The Decibel Diaries

A Journey through Rock in 50 Concerts

Carter Alan

Sometimes a rock concert is more than just an event. Every so often a band’s performance becomes a musical milestone, a cultural watershed, a political statement, and a personal apotheosis. On any given night a rock concert can tell the truth about who we are, where we are, and what’s going on in music and life right now. In The Decibel Diaries, Carter Alan, longtime DJ and music director at WZLX in Boston, chronicles a lifetime in rock with a tour through fifty concerts that defined such moments—from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young playing in the rain when Richard Nixon resigned to Talking Heads and the first stirrings of punk in the basement bars of New York and Boston to the bluegrass angel Alison Krauss and the adaptable veteran Robert Plant forging a plangent, plaintive postmodern synergy. For each event Alan shows us what it was like to be there and telescopes out to reveal how this show fit into the arc of the artist’s career, the artist’s place in music, and the music’s place in the wider world. Taken together, The Decibel Diaries is a visceral and visionary portrait of nearly fifty years of rock ’n’ roll.

Paper: $19.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781611687927
Pages: 352 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: April 4, 2017


  • Decibel Diaries: A Journey Through Rock in 50 Concerts traces a history of rock and roll through several decades’ worth of live concerts. Alan writes about concerts by a range of artists, including B.B. King and Prince.

    Boston Globe
  • The Decibel Diaries is funny, snarky, insightful, slightly (and charmingly) naïve in the early entries, and always honest.

    Wicked Local
  • Essentially, it is a love letter to the communal spirit of being a member of an audience digging an artist making art in the moment. For however long the concert lasts (and with festivals and Bruce Springsteen that can be several hours), there is a feeling of connection with the people around you.

    Arts Fuse
  • Rock and roll, good gigs and bad, ups and downs: I’ve seen it all in Aerosmith, and Carter gets to the heart of it. He’s been witness to, as well as influential in, all of the ups and downs in the business. Who better to write a book like this? And he nailed it.

    Joe Perry of Aerosmith
  • The Decibel Diaries is like an On the Road for the post-Beatles generation. The love for the music shines through.

    Bill Janovitz
    author of Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones

About the Author

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