Benjamin Piekut's Henry Cow: The World is a Problem (Duke UP, 2019) provides a compelling case study of the problems and possibilities of collective improvisation through the story of Henry Cow, the cult favorite British rock band active from 1968-1978. Engaging with free jazz, Maoism, and live electronics, Henry Cow pushed the boundaries of what a rock band could be. They set a standard for artistic independence that would be an inspiration to the punks that followed them, even if Henry Cow's epic freak-outs were sonic worlds away from the punks' three chord assaults. Drawing on a trove of first-hand documents (Henry Cow was the rare rock band to record minutes at their weekly meetings), Piekut's book is a tribute to a band that never stopped challenging themselves and their audience.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/music