In the wake of the cultural tsunami of Nirvana, and their eventual tragic end, major music labels sought the Next Big Thing after the "Seattle sound" of grunge. They didn't have to wait long, as the release of Green Day's "Dookie" in 1994 set off a feeding frenzy of A&R men sent out to sign any punk-rock band that could write a decent melody. Using nearly a dozen major label debut albums as a framing device, Ozzi takes a look at what bands like Jimmy Eat World, Thursday, and others were up against in the battle to retain their artistic integrity in the rapidly-changing industry of the early 2000s.— Chris Linendoll
A raucous history of punk, emo, and hardcore's growing pains during the commercial boom of the early 90s and mid-aughts, following eleven bands as they sell out and find mainstream fame, or break beneath the weight of it all Punk rock found itself at a crossroads in the mid-90's. After indie favorite Nirvana catapulted into the mainstream with its unexpected phenomenon, Nevermind, rebellion was suddenly en vogue. Looking to replicate the band's success, major record labels set their sights on the underground, and began courting punk's rising stars. But the DIY punk scene, which had long prided itself on its trademark authenticity and anti-establishment ethos, wasn't quite ready to let their homegrown acts go without a fight. The result was a schism: those who accepted the cash flow of the majors, and those who defiantly clung to their indie cred. In Sellout, seasoned music writer Dan Ozzi chronicles this embattled era in punk. Focusing on eleven prominent bands who made the jump from indie to major, Sellout charts the twists and turns of the last gold rush of the music industry. Some groups who sold out, like Green Day and Blink-182, rose to surprise super stardom, while others, like Jawbreaker and At the Drive-In, buckled under mounting pressures. Featuring original interviews and personal stories from members of modern punk's most (in)famous bands, Sellout is both a gripping history of the music industry's evolution, and a punk rock lover's guide to the chaotic darlings of the post-grunge era.