artists.

Suggested Listening:
The Smiths - The Smiths
The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
Morrissey - Vauxhall and I


Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad
The author of definitive Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana takes a closer look at the underground rock world they inhabited alongside bands like the Replacements, Fugazi, and Big Black, whose influence helped establish American alternative and indie rock.

Suggested Listening:
Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation


Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain illustrate the rough kickstart of punk, particularly the New York and Detroit scenes in the '70s. Skuzzy, ugly and brilliant, the stories that surface in Please Kill Me give the reader an unflinching look at how punk fought its way to the surface.

Suggested Listening:
Various Artists - The Definitive Story of CBGB: The Home of US Punk
The Stooges - Fun House
Television - Marquee Moon


Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski
Languidly told, Joe Nick Patoski's thorough document of Willie Nelson's life moseys along through Willie's early struggles as a songwriter, his love of the great American songbook, and (as could be expected) recounts some hilarious exchanges with musicians, movie stars and dignitaries.

Suggested Listening:
The Essential Willie Nelson
Shotgun Willie
Stardust