Minnesota Historical Society

First Avenue

$ 24.95


Minnesota's Mainroom

Author Chris Riemenschneider

Minnesota Historical Society Press (Paberback November 1, 2022)


Where Prince and Minnesota made rock ’n’ roll 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 clubs in American rock ’n’ roll, First Avenue in Minneapolis finally gets the rock-star treatment it deserves in print. This book chronicles the club’s storied past, beginning with its impressive inaugural show in April 1970 (Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” tour) and through its oft-maligned disco era of the late 1970s. In the 1980s, it earned global attention as the hub of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and the incubator for widely revered, wild-eyed indie-rock locals such as the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and Babes in Toyland. The Ramones and R.E.M., Chrissie Hynde and Lauryn Hill, Wilco and the Wu-Tang Clan, and hundreds more played the hallowed halls of First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, and all are immortalized in this volume.

First Avenue survived corporate competitors, bankruptcy, and a bitter ownership battle 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 celebration of a rock ’n’ roll landmark.

Also of interest:
Hijinx and Hearsay: Scenester Stories from Minnesota's Pop Life
Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis
Prince: Before the Rain
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

Minnesota History article: PunkFunkRockPop

MNHS Collections: PunkFunkRockPop

Author information

Chris Riemenschneider is 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.

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRstrib

Reviews and news

Watch the Book Trailer
Watch "History-at-Home Author Talk" on Facebook Live

"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."
Minnesota Monthly

"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."
Pioneer Press

Voted best book (nonfiction) in the City Pages 2018 Annual Best of the Twin Cities issue
Excerpt in Star Tribune
City Pages
The Current
WCCO-TV Morning Show
Pioneer Press
Minnesota Monthly
Twin Cities Geek
Billboard Magazine 2017 Holiday Gift Guide
Star Tribune Music Lover Gift Guide
Minnesota History


  • 264 pages
  • 320 color and 100 b&w photos, index
  • 9.25x10.625 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681342399

You also Viewed

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to receive our daily email and get 50% off your first purchase.