— Warren Zanes, author of Petty: The Biography
, New Jersey Monthly
About the Author
Dewar MacLeod is professor of history at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, specializing in popular culture, American Studies, and U.S. foreign policy, and the author of Kids of the Black Hole: Punk Rock in Postsuburban California, the first study of punk by a professional historian. He is singer/guitarist for Thee Volatiles, the best punk rock band in Montclair, New Jersey.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Beyond its reputations as the suburban outpost to Manhattan, the industrial wasteland, the barren swamps and pinelands where gangsters dump their victims, propagator of the tacky and déclassé, pathway between far more interesting locales, New Jersey has been home to vital and exciting scenes of musical production and enjoyment.
New Jersey deserves its own musical history. The state has been home not simply to musicians who were born there but went off to make their fame in the bright lights of the big city. The state has fostered and grown local scenes of musical and historical import. Certainly, the location on the outskirts of major cities at the northern and southern ends has factored into New Jersey’s influence. But this book will explore the homegrown and nurtured musical production and consumption in New Jersey. This book will fill in the historical record, including some vibrant and important musical moments that have not received their due attention. But, even more than claiming historical space for these musical productions as worthy of inclusion in some sort of musical hall of fame, I am interested in the social history of how people produce and consume music. For that, the organizing conceit of this book is the concept of scenes.
I use the term “scene” to discuss a variety of types of historical groupings of people around music, “the contexts in which clusters of producers, musicians, and fans collectively share their common musical tastes and collectively distinguish themselves from others.” Over the last few decades, scholars have explored, “… the production, performance, and reception of popular music. Work in the scenes perspective focuses on situations where performers, support facilities, and fans come together to collectively create music for their own enjoyment.” The term itself is malleable, even slippery, used as it is by participants, journalists, and scholars, often in very different ways.