When a member of The Aquabats! gives you free backstage passes to one of their shows just to give you a signed copy of his book, you know that he really feels strongly about the message contained therein, and that’s exactly what happened with A Sound Salvation: Rock N’ Roll As A Religion by Ian Fowles. As soon as he handed it to me, I opened it up to a random page and saw a large section on The Hold Steady, and knew I was going to love it. The basic premise of the book is that traditional religions in the United States, such as Christianity, have steadily declined over the last century, especially among young people, and that, for many, Rock N’ Roll has taken its place. Fowles argues that Rock N’ Roll is not just a past-time; for some, it functions precisely in the way religion does for its adherents.
This is not a new idea. Most scenies, hipsters, and people in the musical community are aware that some approach Rock N’ Roll religiously, devoting their time and energy to it and hailing its saints as more than human. Fowles’ book is unique in that it makes a point-by-point argument for this idea, using the definition of religion from the Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Eliade. Though I was skeptical at first, his entertaining and easy-to-read book had me fully convinced by the end, with one crucial qualification, noted below. Interested readers and fans of Ian Fowles might want to know that the first run of 300 copies are all hand-numbered and signed by the author. The link to get a copy is at the bottom of this review. Continue reading “A Sound Salvation: Rock and Roll As A Religion by Ian Fowles book review”