Minnesota Historical Society Press (Paperback, November 2022)
Where Prince and Minnesota made music history—a glorious look back at one of rock’s most storied clubs and the thousands of musicians who took the stage there.
One of the longest running rock clubs in America, First Avenue in Minneapolis gets the rock-star treatment it deserves with this glorious celebration of a true rock 'n' roll landmark. Revised and updated through the club's 50th-anniversary celebrations, the book chronicles the club's storied past—from its impressive inaugural show in April 1970 (Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" tour) up through the latest acts to take the stage at this beloved venue.
In its initial incarnation as the Depot, the club hosted music legends as varied as the Kinks, Ike and Tina Turner, Alice Cooper, and B. B. King before transforming into a disco club known as Uncle Sam's. In the '80s, First Avenue catapulted to the global stage as the hub of Prince's Purple Rain and the incubator for widely revered, wild-eyed indie-rock bands such as the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and Babes in Toyland. During the past half-century, First Avenue and 7th Street Entry have hosted everyone from the Ramones to R.E.M., Wilco to the Wu-Tang Clan, Billy Idol to Billie Eilish, Lizz Winstead to Lizzo, and hundreds more—all immortalized in this volume.
Over the decades, First Avenue survived corporate competitors, bankruptcy, a bitter ownership battle, and most recently, a global pandemic to become one of the most successful independent clubs in the country and ground zero to Minneapolis's thriving community of hip-hop and indie-rock acts. Amidst all that history, the book is interlaced with anecdotes, quotes, and occasionally cloudy memories from musicians, employees, and regulars—many of whom are as unique as the club itself. Chock full of concert photos and memorabilia collected from professional photographers and average fans alike, the book is a lavish tribute to a rock 'n' roll landmark.
Also of interest:
Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis
Prince: Before the Rain
Loud Fast Words: Soul Asylum Collected Lyrics
Hijinx and Hearsay: Scenester Stories from Minnesota's Pop Life
Complicated Fun: The Birth of Minneapolis Punk and Indie Rock, 1974-1984
I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland
MNopedia article: First Avenue & 7th Street Entry
Chris Riemenschneider is a longtime music critic and reporter for the Star Tribune and has contributed articles to a wide variety of newspapers and music publications. He has been attending shows and events at First Avenue for decades and has rubbed elbows with the great and not-so-great who have graced the stages of the Main Room and the 7th Street Entry. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.
Reviews and news
"First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom looks and feels like the coolest scrapbook ever. While Chris Riemenschneider, a music critic with the Star Tribune since 2001, does an amazing job of recounting the groundbreaking concerts and acts that have happened on this legendary stage (for example, R.E.M. when it was still an underground college band), it was band posters, ticket stubs, and photos from the concerts that pulled me into the book."
"Filled with hundreds of terrific images, from dramatic concert photos taken by house photographer Daniel Corrigan to snapshots captured behind the scenes and in the crowds by employees and friends of First Avenue. But what holds it all together is the deeply researched and utterly compelling history of the venue written by Chris Riemenschneider. . . . [I]t also serves a sort of history of decades' worth of alternative and underground music in the Twin Cities, tracing the careers of dozens of acts, both local and national, who used the stage as a launching pad to greater success."
Voted best book (nonfiction) in the City Pages 2018 Best of the Twin Cities issue.
Featured in Billboard Magazine's 2017 Holiday Gift Guide.
Reviewed or featured in the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, City Pages, Minnesota Monthly, The Current, Minnesota Public Radio, WCCO-TV Morning Show, Twin Cities Geek, Minnesota History, and more.
- 264 pages
- 320 color and 100 b&w photos
- 9.25 x 10.625 inches
- ISBN: 9781681342399