10 Indie Rock Memoirs We’d Like To See


When the news broke that Neil Young is writing an all-encompassing memoir, it got us thinking about what other musicians — and specifically which of our favorite current indie rockers — we’d like to see compose tell-all autobiographies. Mysterious band break-ups, high-profile couplings gone awry, reclusive behavior, extensive touring, and cult childhoods exposed would all make for awesome, page-turning reads for those of us who have always been curious about the private goings-on behind the music. So, in hopes of giving our favorite potential memoirists a gentle push, we’ve complied a list of ten artists whose lives who we’d love to learn more about.

Julian Casablancas

As the lead singer and main songwriter of The Strokes, Julian Casablancas was thrown into international indie-rock stardom, after the release of the band’s breakout LP Is This It. But not everything in leather jacket-clad musician’s life was sunshine and daisies. He insists that his childhood wasn’t the elitist Manhattan fantasy the press has painted it to be, and The Strokes’ life-changing transition from NYC underground to international stardom was burdened by heavy partying, which led to a two-year nose dive into alcoholism and band break-ups. While the drama seems to have cooled down — Casablancas is married to, and has children with, his former manager, and The Strokes have reunited with talks of possible future albums — he should still write that book and to set the record straight.

PJ Harvey

There are so many reasons why PJ Harvey needs to pen a memoir. Aside from being one of our favorite musicians of the past 20 years and an inspiration to countless contemporary musicians (she even influenced Autolux to self-produce their last record, Transit Transit), she’s an artist with illustrations and sculptures under her belt — and the biography that came out back in 2004 doesn’t do justice to her multifaceted talents. Now that we’ve got all that lofty stuff out of the way, our main question is, what happened with her and Nick Cave? The musical pair dated back in 1996 and appeared to be a match made in heaven — both a bit bizarre, but wonderfully so. Harvey even appears on the deep-voiced Aussie’s album Murder Ballads, and the couple’s break-up is said to have influenced that record’s follow-up, The Boatman’s Call. So, what happened, Polly Jean?

Alex Ebert of Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

Breaking out on the LA party scene in the late ’90s as a part of the experimental punk band Ima Robot, the reggae-invoking vocalist’s life quickly spun out of control. While he was signed to a major label and exploring his musical creativity with mind-bending tunes and mellow, Bowie-esque ballads, he was also being consumed by heroin and, ironically, has said he felt like he lived a robotic existence. It wasn’t until he sobered up, joined AA, met former American Apparel model-turned-singer Jade Castrinos, and composed the ‘60‘s throwback band of “Home” fame, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, that life started to seem bright again. And although Ebert has been pretty forthcoming about his sordid past in interviews, there are still lots of unanswered questions and details missing — like why did he and Jade end their seemingly perfect romance?

Christopher Owens of Girls

Raised in the Children of God cult, Christopher Owens was dragged around the world before he ran away from the extremist community, moving solo from Slovenia to Texas at only 16. That past is reason enough to write a tell-all, never mind the fact that Owens is also the frontman in a genre-barrier-breaking indie band. As the blonde, floppy-haired frontman, songwriter, and guitarist for San Francisco’s Girls, he has spoken out not only about his unique childhood — during which he wasn’t allowed to consume pop culture — but also about his later experimentation with sex and drugs. Is there any salacious element this memoir wouldn’t have?

Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon

After a fateful meeting in New York City many moons ago, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore have been partners in crime. Coming together in the early ’80s to form Sonic Youth, the pair became one of the most influential indie bands of all time. While the group’s work has been covered by many writers, Gordon and Moore’s personal story is the one we’re most interested about. They have been married for nearly 30 years — and their partnership has been as artistically fruitful as it has been romantic. We’d like to read a firsthand account of how these two inspired not only the world, but each other.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

As the daughter of ’60s model and muse Jane Birkin and notorious French pop star Serge Gainsbourg, the whispery-voiced songstress must have had an incredible childhood. Granted, Birkin and Gainsbourg didn’t have an everlasting relationship, splitting up only nine years after Charlotte was born, but still, we can’t help but wonder what kind of family environment she had, and how being raised by two artistic souls fostered the musician’s own aspirations? (Also, we wonder about her take, decades later, on her and Serge’s controversial duet, “Lemon Incest.”)

Jeff Mangum

As the mastermind behind one of the most amazing and lyrically bizarre records of all time, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, the Neutral Milk Hotel singer, songwriter ,and guitarist disappeared from public life in the late ’90s. Since then, the reclusive Mangum has been popping-up, putting on the rare show from time-to-time, and is finally in the midst of a handful of tour dates that coincide with the release of a self-released NMH box set. Since he’s still press-shy, we hope one day he’ll let us know how he’s spent the past decade, and why he decided to come back to us.

Meg White

Now that The White Stripes have disbanded for good, the infamously shy Meg White should uncork those bottled-up thoughts about the years she spent on the road with her ex-husband-turned-faux-brother, Jack White. From their break up to the decision to sell themselves as siblings, Meg has a fascinating tale to tell about how two Detroit rockers took the world by storm. We also wouldn’t mind hearing what it’s like to be Patti Smith’s daughter-in-law.

Jenny Lewis

This cute-as-a-button singer has a ton of projects under her belt: in addition to fronting Rilo Kiley, Lewis has released two solo records, collaborated with the likes of Conor Oberst, and now performs with her boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, under the handle Jenny and Johnny. Perhaps even more intriguing, she began her career as a child actor in ’80s before transforming her lackluster Hollywood career into a life of recording and touring as a full-fledged indie rock goddess. Who wouldn’t want to hear all the stories Lewis has collected over the last few decades about her musical adventures?

Carrie Brownstein

Helping to pioneer the riot grrrl movement as a guitarist and vocalist in Excuse 17 and the Sleater-Kinney, taking on the blogosphere as a widely read writer for NPR Music, and conquering comedy alongside Fred Armisen for the pair’s IFC sketch comedy show Portlandia are just a few of the accomplishments Brownstein musician has accumulated over the past two decades. While we’d love to devour a massive tome spanning the rocker’s life, we’re most interested in her with Sleater-Kinney. Brownstein and Corin Tucker formed the iconic band in the mid-’90s, combining feminist-tinged political lyrics with shout-y, dueling vocals and grinding guitars. They toured together, created several amazing studio albums, and even dated during the band’s early days — all of which would make for fascinating material on an epic creative partnership.