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Making the Scene in the Garden State explores New Jersey’s rich musical heritage through stories about the musicians, listeners and fans who came together to create sounds from across the American popular music spectrum. The book includes chapters on the beginnings of musical recording in Thomas Edison’s factories in West Orange; early recording and the invention of the Victrola at Victor Records’ Camden complex; Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studios (for Blue Note, Prestige, and other jazz labels) in Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs; Zacherley and the afterschool dance television show Disc-o-Teen, broadcast from Newark in the 1960s; Bruce Springsteen’s early years on the Jersey Shore at the Upstage Club in Asbury Park; and, the 1980s indie rock scene centered at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Concluding with a foray into the thriving local music scenes of today, the book examines the sounds, sights and textures of the locales where New Jerseyans have gathered to rock, bop, and boogie.
About the Author
Dewar MacLeod is professor of history at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, specializing in popular culture, American Studies, and U.S. foreign policy, and the author of Kids of the Black Hole: Punk Rock in Postsuburban California, the first study of punk by a professional historian. He is singer/guitarist for Thee Volatiles, the best punk rock band in Montclair, New Jersey.
"The New Jersey music stories told in these pages are often punctuated by chance occurrences, dumb luck, unexpected brilliance, and a little magic. They also give us a view into the bigger patterns of cultural and historical change that are far more than a local matter. From MacLeod's 'scenes' come bigger shifts. Read this and be reminded of the ways in which popular (and sometimes unpopular!) music and the people who make it, listen to it, and dream through it do things out there on the margins that, finally, reshape the center." — Warren Zanes
"Music History was Made Here" by Tom Wilk — New Jersey Monthly
"Exploring New Jersey's Musical History" by Gary Wein — NJ Stage
"History of Jersey music, Jersey ‘Lips,' virtual Hudson events: recommendations to pass the time" by Jim Testa https://www.nj.com/hudson/2020/03/history-of-jersey-music-jersey-lips-virtual-hudson-events-recommendations-to-pass-the-time.html — NJ.com
"In many ways, MacLeod hits his finest notes [by] providing readers with useful miniature stories about the lives and times of Jersey Shore musicians and their audiences. Chockful of new information and helpfully resourced with the fruits of countless interviews, Making the Scene in the Garden State should enjoy a large audience both for the book’s scholarly value, as well as for its engaging anecdotes about New Jersey’s role in changing American musical culture for all time." — New Jersey Studies
"MacLeod offers a useful local cultural history that will enrich understanding of twentieth-century America for undergraduates and general-audiences alike. Meanwhile, professional scholars can add Making the Scene in the Garden State to their list of works that shine a light into the nation's unjustly overlooked corners." — Journal of American History