Author of "Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years" and "No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and The Church." Architect of the "Dark Side of Hall and Oates" tribute CD. Freelance writer.
Mailer’s Last Days?
Mailer’s Last Days: New and Selected Remembrances of a Life in Literature, by J. Michael Lennon (Etruscan Press, 312 pp., $22) & Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer, by Richard Bradford (Bloomsbury Caravel, 304 pp., $28)
Cancel culture is an obscenity; that’s my position and I’m sticking to it. But with any firmly held belief, there is often that idea, or figure, that causes a moment of hesitation: Could the other side have a point? Norman Mailer is such a figure here, and I say that as a fi...
Why Do Soldiers Miss War?
Tempe, AZ. “Why do soldiers miss war?” This is the provocative question at the heart of Scott Beauchamp’s essay collection Did You Kill Anyone?: Reunderstanding My Military Experience as a Critique of Modern Culture. It’s what he wishes the bleary-eyed hipsters who quietly sidled up to him at Brooklyn rooftop parties (and elsewhere) in the years after his military deployment would have asked him instead of the book’s titular question. It’s a question he asks himself with some frequency. He kn...
Stardust Passing in the Night
Laurence Myers’ Hunky Dory (Who Knew) is a rare rock memoir that’s immensely enjoyable and full of new information.
We’re at peak rock memoir. Nearly every living legacy artist (and some dead; see Prince) is having his or her say on paper. The top tier of these has exceeded expectations: Keith Richards’ Life was widely acclaimed, and Patti Smith’s Just Kids notched a National Book Award. But relatively little has been heard from the music industry insiders who helped shepherd the rock era int...
How a 20th century theologian became a quiet prophet for our distracted age
I saw machines invading the land that had previously been the home of culture.
—Romano Guardini Letters From Lake Como
A curious thing can happen when a person leaves a place for years—or decades. The mind retains a snapshot of that place exactly as it was the last time one saw it. The rest of the world may move along, but the snapshot stays there, stubbornly pinned to a specific but increasingly distant date. And if one ever happens to return to that place, this fixed image can throw into re...
“Begin the Begin” Excerpt (with additional text by Bryan Thomas)
Robert Dean Lurie’s brand new biography about R.E.M.’s early years, Begin the Begin (Verse Chorus Press, published in May 2019) — the title refers to the first track from their 1986 album, Life’s Rich Pageant — is the most definitive record of their early formative years in Athens, Georgia, home to bands like the B-52’s and the lesser-known but powerfully potent Pylon (Lurie also lived there for a few years).
R.E.M. — lead singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and dru...
'Begin the Begin' Book Excerpt
In Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years (out now from Verse Chorus Press), author Robert Dean Lurie turns back the clock to the formative years of the wildly influential group, tracing their origins back to the fertile Athens, Georgia rock scene, investigating the formative influence of the South in their work, and talking to a host of observers from those days.
We're proud to present this excerpt from this important piece of music journalism.
Legendary R.E.M. performances captured before they were famous, 1981 (with a DM exclusive)
The band R.E.M. were a highly successful and respected indie act that went on to became one of the biggest bands of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. But they started out as just another local group in the Athens, Georgia music scene—though they immediately stood out. An upcoming book examines their formative period, and Dangerous Minds has an exclusive excerpt. We also have some vintage live R.E.M. audio and video to share with you.
Begin the Begin: R.E.M.‘s Early Years will be published soon by...
GHOST OF THE LOST COAST: Camper Van Beethoven - Blurt Magazine
“There’s no real benefit to stopping!” A conversation with David Lowery. BY ROBERT DEAN LURIE I’ve never really agreed with the famous quip (attributed to Martin Mull) that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Nick Tosches, Lester Bangs, Nick Kent, and many other fine writers have proven...
The Time Is Now: The Time Is Yesterday: Seven Simons
The unlikely return of one of the great, lost Athens, Georgia bands
Hope Beyond Technique: On Jacques Ellul
This essay appears in the Summer 2019 issue of Modern Age.
We are in the midst of a technological panic. The current concern is social media: Facebook and Twitter and their incursions into personal privacy and the democratic process. A couple of years ago the big topic of handwringing was drones. Next year it may be artificial intelligence or virtual reality, depending on which of those in-development technologies gets off the ground first. From the editorial pages ...
BROKEN BELLS INSIDE OUT: Pt. 1 — The Crooner - Blurt Magazine
“Perfect timing. Almost to the point where you’re superstitious.”: In which James Mercer, of Shins indie rock fame, outlines his gradual disillusionment with his old band and suggests how the subsequent summit with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton might turn into his sonic salvation. BY ROBERT DEAN LURIE DATELINE: Tempe, Arizona...
BROKEN BELLS INSIDE OUT: Pt. 2—The Mad Scientist - Blurt Magazine
Part 2 of Blurt's interview with Broken Bells....
BROKEN BELLS INSIDE OUT: Pt. 3—The Alchemists - Blurt Magazine
Part 3 of the Blurt interview with Broken Bells' James Mercer and Brian Burton....
Through the (Stained) Looking Glass: David Bowie and the Berlin Trilogy
An excerpt from "We Can Be Heroes: The Radical Individualism of David Bowie."
An Exhilarating Tale of European Auto Racing on the Eve of World War II
Neal Bascomb’s account of the improbable victory of René Dreyfus over Nazi Germany’s elite racing team has speed, depth, and poetry.