(Re-)valuing rock music

Curatorship in the production of garage rock reissue compilation albums

Authors

  • José Vicente Neglia University of Hong Kong

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.39631

Keywords:

sound recordings, value, curation, garage rock music

Abstract

This article concerns the production of reissue compilation albums, focusing on garage rock compilations as a case study into questions of value and curation in popular music. The reissue compilation is a distinct form of media that has been largely overlooked in popular music scholarship, despite the fact that it has long been a mainstay of rock music fandom. The notion of curation presents a useful lens through which to understand the key role these albums play in documenting and recovering popular music history. I argue that curation here involves more than simply selecting tracks, designing album covers and writing liner notes; rather, it is a form of archival work that entails tracking down ‘forgotten’ bands and their recordings, narrativizing popular music history, navigating copyright, and compiling this material in album form. Drawing on recent theories of value in the anthropological and ethnomusicological literature, I propose an approach to curation that emphasizes the work of archiving, documenting and recovering 1960s rock and roll as a form of fan engagement that is generative of new forms of value.

Author Biography

José Vicente Neglia, University of Hong Kong

José Vicente Neglia is a lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. An ethnomusicologist by training, his current research concerns the politics of memory in popular music, for which he has conducted extensive research in Japan and North America on a genre of rock called garage rock. He is currently working on a project funded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong on reissue recordings as a distinct form of media in rock music.

References

Aaltonen, Lari. “Crate-Digging Columbuses and Vinyl Vespuccis—Exoticism in World Music Vinyl Collections.” In Intercultural Masquerade: New Orientalism, New Occidentalism, Old Exoticism, edited by Regis Machart, Fred Dervin, and Minghui Gao, 67–79. Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer, 2016.

Atton, Chris. “Curating Popular Music: Authority and History, Aesthetics and Technology.” Popular Music 33, no. 3 (2014): 413–27.

Balzer, David. Curationism How Curating Took over the Art World and Everything Else. London: Pluto Press, 2015.

Bottomley, Andrew J. “Play It Again: Rock Music Reissues and the Production of the Past for the Present.” Popular Music and Society 39, no. 2 (March 14, 2016): 151–74.

Bovey, Seth. Five Years Ahead of My Time: Garage Rock from the 1950s to the Present. London: Reaktion Books, 2019.

Carlson, Scott. “Bootleg Compilations as Fan Preservation.” In Music Preservation and Archiving Today, edited by Norie Guthrie and Scott Carlson, 157–76. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018.

Graeber, David. “It Is Value That Brings Universes into Being.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3, no. 2 (June 1, 2013): 219–43. https://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau3.2.012

———. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

Hicks, Michael. Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Kugelberg, Johan, ed. Back from the Grave. New York: Boo-Hooray, 2013.

Lambek, Michael. “The Value of (Performative) Acts.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3, no. 2 (2013): 141–60. https://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau3.2.009

Lindgren, Erik. “Erik Lindgren Interview about TNT, Moving Parts, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and His Record Label Called Arf! Arf!” Interview by Klemen Breznikar. It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine, February 17, 2012. https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2012/02/erik-lindgren-interview-about-tn.html.

Maalsen, Sophia. “Reissuing Alternative Music Heritages: The Materiality of the Niche Reissued Record and Challenging What Music Matters.” Popular Music and Society 39, no. 5 (August 3, 2015): 1–16.

———. The Social Life of Sound. Singapore: Springer, 2019.

Markesich, Mike. TeenBeat Mayhem!: Commemorating America’s Forgotten Musical Heritage: Those Teenage Rock & Roll Combos of the Swingin’ 1960s. Branford, Conn.: Priceless Info Press, 2012.

Roy, Elodie A. Media, Materiality and Memory: Grounding the Groove. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2015.

Taylor, Timothy D. “Valuing Music.” In Music in the World: Selected Essays, 174–99. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2017.

———. “World Music, Value and Memory.” In Speaking in Tongues: Pop Lokal Global, edited by Dietrich Helms and Thomas Phleps, 103–17. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2015.

Walters, David. The Children of Nuggets: The Definitive Guide to “Psychedelic Sixties” Punk Rock on Compilation Albums. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Popular Culture, 1990.

Warren, Tim. “Interview with Tim Warren of Crypt Records.” Interview by Joe Almeida. Slovenly Recordings (blog), June 13, 2018. https://www.slovenly.com/news/interview-with-tim-warren-of-crypt-records/

———. “‘Back from the Grave’: An Interview with Crypt Records’ Tim Warren.” Dynamite Hemorrhage (Issue No. 2). November 2014

Discography

Various Artists. IGL Dance Jamboree ’66. Arf! Arf!, 1994.

———. The IGL Rock Story: Part One (1965-67). Arf! Arf!, 1994.

———. The IGL Rock Story: Part Two (1967-68). Arf! Arf!, 1994b.

———. Back from the Graves, Volume 1. Crypt Records, 1983.

Dee Jay & the Runaways. Dee Jay and the Runaways: “Peter Rabbit”: The Complete Studio Recordings. Arf! Arf!, 1997.

Published

2021-02-05

How to Cite

Neglia, J. V. (2021). (Re-)valuing rock music: Curatorship in the production of garage rock reissue compilation albums. Popular Music History, 13(1-2), 191–208. https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.39631