Where Are Your Boys Tonight?: The Oral History of Emo's Mainstream Explosion 1999-2008 (Paperback)
A “vivid and breathless” (Billboard) oral history of emo’s takeover from 1999 to 2008, featuring My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Panic! At the Disco, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional.
If Meet Me in the Bathroom traced New York City's early 2000’s rock scene, Where Are Your Boys Tonight? gives the inside story of the turn-of-the-millennium emo subculture that became bigger than anyone thought possible. There was Pete Wentz, the Fall Out Boy leader who launched a litany of scene-stealing bands and preposterous side-hustles, and Gerard Way, the wizard behind My Chemical Romance and The Black Parade. Panic! At the Disco and Paramore emerged soon after—a pair of intrepid outsiders who got massive playing by their own rules. As they ascended, MySpace took over the internet and the age of influencers dawned, with emo its choice aesthetic.
Music journalist Chris Payne experienced emo's mainstream takeover from sweaty crowds and mosh pits growing up in New Jersey. In Where Are Your Boys Tonight? he offers an authoritative, impassioned, and occasionally absurd account told through interviews with more than 150 people, from the scene's biggest bands, producers, and managers to the teenage fans who helped redefine American music culture.
Chris Payne is a journalist whose writing has appeared in publications like Vulture, Stereogum, Alternative Press, and Billboard, where he spent seven years as a staff writer and podcast host covering alternative and independent music. Earlier, he served two years as music director of the College of New Jersey’s WTSR. He was born in New Brunswick, NJ, grew up in Colonia, NJ, and now resides in Brooklyn.
"terrific" — Washington Post
"Remembered by those who lived it from the stage, the pit and everywhere in between, Where Are Your Boys Tonight? is a vivid and breathless read that will have you reliving countless moments that you may or may not have actually lived through the first time." — Billboard
"For those of us who are nostalgic for the days when we drew on black eyeliner before dashing off to school." — Men's Health
"Dust off the jelly bracelets, write love on your arms, and get that snake bite piercing because if the emo festivals and fashion trends of the last two years haven’t signaled enough of the pop punk-emo revival, this book solidifies it." — Nylon Magazine
"Payne’s book is a cross between a highly specific soap opera and a highly effective time-machine." — Inside Hook
“Emo exploded just as I gained cultural, so for me and many of my peers emo music was a formative force in our lives, voicing the angst that many of us found ourselves newly harboring as adolescents. So I can’t wait to read Payne’s oral history of the genre, which uses interviews with My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and more to reconstruct emo’s meteoric ascent and profound cultural footprint.” — The Millions
"A must read for emo fans." — Kirkus Reviews
“Payne’s oral history does a remarkable job of defining and showing the meteoric boom of emo that music fans will find fascinating.” — Library Journal
“A time machine for those who lived this specific scene of emo and witnessed its explosion into the mainstream. This book is a walk down memory lane (in Vans of course) and the cast of characters alone is a Rolodex of names you hoped would be your Myspace friends. For those of us who lived for Warped Tour and Fuse, if you know, you know, and this book and its conversations are speaking to you.” — Allison Hagendorf, TV Host, music journalist, host of The Allison Hagendorf Show
“The early 2000s were a golden era of sad guys with questionable haircuts playing grandly melodramatic and irresistibly hooky anthems. For anyone who was a fan at the time or simply wishes they would have been around for the scene, this book offers an entertaining ”you are there” immediacy. Chris Payne talks to all of the important players, and the picture that emerges is, like so many great rock stories, equal parts inspiring, painful and hilarious.” — Steven Hyden, author of Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me
“This cross-section of time in punk rock had very little sex, virtually no drugs, and a version of rock n roll that maybe 20-50 people heard through a distorted amp, plopped on the floor of a basement. Yet it was the most important and powerful DIY movement in underground music, ever. You don’t believe me? I know. I don’t blame you. It’s really hard to explain it. You kinda just had to be there. But you weren’t. So you better read this book because it’s the only book that even begins to capture what happened.” — Joanna Angel, adult film star, bestselling author
“As someone who mostly remembers what it was like to hear Paramore perform from a pink RV (fucking phenomenal!) or see Bert McCracken scream so hard he puked onstage (fucking implausible!), I’m grateful to Chris Payne for filling in the blanks with this vivid and vibrant flashback that details how the scene ignited—and survived—emo’s mainstream explosion.” — Leslie Simon, co-author of Everybody Hurts; author of Geek Girls Unite