Paper $16.95 ISBN: 9781786990150 Published June 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786990167 Published June 2017 For sale in North and South America only

Rock in a Hard Place

Music and Mayhem in the Middle East

Orlando Crowcroft

Rock in a Hard Place

Orlando Crowcroft

Distributed for Zed Books

256 pages | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $16.95 ISBN: 9781786990150 Published June 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786990167 Published June 2017 For sale in North and South America only
A muggy night in Abu Dhabi in 2011. Under the stadium lights a 30,000-strong sea of Libyans, Palestinians, Syrians, and Egyptians wait in anticipation. Alongside them are Saudis, Iranians, and Israelis. Defiance and excitement course through the crowd like electricity. Standing together, they are waiting for Metallica’s first-ever show in the Middle East. Many of the people in the audience have faced untold violence in their lives, but for tonight, all that is put aside, and nothing else matters.
 
Journalist and lifelong heavy metal fan Orlando Crowcroft spent six years penetrating the rock and metal scene in the Middle East, reporting on it and interviewing bands for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and the Atlantic. In Rock in a Hard Place, we meet young men and women making music in the back rooms of shabby houses in al-Zarqa and al-Qatif, Nazareth and Cairo. Alongside Crowcroft, we rock out at illegal shows in Tehran and Riyadh, and we listen to the songs that helped oust a dictator in Cairo. Rock in a Hard Place pays tribute to these courageous and determined musicians, who are willing to risk everything—even their lives—for music.
 
With this book, Crowcroft offers a different voice, one that is at odds with the view of the Middle East mired in violence, extremism, and war. It is a voice recognizable to anyone who has ever turned up a speaker or an amp to drown out the din of the everyday, and a voice that may help unite us when we need it most.
 
 
Review Quotes
Kim Kelly | Vice
“Part oral history, part bite-size political history, and part travelogue. . . . Crowcroft introduces us to bands like Lebanon's Damaar and Creative Waste from Saudi Arabia, both of which share the experience of being persecuted for the simple crime of loving rock music. The book is also an intriguing window into how class, culture, and religion play into these scenes—whether it’s Saudi bands angrily dismissing black metal’s anti-religiosity, or the differences in how the Christian East and Muslim West of Beirut prefer their metal (‘If [East Beirut] are Iron Maiden, we are Venom,’ Lebanese musician Tex explains).”
Contemporary Islam
“Crowcroft’s book is a fine contribution to a growing literature on popular culture in the Middle East, providing a valuable, seldom-given glimpse into atheist, antiauthoritarian, and anti-religious counter culture.”
PopMatters
Rock in a Hard Place tells the story of a ceaseless struggle for people to see art thrive in the least likely places, despite any and all odds.”
Mick Wall, author of Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N' Roses
“Black Metal, Islam, war zones —and a great shock of humanity. Orlando Crowcroft goes where no other writer has even thought of going before and brings back an improbably remarkable story.”
Clive Stafford Smith
"A fascinating insight into the impossibility of repressing everyone no matter how fanatic you may be. It is surprising that more heavy metal rockers do not get stoned to death.”
Silenoz, guitarist for Dimmu Borgir and Insidious Disease
“Going to jail for liking a band like us, that's taking chances… It's shocking to hear that someone had to suffer and risk his life for nothing but a love of music and a passion for freedom of speech.”
Brad Logan, guitarist for F-Minus and Leftöver Crack
Rock in A Hard Place is a must read for any musician—specially those involved in the underground. An inspiring report on the power of music to unite human beings in the face of adversity.”
x Cavalera, former frontman for Sepultura
“Crowcroft’s book is a revelation into the torture, oppression and imprisonment metalheads stand up to, just so they can be metal in the Middle East. This book is a must read!”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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