Jon Fine (Bitch Magnet/Coptic Light /Don Caballero) in conversation with STEWART LEE.

Jon Fine and Stewart Lee discuss "Your Band Sucks"

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Damnably is proud to present an evening with Jon Fine ( Bitch Magnet/ Coptic Light / Don Caballero) who will be in conversation with TV comedy star and music critic Stewart Lee then playing live with The Werewolves Of London (feat. members of smallgang).

Jon will be chatting about and taking questions on his critically accailmed book ‘Your Band Sucks’ What I Saw at Indie Rock’s Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) published by Penguin Books.

Jon Fine spent years in various aggressive and underground bands—Bitch Magnet being the most known–and, as he writes in his widely acclaimed memoir Your Band Sucks: What I Saw At The Failed Indie Rock Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear), “none of them were ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame. But fame, of course, was never the point. What was the point was participating in—indeed, living one’s entire life in—the underground rock culture of the 1980s and 1990s, that miracle that happened when a generation of smart misfits found each other and built, by hand, a culture that persists to this day.

In spoken-word-performances-cum-discussions–which Jon has already taken to fifteen North American cities–Jon will read several short sections of his book, interlinked with a series of narrative reminiscences that will serve to join those sections into one narrative arc that will cover the tentative beginnings of the underground of the 80s, its flowering and flourishing, its reckonings with the mainstream (and vice versa) and the re-emergence of many such bands once again this decade, as many got back together for reunion tours. Including Bitch Magnet, a tour in which—well, why give it all away now?

Questions from the audience are encouraged. Actually, they’re mandatory. Where possible, Jon will be joined for a discussion of his book and the independent music culture of the 80’s and 90’s and today by someone who was there, too. (Musicians who’ve appeared with Jon at events in the US include: Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Mark Arm of Mudhoney, and Clint Conley of Mission of Burma.)


“[E]verything a cult-fave musician’s memoir should be: It’s a seductively readable book that requires no previous knowledge of the author, Bitch Magnet or any other band with which he’s played.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“The story of the indie rock era has rarely been told as well as it has in Your Band Sucks . . . Written with both anthropological detachment and deep romanticism about the making of music, Fine’s book belongs on the shelf alongside Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life.”

“Jon Fine has done something miraculous: he managed to drag me through a time in my life that I hated and made me actually miss it. Both a hilarious personal memoir and an obsessive guide to that weird moment in underground music before the great tsunami of the Internet changed everything forever, Your Band Sucks reminds you that one self-confessed rock-nerd’s journey through rejection, triumph, and cheap motels is as universal as any well-told story.”
—James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem

“Like Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, but for would-be rock stars who live like train hobos and perform for dozens of fans a night.”
—Men’s Health

“More striking than Fine’s clever words is his incisive commentary, which examines everything we’ve come to know about music in the digital age, from cyber communities to music streaming services to major record labels.”

“Your Band Sucks is a fantastic document of a culture-defining era of rock music. It paints a detailed portrait of the scene before corporations bought music’s soul. A tremendous read.”
—Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai

“When we played festivals, we used to have this thing where we’d walk up to the other bands and ask, ‘What shitty band are you in?’ I would dare never have asked Bitch Magnet that same question. In fact, I would probably have run and hid from them the same way I would have from Wire or Iggy Pop, or a tear-streaked, mascara-running Courtney Love, in her ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ dress, being escorted through the backstage area on the arms of a couple of police officers. Their music was that intimidatingly good. And in Your Band Sucks, Jon Fine lovingly chronicles, with strong accuracy, the zeitgeist in which his band excelled.”
—Robert Pollard, Guided by Voices

“A fine-grained account of indie rock’s conflicted mind-mess—the mix of boundless idealism and cynicism, lofty aspirations and defeatism, absolute conviction and constant doubt, flashes of transcendence and abject embarrassment. Best of all, Your Band Sucks captures the delirious fun of joining up with a small group, finding your way into a small scene, connecting to a larger family of internationally networked and like-minded misfits, and taking on the world knowing you’ve already lost. This book makes me feel lucky to have played a small part in this grand, doomed endeavor.”
—Clint Conley, Mission of Burma

“I imagine, in a small van, Jon Fine is very hard to take.”
—Amazon reviewer


Jon Fine is the executive editor of Inc. magazine. As a guitarist—in Bitch Magnet, Coptic Light, and Don Caballero, among others—he’s performed around the world and appeared on MTV. As a writer, Fine’s long-running BusinessWeek column “Media Centric” won both American Society of Business Publication Editors and National Headliner awards, and his work for Food & Wine won a James Beard Award. He has served as an on-air contributor to CNBC, and his work has also appeared in the Atlantic, GQ, and Vanity Fair.