“The First Great History of New York’s 21st Century Rock Scene...thoroughly entertaining…engrossing…Meet Me in the Bathroom is a wonderful reminder that the next big thing can be right around the corner.” (Spin)
“[A] gossip-fueled, engaging oral history” (Publishers Weekly)
From the Back Cover
From the clubs of New York’s Lower East Side to the warehouses of Williamsburg—a time that changed music, and the city, forever.
As the twentieth century drew to a close, New York City felt played out as a cultural capital. A flood of new money had turned downtown into a museum of what used to be cool, a playground for bankers and the dot-com crowd. If you wanted the rock-and-roll life, New York City was the last place you’d move. And yet, in the decade that followed, it would serve as the stage for a radical pop-cultural renaissance. How exactly did this happen?
In this riveting oral history told by those who were actually there, playing the music, pouring the drinks, signing the checks, and writing the cover stories, journalist Lizzy Goodman chronicles the rebirth of New York rock. In the early 2000s, the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, the Moldy Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, and others, who had been honing their craft in obscurity, suddenly became reflections of a newly flush, newly booming town determined to recover from the devastation of September 11. As kids around the world began to dress like they’d been thrifting on Avenue A, it became clear that New York had not only reclaimed its signature rock-and-roll swagger, but had also exported this new incarnation of American cool globally. A second generation was eagerly waiting in the wings: Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, and Kings of Leon, who’d all but given up on breaking out of their provincial corners of the world, got the message that rock was back, and used grotty New York clubs as launching pads on their way to selling out arenas around the world.
Meet Me in the Bathroom explores how during this era the music industry was dismantled and then reborn via technology—first by Napster and later iTunes—and how traditional publications like Rolling Stone and Spin were pushed to compete with evangelist bloggers typing feverishly in their underwear, as well as with edgier journalistic upstarts like Vice and Pitchfork. Meanwhile, as the reshaping of the city—technological, aesthetic, cultural, and physical—spread from downtown Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bands like MGMT, Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear, and Dirty Projectors became the new stars, remaking the idea of New York in their own nerdy image, and helping ensure “I heart Brooklyn” would become the mantra of a new generation.
Crafted from nearly two hundred original interviews and curated by a writer who remembers the hangovers herself, Meet Me in the Bathroom follows in the great tradition of the beloved classic Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. Charting the first decade of the 2000s in all its epic and reckless glory, here is a brilliant portrait of a city, an industry, and a generation on the verge of seismic change.