Ongoing History of New Music

By Curiouscast

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Subscribers: 951
Reviews: 4


 Sep 29, 2020

Mark
 Nov 6, 2019

Dottie
 Sep 19, 2018
Loving this podcast but can't rate it 5/5 as they cut off the music. The stories are great, but not nearly as awesome without the tracks.

Andrea
 Jul 19, 2018
I've loved you since the nineties, Mr. Cross, when I used to listen to you on Rock 101 CFMI in Vancouver :)

Description

Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else. Trust us on this.

Episode Date
The History of Portable Music: Part 1
2139
One of the many great things about music is that we can enjoy it anywhere…I’m talking about the recorded kind…everyone has a smartphone, and every smartphone has the capability of playing music, whether you’re listening to tracks stored in its memory or streaming something from a service like Spotify or apple music…as long as your device has juice, you can enjoy listening to music anywhere you are… Take this program, for example…in its radio show form, it’s being heard in homes, cars, offices, and workplaces either over the air or through a stream…if you’re listening to the podcast, you might have downloaded it to a phone, a tablet or a laptop which you can fire up anywhere at your convenience… But imagine for moment that you couldn’t take your music with you…if you wanted to listen to your favourite songs, you had to be present in a specific place and you couldn’t move from it…and that usually meant music inside the home—or perhaps someplace with something like a jukebox… This might sound absolutely awful to you…I mean, we’re so used to conjuring up music whenever we want and wherever we are…we take it with us everywhere…it’s hard to imagine life without that ability… That’s the way it was for most of human history, though…for centuries and centuries, the only way to make music portable was to bring a musical instrument with you and play it yourself… The idea of making recorded music portable—at least in a way that is convenient, cheap, and reliable—is more recent than you might think…and it went through way more incarnations than you may realize… What do you say we take a look at the history of portable music?... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 22, 2021
Studio Stories with David Botrill
2652
Long before I started doing this for a living, I had the notion that I was going to be a record producer…after all, I loved music and the idea of being able to help record it would be a great job… So as high school wound down, I started to look around for schools that taught music production…and that’s when reality set it…all of them asked for a portfolio of past work…I was 18 years old and from a small prairie town…how was I supposed to have a portfolio of past work?... They also made it clear that I had to be musically adept…I was a pretty good drummer, but that wasn’t enough…and I had seven years of accordion lessons, but that didn’t really cut it…I couldn’t play guitar or any other type of keyboard… Long story short, I gave up on that dream after a few rejection letters and here we are…but I’m still fascinated by the talent and equipment that goes into making records—which is why anytime I get a chance to talk to anyone who does that, I’m in… David Botrill is one of those guys…he’s a Canadian record producer who has worked with took, muse, peter Gabriel, the smashing pumpkins, rush, and a ton of others…he’s got three Grammy’s and has worked in some of the most famous recording studios from here to the UK. And I’ve got a chance to talk to him about being a record producer?...let’s go… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 15, 2021
The Amazing Year That Was 1991
1459
When it comes to music, not all years are created equal…listen, every year features some great new songs from great new bands…but over the long term, this music isn’t equally distributed…sometimes—maybe once a decade, but usually less—we run into what can only be described as an embarrassment of riches… What i mean by that is that we go through a period where every week—even every day—seems to bring something amazing… Like when?...1955, maybe…Elvis…Chuck Berry…Little Richard….Bo Diddley…Bill Haley and the Comets…they all exploded into public consciousness…it was the birth of rock’n’roll… 1965…The Beatles and everything they were doing…the rise of The Rolling Stones with “Satisfaction”…Bob Dylan releases “Like A Rolling Stone” for “Highway 61 Revisited” after going electric… Actually, rock’s most prolific years—at least when it came to being an agent for social change and a driver of western culture—were 65, 66, 67, 68 and 69… After that, we might consider 1977…punk, the beginning of new wave, the era of post-punk and all that came with it… But then there was a long fallow period…lots of disco, lots of pop, lots of hair metal—which was great if you were into that, but not exactly music that changed the world… But then came one particular year…if you look back on it, it’s astounding at what happened, what was released and the music we’re still talking about…by the time the calendar turned, everything—and i mean everything—was different… This is the amazing year that was 1991… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 08, 2021
U2 and The Joshua Tree at 30 with Daniel Lanois Part 2
1371
Whenever an artist goes into the studio, they hope for the best but expect the worst…you want it the album to sell and turn you into a global superstar with all the rights and privileges thereto…but there is no way to predict how the public will react to what you release… You can throw all the money you want a song, an album, a band and there is zero guarantee that it will be successful…yet people will always try because every once in a while, something remarkable happens… An album is a critical success…it turns into a commercial smash…and every once in a long, long while, it turns into a cultural phenomenon with an impact that lasts years, maybe decades… This is what happened to U2 and “The Joshua Tree”…before the record came out, everyone expected that the band was going to deliver the goods on a very good album…they did that… But then the record went on to sell somewhere beyond 25 million albums and is now considered to be one of the most significant rock releases of all time… This is beyond just lightning in a bottle...how did they do it?...for some of the answers, i turned to one of the people who co-produced the album…that would be Daniel Lanois…this is U2 and The Joshua Tree, thirty years later, part 2… Whenever an artist goes into the studio, they hope for the best but expect the worst…you want it the album to sell and turn you into a global superstar with all the rights and privileges thereto…but there is no way to predict how the public will react to what you release… You can throw all the money you want a song, an album, a band and there is zero guarantee that it will be successful…yet people will always try because every once in a while, something remarkable happens… An album is a critical success…it turns into a commercial smash…and every once in a long, long while, it turns into a cultural phenomenon with an impact that lasts years, maybe decades… This is what happened to U2 and “The Joshua Tree”…before the record came out, everyone expected that the band was going to deliver the goods on a very good album…they did that… But then the record went on to sell somewhere beyond 25 million albums and is now considered to be one of the most significant rock releases of all time… This is beyond just lightning in a bottle...how did they do it?...for some of the answers, i turned to one of the people who co-produced the album…that would be Daniel Lanois…this is U2 and The Joshua Tree, thirty years later, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 01, 2021
U2 and The Joshua Tree at 30 with Daniel Lanois Part 1
1496
On March 9, 1987—a little more than ten years after a bunch of kids met up in a Dublin kitchen—U2 released their fifth album…expectations were running pretty high…after establishing themselves with their first two albums, there was a leap ahead with the “War” album in 1983… But then came “The Unforgettable Fire” in 1984…that represented another leap forward…things seemed more sophisticated, stronger, bigger, better…much of the credit has to go to the new production team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, guys who found new ways to bring new things from the band… The partnership worked so well that everyone agreed that they should work together on the next record, too…maybe they could take things even further, built up the band even bigger… The result was “The Joshua Tree”…it has sold somewhere north of 25 million copies, making one of best-selling albums of all time…it became a number one album in two dozen countries…five of the eleven songs were released as singles, several of which sold more than a million copies on their own… The tour in support of the record had to grow from arenas to stadiums…it resulted in a live record called “Live From Paris” and a documentary film called “Rattle and Hum”…and it earned U2 two Grammys: album of the year and group of the year… “The Joshua Tree” set the band up as one of the biggest in the world…and over the coming decade, they would become the biggest band in the world….the album has been studied at all levels of academia…its songs covered thousands of times…the material has even been adopted as hymns for modern church services… And later, in 2014, the album was added to the us library of congress as a recording considered to be “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” … Wow…that’s a lot stuff to think about when it comes to just one single album…. doesn’t it make you curious about what went into making it?...that’s how I felt…so I thought I’d talk to one of the guys who was there with the band the whole time…let’s get his story on the making of “The Joshua Tree”…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 01, 2021
The Tragically Hip's Fully Completely Reissue With Rob Baker
1275
“Even though it was the middle of summer, it was cold and wet,” Rob Baker remembers, “and after a full day in the studio, there was nothing to do but go back to where we were staying and watch the Olympics that were happening in Barcelona…and they were still talking about Canada and what happened with Ben Johnson four years earlier.” The Tragically Hip were in the UK, recording what would be their third full studio album at Battery Studios, a facility protected from the rest of the surrounding grimy north west London neighborhood of Willesden Green by a big metal gate…after recording the last two albums away from home—Up To Here was done in Memphis and Road Apples required to move to New Orleans—a trip to London had seemed like a good idea, a chance to get away from all the distractions back home in Kingston, Ontario. It may have been dreary on the outside, but the building itself was full of history…Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath, Rod Stewart, The Cure, The Who and dozens more had all made classic albums here.  And when The Hip wrapped up the sessions for the album that would be called “Fully Completely,” they had an idea that they had created something extraordinary.  But what they didn’t know is they were about to enter the imperial phase of their career, a time when almost everything went right…. The album would eventually sell a million copies in Canada alone…and here’s how it happened. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 25, 2021
Oasis At War: Part 2
1163
How well do you get along with your siblings?—assuming you have any, of course…brothers and sisters can be a pain, especially when you’re always in close quarters…and when you have to work with them, too—gawd, that can be ugly… We’ve talked about musical feuds before… Madonna did not get along with her brother, Christopher Ciccone, especially after he published a memoir about growing up with her…things seem to be okay right now… The Everly brothers, Don and Phil, did not get along…after a speed-fueled breakup in 1973, the talked to each other just once in the following ten years…that was at their father’s funeral… Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks…that’s a bad one…John vs. Tom Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival…Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees…Chris and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes…and then there was John and William reed of the Jesus and Mary Chain…they’d even fight onstage in the middle of a show… And I know they weren’t really brothers, but joey and Johnny Ramone didn’t talk to each other for years after Johnny stole and then married joey’s girlfriend… But the most famous sibling rivalry in all of music has to be—has to be—Noel and Liam Gallagher…this is part 2 of “Oasis at war” … See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 18, 2021
Oasis at War: Part 1
1073
Siblings can be a pain in the butt…just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you’re going to get along…not everyone can be Venus and Serena Williams…here: lemme give you some examples… Ann Landers and Dear Abbey were real people—and they were sisters: Eppie and Pauline Lederer…despite having newspaper columns were famous for dishing out all sorts of relationship advice to readers, they didn’t apply that wisdom to themselves…they spent their lives antagonizing each other… Adolf and Rudolf Dassler were good young Nazis who owned a show company…but Rudolf was a little more into national socialism than Adolf…after World War II, their company split in two…they became Adidas and Puma… There are lot of family feuds in show business… Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine had a legendary ugly relationship… Julia and Eric Roberts… And there have been plenty of intense sibling rivalries in music…Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks…that one has been going on forever…the weirdness that is the Jackson family…and it hasn’t always been chocolate and unicorns for the Followills in Kings of Leon… But the champion brawlers have to be Liam and noel Gallagher…sure, these guys have always fought with each other—we all know that…but are you aware of the depth and scope of this war?...when it comes to dysfunctional brotherly relationships, it doesn’t get much more intense than this… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 11, 2021
Christian Rock
1572
There's been a lot of talk and the Christian Rock scene....especially in new rock. And many feel the bands don't get their due. They are looked at preachy do-gooders. But that's not always the case. And many bands are crossing over.  So let's have a better look and clear up many misconceptions.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 04, 2021
The Rock Snob
1672
This is a course in Rock Snobery. To help you understand why some terms exist in music and what they actually mean.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 28, 2021
Alt-Rocks Great Bass Players
1717
This week we look at one of the most under appreciated and underrated members of any rock band...the bass player.  These are the most influential bass players in the history of alt-rock.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 21, 2021
The Kings of Quirk
1919
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—or in the case of music, the ear…what’s pleasant to one person is nothing but noise to someone else… This is where it’s good to have some patience…there are some forms of art whose beauty isn’t obvious at first…you need to stick with it…and after you’ve given it a chance and you’ve decided that it’s not for you, fine… But what about those times where something happens—suddenly or slowly and either on your own or with the prompting of someone else—and you realize that the weird music you’re listening to is actually pretty good?... This is the payoff…yeah, you really had to work for it—but it was worth it…with me so far?.. “beauty” doesn’t mean “perfect”—at least in the technical sense…sometimes imperfection makes something more beautiful…or at least more interesting… Which brings me to the topic of singing voices…this is a very subjective area…how many times have you said “listen to that guy!... I can’t stand his voice!...how did he ever get a record deal?...i mean, listen to him!” But then others hear the same thing and go “wow…that’s really different…really expressive…it’s full of character and emotion…what a bold move giving this dude a chance to real millions of people…i love this guy!”… These are the kind of singers we’re about to review:  guys with some of the most unusual voices in the history of alt-rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 14, 2021
The Queens of Quirk
1779
For a very long time—too long—women were locked in very defined roles when it came to rock’n’roll…girls were expected to look pretty and do little more than sing…okay, maybe shake a tambourine or something…but that was about it… And when it came to singing, “just stick with conventional stuff, dear…don’t get any crazy ideas in your head…this is a woman’s role in rock and you should stick to it…that’s a nice little lady”… But then along came punk rock in the 1970s…punk did many things for rock—including knocking down a lot of heretofore inviolable gender roles…the central tenet of punk was that anyone should have the right to say anything in any matter they want regardless of who they are…that included women and their right to self-expression… The result was fantastic…freed from all the old expectations, women were free to reinvent themselves as musicians in a million different ways…and that led to a wonderful array of female performers… Some of my favourites are the ones who decided to spit in the face of virtually ever rock’n’roll convention—women who (before punk came along and liberated everyone from the tyranny of “the way things ought to be”) developed styles that were different, unique and utterly unlike anything the world had ever heard before… Yes, some of them were an acquired taste and took a little getting used to…but once people figured out what they were trying to do and what they were all about, it was inevitable they became addicted, enchanted, inspired…  We’re going to look at ten of these women…i call them “The Queens of Quirk”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 07, 2021
The Tribes of Alt-Rock
1874
One of the most useful things about music is that it can be used to tell the world who you are…we’ve all done it…it is a symbol of our individuality and belief in personal freedom…it proclaims our identity to the world… Once you start doing that, you inevitably find that there are people just like you…once you’re drawn together by a love of a common sort of music, you find that you have other shared interests… You start hanging out, maybe at a specific place…maybe you begin to talk about other things, like politics, social issues, fashion…more people join in, some in the same physical space, others franchsing your ideas because they heard about it somewhere… It’s comforting, this little club, this tribe…it sets you apart…maybe others want to join in, looking to fit in with something they admire and desire…that makes you feel kinda cool, right?... And if the circumstances are just right, you and your new friends—the ones you see and the ones you never met—find yourselves part of a musical subculture… This sort of thing has been happening for decades…and in the next hour, we’ll visit a few of the more interesting, long-lasting and intense musical subcultures in rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 30, 2021
9 Amazing Things About Your Brain and Music
1829
There is absolutely no need for music—speaking in terms of evolution, anyway… As far as scientists can tell, there’s no compelling reason for humans to make and enjoy music…neurologically, we could get along quite well without it…sure, our world would be very dull, but we’d be fine as a species… Yet for some reason, the human brain seems to be hardwired for music…and it looks like even the non-human brain was constructed this way…archeologists found a flute made out of bone constructed by neanderthals that was almost 90,000 years old… why?... Here are a couple of theories…music was invented because humans (or neanderthals) wanted to imitate birdsong…music was invented as part of some kind of religious ritual or ceremony…or music began as vocalizations on the way to developing spoken language…. Whatever…the origins of music are a mystery—and so is much of what goes on in our brains when it comes to these sounds… Let’s explore…here are nine things about your brain and music… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 23, 2021
Music Questions People Almost Never Ask
2231
I think one of the greatest gifts humans have is a sense of curiosity…the ability to question things around to learn why things are the way they are pushes us forward… Here are my three favourite questions that i think everyone should ask…are we alone in the universe?...who really killed JFK?...and what do dogs dream about when they twitch in their sleep?... But there are plenty of questions we don’t ask that we probably should…let me give you a few examples… When a prisoner about to be executed by lethal injection, why does the doctor swab the iv site with alcohol first?... Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?... And how about this: what’s the size of a fart … But you see what I mean…these are questions that probably should have answers?...if you must know, it ranges between the size of a bottle of nail polish and a soft drink can…you’re welcome After discussing important stuff like this with some friends, I got to thinking: can we find the same sorts of unasked questions in the world of music?...turns out we can…this is stuff we should be curious about…and are there answers to these questions?...let’s find out… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 16, 2021
The Beginners Guide to Vinyl
1996
So you’ve decided to go all retro and dive into vinyl…no more digital for you…you are going back to the future…it’s all about analogue, baby… Buh-bye, mp3s and digital downloads—except maybe for the songs you want to load on your phone…but that’s the one and only exception…other than the songs you want to play through your car’s entertainment system…that’s two exceptions and no more…unless we count the songs you want to send to friends…those three situations cover off everything—except for the digital tracks you’ll stream… But other than those three—four!—specific needs, you’re going to give up music encoded into zeroes and ones…binary is dead…no more pathetic sampling rates resulting in harsh-sounding square waves…not counting all the cds you own, of course…those are digital files, aren’t they?...i mean, you aren’t going to throw them out, are you?...probably just rip them into my computer… But beyond those five situations, you’re done with digital…mostly…except when you can’t avoid it…which will be 90% of the time… Still, you want to experience what everyone has been telling you about vinyl—and not only the sound but the whole experience of buying, unwrapping and playing it… If you’re of a certain age or technology persuasion, getting back into vinyl is like riding a bike…the first time you try it again, you might be a bit wobbly…but what if you’ve never ridden that bike?... Gather ‘round, friends…let’s get you started…this is your Ongoing History beginner’s guide to vinyl… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 09, 2021
RocknRoll Rehab
2157
Sometimes, the pressures of life become a little too much and the methods of escape you choose to cope with them aren’t exactly the best ones…over-indulgence with and reliance upon drugs and/or alcohol is never, ever a good thing…and once you get so far down this road, you need help… When you’re a musician, you have to deal with a whole new set of circumstances…long days, weird hours, bad food, poverty…or maybe you’ve struck it rich and you can’t handle the fame… Or maybe you love the fame a little too much…you like living in your bubble of unreality where people are afraid to tell you “no” and are only too happy to let you indulge in whatever you want, no matter how crazy… Sometimes people seek help on their own…sometimes they need a little, er, encouragement to get the help they need….what you’re about to hear are some rehab stories about artists who took their lives to the edge…some were able to step back….and some—well, you’ll see… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 02, 2021
The Tragically Hip's "Saskadelphia"
2390
On Saturday, August 20, 2016, tens of millions of Canadians watched and listened to the final Tragically Hip concert from Kingston…given Gord Downie’s illness, we knew that was the last time we’d see the band perform together live… That was followed by one of the saddest days in the history of Canadian music…. October 17, 2017, the day Gord Downie died…one tweet summed up everything: “Canada closed: death in the family”… So that was it, then…after more than 30 years, the most Canadian rock band of all time was done…all we had were the music and the memories… But what if we were wrong about that?...what if, somewhere, there was a trove of unreleased material that no one knew existed?...and what if a strange confluence of events led to that cache of music—songs that no one (even the band) had heard for decades—being found and released?...and what if those long-lost songs were really, really good?... To answer those questions: yes, there was a stash of unheard songs…yes, their rediscovery was the result of an accident…and yes, they are really, really good… The result was essentially a brand new Tragically Hip album that brings fans back to the band’s glory years of the early 90s…it’s like a time machine…the hip are together playing great—and Gord is back… The new record is called “Saskadelphia”…we’ll hear all these once-missing tragically hip songs: how they were made, what happened to them, and how they were finally found… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 26, 2021
A Requiem for Daft Punk
1753
It takes a special kind of band to obscure their appearance…but if you can do it right, then it moves from being a silly gimmick to an important piece of your identity, image, and brand.… When Kiss came along in the early 70s with their Japanese kabuki-inspired makeup, it wasn’t that far out…they came from New York where there was a glitter scene that had a lot of guys wearing make-up…kiss just took it to an extreme: The Demon, Star Child, Spaceman, and Catman… It worked--eventually…Kiss has sold 100 million albums…there was that period after 1983 when they wiped off the greasepaint and showed their faces to everyone, but that’s not what the fans wanted, and they eventually brought it all back… A more contemporary example is Slipknot…their masks have been an essential part of their identity since the band started up in 1995…it started with the clown wearing a clown mask for the band’s first gig shortly before Halloween that year…the rest of the guys thought it was dumb at first, but then they all joined in… Fans now keep close tabs on each member’s mask, parsing what each new iteration—and they can change or be updated almost yearly—might mean… There are other mask-wearing bands: the residents with their eyeball heads…any number of dark metal bands from Scandinavia like Ghost and Lordi…Pussy Riot (largely to keep their identity hidden from the authorities)…then there’s Gwar, who have taken it to a completely different level entirely with their alien costumes…and deadmaus has had his big mouse head for years…there are tons of others, but you get the idea… This brings me to Daft Punk…from 1993 until their breakup in February 2021, they acted like robots with elaborate helmets that completely obscured their identity…we knew they were French, and we knew their real names…but beyond that, they were a cool mystery that we played along with… Now that they’re done, though, it’s time to dig through their history…what the hell was Daft Punk all about?...and why did they matter so much?...here is their requiem… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 19, 2021
The History of the Record Store
2210
Before we begin, I am very aware that there are people listening to this program who have never, ever set foot in a record store…they came of age musical after the Internet changed everything about how we hear about, acquire, and consume music… But remember this: for over a hundred years, the only way you could hear music on-demand was to own it…you had to purchase a piece of plastic for x dollars and for that price, you could listen to that music an infinite number of times for no additional charge… You made not just an emotional investment in that music, but a financial one as well…and dammit, you were going to make sure you listened to that piece of plastic until you wrung out possible bit of enjoyment you could from it…otherwise, you’d have to come to terms with the fact that you wasted your money… There was another aspect to this emotional investment, too…in order to acquire this music, you had to leave your home, find your way to a record store, and search through all the shelves hoping the find something…if you were looking for something specific and it wasn’t in stock, you had to special-order it, which was a whole new level of emotional investment… And while you were at the record store, you interacted with records that you didn’t know about…just flipping through the racks looking at albums was an education in itself…maybe you’d go with a couple of friends, fan out across the store and then compare finds… Maybe you’d meet a stranger and strike up a conversation…and if you were a regular, it’s possible that the person behind the counter became a trusted source for recommendations…or maybe you’d go see an artist play live or for some kind of autograph session… Record stores are still with us, but there are fewer and fewer of them—certainly way less than the glory days of music shopping from the 60s through to the late 90s…and a lot of legendary stores and chains have disappeared forever… But while it lasted, it was pretty amazing…this is the story of the record store… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 12, 2021
Hobbies of Musicians
1981
What do you for fun?...hobbies, pastimes—things that you do just for you, away from your job and all your other responsibilities?... I’ve got my dogs…my wife and I like to travel…and I’ve always had this thing about the JFK assassination…I’ve read all the books, seen all the documentaries…I’ve even been to Dallas and the grassy knoll, and the book depository…I can’t explain it, but I just find it interesting… Maybe you’re into sports…collecting hockey cards or wine or rare scotches…video games, Japanese anime, beanie babies, souvenir spoons…no need to justify anything…it’s just something you enjoy doing…it fulfills you somehow… Now consider this….when we think of our favourite musicians, we probably imagine them being immersed in music all the time…I mean, 24 hours a day, seven days a week…all they do is think about music and make music… But the truth is, you can’t do that…no one can…everyone needs a break from whatever it is they do…you gotta rest the brain, recharge, and go on a search for new inspiration…put down the instruments and see what else is out there…become a more rounded person…that’s one aspect… Another is, “look…you’ve had some success in your career…you’ve made some money…enjoy it…indulge in those things that you’ve always dreamed of…you can’t take it with you, so spend some of that cash”… All right, so like what?...I think you may be surprised…let’s take a look at the hobbies and non-musical passions of some very famous musicians… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 05, 2021
Big Bands from Small Towns
1944
Let me say from the outset that I have nothing against small towns…I grew up in one myself…population: 2000…it was in the middle of the Canadian prairies…the nearest big city was Winnipeg…after that, you had to go at least 500 miles before you hit any major population centre… I also want to make sure to let you know that I think living in a small town is a not bad idea…it’s not…it can be a wonderful, low-stress, low-cost secure existence…a lot of the people I went to school with still live in my small town… But there are those who want out, people who want to experience more of the world…they find their lot dull, a dead-end, too far from where the action is…but how to escape?...that’s the problem… One way would be to just buy a bus ticket and hit the highway…you could join the armed forces…or maybe you could form a band, write song songs and become world famous…yeah, that’ll never happen…or could it?... There’s this old saying that all you need to change the world—your world—is three chords and an attitude…and it doesn’t matter where you’re from…you can be from the smallest town the map—even a town too small to be on a map—but if you get in with the right bunch of people and manage to pull together some good songs, who knows what might happen?... Here…let me give you some concrete examples…you don’t have to be from L.A. or London or some other big city…you can be from—wherever…these are some big, big bands who actually came from small, small towns… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 28, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 7: All the rest
1648
The original punk rock explosion of the 1970s was two things…first, it was a major reset for rock’n’roll…think of it as a great musical decluttering… Punk of the 70s wasn’t revolutionary…it was reactionary…the music was stripped back, and everyone went back to the basics…very important… Second, there was an attitude shift…one of the central tenets of punk was that if you had the guts to say something, then do it…and if no one wanted to help you, well, then do it on your own… Taken together, these two principles resulted in what can be described as the big bang for what would later be called “alternative music”…punk set off chain reactions of new ideas, new sounds, new attitudes, new fashion, new belief systems, and generally new ways of doing things… The gloves were off, rules were broken, concepts were explored, and unintended consequences happened…we now look back on this as the great post-punk explosion of the late 70s and early 80s, an era that created so many of the basic foundations of the music we hear today… There was new wave, technopop and all its subsets…industrial music, goth, and a revival of ska…those are the major post-punk genres…but there was more…a lot more…   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 21, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 6: Ska
1860
Every once in a while, music enters a state of flux where the direction of everything is, shall we say, undefined…we see and hear change but we’re not quite sure what it all means just yet…something is coming—but what?... All bets are off, the rulebook has been declared invalid, and everyone is off doing their own thing… I’ll give you an example…in mid-to-late 1950s Britain, popular music was evolving and mutating very quickly…in the midst of imported American rock’n’roll records, the skiffle craze, and various flavours of folk music, some young people rejected contemporary sounds in favour of something known as “trad jazz”… This was a revival of something close to Dixieland jazz from New Orleans, which emerged around the same time as world war 1…that meant music made with trumpets, the trombone, clarinet, the banjo, upright bass, and drums…the new acts mined the more pure, more authentic sounds of the past, hoping to be inspired again… And for a while, it worked…trad jazz was a thing until sometime in the 60s…everyone from pop songs to nursery rhymes were fair game for trad jazz arrangements… I’ll give you another example—and it’s tangentially related to British trad jazz…it also has its roots in Dixieland but took a detour through the Caribbean before appearing in central Britain at the end of the 1970s… That was also a time when the direction of music seemed undefined…on the bright side, it also meant that nothing was off-limits or out of bounds…it was the post-punk era…popular music had been shaken up by punk so much that people were more willing than ever to find new paths… This is part 6 of the post-punk explosion…it’s the time of Ska… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 14, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 5: Goth
1787
On April 10, 1815, a volcano erupted in the central part of the Indonesian archipelago…Mount Tambora blew up, ejecting nearly 200 cubic kilometres of debris into the atmosphere…all that dust circled the earth, blocking out a significant amount of sunlight… That blockage was so severe that the average temperature dropped almost a full degree…the result was that 1816 has gone down in history as “the year without a summer”… There were food shortages and famines and outbreaks of disease…and not only was it cold, but huge storms battered much of Europe… That summer, four artsy types were holed up at mansion called Villa Diodati near Geneva, Switzerland…to entertain themselves on through these dark, cold, wet, rainy days, these people drank, had sex, and took opium…and they tried to outdo each other by coming up with the best horror story… One of them, John William polidori, came up with “The Vampyre” about undead bloodsuckers 80 years before Bram Stoker wrote “Dracula”…meanwhile, 22-year-old Mary Shelley, conjured up the idea of a mad scientist who created a new being by sewing together the parts of dead people…she called her story “Frankenstein”… These two stories—imagined during the year without a summer, caused by the biggest volcanic eruption in 1300 years—created the foundation of gothic fiction, a type of horror that endures today…novels, movies, comic books, fashion styles, and yes, music… In fact, the music part of this equation has blown up to the both where Goth music culture is one of the biggest musical subcultures the planet has ever seen…and that explosion happened in the wake of the original punk era of the 1970s… This is the post-punk explosion part 5: Goth… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 07, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 4: Alt-Dance
1684
Dancing is as old as the human race…not long after we started walking on two legs, we found a groove and have been moving to the music ever since… Fast-forward several million years and we find that wherever there’s music, there’s dancing that goes along with it…okay, maybe they didn’t exactly bust a move to medieval hymns in the gothic cathedrals, but there had to be at least some swaying going on… We can’t help but move to the music….scientists have documented connections between the aural cortex and the movement centres of our brain…the millisecond we hear music, the motor cortex lights up, indicating a relationship between music, emotion, and the need to move in time with the music…in other words, we seem to be pre-wired to dance…not dancing (or at least moving to music) is unnatural… This caused some problems with some rock fans in the 1970s…dancing was seen as uncool, unless you were pogoing or slam-dancing to a punk band…and when disco came along—the most uncool music and scene of all—dancing was almost a crime…what were you, some disco weirdo?... Fortunately, that moratorium on dancing did not last long…the music and music fans needed to evolve to another level…and when that happened, dancing became not just okay but it was cool once again… This is a look at how that happened in the years immediately following the punk rock of the 1970s…it’s part four of the post-punk explosion—and it’s all about alt-dance… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 31, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 3: Industrial
1835
By the time we got to the mid-70s, rock had organized itself so that were rules…you did things this way and not that way…then came punk… One of the great gifts of punk rock was a reminder that you didn’t always have to follow the rules…once this attitude took hold, things began to fragment, metamorphosize and mutate at an increasingly rapid rate… The stratification and segmenting was astonishing…once punk began to cool, the environment it created coalesced into what became known as new wave, an approach that redefined what rock could sound like… Then new wave itself began to fragment, thanks to technology…the new cheaper, portable, and more powerful synthesizer was a godsend…you really didn’t have to know much about music to operate one…you just fiddled around until you found some cool sounds and then organized those sounds into a song… Like the original punks, attitude and a willingness to put your music out there was more important than musical ability—except this time, you did it with this new technology…synths instead of guitars…this was the foundation of what came to be known as techno-pop, which blew up at the end of the 70s… And it didn’t take long for techno-pop to separate into different strands which appealed to different people…some burned out quickly…new variants emerged for a while and then disappeared…and then there were the mutations that turned into something robust and enduring to the point where they still exist today… This episode is about one such strand that survived the post-punk explosion of the late 70s and early 80s…we call it “industrial music”…and word of warning: this show is going to be very intense, very loud, and very heavy… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 24, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 2: Techno-Pop
1661
For the longest time, the sounds of rock were made with voice, guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards like piano and organ…there were plenty of ways to manipulate the sounds of those instruments: effects pedals, studio tricks, happy accidents that happened when you least expected them… And for a couple of decades, this was plenty to work with…we discovered all sorts of techniques to create sounds that no one had ever heard before… But when engineers started messing with electricity in new ways, it became possible for musicians to create sounds that not only we’d never heard before but never imagined hearing…this resulted in an explosion of new, amazing music that was based mostly (if not entirely) on electronic sounds… Experimentation started in the 60s…these sounds worked their way into prog-rock in the 70s…and at the very end of that decade, the technology had become cheap enough for young musicians in the last months of the original punk rock scene to adopt these music-making machines as their own… I’m talking about synthesizers, of course…and as bands in sharp suits and skinny ties released spikey new wave pop songs, another group went all-in with synths…and in the post-punk era—which is to say the late 70s and early 80s—we had the era of era of techno-pop…here’s how that happened… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 17, 2021
The Post-Punk Explosion Part 1: New Wave
1989
If you’ve been around enough, you may remember those special times when you know  that you’re in a middle of music history being made… You might be old enough to remember the early 90s…so much new and cool music—led by grunge but supported by all manner of alternative music—came out in ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, and ’95 that you just knew you were in the midst of a very special time… It felt that not a day went by without there being a new song, a new artist, a new sound, and a new scene worth checking out…it was the alternative revolution—and it was awesome… and so much of it seemed directed at and just perfect just for you… But that was hardly the first time something like this happened…those who were teenagers in the middle 50s knew they were part of something special during the birth of rock’n’roll… The history of the 1960s was largely written in the music of that decade…starting with the Beatles in 1964, every day seemed to bring something new, exciting, and groundbreaking… If you were tied in with punk in the 70s, there was a sense among you and your friends that it was a really special time for music… But what i want to talk about is the era that came immediately after punk…punk changed the way people looked at music, breaking down artistic, social, and demographic barriers…basically, a new generation of musicians ripped it rock and started again…that’s punk in a nutshell… But that attitude didn’t end with the original punk rock explosion…instead, we saw an unstoppable chain reaction with resulted in sounds and styles and scenes that could not have been possible without punk… These sounds weren’t punk, but you could tell by listening that something like punk had to have happened for this music to exist… We now call this the post-punk era…and this period of time—roughly from 1978 through to the middle 80s—created the foundations for the alternative revolution in the 90s and beyond… This is the post-punk explosion part 1…and we begin with this thing called “new wave”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 10, 2021
History of Nerd Rock
1867
Nerd…noun…a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious…definition 2: a single-minded expert in a particular technical field...example: a computer nerd… It’s an old word, too…the, er, nerds at google have a thing called “the ngram viewer” which scans the text of books going back to 1500…in other words, pretty much right back to the inventing of the printing press… According to these nerds, “nerd” (the word) shows up for the first time in an book called “a true discourse of the assault committed upon the most noble Prince, Prince William of Orange, County of Nassau, Marquesse De La Ver & C,” by John Jarequi Spaniarde: with the true copies of the writings, examinations, and letters for sundry offenders in that vile and diuelifh (i have no idea what that word is) attempt”… I can’t tell you what “nerd” referred to in that book because it’s written in old Spanish and i couldn’t be bothered to find a translation…I’d need a real etymological nerd for that… The word fell into disuse after about 1725 returning into the popular lexicon thanks to Dr. Suess in 1950…to him, a “nerd” was some kind of creature found in a zoo… But the following year, Newsweek magazine reported that “nerd” was being used in Detroit to describe an awkward sort of dude who wasn’t very cool…it kind of lingered in the slang world for the rest of the 50s and into the 60s before it really took off in 1974 with the TV series “Happy Days”…Fonzie was always calling Richie and Potsie “nerds” for being uncool dorks…so props to Henry Winkler… By the end of the 70s—and coinciding with the rise of the culture around the personal computer, consumer technology and “Star Wars” and other science fiction pursuits—the use of “nerd” became even more widespread…remember the “Revenge of the Nerds” movies in the 80s?... But now in our technological society, being called a nerd is a compliment…people aspire to be like Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…look at shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley”…we’re actually celebrating nerddom…people want to be nerds ‘cause—well, it’s kinda cool…the geeks have truly inherited the earth… This brings me to music…nerdishness is now so widespread that nerds even have their own genre of music…and as you might guess, it falls squarely in the world of alternative music… This, then, is a short history of what we unreservedly, unashamedly and unironically call “nerd rock”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 03, 2021
50 Years of CanCon
2307
Fifty years ago, there was no such thing as a Canadian music industry…well, at least not compared to the U.S. or the UK…we had bands that played gigs and recorded singles and albums…but there wasn’t much of an infrastructure to support a domestic scene… Too few recording studios…a lack of experienced promoters, managers, and producers…there was a tiny collection of domestic record labels…and there was a steady drain of talent to the united states…if you wanted to make it really big, you had to leave the country…that’s kind of discouraging, right? And Canadian radio stations weren’t helping…there was a perception that audiences did not want to hear much of this domestic music because, well, it wasn’t very good…it was inferior to all the music coming from America and England…this contributed to the overall opinion with the general public that Canadian music just wasn’t worth anyone’s time… At the same time, though, it didn’t seem right that our musical culture and our music scenes (such as they were) be overwhelmed by foreign powers…Canadian artists were getting smothered in the crib…something needed to be done…and five decades ago, something was done, beginning on January 18, 1971… It was difficult, expensive, and, in some quarters, wildly unpopular…but it turned Canada into a global musical powerhouse…this is fifty years of CanCon… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 24, 2021
The Diversity Show 2021
1762
Here is a truth that some people find very uncomfortable: rock, alt-rock and indie rock are predominantly white…why is that?...the answers—and there is more than one—are complicated…there has actually been a quite a lot of study on this question… Perhaps it’s because non-white people don’t choose this music as part of the way they project their identity to the world…culturally, they just don’t identify with these forms of music, so they naturally gravitate somewhere else… Others ask how this is different from someone choosing the music of their culture and ethnicity over that of another?...if you’re Italian, for example, the chances are you will have a greater affinity to Italian music than you would, say, gamelan music of bali… Here’s another truth: any form of music tends to reflect the shared sentiments of a particular community…. compare indie attitudes with hip hop…an indie band wouldn’t think of singing about drinking Cristal in the back of a Maybach while discussing the size of the diamonds in their new grillz…. neither would a hip hop artist rhapsodically describe their new pickup...neither would a rock band, for that matter… Each form of music has its own aesthetics…if they don’t mean anything to you on a cultural or emotional or personal level, then you’re not going to be into that music… Others don’t buy into this, seeing the non-whiteness of rock as a status quo barrier to people of colour who would like to participate but feel excluded, an outsider, unwelcome…they also see countless microaggressions, covert expressions of racism and continued cultural appropriation… We’re not going to solve any of these issues on this program…but I would like to acknowledge the contribution people of colour have made to the evolution of alt-rock…alt-rock is pretty white, yes—but not always… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 17, 2021
Digital Debris Part 3: Liner Notes
2070
When you listen to music through a streaming music service, how aware are you of what you’re listening to?...sure, you can look at the screen, but what does that tell you?...the name of the artist, the name of the song, maybe the name of the album…how much time has elapsed, how much is left in the song… But say you’re intrigued by what you’re hearing, and you want to know more…that means you’ve got to search the internet…Wikipedia is usually surprisingly accurate when it comes to learning more about a song or an album…who produced it, the engineer, the name of the studio, the supporting players, and so worth… I mean, it does the job, but it feels kinda lacking…a bit antiseptic… And then if you want lyrics, you have to search other sites…and again, these sites do a decent job, but…*sigh*… Okay, I’ll just say it…I miss liner notes…I miss being able to sort through all the printing in a cd booklet or on a vinyl record…there’s something mysteriously cool about learning something about the artist or the music by finding something buried in the liner notes… Writing and compiling this text used to be a big deal…people were paid good money and even won awards for writing liner notes…the industry has specialists for this sort of thing… But as we get deeper and deeper into the digital era, liner notes are disappearing along with the concept of B-sides and bonus tracks, and album artwork…it’s all part of the evolution of music culture… This is final part a series marking these changes…this is digital debris 3: liner notes See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 10, 2021
Digital Debris Part 2: Album Artwork
1971
A little while ago, I carved out some time to finally file some records and CD’s…I’d been procrastinating, but I finally summoned up the discipline to get it done…and honestly, it was a task that should have taken all of fifteen minutes… But it ended up taking longer than that because I kept stopping to examine the artwork and the liner notes of almost each and every compact disc and vinyl album… I’d forgotten how much I was into looking at my music collection…what was the artist trying to get across with the artwork on the front?...on the back?...on the inside?... Unless you’re still buying physical product, this is an experience that has been largely expunged from music culture…yes, there are digital liner notes and digital artwork and maybe you’re curious enough to check out the fields in the metadata after a right click on the file…but it’s just not the same… If you’re of a more recent generation, there’s a chance that you’ve never bothered with artwork and liner notes because you’ve always lived a digital life—and you have no idea what I’m going on about…but if you’re into vinyl and CD’s, you’ll understand how much things have changed… Yes, we must roll with the times, but the disappearance of old-school album artwork and liner notes has somehow diminished the music experience, just like how we’ve moved away from things like actual B-sides and bonus tracks…let me show you what I mean…this is digital debris part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 03, 2021
Digital Debris Part 1: B-Sides and Bonus Tracks
1782
We are very, very deep into the digital world when it comes to music…virtually every song we could ever want is available to us instantly no matter where we are…all we need is an internet connection and we’re good to go… The music industry loves this…in the old days, they had no choice but to manufacture, warehouse, transport, and distribute physical product by the ton, sometimes across vast distances…once these CD’s and records and tapes made it into the stores, then the labels had to collect the money from the stores plus deal with the return of unsold product…it was all very complicated and expensive… Now with streaming, there’s no physical product…all the expensive overhead and those big fixed costs are gone…digital distribution is so much more efficient and profitable on every single level… And for music fans, this way of obtaining and consuming music is not just convenient, but intoxicating… Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp…tens and tens of millions of songs… for older people, this still feels like science fiction… And there are also generations who have never, ever set foot inside a record store…they’ve never, ever handled something like a record or a cd or a cassette…for them, music has always delivered without any kinds of container…it’s completely ephemeral, unseen zeroes and ones that beam from somewhere… While there will always probably be a market for music on physical formats, it’s going to shrink and shrink until it’s just a very niche-y thing…so be it…there’s no stopping progress… But we are losing something…there are certainly pleasures and advantages to CD’s and vinyl…it appears, though, that many of these pleasures and advantages are also heading towards near-extinction… I call this “Digital Debris”…here…let me show you what I mean… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 27, 2021
Unfortunate Sonic Coincidences: The Lawsuits
2595
Okay…let’s go over this one more time…there are just twelve notes in the western scale…the ways they can be combined to form pleasing sounds are finite in number…it’s a big number, but it’s still finite… If we look at chords—which are combinations of three or more single notes played simultaneously—the number is smaller still…and there are only so many ways in which chords may be played in a sequence that makes any sense to the ear and the soul… For example, there are dozens and dozens of hit songs with the same four chords at their root…e, b, c#, and a, played in that order… If I haven’t lost you to music theory yet, all these songs are constructed on those chords… “With or Without You” from U2, Green Day’s “When I Come Around” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” from the Smashing Pumpkins, and The Offspring’s “Self-Esteem”…plus “Don’t Stop Believin'’” by Journey, “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, and John Denver, “Take Me Home Country Roads”… In fact, there’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to what’s know as the “i-v-vi-iv progression”…it can be played in different keys (for example, “bullet with butterfly wings” is in b-flat while “self-esteem” is in c-major) and the chords can be ordered differently, but the common dna is there…this is just how our scale works and how songs are constructed… Now listen to me: this is not a sign that any of these artists lack in creativity… no one is breaking any rules…and no one is ripping off anyone because no one can have exclusive ownership over a chord progression… However, there is a subset of people—lawyers, mostly—who believe that they should be able to sue artists for plagiarism if there’s any perceived similarity between two songs…the original composer needs to be compensated for this alleged theft…even the threat of a lawsuit and jury trial might be enough to scare up some settlement money… This is insane…and the situation has been getting worse and worse…I think it’s time we deconstructed what’s happening with these crazy lawsuits that threaten to cripple all of music… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 20, 2021
Theories, Thoughts, and Half-Baked Ideas
2322
One of the byproducts of doing a show like this for as long as I’ve been doing it is that it’s really hard to shut off your brain… I’m always thinking about topic ideas, ways to link facts and trivia together, reading lots of books, talking to lots of people, and otherwise trying to come up with a constant stream of things we can talk about… The result of all this researching and thinking and writing are some ideas and perspectives on music, music history, how music is made, how it’s consumed and distributed, and how seemingly small things have led to big changes…that’s one thing… Another is the opinions formed by observing the opinions of others…why do people like some things and hate others?...and another is a list of ideas that aren’t quite fully formed…it seems like I’ve almost grasped a concept but it doesn’t feel right yet—but I feel that there’s a germ of truth in there somewhere… I’ve also learned that when you’re not sure about something, source the crowd…you might like the answers, but it’s better than living in your own head… So lemme bounce a few of these things off you and you can tell me if I’m onto something or if I’m off-base—or if I’ve completely lost the plot… I call this episode “theories, thoughts, and half-baked ideas”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 13, 2021
Sid Vicious
2730
Every once in a while we come across someone who is famous and iconic for being...well let's be honest...nothing more than a monumental eff-up. There is nothing about them we should admire...but for some reason we find them intriguing...fascinating...compelling. This is the story of one monumental eff-up. Books have be written about him...movies done....his image has graces more T-shirts than you can imagine. And he was one of the least musically talented punk rockers of all time.  This is the story of Sid Vicious.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 06, 2021
Indigenous Alternative
1587
Over the last decade, there has been some very, very long overdue attempts at reconciliation with the First Nations and Indigenous Peoples of North America…there’s still a long, long way to go, but at least the process as begun… The treatment of Indigenous people makes for ugly history…but it has also been enlightening in positive ways… For example, we’ve been learning more about First Nations music and the role people who identify as Native Canadians and Americans have played in the world of rock…some are full-fledged First Nations people…others have at least some Native blood… Some are well-known…others have been hiding in plain sight…and I think it’s time that we go through some of these contributions… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 30, 2020
The 2020 Xmas Show
1077
This the 23rd annual ongoing Christmas show…and yeah, I know that 2020 has been a challenging year, but let’s look at some of the good things that happened… Many of us learned to bake bread…drive-in theatres made a comeback for both movies and concerts…sweatpants are now accepted work attire… “Tiger King” was fun, wasn’t it?...and—uh…well, i’m sure there were many other nice things about 2020… Oh!..oh!...less pollution because of less traffic…dog shelters were emptied out because so many people were adopting…we got out for more walks…oh—here’s a good one: Africa was declared free of polio in 2020…that’s definitely brilliant… 2021 will be a transition year…vaccines have to be administered, COVID cases will come down, and by this time next year, we’ll in a much better place…optimism is the best cure for anxiety… So with that...let's dive into some our annual not-so-traditional Christmas show. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 23, 2020
60 Facts in 30 Minutes: 2020 Edition
1531
Okay…let’s start the annual office cleanup…this is the time of year when I go through all the scraps of paper, all the scribbles on various notepads and all the post-it notes hanging everywhere…then there are the computer and phone notes that contain even more information… The goal is to determine if anything I’ve written down or squirreled away somewhere is of any use for this program… See, when you do a program like this, you always need to be on the lookout of interesting stuff…arcane knowledge…bits of trivia…oddities and strange connections…it’s a practically a 24/7 thing because you never, ever know when you’re going to run across something mind-blowingly fascinating… The problem is that many of the cool things I discover don’t fit in with anything that I’m doing or writing about…but it seems a shame to discard or otherwise ignore any of this research because it’s still fascinating stuff… So I spend the year collecting all this orphan material for this specific program every December…essentially, it’s a big data dump of music-related information…I just put it out there and let you do with it what you may… Got that?...prepare yourself…this is the annual look at 60 mind-blowing things about music in 30 minutes… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 16, 2020
The Story of Stereo: Part 2
1990
We are always pouring sound into our heads, whether we’re using some kinds of speakers or wearing headphones… I’m going to make a guess here, but I’m going to assume that most people demand a certain level of audio quality to what they’re listening to…you don’t want distortion and you’re hoping for a certain level of sonic realism… You want to be able to close your eyes and feel the music around you…you want to be immersed in it…these sensations, as important as they are to our enjoyment of music, are now taken for granted… But the technological journey to that led to us enjoying music this way took decades…and along the way, there were many twists and turns, false starts and dead ends, promising leads and utter failures… This is the story of stereo, part 2 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 09, 2020
Introducing: Whatever Happened To...?
659
You’ve heard the stories. You’ve felt for the people involved. But what happens after the cameras shut off and the reporters walk away? Just because a story disappears from the news doesn’t mean it’s gone. So whatever happened to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima? or the trapped Chilean Miners? And did anything actually come out of the Ice Bucket Challenge? Join Global News reporter, Erica Vella on this unique history podcast as she takes you inside these stories and talks to the people at the heart of each one to find out exactly what’s happened since. Listen now at https://link.chtbl.com/wht See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 04, 2020
The Story of Stereo: Part 1
1540
 Our ears are amazing things…evolution has created an ability that allows us to tell the direction of a sound…left and right, up and down, front and back…we can tell how close something might be, whether it’s stationary or moving, and if it’s coming towards us or going away…in other words, we hear sound in 3-d…very helpful for humans on the plains of Africa who had to be worried about being eaten by a lion… This directionality also makes listen to music so enjoyable…the very same things that prevented us from being eaten allow us to appreciate music, whether it be live or recorded… With a live performance, we’re in the same space as the musicians, so our ears and eyes work together when it comes to how we interpret what’s going on in front of us…we’re able to pick out all kinds of individual details…that includes the bad stuff like unwanted echo and reverb…and we’re always at the mercy of whoever is controlling and the mixing the audio for a gig… But let’s focus recorded music…how do you create that illusion of sitting in front of a performer?...and I’m talking about the ability to close your eyes and visualize where everyone is onstage?...the singer out front…the guitarist slightly to your right…the keyboardist is slightly to your left…you can tell that the drummer is further back than everyone else, but parts of the kit are slightly spread out…and the bass player is in there somewhere, but doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the instruments… For the last 60-plus years, technology has relied on a set of principles and techniques that allow recorded music to sound exponentially better that 99% of live performances—at least in terms of audio quality…listening to music this way is a totally immersive experience… We call it “stereo”…and this is how this part of our musical lives came to be…it’s The Story of Stereo, Part 1 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 02, 2020
Even More Rock Conspiracies
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The universe is a weird, random place that has little regard for what us puny humans think…this is something we find very, very hard to accept…we’re always looking for explanations for the weird, random, and sometimes evil things that befall us… Occam’s razor—the idea that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one—doesn’t cut it for some people…they believe that there are nefarious things afoot… For example, I know someone who is all-in when it comes to this QAnon rubbish…quick explanation: a government insider believes that Donald Trump is leading a secret global fight against a cabal of Satan-worshipping politicians and celebrities and journalists who are engaged in everything from child sex trafficking to cannibalism… Everything about qanon is bat-guano crazy and nothing to do with reality…yet there are people who believe that people Barack Obama, George Soros, and Tom Hanks will soon be arrested and jailed for their hideous crimes… This is more nutty than even the most out-there “JFK-was-assassinated” or “9/11 was an inside government job” theories…or the idea that the moon landing was faked…or that Sandy Hook was a false flag event…or that Bill Gates is big on vaccinations because he wants to inject miniature tracking chips into all of us… What else is out there?...chemtrails…the truth about the Denver airport…the UFO cover-up…the evils of fluoridation…flat-earthers, weather control machines, the illuminati, freemasonry… Okay, what about music?...are there any conspiracies that have taken root?...the answer is “yes…plenty”…and here’s another look down that rat hole of insanity… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 25, 2020
Hidden Figures
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I’ve always been something of a nut when it comes to the space program…but even though I’ve read all the books, seen all the documentaries, and watched all the movies, I was still surprised to learn something new with the movie “Hidden Figures”… This was a 2016 film based on a book of the same name…it told the true story about black female mathematicians who worked at nasa during the hottest period of the space race… They were “computers” in the original sense of the word: people who computer things complex things like flight trajectories, re-entry methods, and landing coordinates…they were even assigned to check and correct the calculations spit out by NASA’s big ibm mainframes…their work was essential to the American space effort… But this being the 60s, these women were segregated away from the other scientists, meaning that their work was largely forgotten until the movie and book came out… This got me thinking…are there any forgotten figures in music?...I’m talking about women who did awesome and important things but have largely been ignored by the traditional history of rock?...I’m talking about people beyond Deborah Harry, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde, and Courtney Love… Well, yes…yes, there was…and we need to know about them…let’s do that now… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 18, 2020
The Return of ACDC - Power Up Premiere
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2020 has been a miserable year…the pandemic…economic ruin…the crazy U.S. election, which featured an impeached President…Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash…the death of George Floyd…murder hornets arrived in North America…swarms of locusts descended on Africa… There were so many hurricanes that they ran out of names…the Olympics were postponed...out-of-control wildfires in both North America and Australia… And we lost more musicians…Neil Peart…Eddie Van Halen…Spencer Davis and dozens of others… Yeah, it’s been rough…what we need is something to remind us of the before times, the better times, the times when we could count on certain things always being there… A time when we could just turn it up, rock out and forget all the bad stuff… That something has arrived…an event that shows us that things can turn around; even when it looked hopeless…it’s the return of AC/DC See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 16, 2020
Great Alt-Rock One-Hit Wonders of the 90s: Part 2
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Creating art is hard…if it wasn’t, everyone would do it—and everyone would be successful at doing it…even those who can create art—the people with the right stuff—have a finite supply of good stuff within them… Take Margaret Mitchell, for example…she wrote exactly one novel…but that novel was “Gone With The Wind”…Pulitzer Prize, a classic movie with multiple Academy Awards, 30 million copies sold, endless adaptations…it even got her face on a stamp…in short, “Gone With The Wind,” first published in 1937, was and still is, a cultural phenomenon… But that’s all she ever did…ol’ marge hit it out of the park on the first pitch and that was it…one novel…she is perhaps the greatest literary one-hit-wonder of all time… Maybe that’s all she had in the tank…or maybe she looked at all the success she got from just that one novel and said “right…my work is done her…anything else I do will just be a letdown…I’m stopping while I’m way ahead”…totally understand that… Other artists, though, keep trying after that one hit…but for whatever reason, the magical pixie dust that they managed to harness that one time disappears forever… Man, to get a taste of standing on the mountaintop only to be denied it ever again…but—and let’s be clear about this—at least they made it to the top of that mountain, even if it was just once…and if they’re lucky, that one trip can sustain them for the rest of their careers—the rest of their lives… This is another program featuring those who got to the top just one…its great alt-rock one-hit wonders of the 90s, part 2…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 11, 2020
Introducing... 13 Hours: Inside the Nova Scotia Massacre
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The deadliest shooting spree in Canada’s modern history left us with far more questions than answers. Join Sarah Ritchie, a reporter for Global News in Halifax, as she tries to unravel how something like this could happen there. Sarah will take you through every hour, as it unfolded and together you’ll try and piece together what happened, what could or should’ve been done to prevent it and what we can learn to make sure a tragedy of this magnitude never happens again.  13 Hours: Inside the Nova Scotia Massacre: Listen NOW! https://link.chtbl.com/13hours See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 09, 2020
Great Alt-Rock One-Hit Wonders of the 90s: Part 1
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 Artists who manage to have only one hit are often the butt of jokes…getting tagged as a one-hit-wonder can kill your career…but let’s turn this around: how many hits do you have?... There is so much music out there, so much competition for our attention, that if you managed to break through all the noise just once, that should be considered a giant victory… And remember, too, that thanks to streaming and the tens and tens of millions of songs available at our fingertips through our smartphones, that today’s artists are not only competing with their contemporaries but with essentially humankind’s entire recorded musical history… So, yeah…being a one-hit-wonder is a genuine accomplishment…and while you may burn brightly and then quickly fade, it is possible that one song is all you need to set you up with some royalty cheques for the rest of your life…at the very least, you’ll end up as a trivia question… Some of these acts are gone forever…others have moved on to other things…and others still just keep plugging away, hoping that lightning strikes twist… Here are the stories of some alt-rock artists who hit it big exactly once… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 04, 2020
The History of Moshing
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I do not dance…I’m too awkward and too self-aware of my awkwardness…I know we’re all supposed to dance like no one is looking, but when it comes to me, people will look, point, and judge… My wife realizes this…since we were married decades okay, she’s had to be content with the fact that she got that dance at the wedding and that’s pretty much it…and that’s because she’s not into dancing, either… I can feel the judgment.... stop it! This doesn’t mean that music doesn’t move me…I’ve got that involuntary need to move when the music is great…and I don’t mean tapping a toe or nodding my head, although that’s where it starts… Put it this way: I’ve done my time in the pit…I’ve been elbowed, kneed, kicked, head-butted, burn with cigarettes and joints, and doused with water (at least I hope it was water)…no problem because that’s all part of the pit experience…the only thing I haven’t done is stage dove or crowd-surfed…I’m not sure why… But here’s a question: why is there a pit in the first place?...who came up with this idea?...how did it spread?...and is it the same everywhere?... These are important anthropological questions…we’re deal with a type of human behavior that’s seen all over the world…I think we need to study this…here a whole hour on the history of moshing… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 28, 2020
The Great KGB Punk Conspiracy
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You may be aware of a podcast that came out in the spring of 2020 that sought to get to the bottom of a certain musical mystery…it’s called “wind of change” and it explores the possibility that a metal power ballad was a contributing factor to the fall of the soviet union in the very early 90s… Stay with me… “Wind of Change” was a global hit for The Scorpions; a metal band out of Hanover in what was then WestGermany… The Scorpions sing in English…but they also recorded a Russian version under the name “Veter Peremen”…and when the song was released on January 20, 1991, it became a worldwide hit… Estimates are that it sold 14 million copies…it’s the best-selling single by any German artist…and because it was such a big hit in the USSR, the band presented Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev a gold record…even today, the song is a massive, massive hit among several generations of fans in Eastern Europe… For years, rumours have swirled about this song…it is said that it was the product of a CIA operation design to destabilize Soviet society with its message of change and revolution…it worked so well that by the end of 1991, the Soviet Union had crumbled… Did the CIA commission someone to write “Wind of Change,” get The Scorpions to record it, which somehow helped bring about the end of the USSR from within?...I’m not going to cover that here, so you’ll have to listen to the podcast… But I can tell you that this might not have been the first time rock music was used by a foreign intelligence operation to drive a wedge into a specific society…the popular music of the west—especially the music produced by the USA—was feared by Soviet bloc authorities…but the Soviets also knew that music could also be a weapon against the west… Here’s another theory…could it be that punk rock was actually KGB plot against the west?...did things also operate in the opposite direction…here’s what we know—or at least think we know… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 21, 2020
Introducing... Crime Beat - Season 3
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Ride along with 25 year veteran Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt, from Global News, on her award winning podcast Crime Beat as she takes you through some of Canada’s most high-profile criminal cases. Real People, Real Crimes, Real Journalism. Each episode takes you deep inside cases she has worked to give you detail you didn't hear on the news. Season 3 is available NOW - LISTEN​ Crime Beat is the 2020 winner of the Edward R. Murrow Podcast Award (RTDNA). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 20, 2020
History of Pop Punk: Part 2
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Here’s a list of words that shouldn’t go together but do…alone together…how many times did you uses that during the coronavirus pandemic?...deafening silence…I know what that means, but when you think about it, the juxtaposition is strange… Definitely maybe…good name for a Britpop album, but an odd combination of words…random order…walking dead…original copy… Here’s another one: pop-punk…you know what I mean by that…but those words should not go together…punk was originally created as an attack pop… Over the decades, pop and punk merged to create a hybrid that’s responsible for selling hundreds of millions of records and concert tickets… How did this happen?...that’s what we’re looking at…this is part two of a history of pop-punk… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 14, 2020
History of Pop Punk: Part 1
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Before we get to the topic at hand, I’d like to revisit the movie “Forrest Gump,” specifically Forrest’s shrimp boat buddy, Benjamin Buford Blue—but you can just call him Bubba…he knew all the ways one could serve up shrimp… What Bubba could do for shrimp, other people can do for punk…punk rock comes in as many different varieties of shrimp…there’s hardcore punk, ska-punk, cyberpunk, synthpunk, anarcho-punk, cowpunk, gypsy punk, Christian punk, Celtic punk, art punk, garage punk, glam punk, crust punk, horror punk, street punk, melodic punk, afro-punk, skate punk, Chicano punk, folk funk, trall punk… There’s punk blues, punk pathetique, punk metal, riot grrrl, queercore, rapcore, straight edge, emo, and oi… And then we can get into all sorts of subgenres…hardcore punk includes bent edge, deathcore, pornogrind, screamo, powerviolence, positive hardcore, nard core, nintendocore…and that’s about all I know about that… Most of these punk derivatives are pretty niche and none of them have a hope in hell of growing beyond a cult following…but a few have blown up into worldwide phenomenon’s—including a version that I haven’t mentioned, which remains one of the most popular forms of punk rock of all time… This is the history of pop-punk, part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 07, 2020
Where Are They Now? Part 4
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At some point, you may end up being invited to your high school reunion—and you’re probably going to go because you wanna see what happened to all those people… Where’s the jock that made your life miserable?...the girl or the guy who snubbed you for that date and broke your heart…the shy, nerdy guy who was really smart…who did well?...who got what was coming to them… But—oh, wait: people at the reunion are going to be thinking the same about you…how’s your hair and your waistline and your complexion?...dammit!...what am I gonna wear?...what am I gonna say to these people?...and so the anxiety sets in… But you’ll still end up going…why?...because we’ve all got the “where-are-they-now” gene…it’s only natural to be curious about the whereabouts of people we were close to (or at least in close proximity to) during an important time in our lives… Connecting people this way was one of the first projects for the internet…classmates.com went online way back in 1995…its sole purpose was the find anyone you might have gone to school with from kindergarten to university… This was also the purpose of a site called “Friendster” back in 2002…then came MySpace in 2003…anyone remember “hi 5?”...it showed up in 2004…then finally, Facebook in 2005… You know what we need?...a site that links together all the artists and musicians we once knew—a proper one-stop-shop where-are-they-now resource for music… As far as I can tell, such a site doesn’t exist so we have to piece together things ourselves….so let’s try to do that again…this is another look at lost Canadian alt-rock bands of the 90s and beyond… Damn…would someone get on that idea?...it would make doing a show like this a lot easier… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 30, 2020
Musicians Who Lost It: Part 2
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Sometimes, life becomes too much…things get too weird, there’s too much pressure, too many decisions, too many wrong choices….the uncertainty builds—and then you just kinda lose it… We lose the plot, go off the rails, hit the ditch, blow a gasket, and generally freak out…sometimes, these incidents are fueled by drugs, alcohol and mental illness…other times, it’s the body and brain’s way of saying “thanks, but I’ve had enough for now…I’m going to go over here and have me a little breakdown right now”… Creative types can be especially vulnerable to these problems…maybe because they’re wired differently…or they’ve developed some bad, self-destructive habits tolerated or even encouraged by those around them…or because they can live in a bubble, they don’t exactly know “normal” is to the average person… The results can be scary…and if we don’t know the backstory to these breakdowns and freak-outs, it’s very hard to help these people in their time of need…but the more we understand how and why people find themselves in these situations, the more we can help…and maybe, the more we can learn to cope with life ourselves… This is musicians who lost it, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 23, 2020
Musicians Who Lost It: Part 1
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There’s something about creative types that make them different than the rest of us…if you’ve ever spent any kind of time with any kind of artist, you’ll what I mean…they’re just different, you know?... That’s not any kind of judgment…it’s just an honest observation…they look at the universe differently, feel things in ways we don’t, and interpret life in interesting ways…that’s what makes them artists—and it’s why they’re so important to the rest of us… Sometimes, though, some of them will lose the plot…they’re so wrapped up in their bubbles that they start behaving…weird—even for them… Maybe it’s a mental health issue…maybe it has to do with drugs or alcohol…maybe they’ve just fallen in with a bad crowd, the kind that encourages bad, self-destructive behaviour… Some are able to rebound, straighten out and otherwise save themselves and those around them from any further grief…other times, well…. These are stories of musicians who lost it… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 16, 2020
New Rock Secrets
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This show is going to blow the lid off some secrets and mysteries in new rock. Admittedly some you may have already have heard rumours about,  but others....well this may be the first time you are ever hearing about them.      See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 09, 2020
Ongoing History Introduces you to: "History of the 90's"
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In the 1990s there was a massive flood of stand-up comedians making the leap to television to star in their own stand-up sitcoms thanks in part to the success of the Cosby Show and Roseanne. Those shows were followed by other massive hits like Seinfeld, Home Improvement, Martin, Ellen and The Drew Carey Show.   All of them featured a previously established stand-up comic who had been scouted from the comedy club circuit.  But there were lots of other shows starring comics that had high expectations but went down in flames like Grace Under Fire starring Bret Butler, All American Girl starring Margaret Cho and anything featuring Andrew Dice Clay. On the next two episodes we are going to take a look back at some of the hits as well as some the failures from that decade.  On part one, we look back at the stories behind Roseanne, Seinfeld, Home Improvement, Martin and Ellen.  Contact:  Twitter: @1990shistory Facebook: @1990shistory Instagram: @that90spodcast Email:  90s@curiouscast.ca Guests: Paul Brownfield, magazine writer, former TV critic at LA Times Twitter:  @paulbrownfield Greg David, TV critic and partner at www.TV-Eh.com Twitter:  @greg_david See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 04, 2020
The Ongoing History Book of Lasts
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Everyone talks about being first at something because it’s cool to be the first to do something…but what about being last?... There’s something called “Telesphobia,” which is the fear of being last at something…but sometimes, you just don’t have a choice… The last person killed in World War 1 was George Edwin Ellison, who was shot by a sniper 90 minutes before the Armistice went into effect at 11 am on November 11, 1918… The last time a TV commercial for cigarettes ran on American TV was on December 31, 1970…it was for Virginia Slims, by the way… And the last man on the moon was Eugene Cernan…Apollo 17, December 1972… After reading through all sorts of famous “lasts,” I got to thinking:  what are some famous music lasts?...here’s what i managed to find out… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 02, 2020
If That Is Your REAL Name
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This is a show all about fake names…sure we could spend an hour talking about how people like Courtney Love and Elton John and Madonna use fake names on hotel registers…or we could go into how Bono’s real name is “Paul Hewson” and Deadmau5 has “Joel Zimmerman” on his driver’s license and that lorde is really Ella Yelich O’Connor… We could talk about how singers and bands sometimes perform gigs under fake names to throw off the press…the Foo Fighters, The Arcade Fire, Metallica, The Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Franz Ferdinand, REM, Kaiser Chiefs, Led Zeppelin, The Clash and hundreds of others have done that… But no, we’re going to kick it up a big notch…we’re only interested in real bands—big bands—who have released albums under fake identities…or, at the very least, have tried to obscure their identities for whatever reason…they’re side projects, yes, but very special ones… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 26, 2020
Your questions answered
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Here at the Ongoing History of New Music, we get questions....a LOT of questions. So many that it's often difficult to answer all of them. But we do.  And what we've gathered in this edition of the Podcast are some of the most asked ones we get. So if you've often had these particular questions, here are the answers! But if you still have a question, please send it along and we will get the answer. We Promise.  Send them to Alan@AlanCross.ca     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 19, 2020
Get in the Van
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If you've ever wanted to be a musician, chances are you dreamed of going on tour. The romance of the road and everything that comes along with it.  But it's not as easy as you think. Not everyone is U2 and charters their own plane to get from gig to gig. Chances are you're going to be using a tour bus....or more likely....in a van. It is such a grind that kills many a band. There are the hassles, the expense, the accidents, the weirdos, the arguing, the screw ups,  and more. Murphy's law is in full effect: whatever can go wrong...will go wrong. Get in the van. Let's hit the road. You'll see what I mean. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 12, 2020
The History of Power Pop
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In the beginning—and I’m talking about, say, 1955—it was easy to categorize popular music…there was rock, pop, country and r&b…it was nice and simple…pretty much all mainstream music you heard could be dumped into one of these four buckets… But even back then you could get more granular…you could slice certain genres into thinner slices to include big band, Dixieland, Ska and hillbilly…and jazz…and gospel…and Broadway show music…and I guess we can’t leave out classical, can we?... And as rock’n’roll grew, it fragmented and separated and stratified with each passing year…before long, it wasn’t enough to say that you were in a “rock band”…you had to specify what kind of rock band you were… In 2014, a guy named Glenn McDonald created a project called “every noise at once”…he was able to identify 1,264 micro-genres of popular music…and new micro-genres are being invented every day…every hear of blackgaze or deep filthstep or skweee?...they exist…trust me… Some of these genres rise and fall pretty quickly…they’re “of the moment” and soon sound completely outdates…others, though, have staying power…they can be with us for decades…why?...because they just work, that’s all… And one genre that’s been working very well for over half a century is called “power pop”…this is its story… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 06, 2020
Trying to be a Superstar in the 21st Century
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You may have noticed that the most of the biggest rock acts in the world aren’t that young…Green Day?...middle 40s… Dave Grohl?...creeping up on the half-century mark… Trent Reznor?...as we sit here right now, he’s 52…Pearl Jam: early-to-mid 50s… Average age of U2?...upper 50s…Springsteen?...68…Paul McCartney?...75…and The Rolling Stones?…do you have to ask?... I am not ragging on old rockers…this is not about ageism…i just can’t subscribe to that whole “rock is for the young” B.S.…if these acts can continue to do what they do well into their pension years, all the power to them… Part of the reason so many people are still into these groups is because their bodies of work are incredibly strong and still sound great….most of The Beatles music is still brilliant even though much of it is more 50 years ago… The other reason these acts still attract attention is because there hasn’t been much of anyone to replace them…where are all the superstar rock acts of the 21st century?... This isn’t to say that they don’t exist because they do—but the stars seem to have gotten, well, smaller—not to mention fewer and further between… Wait…perhaps i should clarify what I mean by “superstar”…I’m talking about an act that sells music by the millions and millions of units…I’m talking about concerts by acts for which tens of thousands of people will crawl over broken glass to get tickets… I’m talking about acts who manage to great a deep catalogue of hits released over a period of years…and I’m talking about acts where there’s consensus by millions of people that they are great and worthy of everyone’s love and devotion… But thanks to changes within the music industry—and because we music fans are now consuming music differently—everything has been turned upside down…we need to look at things this way: why is so much harder to be a superstar rock act in the 21st century… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 29, 2020
The Original Ramones
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Friday, August 16, 1974, was a hot summer day in New York City…it was 31 degrees, but the humidity made it feel a lot hotter…and if you were down in the Bowery amidst all the concrete, it was hotter still...and it smelled… This part of the city was, to be honest, rather uncivilized…it was a slum…lots of garbage, broken windows, abandoned buildings, drug addicts and homeless people…but there were also businesses and places to hang out—like a dive bar at 315 Bowery at Bleeker called CBGB… Even though it was a Friday night, there was almost no one in the bar…there was the owner, the owner’s dog, two people from a transvestite band from San Francisco called The Cockettes, the manager of another band called television and an artist from the neighhourhood who had moved up from Chihuahua, Mexico, and a scenester named Leggs McNeil …that’s it… And sometime around 9:00, four guys in leather jackets, t-shirts, torn jeans and converse high-tops got up on the tiny stage… “They counted off this song,” he remembers, “and it was just this wall of noise…they looked so striking…these guys were not hippies…this was something completely new”… Fifteen minutes after their set started, it was over…they had blown through all their songs—and had also found time to fight about which song was next and to struggle with broken guitar strings…it scared the crap out of the owner’s dog… When it was over, the owner said to the band “nobody’s gonna like you, but I’ll have you back”… And he did...the band came back the following night…and again…and again….and again…by the end of 1974, the group had played cbgb a total of 74 times… But back to August 16th…that was the night music began to change forever…you’d never have guessed it, but when the bass player counted in that first song, it was the equivalent of “let there be light”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 24, 2020
The Second Voice
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when you’re the lead singer in a band, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get all the attention…after all, you are the visual and audio focal point for pretty much everything… Yeah, there might be a hot guitarist or someone else flashy in the group, but for the 99% of the time, the spotlight is on you…which is fine if you’re the lead singer… But if you’re not?...what if you’re the schlep on bass or drums?...what if you’re the newest member of the band and you haven’t earned the right to claim any of the glare…maybe you have something to say…or maybe you have something to sing… Chances are you’ll get shouted down, ignored or buried…but not always…i’ve found some very, very good songs where the second voice in the band—or the third or the even the fourth has stepped-up big-time to grab centre stage, even for just one single song…and here’s the thing: you might not even know it… This is a look at some times when the lead singer took a step back and handed the mic to a second voice See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 22, 2020
Good Goth: Part 2
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This is the second part of out examination of the Alt-Rock scene and this time we go from mid 80's right up to today. Goth has always had a bad rap so we're going to try to clear everything up with our deep dive.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 15, 2020
Good Goth: Part 1
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Goth has always had a bad rap and that's not fair to the music, the fans and the fashion so we're going to try to clear everything up with our deep dive. Don't worry...no one's going to get hurt. We examine the Alt-Rock scene from the early 70's and take it right up to today. This is "Good Goth" See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 08, 2020
Fashion
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Today we go back into the Ongoing History archives to talk about Fashion. This is a request for Amy in Cambridge who asked "have you ever done a show that talks about how fashion was influenced by and through Alt Rock?" Why yes we have and here it is! From Mods, to Grunge, Goth, Punk and a whole lot more. Enjoy and thanks for listening! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 03, 2020
10 Things About Muse
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There are some bands that you can take at face value, what you see is what you get. Then there are others which have backstories that go on for ever and ever. Pearl Jam is one U2 Green Day. Nirvana and also Muse. Muse is an interesting case because we here in North America, we're a little slow to catch on to what they were doing. They'd already been massive stars in the U.K., Europe and Japan before they hit North America. This sort of thing doesn't happen very often. It's like we suddenly and collectively discovered a band that was already in full flight, a deep library filled with road tested and chart tested songs. A solid live show and some very impressive musicianship. It was like we walk into a party that was already in Top Gear. North America has now embraced music every album and tours a big event. But then there's still that back story. We're still sorting through it, even though you may be a fan. How much about Muse? Do you really know? Let's find out. I call this show 10 Things about Muse.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 26, 2020
Canadian Producers
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We all know that Canada has created some of the biggest selling musicians in the world. I mean think about it... Celine, Alanis, Shania, Nickelback, Drake, Bieber, The Weekend....you get the idea. I mean by capita...does any other country really come close? But what about those behind the scenes like record producers? Canadian's shaped some of the most important and influential bands and artists in new rock history. We have a long history of production talent and we look at the legends and the new breed.  This show is from mid 2003 so since then, there are a lot more Canadians to add to the list! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 24, 2020
What's The Big Deal About Bauhaus?
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They only exhisted for barely 4 years and released just 4 albums but without them would there be a Smashing Pumpkins? Nine Inch Nails? Marilyn Manson? White Zombie? This is a program in the "what's the big deal series?". An occasional look at why todays music sounds like it does and this time it's one of the most influcential bands of the 80's We ask: "What's The Big Deal About Bauhaus?!?" See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 17, 2020
The Oral history of "Madchester": Part 2
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This is part 2 of our Oral History of Madchester as told by someone who was there to see it and make it happen. Gaz Whelan of the Happy Monday's!   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 12, 2020
The Oral history of "Madchester": Part 1
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This week it's the Oral History of Madchester as told by someone who was there to see it and make it happen. Gaz Whelan of the Happy Monday's! This really is something else... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 28, 2020
Ian Thornley - In His Own Words: Part 2
1941
The problem with so many interviews is that they can come across as interrogations…” I have a list of questions I must get through in the allotted time so let’s begin”… Depending on the circumstances, that’s sometimes the route you have to take…but there’s nothing more human than sitting down for a simple chat…if you can get some people in a room and just get them talking, then everyone forgets they’re being interviewed for something… They get into a groove and start remembering things and telling stories that aren’t included in any official bios or Wikipedia entries…this is the whole purpose of these occasional episodes I call “in their own words”… Not only do we learn about the artist, but we get to see them as proper human beings…we get to really know them in ways we otherwise might not…and that’s fantastic… I had a chance to chat with Ian Thornley…he’s one of Canada’s great guitar players, session guys, and performers…let’s hear more of what he had to say…this is Ian Thornley, in his own words, part two…   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 20, 2020
Ian Thornley - In His Own Words: Part 1
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Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Ian Thornley to talk about his career in our ongoing series of “in their own words” shows And this time we cover everything…and I mean everything…. This is Ian Thornley, in his own words, part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 13, 2020
100 Years of Radio: Part 2
1966
One of the most robust creatures on the planet is the cockroach…gross things, but you have to admire ability to survive…I mean, they’ve been around for 280 million years… Not only can a cockroach hold its breath for 40 minutes, live for a month without food and run up to three miles per hour, but one can live for up to a week without its head…I repeat: without its head! Impressive, but there’s a tiny creature known as a tartigrade that’s even toucher…one of these things are about half millimeter long, but they’re almost impossible to kill… They can survive temperatures of -273.15 Celsius, which is absolute zero…you physically can’t get colder than this…that means a tartidgrade can survive in the vacuum of space and will get back to business if you warm them up… At the under end of the spectrum, a tardigrade can handle pressures six times greater than what you find at the bottom of the ocean…that’s about 30,000 time more than the atmosphere around us… You can even boil one of these little buggers in alcohol and it’ll be fine…and if things dry up, a tardigrade will shrivel into a little ball and can stay that way without water for years… This is the only creature to survive all five of earth’s great extinctions… So why am I going on about tardigrades and cockroaches?...because we’re about to get into more of the history of the longest-living electronic media we’ve ever known…many attempts have been made it kill it, but yet it’s still here…this is 100 years of radio, part two… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 06, 2020
100 Years of Radio: Part 1
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This episode begins shortly after 9 am on the Saturday I turned 6…for reasons that will forever remain mysterious, the present from my grandmother was a Lloyds portable transistor radio…model tr-62…made in Taiwan…built with 6 transistors… This thing revealed a wider world to me…I grew up in a small town with three tv stations (one of which was in French) and the only radio I heard was what mom and dad listened in the kitchen or in the car… But now that I had my own radio, I discovered that there were many, many, many other stations out there…and in the wintertime, when the atmosphere turned into a giant reflector for distant am signals, I started to listen to stations from Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, Louisville, and many others… At some point, I decided that I wanted to be part of this world of news and information and entertainment and music…and to make a long story short, here I am…. ‘course, you may be listening to this as an internet stream or a podcast…but the original construction of the program was for traditional, terrestrial over-the-air FM radio… Radio is everywhere:  the clock radio, the kitchen, the stereo in the living room, the car, the office, the gym, the store…in fact, there are so many radios that they outnumber people in North America…there are thousands of FM stations and thousands of am stations…. But because radio is so ubiquitous, most people don’t give it much thought…it’s always been there, and it’s always been free and it’s so easy to use…radio has become so tightly integrated in our lives that we don’t notice it perhaps as much as we should… And then there are those who maintain that radio is dead and that no one listens anymore…that’s rubbish, of course…I could cite you all kinds of all kinds of statistics to prove that radio is still very popular, powerful, and profitable—like almost 90% of the population listens to radio over the course of a week—but just take my word for it… But radio is in a period of transition as new technologies come into play…however, the radio industry is very aware of what’s going on… These are all reasons why I want to talk about radio….plus this will give me an excuse to play some great songs about the medium… Oh—did I mention that radio has now officially been around for 100 years?....yes…yes, it has—and here’s its story… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 29, 2020
Big Picture Stuff: Part 2
2011
In the olden days of newspapers—and I’m talking decades ago—there was a specific way printing photographs…photos were given to the printer who copied the picture using a special camera that converted everything to something known as “half-tone” so it could be put in the paper… If you looked closely at the resulting picture, you’d see that it was made up of a pattern of dots…each one was a different size and proportional to the blackness of the original photo in that particular location of the photograph… Viewed at a distance, it looked like a normal picture…but if you got up close, all you saw was the dots… Wait…try this…have you ever sat up close to a tv?...I mean really close…so close that you can see the individual pixels…that’s kind of cool because you get to see the tiniest components of the video that’s being broadcast… But looking at a pixel or two isn’t helpful when you’re actually hoping to understand anything that’s been broadcast…you’re too close…there’s no perspective to anything… Sometimes to really understand things, you need to sit back—waaaaaay back—in order to perceive things, to understand things, to appreciate things and why they are the way they are…in other words, you need the big picture…   To torture this metaphor even more, the same principles can be applied to music before certain things come into focus…and that’s what we’re about to do…this is part two of a program called “big picture stuff”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 22, 2020
Big Picture Stuff: Part 1
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When it comes to music, it’s so easy to get lost in the weeds…to become distracted by all the minutiae and trivia… There’s nothing wrong with that, of course…it’s the study of exactly this kind of granular stuff that pays my salary…however, there is a “can’t see the forest for the trees” angle to all this… Sometimes, we need to stand way back—and I mean way back—before some vital things come into focus… I’m not talking about just learning not just to see the trees but the forest, but the whole of the countryside…no, wait…more than that…we need altitude…not just for a 35,000-foot view, but maybe all the way up into geosynchronous orbit so we can assess everything about a certain subject… Wait…this metaphor is getting out of control…what I’m trying to say is that if we step back far enough, we can learn some really interesting things about why music is the way it is…   What you’re about to hear may change the way you think about the history of music…this is big picture stuff—really big stuff—part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 15, 2020
9 Great B Sides
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Back in the day...when singles were released on vinyl...you needed to put a song on either side of the record. Sometimes it was another version of the same song, or just the same song again, or maybe a live version...or maybe something completely different. A song that the band didn't know what to do with. Something special...something unique. What I've gathered here are 9 great B-Sides. Some are landmark singles in a bands history, some are ones you might never have heard before... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 14, 2020
Airplanes!
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People often ask me where I come up with ideas for this program…my answer is always the same… you know that feeling when it’s Sunday night and you promise yourself you’ll start on that assignment that’s due the next morning as soon as “the Simpsons” is over?... Yeah, that’s me…every week…and after more than 700 of these one-hour assignments stretching back to 1993, I hit a wall…total writer’s block… I started to panic…there are hard deadlines…I have a contract…I’m expected to deliver another new show…there are radio stations all over the place that need new programming from me…what the hell am I gonna talk about this time when I got nothin’?... I mean, this is the seven hundredth and forty-sev— Wait…show number 747?...that’s the same as the airliner…what about stories of alt-rock and airplanes?... And so I started go back through all my files—and sure enough, there’s tons of stuff on the subject…plane crashes, near-misses, air rage, terrorist bombings… Well, that settles it…show number 747 will be able civil aviation and alt-rock…there…that wasn’t so hard, was it?... Dodged that bullet for another week… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 02, 2020
Alt Rock Revivals Part 5: New Wave
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It is a fact of life that there are periods where everything old is new again…if you look at Broadway, for example, old productions are always being brought back… Take “West Side Story,” for example…it first premiered in 1957 and was brought back in 1960, 1964, 1980, 2009, and 2020…that’s five revivals…the Gershwin musical “Porgy and Bess” has been brought back seventimes… Movies are always being rebooted… “Ghostbusters,” “Planet of the Apes,” “King Kong,” “Robocop,” “Willy Wonka,” “Halloween,” “Spider-Man”…“A Star is Born” first appeared in 1937 and was remade in 1954, 1976, and 2018… Then there are all the tv remakes…”MacGyver,” “90120,” “Dynasty,” “Lost in Space,” “Roseanne,” “Twin Peaks”…“Star Trek,” of course… And then there are musical reboots, scenes and sounds that are brought back by people who are sometimes generations removed from when this music first appeared… Maybe it starts with people who stumble on some old records…or maybe they independently discovered sounds and styles that they thought they were new… Whatever the cause or source, music is constantly being recycled and renewed…and that’s what we’re looking at with this series of shows…this is “alt-rock revivals: part 5”…and the focus is New Wave… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 25, 2020
Alt Rock Revivals Part 4: Garage Rock
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Take a look in your closet…are you the kind of person who won’t throw out anything because you’re sure it’ll come back into style one day?... I am…long after this stuff have ceased sparking joy, it’s still hanging in my closet…I have these sport coats and suits that I paid good money for…and even though I haven’t worn any of them for years, I can’t bring myself to throw them out… “yeah, they look a little dated, but one day”…maybe…hope springs eternal…none of them will fit, but that’s beside the point… For support, I look at my vinyl collection…there was a time when vinyl was considered nothing more than toxic landfill… “the future is digital!” We were told… “free yourself from all those bulky, dusty, crackly vinyl records…throw them out!...throw them out!”… For some reason, I didn’t fall for that…I kept my vinyl…and now that the format has been revived, I look like a genius… Bottom line, though, is that even though many things in this universe come in cycles, we’re not always sure when something old will become new again… At some point, everyone enjoys a comeback, a resurrection, a re-establishment, a re-introduction…but you never rush these things, especially in music… Something has to happen where a significant number of people in different areas simultaneously come to the conclusion that it’s time to revisit some older music and put a modern shine on it… This is what happened with garage rock at the very end of the 90s and the early 2000s…after laying low for a couple of decades, it roared back so strong that it set the agenda for much of modern rock for years to come… Let’s look at this….it’s alt-rock revivals chapter 4: garage rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 18, 2020
Alt Rock Revivals Part 3: Emo
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We hear this phrase all the time: “once in a generation”…fine, but how long is a generation?...according to Wikipedia, it’s about 30 years, which is the time it takes children to be born, grow up, become adults and then start to have children of their own… The international society of genetic genealogy sets the length of a generation between 29 and 31 years… But that’s if we’re talking about the child-parent-child cycle of human existence…we can also use the word “generation” to describe other cycles—like music…let’s try to do that… We all go through a period of “coming of age” with music…this is the period in our lives when music is central to everything we do…we use music to figure out who we are…we use it to bond to other like-minded people…and we use music to project our identity to the world… “thisis who I am!” That period—and I’m generalizing here—begins when we enter high school and ends when we get around to being adults…that’s roughly 10 years: 14 to 24, plus or minus a couple of years… If we consider that ten-year period to be a generation in music, the cycles will repeat much faster than the standard genealogical definition of “generation”… Extrapolating this reasoning (as dodgy as it might seem to some), it’s should be no surprise that we experience periodic revivals in music as age into, through, and out of that musical sweet spot in their lives…   So how long are these cycles?...well, using the rules I just described, we should experience revivals every 10 to 12 years…ish…   This brings me to Emo…when can we expect a revival in that area?...this is chapter 3 of a series entitled “alt-rock revivals”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 11, 2020
Alt Rock Revivals Part 2: Ska
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Certain types of music have been around forever…jazz, for example, has been with us for over a hundred years…classical music goes back at least six hundred years…and then there’s religious music which can date back a thousand years or even more… If you study this sort of thing—it’s a form of ethnomusicology—you’ll see that revivals happen all the time all over the world with all kinds of different music… If type of music lasts that long, it’s gotta be always there in the background…it can’t ever have actually died off…and it really helps if these old sounds experience periodic comebacks…you know, just to give things a boost from time to time… Music revivals can be defined as social movements where a segment of the population decides that a specific era or musical system needs to be restored…they’re tired of what’s happening in the mainstream and look for something from the good old days to soothe their souls… And revivals have an interesting side effect…when a form of music comes to the fore again, it has a chance to renew, to regenerate, to evolve… This is where we encounter one of the most durable and regenerative music of the last hundred years…this is chapter two of alt-rock revivals…and this time, we’re going to talk about Ska… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 04, 2020
Alt Rock Revivals Part 1: Punk
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We begin this episode with Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1-3…ish: “to everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…a time to rock, a time to dance, a time to head bang, and time to chill”... Okay, I don’t think that last part is in any edition of the standard bible…I might have made it up… Here’s what I’m trying to say…the universe moves in cycles…things are born, build up, peak, and fade away…but they don’t necessarily die…they just go into some kind of stasis, a type of hibernation before something triggers a rebirth…and if the conditions are right, the whole process repeats again… This happens with music a lot…certain genres, certain scenes, have periodic revivals… Lemme give you an example…in the late 50s, all the cool kids were into folk music…stuff that was a generation old suddenly became the thing all the hipsters were listening to…the Kingston trio…Peter, Paul, and Mary… This translated into a big boom for modern folk music that eventually manifested in Bob Dylan and everyone who followed him… Around the same time in the UK, the big thing was known as “trad jazz”…English hipsters who were unimpressed with this new rock’n’roll thing, decided that traditional jazz that was originally big 60 years previous was where it was at… Again, there was a revival with new artists like acker bilk, Kenny Ball, and Monty Sunshine…suddenly, New Orleans Dixieland was in vogue…things lasted until about 1965 before it all died away… In 1973, 50s rock’n’roll made a comeback... “American Graffiti,” “Happy Days,” Elton John singing “Crocodile Rock”—stuff like that… Alternative rock has been around long enough so that it has seen its own internal revivals…sounds from alt-rock history that have been rediscovered and advanced by a new generation of fans… Even the punk rock of the middle 70s was a revival of sorts…at its heart, that punk was a back-to-basics form of rock’n’roll but done with speed and a sneer…and that’s where we’ll start…this is alt-rock revivals, part one: punk… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 26, 2020
Ongoing History of New Music - Trailer
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Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else. Trust us on this. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 24, 2020
Secrets of Queens of the Stone Age: Part 2
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There are some bands that are very consistent with their sound—and fans love them for it…no two records are never exactlythe same, but whenever a new album is announced, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect… And when we get into the album, there’s a sonic linearity to the songs…nothing wrong with that… Then there are bands who like to take chances, take risks, from record to record…the last thing josh homme and whatever his crew is in queen of the stone age want to do is repeat themselves…that requires not only imagination and creativity but guts… But while they acknowledge that this approach can confuse people and maybe alienate fans from release to release, they also know that a certain percentage—a solid one at that—love that the band likes to use the curve ball Heck, it goes beyond that…we never know who’s gonna appear on a queens album…people in, people out, contributions here, contributions there…no wonder things change up all the time… And then there are all the side projects that are different still…so, yesit’s confusing…and i think that’s exactly what josh likes…keep ‘em guessing…   Let’s get deeper into all this with part two of “Secrets of Queens of the Stone Age”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 19, 2020
Secrets of Queens of the Stone Age: Part 1
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How old is rock’n’roll now?...if we use 1955 has some kind of abritary ground zero, rock is now eligible for all kinds of senior’s discounts…. That’s a long time…and the older rock gets, the more difficult it becomes to stick out, to find distinctive approaches and to be unique in an ocean of other acts… How many bands of the last, say, 20 years, can you name that has a sound so distinctive that you know exactly who they are within just the first couple of seconds? I have one: Queens of the Stone Age…there’s something about what they do that sonically sets them apart from everyone else… But it’s more than just guitar sounds, arrangements and lyrics…the elements required to create this uniqueness are complex and varied—and, I think, worthy of study…in fact. You can’t separate the sounds of Queens from their history—which is also very, very complex…let’s see if we can untangle everything… These are some secrets of Queens of the Stone Age, part 1…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 12, 2020
Studio Stories with Chris Birkett
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Like a lot of music fans, I’m fascinated by what goes on in the kitchen…how is music made and recorded?...who is responsible for doing what?... You may have wondered what a producer does or what’s the difference between a producer and an engineer?...how have things changed over the decades when it comes to recording technology?...and what’s the difference between the attitude towards recording music back in the day vs. What’s happening now?... The only way to get proper answers to these questions is to call in an expert…I found Chris Birkett, a producer, engineer, musician, and songwriter who has seen things evolve over a number of decades… Let’s get into some studio stories… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 30, 2020
Headstones: In Their Own Words Part 2
2096
Our memories are shaky constructs…we remember things wrong or forget things altogether…I’ve found—and other people agree with this—that if you want to dig through your brain to recover things that have gone missing is to just start talking…   The more you talk, the more will come back…and if you have a group of people with a shared history and they all start talking, it’s amazing what comes flooding back…it can be cathartic, therapeutic, nostalgic and just plain fun…hold that thought…   The longer a band exists, the more hazy the memories become…maybe it’s just age…maybe it’s because drugs and alcohol were involved…maybe some members die, taking their stories with them…   In far too many instances, we’re forced to piece together a group’s stories from second- and third-hand accounts: friends and associates, press coverage from back in the day, and various other imperfect recollections told either in person or documented online…but hey, it’s better than nothing, right?...   But what if you could get a band with a billion of these stories together in a studio and get them to talk things through?...what memories and feelings will emerge then?...   This is exactly what I did with The Headstones: Hugh Dillion, bass player Tim White and guitarist Trent Carr in the same place, talking about how they got there…this is The Headstones in their own words, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 22, 2020
Headstones: In Their Own Words Part 1
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At one time, The Headstones were the scariest band in Canadian music…they scared audiences, scared record companies—hell, they scared themselves… There were other words to describe them…intense…self-destructive…but I think the word the group liked the most was “furious” But  that doesn’t been to tell the story of The Headstones…strap in…this is a good one… The Headstones In Their Own Words…Part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 15, 2020
Remembering Neil Peart
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Over the decades, drummers haven’t received a lot of respect…all the jokes…the running gag in “Spinal Tap”…the issues so many groups seem to have finding the right drummer… But there are also those who stand out and are not only admired but worshipped…and not just by music fans, not just by other drummers, not by just other musicians, but by everyone has a chance to hear them play…they’re that good, that special… I’ve been a drummer since I was in high school…I later played in bands and worked as a drum teacher to get my way through university…and I still play today…and you know why?...Neil Peart of Rush… My first exposure to him was a stereo salesman who was demonstrating a pair of speakers by playing “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” from Rush’s “Fly By Night” album…I was immediately sucked into it by Neil’s playing…and when the song gets to those three drum breaks, I was hooked for life… Later, someone played the “Overture” from “2112” for…and that’s when I decided I needed to learn how to play the drums…same thing for millions of other kids… For someone who played so hard and so loud, Neil was the quiet one, the introvert, the reluctant drumming institution…interviews with Neil were rare…meet’n’greets with fans were always handled by Alex and Geddy…it was just understood that Neil didn’t do these things… I’ve probably seen rush in concert more than any other artist…I’ve traveled to different countries to see them…I’ve worked on Rush projects for their record label and their management company…I know all the people behind scenes…I’ve hung out with Alex and worked with Geddy…but I never got a chance to meet Neil… I, like so many others, have unending respect for his abilities as a drummer, a lyricist, and a writer…he was a thinker, articulate, and extremely well-read…he also had a wicked sense of humour… Stay with me as we remember Neil Peart… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 13, 2020
Deconstructing the Arctic Monkeys
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I love trying to figure out why things are the way they are…it’s a need to understand, you know?... Take a guy like Jack White, for example…if you go deep into his background, you have a much better understanding of why he is the way he is and why his music sounds the way it does… Another example is the Beastie Boys…how did they grow to what they became…if you look at Green Day’s upbringing, you get them even more… Same goes for Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder—they all have life experiences unique to them and crucial to the music they end up making… Lemme give you another name: The Arctic Monkeys…you may, like me, have always found something different about these guys…they rock pretty good, but their songs are constructed in a distinctive fashion….and lyrically, they’re above and beyond so many bands… And they started so young…they got it while they were still teenagers…and the way they became famous was completely antithetical to the way you’re supposed to do things in the music business… To put it another way, The Arctic Monkeys are unusual—and I mean that with the utmost admiration…tell you what: let’s see if we can deconstruct the band to see what makes them tick…then maybe we’ll figure how why they are the way they are… For a total of $70 off your first three weeks of Hello Fresh, go to HelloFresh.ca/OngoingHistory70 and enter the code “OngoingHistory70”. That’s HelloFresh.ca/OngoingHistory70 and enter the code “OngoingHistory70”. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 08, 2020
Catching Up With The Black Keys
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It is so hard to have a hit record these days…hell, with all the music out there it’s nearly impossible to attract any kind of attention…all the noise and distractions and competition… If you’re a new band with a debut record, you’ve got anywhere from six to thirteen weeks to make an impression once that first single comes out….if you fail to achieve significant traction with radio and retail and with fans during that short window, you’re in trouble…and if your record label doesn’t make it happen for you with the second single—well, I hope you didn’t quit your day job… It wasn’t always like this…back in the day when music was harder to come by, a record label could afford to wait for a band to develop and mature through two, three, four, five albums… Look at U2…they stumbled through their first two records before settling down with “War”… Look at the Red Hot Chili Peppers…warner brothers let them discover themselves through three albums before they could deliver the a little breakthrough with “Mother’s Milk” and then the big breakthrough with “Blood Sugar Sex Magick”… And look at REM…they released five indie records, each better than the last, before they were signed to a big major record label deal…that was hard…they were on a treadmill of recording and touring and recording and touring with little downtime…but they wanted it bad, so they did what they had to…it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll, y’know?... You can say the same of the Black Keys…a lot of people might think that these guys have what, three records in their catalogue…nope… They have eight full albums, two eps, one live album and close to two dozen singles…and unless you’re a longtime or hardcore fan, you may not know about some of the stuff they’ve done…  Let’s fix that for all the latecomers…this is catching up with the Black Keys… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 27, 2019
60 Mind Blowing Facts in 60 Minutes: The 5th Edition
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I have a long list of music-related facts that came to my attention this year…many of them were incorporated in various “ongoing history” programs over the last 12 months…but there’s also a lot of orphaned stuff—material that is interesting and fascinating but didn’t make it into any program for whatever reason… Maybe they didn’t fit into any of this year’s topics…maybe it was too off-brand…maybe they were just too “out there”… But this research will not go to waste…i have distilled this information to a tight list of 60 so i may present them to you…this is the fifth annual edition of “60 mind-blowing facts in 60 minutes”…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 18, 2019
Unfortunate Sonic Coincidences
2048
Here are a couple of musical terms you may have heard of… Earworm: that’s when a clip of a song keeps running through your head on a loop over and over and over again. Mondegreen: a misheard lyric…a great example is in Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”…he sings “’scuse me while i kiss the sky”…some people hear that as “’scuse me while i kiss this guy”…there are lots of mondegreens in popular music… I propose we need a third term…it’s that opinion that overcomes us when we believe one song sounds almost exactly like another… I know you know what i mean…you hear a new song and a brief sense of déjà vu fills your head as your brain tries to correlate its musical database with what you’re hearing…and when all the processing is completely, you might think (a) “hey! Someone ripped off [artist x]!”…or (b) “someone’s gonna get sued!”… But you know something?...it’s not that simple…far, far from it…welcome to the murky world of unfortunate sonic coincidences… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 11, 2019
Musicians With Disabilities
1877
The human body can be both very strong and very fragile…given its complexity, it generally works pretty well…but there are those among us who face challenges because of various disabilities… Some of these are genetic…others come as the result of accidents, trauma or some other kind of misfortune…then there’s the effect of disease… It can be very rough…there can be discrimination…and there can be a lot of misunderstanding… At the same time, though, there are opportunities for learning, compassion, and dialogue about what some of our fellow humans need in this life—and, just importantly, what special things they can offer back… Musicians are just like the rest of us, subject to the whims and frailties of this bag of water and chemicals we inhabit…these are some of their stories…   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 04, 2019
Lost Canadian Bands 3
985
There are a lot of things wrong with Facebook—don’t get me started—but there’s no denying that it can be addictive… The best thing for me is finding out where people from my life have ended up…high school, university, my home town, other places I’ve worked…and with over 2 billion active monthly users, there’s an excellent chance that almost everyone you’ve ever known as a Facebook account… But the “where are they now” thing doesn’t have to be restricted to people you know…you can lurk on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn to track down the current whereabouts of just about anyone…that includes musicians and bands that seem to have dropped off the radar… For example, where are some of these Canadian alt-rock artists of the past?...what are they doing now?...I’ve been doing some lurking—and here’s what I’ve found out… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 27, 2019
Golden Age of Synths as told by OMD
2001
There have been many times over the last one hundred years where technology has changed the way we make music… Take the microphone, for example…before it came along, singers had to be naturally louder than the orchestra…they needed to have a voice that could reach the back rows of the theatre…but when the microphone came along, certain singers like Bing Crosby, realized that you could use it to create a whole new mood for singing by getting up close and personal… Amplification was another game-changer…at one point, you needed a dozen or more people in a band to fill the room with music…with amps, you needed fewer people to make as much noise… Magnetic tape and multitrack recording made it possible to create entirely new soundscapes, the kind you could never get in the real world…the studio became an instrument for new sonic frontiers… And then we had developments like the electric guitar—and I don’t need to tell you how much that changed everything… This is how things were for the late 50s, all through the 60s, and into the 1970s…amps and mics and electric guitars and multi-track recording gear…those were the tools for making music… But then there was another change in that started to really be felt in the mid-70s…a new era featuring electronic machines that made sounds that had never been imagined anywhere in the universe… So many new possibilities opened up during an era that’s become known as “the golden age of synthesizers”…everything changed—and changed fast… If you’re into any flavour of today’s electronic music, you will find this fascinating… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 20, 2019
Weird and Shocking Rockers
1876
Here’s a warning right from the outset: this is going to be a weird program…the performs and the music we’re going to talk about are famous because of their weird, shocking behaviour…they set out to get our attention—and they did… Some of us appreciated what they were doing…but the vast majority didn’t get them at all…they were branded as sick, deviant, sociopathic, psychopathic, and even criminal… Yet all found some measure of fame within certain corners of the rock universe…their antics may seem tame now, even quaint…but if we put these images and behaviors in the context of the times, it seemed like that antichrist’s musicians were on earth, ready to lead the young dancing and singing towards the apocalypse… So, if you’re listening to this program, please look around and asked yourself this question: “won’t someone please think about the children?”… This is a look at some of the weirdest and most shocking rockers of all time… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 13, 2019
The Sum 41 Story As Told By Deryck Whibley: Part 2
1372
You don’t need me to tell you that being a rock star isn’t a normal kind of job…you live in a bubble that’s as far removed from the regular 9-5, Monday-to-Friday thing… You spend a lot of time living in hotel rooms…there’s a lot of downtime between gigs which can get really, really boring…and your working hours are almost completely opposite to your natural circadian rhythms… A lot of people will end up coping with bad food, drugs, alcohol and self-destructive behavior—anything to alleviate the boredom…or the pain…or the loneliness…or the insecurities… And because you’re a rock star, there aren’t many people who are going to tell you to smarten up and sort out your life…in fact, your bad behavior is more likely to be encouraged than police… And it can be even worse when you get off the road…suddenly, any day-to-day structure you had on tour is gone…and all that’s left you in your house with your bad habits… I bring all this up because this is where we’re going to pick up the story of Deryck Whibley and Sum 41… The band burned very hot and very bright from 1996 through to 2005…and finally, something had to give…and it got real scary… This is the Sum 41 story according to front man Deryck Whibley, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 06, 2019
The Sum 41 Story As Told By Deryck Whibley: Part 1
1414
If you’ve ever seen Sum 41 perform live, they seem larger than life…big…loud…brash…in your face…very punk rock…and out front is Deryck Whibley…he’s like a man possessed….it all makes for a great show… But in person, Deryck is life-sized…he moves carefully and takes care to sit up straight because of a chronically bad back…the tea he likes to drink can make him almost appear delicate… But when it comes to conversation about Sum 41 their career, he’s super-engaged…as the only permanent member in the history of Sum 41, he is the band…so when I wanted to talk about where this group came from and how things have evolved over a quarter century, he’s really the only guy I needed to talk to…and man, we talked… This is the Sum 41 story according to front man Deryck Whibley, part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 30, 2019
Solo Noel Gallagher
1447
It all came to an end on august 28, 2009, with a plum thrown against the wall…after eighteen years, the most volatile band in the world came to an end… Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher had always fought, but never like this time backstage five minutes before a show in Paris…words were exchange, the plum was thrown, violence was threatened, and a guitar was destroyed.... Two hours later, Noel issued a statement: "it's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer." Noel had left Oasis before…but this time he meant it…and since then, he’s kept his word…no amount of money or demands from fans or passive-aggressive pleading from Liam will changed his mind… Instead, Noel has gone his own way, both professionally and personally…and the impression I get is that he’s never been happier, more relaxed, or more confident with the way his life is going… Let’s get caught up with solo Noel by having a chat with the man himself…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 23, 2019
Riot Grrrls - A Primer
1395
There is no question that the vast majority of rock history involves dudes…it’s been a very male thing…not always, but most of the time… There was a time when it was “common knowledge” that girls just couldn’t rock…they didn’t have the feel…they were built wrong…it just wasn’t in their DNA like it was with guys… That’s crap, of course…but it took a long, long time for those prejudices to be defeated—dead and buried… The original punk rock of the mid-70s was a great help, thanks to the movement’s dogma that anyone with anything to say should be able to say it, regardless of musical ability, social class, race, or sex…lots of women were able to get on board with that… But there was some backsliding in the 80s…for example, hardcore punk was among the most testosterone-drive bro-rock ever…women were pushed to the back…and when grunge came along in the early 90s, it was again very dude-heavy… Even though parts of the grunge world were down with feminist causes and ideals—Kurt Cobain and the guys in Pearl Jam pretty woke and sympathetic, the scene as still very much a boy’s club…very male… This time, though, a group of women were determined to carve out their own space…music that would be about them and for them…music that would speak to issues that they cared about…and music that could rock just as hard and be just as abrasive as what the guys were doing…sometimes even more so…a lot more… They became known as “riot grrrls”…and this is their story… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 16, 2019
A Guide to Genres: Part 2
1202
I’m trying to imagine what it might be like to design an Amazon warehouse…a typical fulfillment centre is at least a million square feet filled with a zillion kilometres of shelving… And given that amazon is all about speed—the company is always trying to cut down the time between the time you click “checkout” and when the package shows up at your door—they’re always looking for the most efficient ways to find whatever you ordered on those shelves and stuff it into a box… The logistics of this is mind-boggling…not only do you have to categorize millions of items but you have to group them in such a way that things that are in the demand the most don’t create choke points for the robots that grab the stuff off the shelves… Music is a lot like an Amazon warehouse, except in some cases, it’s worse…not only do we have to categorize everything to a very granular detail, but we also have to make it possible for us to fortuitously stumble over something you might like… This is when we get into the whole idea of genres…at last count, Spotify has organized things into 2,424 different genres…there’s also website called “every noise at once” that lists about 2,000… This is both terrifying and fascinating…and it deserves study…this is a guide to genres, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 09, 2019
A Guide to Genres: Part 1
1476
Humans have always tried to make sense the world by putting things into neat little piles and filing them away somehow for further reference…it just makes things easier…   If you study biology, you’ll know about kingdoms, phylum’s, classes, orders, families, geneses, and species…libraries organize books with things like the Dewey decimal system and the universal decimal classification….and when you go grocery shopping, there are signs directing you to the right aisle or department…   This applies to music, too…we like to organize music into categories called “genres”… This used to be fairly easy…at the turn of the 20th century, we basically had popular songs of the day (vaudeville, show tunes and the like), folk and traditional music, religious music, and material from classical composers… Music has always separated and stratified and evolved, leading to sub-categories…within classical music, for example, we had baroque, chamber music, choral, and so on…. But as the population changed and as the recorded music industry began to take hold and more people began to buy records, music this fragmentation began to speed up… Jazz showed up in the 1910s and soon splintered into a bunch of different sounds…by the 1920s, we were hearing the origins of what eventually became all the flavours of country and western music…the blues records of the 20s and 30s was the forerunner of rhythm and blues… And then when rock’n’roll came along in the 50s, things started simply enough—it was a vaguely defined sound that you knew when you heard it…but the more time went by, the more complicated rock became…genres, sub-genres, sub-sub-genres, sub-sub-sub genres…derivations, offshoots, spin-offs, outgrowths, branches, by-products… And now that we’re all about streaming algorithms—things that require many, many different data points if they’re going to work properly, the number of genres has exploded…people are confused… That’s why we’re going to do this: strip back all the terms used to describe rock in order to understand the natural order of things when it comes to organizing things…this is the ongoing history guide to genres… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 02, 2019
Ultra-Deep Background on Dave Grohl: Part 3
1137
 Whenever you’re having a bad day, I want to think of this number…the probability of you existing—that you’re this sentient being, alive in this vast universe—is exceedingly small…in fact, it’s about zero… Your mom and dad have to meet…they have to stay together long enough to have kids…then that egg and that sperm have to connect, and so on… A guy by the name of Dr. Ali Binazir has calculated the odds of you being you…by that number is 1 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes… By way of analogy, here’s how he describes it… Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere.  The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water — in the middle of that life preserver. On one try. Mind-boggling, right?...now let’s get even weirder…add in the chances of you getting into a band that becomes successful…and not just successful, but a group that becomes world-changing…add another six zeroes to that last number… Now consider this: what if you got into a second successful band that stays together for decades and also becomes one of the biggest things rock has ever seen…that’s good for, what, three more zeroes?... So in this completely unscientific extrapolation of Dr. Binazir’s estimation of the uniqueness of existence, the chances of Dave Grohl being Dave Grohl is approximately one in two quadrillion, 685 trillion…give or take…   This is the third and final part of our ultra-deep look at the guy… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 25, 2019
Ultra-Deep Background on Dave Grohl: Part 2
1324
When you reach a certain level of fame, you can expect that everything you do will be recorded somewhere…it’s out of your control…fans will do it…your management team will do it…your social media people will make sure that it gets done…probably someone at your label…and they’ll just keep doing it… Your life becomes one ever-expanding Wikipedia page…not that this is a bad thing…it’s just something certain famous people have to live with… This brings me to Dave Grohl…he is one of the best-documented guys in music…everything he’s ever does and continues to do is written down somewhere… There’s the Foo Fighters, of course…we know a lot about the Dave and the Foos…there was his time in Nirvana before that…a little bit has been written about them… Then there are the side projects, the guest appearances…the documentary work…the soundtracks…. we’ve even been introduced to his mom, who wrote a book about raising rock stars… Seriously…with all this attention, what else is left to tell?...well, you might be surprised…this is part two of a program I call “ultra-deep background on Dave Grohl”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 18, 2019
Ultra-Deep Background on Dave Grohl: Part 1
1682
A couple of years back, i was invited to 606 studios, which is the headquarters of all things Foo…it’s the house of foo… This is where the Foo Fighters rehearse and record…it’s where they have band meetings…and it’s where they store a lot of their stuff…i had all five guys to myself for an interview…and there was no other way to describe them as a bunch of others… Taylor Hawkins took the lead on this…and the whole time Taylor was talking, Dave Grohl was sitting there with a big smile on his face…he knows he’s among the luckiest humans alive…sure, he’s talented and ambitious, but so many things completely beyond his control had to go right for things to turn out the way they have…it’s really amazing… Dave’s career has been extremely well documented—but there might still be a number of things that you don’t know about him—especially from the early, early, early years…let’s dig into that, shall we? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 11, 2019
History of Shoegaze
1005
Every once in a while, a form of music comes along that makes it its mission to break with the traditions of rock n roll. Okay...well maybe the instrumentation is largely the same...but it's the way they are used. And it's usually done by people who don't know there are rules when it comes to rock and people just want to get together and play. And this happened in the late 80's when we were first introduced to the idea of Shoegaze. The result was a wall of sound with atmospheres and harmonics.  And It was truly unique.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 04, 2019
The History of Vinyl: Part 2
2006
As we looked at in part 1, Vinyl is making a comeback.  But how did this happen? Will it last? And what lies ahead for the future of one of the oldest forms of recorded music? This is the History of Vinyl...Part 2 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 26, 2019
The History of Vinyl: Part 1
1924
Vinyl. It's one of the oldest formats that you can listen to music on. And a few years ago everyone was talking about its death: First thanks to the CD and then the MP3. But a funny thing has happened over the last decade or so. Vinyl is making a comeback.  But what is exactly is Vinyl....how did it come to be? Why did it disappear? And how have things changed for it to be back on the radar? This is the History of Vinyl...Part 1 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 19, 2019
The Influencers - Springsteen
1093
Once upon a time, music was incredibly tribal…once you picked a tribe, you had to conform to serious and rigid rules…whatever the prevailing dogma dictated was your reality…snobbery abounded…. For example, in the 70s, 80s, and well into the 90s, rock was divided into two camps…on one side were the mainstream rockers, fans of the artists that occupied most of the attention: radio airplay, record sales, concert tickets…they were on top of the Rock’n’Roll zeitgeist…  On the other were the alterative kids…they were the outsiders, the weirdos, the misfits—and they were very happy with their position…alt-rockers were content with their own musical universe… But here’s the thing: during this period, these two tribes were locked in a cold war…it was a war of musical ideology, musical outlook, and musical aspirations…and woe to any tribe member who tried to change tribes…you might as well try to take a stroll across the DMZ between North and South Korea…things could be that rigid… And there was more…if you were a mainstream rock fan, you couldn’t admit to your fellow tribe members that you liked music from the other side…same thing if you were an alt-rocker…to admit that you liked Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, or Van Halen was nothing short of heresy… I recall one time when Billy Corgan admitted that some of the Smashing Pumpkins sound was influenced by Judas Priest…shock and horror!...treason!...if social media had been around back then, he would have been trolled to death—even though if you listened to the pumpkins, you could hear that kind of metal influence coming through…it just didn’t make sense… Today, though, those rigid tribal groups have broken down…we have entered an era when we’re very ecumenical about music…more and more, the prevailing philosophy is “respect all music, listen to what you want”… This is healthy because it opens up new vistas for music—for listening andfor influences when it comes to making new music… Here…let me show you what I mean… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 07, 2019
What's The Big Deal About The Stooges?
1362
If you were to ask a contemporary group like say The White Stripes or The Hives about which band influenced their sound they would probably list off a bunch of names including The Stooges. If you were to go back to the 90’s and ask the same question to Nirvana or Janes Addiction, one of the bands they would inevitability mention would be The Stooges. Slip back to 80’s and ask Sonic Youth and they would probably say The Stooges… If you travel back to the 70’s and ask The Sex Pistols or The Ramones and they would likely say…The Stooges… Or ask David Bowie…and you’d get The Stooges… Alright then so The Stooges seem to be on everyone’s list but hold on….this is a band that hardly sold any records in their day and were so messed up that their singer ended up in an asylum. So, I guess the question must be asked…what’s the big deal about The Stooges? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 30, 2019
Etymology: Part 1
1488
The study of word origins and word meanings is called Etymology.  And rock music has it's own branch of Etymology and we can give you lots of examples. In fact over the course of the next two Podcasts we will break some of these terms down. Why do we call it Punk music? And how did we come up with New Wave? Or Grunge? Or Post Modern? Answers to those and more as we explore Etymology in Alt Rock See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 29, 2019
Stories Behind Songs
1498
Every song has a story behind it. Maybe the way it was created, what it is about, who it is about, where it was written...there are literally a million reasons and ways a song was born. But have you ever wondered how musicians came up with some of their best known songs?  How did Nirvana arrive at Smells Like Teen Spirit? What was Blur doing when they came up with Song 2? Why was it so complicated to finish Fairytale of New York? Well wonder no more...we have answers to those and a whole lot more as we once again look at the stories behind songs. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 22, 2019
The Reunions: Some Lasted....and Sadly, Some Didn't | Part 3
1530
This is "The Reunions: Part 3" The final part of a series that first aired in 2009 and we thought it was time to revisit it...see what bands did survive a reunion and which ones have not. Now something to note about this series. Some bands have since broken apart again or gone off in an entirely different direction. And some are no longer together because a member has since passed on.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 15, 2019
Kirk Hammett’s Movie Poster Collection | Bonus Podcast
1359
Everyone needs a hobby, something to distract from the job…something that’s just for you…something that allows you to pursue a passion that maybe only you understand… For example, Flea is big into chess…when the Chili Peppers on the road, he’ll often challenge people to games, including grand masters who are invited backstage for the purpose of playing flea… Geddy Lee of Rush used to be very, very big into signed baseballs, especially those from the old Negro League… Neil Young finds model trains very relaxing…Iggy Pop paints…Bob Dylan does sculpture…Bryan Adams is into photography…Slash collectors pinball machines…guy Berriman of Coldplay has an incredible collection of cars, ranging from classic Porsche’s to a Bugatti Veyron…and then there’s Stephen Morris of New Order…he collects old military vehicles, including tanks… Hey, if you have the interest and the money, why not?... This brings me to Kirk Hammett of Metallica…Kirk is a fan of horror memorabilia…but his biggest passion are posters from old horror movies…his collection is so big and so comprehensive and so well-preserved that it’s the subject of exhibitions at major museums, including the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto…why movie posters?...I sat down with kirk to find out… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 10, 2019
The Reunions: Some Lasted....and Sadly, Some Didn't | Part 2
1272
This is "The Reunions: Part 2" A series that first aired in 2009 and we thought it was time to revisit it...see what bands did survive a reunion and which ones have not. Now something to note about this series. Some bands have since broken apart again or gone off in an entirely different direction. And some are no longer together because a member has since passed on. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 07, 2019
The Reunions: Some Lasted....and Sadly, Some Didn't | Part 1
1570
Sometimes, a band can survive their entire career without a line-up change...looking at you Radiohead, Coldplay, U2....others have members leave, hello Oasis, or get kicked out. See The Clash. Meanwhile some bands just decide that it's time to pack it in. Call it a day. Stop the train and get off. There could be any number of reasons for this; you grow apart, you don't have anything else to say, you can't stand each other anymore...that sort of thing. And when a band does break up, many fans ask the same question: "So when are you getting back together?!?!" And many times band do! For a variety of reasons...and many reasons that come back to money. Anyhow, this is the first of a series we did a number of years ago on bands that had reunited. Now something to note about this series. Some bands have since broken apart again or gone off in an entirely different direction. And some are no longer together because a member has since passed on. This is "The Reunions: Part 1" See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 03, 2019
Mumford and Sons
1360
This time we take a deep dive into the history of Mumford and Sons...the earliest and mostly unknown aspects of their career.  If you're a superman...you might already know some of this. Or maybe not! Lots to digest in this episode. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 24, 2019
Ongoing History introduces Wait, There's More
926
Wait, There’s More is a daily Global News podcast released every afternoon just in time for your commute home. On this episode, protests have erupted in Hong Kong as tens of thousands of people speak out against legislation that would allow the territory’s citizens to be extradited to Mainland China. Demonstrators tried to storm government buildings and police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Host Tamara Khandaker explores Hong Kong’s precarious relationship with China since the end of British governance in 1997 and what the implications of such a major change will mean for the safety of its citizens with the help of Crystal Yeung, a Canadian human rights lawyer living in Hong Kong; Grace Yeung, a Hong Kong resident, who has taken to the streets to protest; and BBC journalist Vincent Ni. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 21, 2019
The Rise and Fall of Britpop
1531
We're taking a look back at the glorious days of Britpop. That incredible time in the 90's which lasted about  6 years where it seemed Cool Britannia ruled the airwaves and everyone was having a great time! London was swinging again and British acts were selling tens of millions of albums the world over. It was fresh, it was fun, and it was cool. And then it was over...collapsed by the weight of over exposure, boredom, and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. Let's take a look back to see how this all happened. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 19, 2019
Franz Ferdinand: In Their Own Words
1744
Welcome to another episode in our series of having bands and musicians tell their history in their own words. This time we go back to our interview in 2009 for the amazing Franz Ferdinand! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 17, 2019
Health Issues of Musicians
1682
The human body is basically a bag of water with a bunch of chemicals mixed in…that’s an over-simplification, of course, but it’s an accurate description of the squishy bits that make up us… It’s also true that every once in a while, something—or maybe a lot of things—go a little wonky with these squishy bits…yeah, we often hear of some guy up in the Ural Mountains who’s 117 years old who credits his longevity to bacon and unfiltered cigarettes…but that’s the exception… The rest of us have to constantly be vigilant about our health, eating right, sleeping enough, reducing stress—all that sort of stuff…but not everything is preventable…bad genes…disease…accidents… These same rules apply to the musicians we follow…they’re human, just like us…and every once in a while, we hear about their health challenges...and quite often, they’re very open about their issues…they want to be honest with their fans—and maybe by bringing attention to their situation, they can encourage awareness or those with similar health problems to seek treatment… In other cases, we only found out there was a problem after the fact…that knowledge has helped us understand what happened… So, without betraying any confidences or digging into private health records, here are some musicians who have battled their bodies and their brains, just like us regular folk… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 29, 2019
Catching Up With Twenty One Pilots
1281
Not all bands hit it out of the park right away…they need a few albums and a couple of long tours before things start to fall into place… Take the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for example…their career really didn’t start to blossom until their fourth album…same thing with Muse—at least in North America…they might have been playing arenas in Europe…but when it came to their fourth album, they were still playing clubs on this side of the Atlantic… Same thing with R.E.M...they had a strong cult following through four records before they were able to cross over into mainstream consciousness… And for The Black Keys?...it took until albums number six for them to have their big breakthrough… These success stories underscore the need for patience and foresight on behalf of record labels, managers, and everyone else associated with the welfare of a particular artist…if you honestly see potential, then you gotta play the long game, one that may stretch out over years… And then you gotta look at things from the artist’s perspective…is the band prepared to live through some lean and dark times on their way to some kind of success?... This brings me to Twenty One Pilots…they blew up with the “Blurryface” album in 2015…but before that were six years of really hard slogging when almost no one knew who they were…let’s get caught up on that part of their story, shall we?... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 22, 2019
Rise and Fall of the CD
2037
On the afternoon of October 1, 1982, Sony introduced a new home stereo gizmo… it was the world’s first compact disc player… they called it the CDP-101… Weird name, but if you take it apart, it makes sense…”CDP” stands for “compact disc player…and “101” is binary notation for the number 5…that’s because the head of the audio division considered this first model to be in the middle of Sony’s future lineup of cd players…so “5” on a scale of one to ten, I guess… Sony had been working on compact disc technology with a Dutch company called Philips for a number of years, which released their own machine, the cd100, about a month later… Compact disc technology was rolled out worldwide in march 1983…and for the next seventeen years, the recorded music industry experienced a boom unlike it had ever seen before…music fans were convinced to buy all their favourite albums again…and as the popularity of vinyl and cassettes waned, the cd became the currency of the realm… And lo, it was good…insane amounts of money were made year after year after year… But nothing lasts forever and in about 2000, the bloom started to come off the cd rose…and now, cd sales are in a total free-fall as streaming becomes the way most people access music… The compact disc isn’t dead yet, but it’s never going to be the juggernaut it once was…what happened?...and how?...it’s actually a fascinating story… This is the rise and fall of the CD… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 15, 2019
Musical Offspring
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It runs in the family…like father, like son (or mother like daughter…or some variation of that)…the apple never falls far from the tree… All these sayings have something to do with some sort of hereditary characteristics or learned abilities passed down from parent to child… I suppose if you grow up in a creative household, something is gonna run off, whether it be something in your genes or just because of what goes on around you as you’re growing up… Take the case of Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnold…not only has he done some acting, but he’s got a clothing company called #project360 that donates a chunk of profits to charity… Duncan Jones is the son of David Bowie…he’s a really good film director…Sasha Spielberg is the daughter of Stephen and Kate Capshaw…she’s become quite the screenwriter…Ben Stiller is the son of Jerry Stiller…most people know Jerry as George’s father on “Seinfeld”… What about music?...Johnny Cash and daughter Roseanne…Billy Ray, dad of Miley Cyrus…Norah Jones is the daughter of Ravi Shankar….Jason Bonham is the son of Zep drummer John…he’s not only been in a bunch of bands of his own, but he’s sat in for his dad on drums a couple of times when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant needed someone to keep time… Okay, this is fun…how many other parent-sibling combinations can we name—if we just focus on the world of alt-rock…sounds like it’s time to make a list… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 08, 2019
Music Industry Glossary: Part 2
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Every industry has its own language…think about what it’s like to be a doctor and all the terms and phrases you must learn if you’re going to communicate with your patients and other medical professionals…what’s the difference between and otolanryingolist and a nephrologist?...iatrogenic and idiopathic?...hypotension and hypertension?... What if you’re working in the world of finance?…you need to know about things like “shorts” and “yield curves” and my favourite, “ebidta”—earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization… Or maybe you’re a coder…think of all the jargon you use when you’re working on a project… I have a list of coder slang in front of me…I’m told these are real terms used in that world… “rubber ducking is a discussion with other engineers to solve a problem…a “jimmy” is a new and clueless new member of the team…and a “hydra” is a bug that can’t be fixed because every time you try something, two or more new bugs pop up… So you see what I’m saying about jargon and a language created by the people who work in a certain area… This applies to the music industry…and if you’re not familiar with the terms that are always thrown about, you might excluded, out of the loop, or a little dumb… I’ll say it again: that’s wrong…and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask what some of these terms mean…that’s brings us to part two of our music industry glossary… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 01, 2019
Legendary Gigs
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Maybe it was the first time you saw your favourite musical. Maybe they played a set list that you thought was perfection. Maybe you were front and centre and the singer crowd surfed right over your head! So sure...an absolutely legendary gig! But what about those gigs that redefined alt-rock? Those concerts or shows that stand out as legendary for what came after them? The bands they inspired or the lasting legacy of that show on the audience? Well we're going take a look at 8 of them and try to explain why they are so legendary in the history of alt-rock See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 29, 2019
Music Industry Glossary: Part 1
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I’m really bad with jargon…I hate it…jargon is by its very nature exclusive…if you don’t know the language, don’t know the codes, don’t know the usage rules, then you’re locked out of the discussion… I remember one financial guy who wanted to talk to me about a retirement savings plan…and his schpiel went something like this: “When it comes to diversification of your asset classes, consider taking out some warrants on pink sheet stocks on the vix, backing them up with shorts on fang stocks for a few months before rebalancing your portfolio through dollar-cost averaging”…I have no idea what I just said… Now let’s switch to music…if you do any exploring of how the music business works, you inevitably run into words that seem important, but you don’t know what they mean…you could ask, but then it might show that you’re, err, lacking in knowledge… “Newbie!...ignoramus!...rookie!”…no one wants that, so you just keep it to yourself…no one wants to be made fun of…and if someone does deign to explain things to you, there’s always the risk that they’ll be condescending…so you say to yourself “I’ll figure it out…eventually…I hope”… But that’s not right…music should be for everyone…if you’re interested in how things work with the recorded music industry, your curiosity should be rewarded…and that’s what we’re going to do right now…this is an audio glossary of music industry terms…and once we’re done, you’ll be able to converse with the best of them… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 23, 2019
Nine Inch Nails and "Year Zero"
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Back in 2007, Trent Reznor did something a little different with the release of "Year Zero". He essentially created a game...a mystery...a unique marketing campaign. This was an incredibly complex campaign with clues buried all over the world.  Basically all of this was done because Trent was bored. He wanted to shake things up with his music, his concerts, his fans...and with his image.  This is the story behind Year Zero See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 21, 2019
Alexisonfire - In Their Own Words Podcast
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A band is like a plant…stay with me on this…like a plant, a band grows from seeds to maturity, bursts for with new seeds and then eventually withers and dies…it’s the cycle of life, you know?... But like plants (or animals or any other living thing), the lifespan of bands varies greatly…you could last as long as rehearsal—kinda like, what, a dandelion?…or you might find yourself on some kind of 50-year-anniversary tour—the equivalent of a bristlecone pine tree that can live as long as 5,000 years… Okay, I think we’ve tortured this metaphor long enough… Then we have bands that form, rise to a peak, hit something of a downhill slope, and break-up, only to reform again for—well, there could be any number of reasons…and this leads into completely new second act…and thus things begin again—and maybe even under better circumstances than anyone thought possible… Let’s do a case study…let’s have a specific band deconstruct their journey from formation to breakup to reunion…this is the history of Alexisonfire—in their own words… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 17, 2019
Murder!
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There are a lot of songs about Murder...but what about actual events where there are real killings involving real personalities in music? Well we've gathered a bunch. Actions are motivated by jealousy or sex or fear or revenge or anger...or someone just gets very unlucky. And in the end...someone ends up dead! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 15, 2019
Kurt Cobain: 25 Years Later
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There was nothing particular special about April 8, 1994…I came to work as usual, saw the usual people, and prepared for my radio show in the usual way…I made note that the Toronto Blue Jays were playing a sold-out home game…one of the stories in the news was that American troops were upset about a smoking ban that had come into effect on some military bases…that was about it… But at about 1:45—fifteen minutes before airtime—Anita, who was working in the newsroom—popped her into the studio… “Just a heads-up,” she said, “something’s going on in Seattle…it looks like it has something to do with Kurt Cobain”… If I’m honest, most of us were prepared for some bad news…we knew that Kurt had his issues…his health problems…his heroin addiction…his crazy marriage to Courtney Love…the canceled European tour…and, of course, an apparent suicide attempt in a Rome hotel room about a month earlier… Still, all that was abstract, gossip, stories in magazines…but over the next 90 minutes, everything resolved into harsh, terrible, awful, reality… If you were around then, you probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news… it was one of those rare, rare moments, the same sort of thing felt with the assassination of John Lennon on Monday, December 8, 1980, and the death of Elvis on Tuesday, August 16, 1977…. Was that really 25 years ago?...yes, it was…if you were there, let’s revisit things…if you weren’t, here’s how dramatic and sad it was…this is Kurt Cobain, 25 years after he died… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 08, 2019
Moonlighting
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Just because you're a successful musician or are in a band doesn't mean you don't want to try something else. Maybe you want to open up your own side business in something related to music. Maybe it's in a completely different part of the economy.  Whatever the case...you want to try something different while still doing your day-job. In this podcast we look at various side business that musicians have tried over the years. Now granted this show was done a number of years ago, and some of these business may no longer exist, but what it shows is how musicians have taken on more than just touring over the years. These are musicians who moonlight.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 03, 2019
Matt Good: In His Own Words - Part 2
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Like we said before, from time to time we have the opportunity to get a band or a musician into a studio and have them walk us through their career. What comes out of these interviews can be  honest and pure conversations about the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and challenges that come with being a musician trying to keep it all together in the madness and chaos of recording, touring and living. On this second episode we pick up the story with Matt from the last days of the Matthew Good Band through the start of his solo career.   This is Matt Good...in his own words. Part 2 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 31, 2019
Matt Good: In His Own Words - Part 1
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From time to time we have the opportunity to get a band or a musician into a studio and have them walk us through their career. What comes out of these interviews can be  honest and pure conversations about the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and challenges that come with being a musician trying to keep it all together in the madness and chaos of recording, touring and living. What you hear from Matt Good is one of the most honest and true conversations you might ever hear from a musician. This is Matt Good...in his own words. Part 1 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 27, 2019
New Rock Hair
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Maybe this isn't a topic you thought about in New Rock, but it's time for us to take a look at New Rock Hair. Seriously... We've dug back into the archives and found this one from 2006 where we have a dive into the hairstyles of New Rock. Dreadlocks, Mullet's, Punk, Bowie...and of course Robert Smith among others. This is a good one! Trust us...   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 25, 2019
The 00s Part 5: Technology
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Let’s make a list of all the things we did not have on January 1, 2000…ready?...iTunes, iPods, iPhones…YouTube, Facebook, Twitter…Snapchat, Spotify, smartphones… There was no Netflix (at least as we know it now)…no MySpace…no Instagram Well, what didwe have?...dial-up modems…Windows 98 (if you were lucky) or Windows 95 (if you weren’t)…Apple?...still mostly a corporate basket case…even Google was less than 18 months old… If we look at music, we were mad for compact discs…they were selling by the hundreds of millions, ensuring that the music industry was drowning in money… Vinyl?....dead, dead, dead…the only thing that was keeping that format on life support were club djs who still preferred the feel and action of records over CDs in the booth… We had MP3s and we’d begun to trade music files online, but that was still a clunky and frustrating experience for most people—unless you’d discovered this new thing called “Napster” that had been out for about six months… Now fast-forward ten years to December 31, 2009…everyone was getting smartphones…global CD sales had dropped from a high of 26 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to around 9 billion in 2009 with no end in sight…the number would get much smaller yet… Meanwhile, vinyl was starting to come back…everyone was using digital music files…streaming music services were starting to catch on…and Apple and Google and Facebook were among the most powerful companies in the world… The recorded music industry was in complete disarray, bleeding money, laying people off, dropping artists, and still trying to litigate their way back to their former glory… The first decade of the 21stcentury was an era of massive technological disruption…how did our music adapt?...let’s examine that…this is the oughts, part 5…   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 20, 2019
Ongoing History Introduces you to Crime Beat
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Crime Beat” is a new investigative podcast series hosted by Crime Reporter Nancy Hixt. She's been covering cases for over the past 20 years and knows her hometown by the crime scenes she's been to. Journey deep inside some of Canada’s most high-profile criminal cases. Each bi-weekly episode will take you inside the story to give you details you didn't hear on the news.   Here’s a sneak peek from episode 2 of the series…. and while you’re listening, search and subscribe to “Crime Beat” for free at Curiouscast.ca or wherever you’re enjoying this podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 14, 2019
The 00s Part 4: Variety Returns
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Music is always evolving, mutating, and modifying itself…enough people may agree on a certain direction for a new sound to become a new sub-genre…and in time, sub-sub-genres may spring from that offshoot, multiplying things even more… Think about it…in the 50s, you had rock, pop, country, and R&B…most everything that was released back then could be classified under one of those four headings…today, Spotify has organized things into nearly 2,000 different categories… There’s music with names like “dark psytrance” to something called “stomp and flutter”…you might be into “vapor soul” or “fussball,” “gymcore” or “catstep,” “footwork” or “sleaz33e rock”…seriously….these are all actual Spotify genre classifications…. Now let’s circle back to alt-rock in the early 2000s…after a decade of things staying fairly close to a certain set of specs, it began to mutate again…yes, guitars were still important, but not essential…and there were certain shifts in attitude and outlook, created by world-shaking global events—because as we’ve learned, the sound of an era’s music is always just a little downstream from what’s happening in society at large… Let’s deconstruct this concept a little further…this is alt-rock in the oughts, part four. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 13, 2019
25 Random Facts About Depeche Mode
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They've been around since the early 80's and still recording and touring. It's really incredible considering how self-destructive Depeche Mode has been over that time.  Really....it is amazing what has happened to them over the years. And that includes the time Dave Gahan was essentially dead. Well we had a request recently wondering "If we've ever done a profile of Depeche Mode". And while we have done a number of things over the years, the is perhaps our most interesting show on the band. So from mid 2006, this is a trip back to...at the time...25 Random Facts About Depeche Mode. Enjoy! (the non-silence) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 11, 2019
The 00's Part 3: The Return of Rock
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In times of crisis, we start to look for a leader, someone who can get us out of trouble…this is a trope of every comic book universe movie and half all the action-adventure stuff… But it’s true…when things are bad, we first look to people with experience, with knowledge, with strength to lead us away from whatever is wrong… There was a lot of this sort of talk among rock fans at the end of the 90s…pop, electronica, and hip-hop had taken over…rock itself had fallen into the doldrums and every fan was hoping, praying that someone or something would come along and inject new life into the genre… And as hopeless as some people felt at the time, sometimes you just gotta be patient…a couple of things inevitably happen when it seems that rock is on the ropes… First, a new generation of young people decide to take matters into their own hands and kick-start things themselves…we saw this with the indie rock revolution that started taking hold in the very late 90s and then exploded for the next decade… Second, trends and cycles in music and demographics inevitably start to work in favour of the music you like…for the previous 50 years, when rock was on the descent, pop was on the ascent—and vice versa…in the early 2000s, it was time for that polar shift in the public’s tastes… And third, sometimes the old guard needs a little time to catch their breath, to take the lay of the land, and to figure out what their next moves should be…and if they do it right, their careers move into a new phase, a new act… This exactly is what happened in the first half of the first decade of the 21stcentury…and the results were amazing…this is the history of the oughts, part 3: the return of rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 06, 2019
The 00's Part 2: The Indie Revolution
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At the end of the 90s, rock music was deep in the doldrums…fans were genuinely worried for its future…and it did look bleak, especially in contrast to how exciting things had been earlier in the decade… But in ’98 and ’99, rock was under assault on three sides…pop music was king and the whole world had gone crazy for those sounds…then there was rap and hip-hop, which kept getting more popular and stronger every month…and then there was electronica, which was siphoning away rock fans to go dance in a warehouse somewhere… Like I said, it was dire…and lots of rock fans were despondent…it was around then, when rock music was deep in the doldrums, that I wrote a newspaper op-ed…it was a pep talk of sorts…it was called “Britney Spears, the end is nigh”… Basically, I said “there are cycles in music that go back to the 1950s…they describe a fight between rock and pop…when one is at its height, the other is at its low in terms of popularity…yes, pop is hot right now, but rock will come back…and of you look at the history of these cycles, rock should be ready for a big comeback in about two years”…   Turns out I was right…and the artists to lead the comeback were a bunch of young unknowns with fresh ideas…   This is part two of our look at the music of the oughts…I call this episode “the indie revolution”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 27, 2019
The 00's Part 1: The Sad State of Rock
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How long should we wait before we write the history of a decade?...we can write things down as they happen, but that’s only the first draft…time has to pass before we can wrap our heads around exactly what happened, what it all meant, and the lasting effects of those ten years… Something that may have appeared to be insignificant at the time turned out to be a really big deal…it was only after many years passed and the ripples from that thing or that event played out do we realize “holy crap!...that was history!”… When it comes to the history of music, it’s often convenient to break things down into decades because that seems to be the natural order of things…music is a great barometer of the life and times of a decade because it’s so intertwined with society: politics, economics, demographics—everything to do with culture…understand the music of a decade and you’ll have a better understanding of what happened during that time… The 50s marked the birth of rock’n’roll…the 60s brought us The Beatles, the rise of the album, and the mega rock festival…in the 70s, we got punk, metal, disco, and rap…the 80s?...techno-pop, hair metal, and the era of classic rock…the 90s were all about grunge, the Lollpalooza generation, Britpop… That takes us to the end of the 20thcentury…and as transformative and disruptive as the 90s were—the Internet, cell phones, sampling—that was only a warm-up for the next ten years…by the time it was over, everything had changed… This is a history that first decade of the 21stcentury, which we’re going to call “the oughts”…this is part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 20, 2019
A Deep Dive Into Vinyl Trivia
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There are people who still believe that the resurrection of vinyl is a fad, a passing trend, something of which people will tire and we’ll all move on… This, frankly, is insanity…total insanity… Vinyl LP sales have been going up by double digits year-over-year since 2008…and that’s just new releases…these figures don’t include the sales of used records in record shops, at record sales, or online through eBay or sites like discogs.com… The numbers also don’t include vinyl sold at the merch table at gigs…and it doesn’t include the millions of younger people who have been raiding their parents’ collections… People are deep into vinyl and are embracing (or re-embracing) the format more and more with every passing week…why?...maybe it’s a reaction to the digital age…people want something physical, tangible, something they can hold in their hands… Maybe it’s the idea that vinyl is inconvenient when compared to digital formats…listen to a vinyl record requires physical presence and care…or maybe it’s the warm, real sound of the audio… Whatever…I’m always getting email from people who want to know more about vinyl as people want to have a closer relationship with their music collections…okay…you asked for it…here’s more about vinyl that you ever need to know… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 13, 2019
Arkells - In Their Own Words: Part 2
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When you’re in a band and things begin to take off, life starts to move pretty fast…days start to blur as you move from gig to the studio, from the studio to the van, and back from gig to gig… Unless you have someone document what’s happening, you run the risk of forgetting a lot of what you go through—both the good stuff and the bad… One way to combat that is through talk therapy—or at least my version of it…this involves getting the entire band together at the same time and getting them to talk about their experiences…once everyone starts to reminisce, the memories start to come back… That’s what I was hoping for with Arkells when all five guys gathered for a long talk…this is part two of “Arkells: in their own words”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 06, 2019
Ongoing History Introduces you to: Russia Rising
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“Russia Rising” is a new investigative podcast series hosted by Jeff Semple, the former Europe Bureau Chief for Global News. This series hopes to unravel the giant mystery behind Putin’s Russia with the help of those who know her best - Russian Trolls, Hackers, Putin Supporters, and even a former Russian K.G.B. agent.  Join Jeff on the journey to unravel how Russia has gone from tenuous ally, to a potential global threat. Here’s a sneak peek from episode 2 of the series…. and while you’re listening, search and subscribe to “Russia Rising” for free at Curiouscast.ca or wherever you’re enjoying this podcast. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 04, 2019
Arkells - In Their Own Words: Part 1
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When you’re in a band, you want to make sure the public record is correct…but you’re often at the mercy of someone else when it comes to creating that record… First, there’s your publicist and anyone at your record label dealing with marketing…they issue bios and press releases where the writer seems to have been paid by the word…they’re paid to fill a page or two in 10-point font, so they revert to lots of flowery language signifying nothing…frankly, I find most official band bios close to useless because they don’t really tell me anything about the band… A site like allmusic.com does better, but often all the writer has to work with are those official bios… Then there’s Wikipedia…it has its drawbacks, but for the most part, Wikipedia entries can be very good because editors incorporate information from a variety of sources, including lots of feature stories and interviews… In my opinion, though, nothing beats getting every member of the band together in a room at the same time and getting them to tell their own story…it’s hard, given the schedules musicians keep, but with a little persistent persuasion, it can be done… So, Wikipedia editors, listen up…if you want to make additions and changes to the entry on Arkells, here’s your chance…this is a conversation between me and all five members of the band…it’s their story, in their own words…start taking notes…here are all the citations you need… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 30, 2019
The 500th Show!
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Every once in a while we will pull a show from the vast Ongoing History of New Music Archives that is a bit of a time capsule. It captures a moment in time that seems somewhat forgotten...distant...calmer... This show takes us back to October of 2006 when we aired our 500th original episode of the Ongoing History. A lot had happened in the world of Alt-Rock up to that point in time...and a lot has happend since. I mean we are at show number 845 and counting!  So, let's take a trip back 12+ years...and 345 shows ago.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 28, 2019
Modern Guitar Heroes 2: The Women
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It’s been a rough decade for the electric guitar…sales of new instruments have dropped by a third, from 1.5 million globally to around just one million… Why?...generations brought up on electronics are opting out of creating music with traditional instruments like the guitar…instead, they use laptops, iPads, gear like Ableton Live an any number of programmable keyboard devices… Most guitars are being bought and sold by older players…and there are fewer and fewer of them each year… All this has hurt manufacturers like Gibson, who filed for bankruptcy in 2018…it’s hurt music stores, both big and small…it’s hurt music teachers who have fewer students… Sounds dire, right?...maybe…but there’s one bright spot: there has been a steady rise in the number of young women taking up the electric guitar… According to fender, women now make up at least 50% of all the beginner guitar players in North America and the UK…in South East Asia, that number is more like 70%... That’s interesting, given that it wasn’t all that long ago that it was accepted fact that a girl could not play an electric guitar—not as good as a guy, anyway… That attitude abounded through the 70s and 80s…today, that’s no longer the case…the intimidation factor is gone…women are marching right into male-dominated music stores and buying guitars…some take traditional lessons, but others are using online tutorials so they can avoid any hassles and harassment… And most importantly, we’re seeing more female guitar heroes…you no longer have to be a dude to be a guitar role model…and those are the people we’re going to explore on this episode…this is modern guitar heroes: the women… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 23, 2019
Modern Guitar Heroes: The Men
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What is a guitar hero?...yes, yes, it’s a video game that vaguely simulates playing a real guitar…what else?... Yes, yes, it means someone who can rock the “expert level” at guitar hero, the video game…but before that, it meant something totally different… A guitar hero was a guy—and it was almost always a guy—who had achieved a seemingly supernatural mastery of the electric guitar…they were so good that other experts looked to them to learn and for inspiration… Chuck Berry…Jimi Hendrix…Eric Clapton…Jimmy Page…Pete Townshend… Jeff Beck…they were among the first to be declared guitar heroes…they pushed the limits of what could be done with the instrument, amplifiers, and effects pedals… More followed…Eddie Van Halen…Angus Young of AC/DC…The Edge from U2…Slash…Stevie Ray Vaughn…Randy Rhoads… All excellent players…this got me thinking about guitar heroes from the world of alt-rock, specifically from when things exploded in the early 90s?... They aren’t betterthan the first generation of guitar heroes…just different, you know?...let’s make a list, shall we?... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 16, 2019
You're Fired!
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Chances are, at some point in your life you are going to lose your job. If you're lucky it will be a layoff situation and you'll get some sort of severance or package. But it's possible that something happens that gets you fired. Sacked, canned, blown out, axed, dismissed with cause...and involuntarily discharged from your duties.  You then find yourself unemployed. Between Jobs, on the dole, on the beach, on the bench, and out of a job. Hey it happens and whether we like it or not, it's and employers right to terminate an employee...if they follow the labour rules of course.  And being fired is a universal thing...it happens in all forms of business. Including being in a band or being associated with a band.  What do you have to do to get fired from your group? There's gotta be two sides to every firing right? Let's investigate...           See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 14, 2019
History of Concert Sound
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Ever been to a concert and wondered "How do they make all of this work?". "How have I not gone deaf?" or "Why does the dude on stage wearing what looks like a pair of ear-buds?" Well we're here to answer those questions and more as we delve deep into the history of concert sound... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 10, 2019
What’s with Florence + the Machine?
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One of my favourite movie lines of all time comes from a 1982 Peter O’Toole film called “My Favorite Year”… O’Toole plays a movie idol named Alan Swann who is reduced to appearing on a variety tv show of the 1950s… a junior writer named Benji Stone is put in charge of babysitting Swann… “just keep him out of trouble,” his bosses say… Naturally, it doesn’t go well and they have a fight when Swann grows angry when Benji insists on the hero worship…then Benji replies: Whoever you were in those movies, those silly heroes meant a lot to me! what does it matter if it was an illusion? it worked! so don't tell me this is you life-size. I can't use you life-size. I need Alan Swanns as big as I can get them! That’s how a lot of us feel about our heroes… and I include our musical heroes in that number… Music is an escape for us…it’s also a fantasyland populated by exotic creatures who do and say things far, far beyond what we could ever dream of doing… but at the same time, we want these creatures to be at least a little accessible, so we can make that all-important personal connection… It’s a tricky balance…we want heroes and heroines, but we also want to know that they’re real… keep the fantasy but open the door a crack, you know?... And it’s more difficult with some artists than others…how, for example, do you handle like someone like Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine?... much of her success is based on a kooky, quirky, fantastical image, like someone who looks like they just stepped out of a renaissance painting or out of a book of Grimm’s fairytales… And then you learn she’s not a natural redhead…I’m sorry, but she’s not… she’s dark-haired and dyed it as a kid…did that just ruin something for you?... It did?... oh, dear… this could be a rough show for you, then… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 06, 2019
Kings of Leon in Their Own Words: Part 2
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This is the second part of our "In Their Own Words" conversation with all four members of the Kings of Leon: Caleb, Nathan, Jared, and Matthew Folllowill. It's the conclusion of ours in depth and honest interview with the band that told their story from their very early days, and up to the summer of 2009. This is Kings of Leon...in their own words part 2 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 31, 2018
Kings of Leon in Their Own Words: Part 1
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Back in 2009, we sat down with all four member of the Kings of Leon: Caleb, Nathan, Jared, and Matthew Folllowill. What followed was a very in depth and honest interview that told their story from their very early days and up to the summer of 2009. This was the first in a now ongoing series of inviting bands and musicians to tell us their story...in their own words. This is Kings of Leon...in their own words part 1 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 30, 2018
10 Things That Really Annoy Me
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I'm a normally pretty reserved person, but like anyone else there are some things that really, really bug me: drivers who don't use their turn signal, people who use the word "irregardless", anti-vaxers, creationists, email with no subject line, high-end restaurants that charge for bread and tap water. That sort thing.   As it turns out, there are a bunch of things about music that really annoy me too. At least 10 things in fact. So...let me tell you about them See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 24, 2018
60 Mind-Blowing Facts in 60 Minutes: 4th Edition
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One of the occupational hazards of my job is I run across all kinds of facts, bits of data, and pieces of knowledge that don’t have any immediate practical application… For example, I ran across this piece of royal etiquette…the British royals are forbidden to play “monopoly”—as in the board game… I have no idea why, but this is apparently a hard and fast rule… If you have a cat, you know all about hairballs…the technical term for one of those is a “bezoar”… Still with animals, there’s a psychological disorder called “Boanthropy”…this is when a person believes they are a cow and tries to live their lives accordingly… What do you think the most popular item sold at Wal-Mart is?...bananas…Wal-Mart sells more bananas than anything else in its inventory… Astronauts cannot burp is space…that’s because the lack of gravity means all the gases in your stomach get mixed with the liquids and the solids instead of separating out…if you tried to burp, everything would come up at the same time…so where do gastric gases go?...out the other end… And before you ask, no you cannot use that to propel yourself through the international space station…Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tried that and he reports that the thrust produced isn’t enough to produce the requisite Newtonian shift in vector… I have more, but I think you get the idea…this brings me to the topic of this program…when researching “ongoing history” episodes and my blog, I always come across pieces of information that are, if not useless, very close to being so… But much of this stuff is just too weird, too fascinating, too fun to ignore…so once a year, it has become my habit to conduct a big data dump of this information…what you do with this what I’m about to tell you is completely up to you…. This is the annual show I called “60 mind-blowing facts about music in 60 minutes”…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 19, 2018
Bush: The Post-CD Band Featuring Gavin Rossdale
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Once upon a time, not that long ago and in a land not that far away, musicians—not all, but some—could become very, very rich… Their riches came by selling pieces of plastic to those who enjoyed their music…those pieces of plastic were very, very precious because they were this was the only way musicians could distribute recordings of their art and their supply and their price was strictly regulated by the lords of the music industry… Eons earlier, the oracles had foretold that this plastic would come down—but that never seemed to happen…the overlords enjoyed their immense wealth and were loathe to do anything that might jeopardize the power of their kingdoms… Meanwhile, musicians—not all, but some—also reaped huge riches as millions and even tens of millions of people handed over money for the privilege of owning certain pieces of plastic…the musicians never made as much as their overlords, but plenty just the same…and it was good… In fact, it was very good…there were lavish parties, obscene luxuries and plenty of indulgences on a scale unimaginable by the good citizens of the regular world… Yeah, it’s not like that anymore…new artists know this…but what if you are one of those acts who had a taste of the good life—the old record industry—and then had to adjust to the new realities?... Let’s talk to one of those artists—someone who has adjusted to life in the post-cd world…how was it then—and what’s it like now…really… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 16, 2018
Radiohead - A History: Part 3
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When you sign your first record deal, it’s usually for around seven albums…theoretically; this is to protect both sides… First, it offers the artist a degree of security…it gives the artist a few records to develop and mature so if they don’t score big with the first album, they’ll a little longer to establish their career and reputation… Second, the label has a chance to see if their investment in this act pays off…the label puts all kinds of money into the artist up front and therefore needs the artist to turn profitable as soon as possible so they can make that money back and start seeing a return… But a record deal is like a marriage…sometimes things go well and everyone lives together happily ever after…and sometimes (and for whatever reason), one party wants out…a divorce is in order… It was this second scenario in which Radiohead found itself at the beginning of 2005…they had fulfilled their end of the bargain to EMI Records: six studio albums, a live album, half a dozen EP’s along with at least four video releases…and now they wanted out… they had no wish to resign with EMI … But were their options?... Option (a): negotiate a killer deal with EMI with the hopes of signing a contract that addressed every single one of their concerts…but EMI was in trouble, the smallest and weakest of the major labels…the internet was killing the company and management didn’t seem to have a clue…it looked like they were determined to drive the label into the ground no matter what they did… Option (b) sign with another major label when it looked like the entire recording industry was melting down, again thanks to rampant piracy and the disruption brought about by the internet...in other words, a contract with another major might be no better than signing with EMI … But then there was option (c):  go it alone and redefine what it would mean to be an “independent artist”…after thinking long and hard about it, Radiohead went with option (c)… Crazy idea…then again… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 12, 2018
Radiohead - A History: Part 2
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When you think about it, it’s quite an accomplishment to become a one-hit-wonder...sure, your career is essentially over after one song–but hey, at least you made it that far...think about all the bands who have worked for years and years and years and never managed to enjoy even the briefest taste of success... Still, no one likes that label...it’s demoralizing, knowing that you’ve gone down in history as a band with just one good song... It’s hard to imagine it now that they’re considered to be one of the most influential groups of a generation, but this is exactly the sort of thing Radiohead faced early in their career… But with the help of producer John Leckie and a tour opening for Alanis Morisette (who was on her way to selling 30 million copies of “Jagged Little Pill”), they were able to overcome the pressure of following up the potential one-hit-wonder-ness of “Creep”… Let’s pick up the story there…this is a history of Radiohead, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 05, 2018
Alt Rock Shrines | From the Archives
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When I say the word "Shrine"...what comes to mind? Lords? A temple in the Himalaya’s? Something secular...like a war memorial? They could be something makeshift like flowers placed on the side of the road where someone died.  Shrines appear in pop culture too. Any place that has been deemed important because of its history or associations...can be considered a shrine. It's a place people visit so they can see things for themselves.  Now rock n roll has many shrines. The field where Buddy Holly's plane crashed, the site of the first Woodstock in 1969, Elvis' Graceland....doesn't get much bigger than that. But what about in the modern era of rock? There must be places where people make pilgrimages. Well of course there are....and here are a bunch of them.    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 03, 2018
Radiohead - A History: Part 1
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Is it just me or has there been an uptick in the number of one-hit-wonders over the past couple of years?...think about all the hot bands who have had just one good album–or even just one good song–before they’re forgotten... In the old days, a group developed and evolved over a series of albums...three, four, five, six records, even...it was slow and look a lot of patience and a lot of fighting to keep things together, but more often than not, it paid off...look at U2...or REM...or Blur...or Depeche Mode...or Nine Inch Nails... None of these bands was what you’d called immediate, instant, hit-it-out-of-the-park successes...each group was allowed to build a career the old-fashioned way: slowly and carefully...and most importantly, they were allowed to make mistakes along the way... Oh–you know who we missed in that list of bands?...Radiohead... They started slow–really slow...they’ve made a bunch of mistakes...they’ve conducted a lot of experiments–some successful, some failures...but because they’ve stuck together, because they’ve always believed in their mission, and most of all, because they all happen to be exceptional musicians, Radiohead has become one of the most revered, most influential and most analyzed groups in the history of alt-rock… And that’s not all…along the way, they’ve managed to rewrite a lot of the rules about what a band is and isn’t supposed to do… This is the story of Radiohead got to where they are today… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 28, 2018
Death as a Career Move | From the Archives
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Here's the thing. As a musician you can spend thousands and thousands of hours, days, weeks working to be a success. You know, make enough money to pay the bills, have a living, and make a career...provide for yourself and the family. And maybe if you work hard enough, catch the right breaks, make the right moves...you will make that happen. You'll be successful and it will all seem worth it. Other times...just when you are on the way up, about to have that big break...or maybe you already have...you end up dying.  And that sucks... But...weirdly,  in some cases you end up being up more successful in death then you were in life. You end up making far more money after you shuffled off this mortal coil then you did on it.  And that's not really fair now is it? Here's a look at some cases where death turns out to be an interesting career move. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 23, 2018
Lost CanRock Bands of the 90s: Part 2
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Before 1971, there really wasn’t much of a Canadian music industry…sure, there were record labels and recording studios and promoters and agents, but we didn’t have what you’d call a “first-world” industry… Canada was a backwater, a place where the big labels had branch offices…anyone who wanted to make it big had to leave the country, usually for the United States… But then came the Canadian content laws in January 1971…overnight, it became law that Canadian radio stations had to devote 30% of their playlists to Canadian artists…this created an artificial demand for this music which a lot of people screamed bloody murder about… But this demand needed to be serviced, so a modern music industry grew up around it—all the infrastructure required to have a proper domestic scene…that meant more record labels, more recording studios, more promoters, more agents… A domestic star system began to emerge…Canadians started buying more music by Canadian artists…and those artists who didn’t want to bolt for the united states found that they could make a decent living by staying in Canada… It took about 20 years for our music industry to mature into something truly world class…and by the time we got to the 1990s, there was a sense that our best could compete with anyone in the world… That’s when everything exploded…Canadian generation Xers not only embraced the alt-rock that was coming from the States—grunge, industrial, punk, whatever—but also the homegrown stuff…walking into a record store in, say, 1995, meant being faced with racks of Canadian product right up front…and people were mad for it… This is our second half of our remembrance of some great Can-Rock bands of the 90s… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 20, 2018
Lost CanRock Bands of the '90s: Part 1
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If you came of age musically in Canada in the 1990s, you’ll remember that it was an extraordinary time…there was this mass embracing of homegrown music…it was part nationalism and part patriotism, but it was also something else… A vast generation of young people simultaneously said, “Canadian music is as good as anything the rest of the world has to offer and we want more of it”…and we got it… More acts were signed to the big labels and made records…radio played those records…MuchMusic ran the videos…there were tours and festivals…record stores stacked this new stuff up front…and over a few short years, a brand new star system emerged… Some of those stars are still with us…Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good, The Barenaked Ladies, Sloan …they’ve all had fruitful mult-decade careers that began in either the very late 80s or early 90s… The Tragically Hip became a juggernaut…Alanis Morissette had the biggest-selling album from female artist of all time…and let’s not forget that a couple of the “Big Shiny Tunes” compilations from MuchMusic—which were heavy on the Can-Con—sold more than a million units just in this country… Like all eras of music, there was attrition as bands came and went, passing into the realm of memories…that’s the music business…there are some long-term survivors, but most of it is evanescent… So what happen to the rest of acts?...did they really break up?...are they still doing stuff?...where are the members of these bands today?... Let’s try to track down some of the CanRock groups of the 90s, part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 13, 2018
Groups That Changed Their Front-Person and Survived
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Building and maintaining a band is a lot like building and maintaining a sports team…you struggle and wheel-and-deal and trade and sometimes steal to put together just the right lineup… And it’s not just sound and talent…it’s chemistry…leadership…stamina…all those intangible things that goes into making the whole greater than the sum of its parts… The perils are the same, too…your star quarterback goes down…that guy on the second line has tons of talent but he’s a cancer in the dressing room…the person you thought was healthy and strong turns out to have some kind of issue that’s getting worse and worse…or someone just might die on you… When everything goes pair-shaped, you have two choices: give it all up and call it a day…or you rebuild…. With a sports team, there are enough players out there that you can find a replacement…a trade, some cash, a draft pick, a free agent and you’re back in business…or maybe someone on the team steps up and unexpectedly fills that hole with talent and leadership… The same kind of thing can happen with a band, too—but not always…when a star departs—especially a lead singer and front person—that can create a fatal vacancy that can never be filled and so the band breaks up… Sometimes…but not always…here’s a study of groups who ended up changing their front person—and survived… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 01, 2018
It's A Family Affair
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Music is one of those things that can bring families together…and sometimes, that togetherness grows into a business… The BeeGees had the three Gibb brothers…baby brother Andy Gibb was also part of that universe for a while… Then there’s The Beach Boys…the original lineup included Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson and their cousin Mike Love…Murray Wilson—the father of Brian, Dennis, and carl—was their manager…he was terrible at it (in fact, Murray was an all-round disasters for his sons), but at least they were all together…or something like that…three brothers, their father and a cousin… We have The Cowsills…this was a 60s pop group from Rhode island who had a series of hits…six siblings: Bob, Bill, Barry, John, Paul and Susan…they ranged from 8 to 18…and then there was mother Barbra…this arrangement was the inspiration for the TV show “the partridge family”…that’s seven people, which later became eight when Bob’s twin brother Richard joined up for a bit… And we have to talk about the Jackson 5: Michael, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon…when the group left Motown, Jermaine was replaced by randy… So that’s six members of the Jackson 5… then we have Janet, LaToya and Rebbie…that’s nine and everything was run by father Joe Jackson—another abusive disaster…so the count is up to 10… All this got me thinking: are their equivalents in the world of alt-rock?...what are the biggest family affairs the genre has ever seen?...let’s take a look… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 24, 2018
Rock Star Kids | From the Archives
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Being a kid of a rock star isn't the easiest life to live. The celebrity, the expectations to be like your dad or mom who's a famous rock star. Everyone watching you to make a mistake. But there are times it has its rewards too. This is a look at what it's like to be a Rock Star kid See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 22, 2018
9 Great Alt-Rock Cover Songs
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There’s just something fun about learning to play one of your favourite songs for yourself…you know, learning the lyrics, figuring out the chords and the rhythm and deconstructing all the constituent parts… Then you get deeper…you begin to appreciate how everything fits together, the artistic decisions made by songwriter made, what kind of musical skill is required, the sort of production that was employed all that…and by the time you’ve learned the song, you’ve learned a whole lot of other things, too…and you’re probably a better musician as a result…this is why learning to play other people’s music is so important… Now let’s look at it from the other side…if a song can be interpreted multiple times by many different people and it still sounds good, then that is a great song… The best compositions not only sound great when played by a full band, but also sound great when performed by one person around a campfire… And finally, there’s the fan aspect of all this…people love to hear songs done in different ways by different artists…sometimes the cover is even better than the original—or, at the very least, is revealed to be something more in the hands of someone else… With all this in mind, I’ve assembled a list of cover songs…and we’re going to go through with them to determine what makes them (and the original) great… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 17, 2018
Was Kurt Cobain Murdered: Part 2
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For this Ongoing History bonus Podcast, we go back to the spring of 2004 to take a look at the "Was Kurt Cobain Murdered" conspiracy. These shows originally aired 10 years after the death of Cobain and looks at all the angles, all the facts, all the theories, and all the conspiracies about how Kurt dies.  And now, almost lmost 25 years from his death some people are still debating whether Kurt Cobian comitted suicide...or if he was murdered.  Lots to unpack in this 2 part series. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 14, 2018
USS In Their Own Words: Part 2
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I hope you’re ready for an interesting interview with Ash and Jay from USS…because this is another one of those occasional “in their own words” profiles where I just let the artist tell their stories in whatever fashion they choose…and if listened to part one, this talk with USS was not in anyway ordinary… When you sit down with Ash Boschultz and Jay “The Human Kebab” Parsons of USS, you end up having a conversation where you’re not sure how you arrived at this place, but there you are…so just open your mind, sit back and take it all in… It’s part two of USS: in their own words… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 10, 2018
Was Kurt Cobain Murdered: Part 1
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For this Ongoing History bonus Podcast, we go back to the spring of 2004 to take a look at the "Was Kurt Cobain Murdered" conspiracy. These shows originally aired 10 years after the death of Cobain and looks at all the angles, all the facts, all the theories, and all the conspiracies about how Kurt dies.  And now, almost lmost 25 years from his death some people are still debating whether Kurt Cobian comitted suicide...or if he was murdered.  Lots to unpack in this 2 part series. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 07, 2018
USS In Their Own Words: Part 1
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If you’re a fan of a particular artist, you want to know everything you can about them…maybe you scour things like their official bios, their Wikipedia pages and maybe read through as many interviews and articles as you can… All that is fine…but what if there’s a way to get more?.... When it comes to telling the story of an artist, it is always best if you get the artist to tell it themselves…you get the unvarnished truth, told from the heart by the people who are actually making the music… That’s great in theory, but it’s awfully difficult to get everyone in one place at one time, what with touring schedules, recording commitments and life…but if there’s just two people, then it’s a little easier… With a little bit of wrangling, I managed to get Ash and Jay from USS into the studio…has their story been told before?...yes, of course…but not like this… This is USS in their own words, part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 03, 2018
More Famous Recording Studios
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I love the smell and feel of recording studios…if you’ve been inside a proper one, you’ll know what i mean… The air is kept clean and dust-free to protect the equipment…the a/c is usually cranked up to offset the heat generated by the electronics…there’s a slight whiff of ozone created by all the electrical circuits…and it’s usually very, very quiet…loads of isolation and baffling and sound-proofing… To me, a recording studio is the musical equivalent of an operating theatre; a place that’s dedicated to one thing and one thing only…and what goes on within the walls is deadly serious… Okay, I’m not saying that recording a song is the same as a heart transplant or something, but there is the same sort of vibe… There used to be dozens and dozens of these places around the planet…people would travel thousands of kilometers to work there because they were thought to be magical in some way… But that’s when you needed a full-equipped recording studio to make a record…today, you can do a pretty good job with a laptop in your bedroom… Many of the legendary studios are gone, a victim of the changing economics of the music industry…a few of these behemoth still exist… This is another look at the world’s legendary recording studios, both past and present…   Songs in this Episode: David Bowie - Life on Mars Sex Pistols - Holiday in the Sun The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony Mumford & Sons - Believe The Clash - The Magnificent Seven The Black Keys - Tighten Up The Tragically Hip - Poets Bob Marley and the Wailers - No Woman, No Cry See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 26, 2018
Bent Bands
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I used to be a big fan of “King of the Hill”…Hank Hill would often look at his son Bobby and say…  “that boy ain’t right” I know how he feels…you know when you encounter someone and there’s something off about them?...they’re not malevolent or evil in any way…they’re not a danger to themselves or anyone else…they’re just different… They look at the world in ways you wouldn’t think to—which is kinda cool in a lot of ways… but at the same time it might be a bit—well, maybe “unnerving” is too strong…but at the same time, you’re not really sure what’s going on or how you should react… This happens a lot with music…you encounter artist who has a complete unexpected attitude to towards the universe…this is to be expected…art can comes from a strange, uncharted place in the soul…and since all souls are different, you’d expect that some weird will leak out from some of the weirder souls… And because alt-rock has a history of being open to different forms of expression, some of these souls have found homes in this province of rock’n’roll…and some of those have even had hit records… Maybe we should look at some of these musical outliers…it’s a tense world…maybe this will help loosen us up…and hey, who doesn’t like a bent sense of humour from time to time? Buckle in…this is about to get weird…and at some point, you will be thinking “that boy ain’t right” See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 23, 2018
Songs Based on Real Events
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Streaming is a very cool way to access tens of millions of songs with a few pokes on your phone…the idea of being able to listen to virtually any song from any era of human history with such ease is something akin to magic… The downside of streaming is that it doesn’t provide any context to what we’re hearing…a continuous stream of music tells us nothing about the artist or the song…it’s just music, standing alone with nothing to anchor it to anything… It was different in the old days…if you bought an album, dammit, that was an investment…you paid money for it, which created a fiscal relationship with the artist…that meant you were more likely to stick with an album and get deeper into the artist and the songs…otherwise, you had this nagging feeling you had wasted your money… Context means so much to the enjoyment of music—which is probably a reason you’re listening to me right now…you want more than the notes that make up a song… Yeah, sometimes a song is just a song…you know, it’s got a good beat, you can dance to it and maybe sing along…it doesn’t really mean anything more than that… But some songs are very deep…they actually form some part of a historical record…they tell the story of real people, real events and the things that came after… That’s where we’re going with this show: everything we’re about to hear is based on fact, on history, on actual events…and you may be shocked by the truth beyond songs that you’ve been digging all your life…this isn’t anything you’re gonna get from a stream…trust me… Songs in this episode: The Clash - White Riot Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Monday's U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday REM - What's the Frequency Kenneth? Pearl Jam - Jeremy Nirvana - Polly The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings Filter - Hey Man, Nice Shot!     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 19, 2018
Alt Rocks Craziest People
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It's another bonus episode and this one by request. Someone asked recently: "Have you ever done a show about alt-rocks really out-there people? I don't mean that they've done terrible things...just...they have their challenges?" Why yes we have...about 12 years ago in fact. This is Alt-Rocks Craziest People. Songs used in this episode: Iggy Pop - Real Wild Child David Bowie - Alladin Sane Joy Division - She's Lost Control Killing Joke - Love Like Blood The Verve - The Drugs Don't Work Nivana - On A Plain Courtney Love - Mono The Vines - Highly Evolved The Libertines - Up The Bracket Pre) Thing - Faded Love   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 16, 2018
A Brief History of Alt Psychedelic Rock
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Here’s one of the most misunderstood and misused words in the English language: “psychedelic” … The word first came into use in 1956 when a psychiatrist named Humphrey Osmond was studying a new class of pharmaceuticals that had potential when it came to treating certain mental disorders… A chemical known as lysergic acid diethylamide—LSD, for short—had been extracted by a Swiss scientist named Albert Hoffman from a fungus called “ergot”…from 1943 on, medical professionals tried to figure out what it could be used for…it was even marketed commercially for a while under the brand name “delysid”… Then the CIA got involved, thinking that LSD could be used for things like interrogation, chemical warfare and mind control…but that’s a whole other story... Because the chemical resulted in people entering an altered state of perception, some started using it recreationally… artists discovered its properties and started taking acid trip, looking for inspiration and new creative roads… Then other psychedelics went mainstream, including mescaline (which comes from the peyote plant) and psylocybin (which you get from certain mushrooms) before just about all of these drugs were made illegal… Meanwhile, “psychedelic”—which means “soul-revealing” in Greek—became an adjective…it describes anything that could be described as mind expanding, anything that alters the way we perceive reality… Naturally, this quickly extended to music…psych became a thing in the 60s—that sound, feel, vibe, attitude continues today with alt-rock… This is a quick history of psych in the world of alternative music…   Songs used in this episode: Kula Skaker - Tattva The Soft Boys - Give It To The Soft Boys Teardrop Explodes - Sleeping Gas Echo and the Bunnymen - Bring on the Dancing Horses Siousxie and the Banshees - Dear Prudence Spaceman 3 - Revolution The Bangles - Hero Takes A Fall My Bloody Valentine - Soon The Verve - Slide Away Tame Impala - Elephant See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 12, 2018
Drummers
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When we started posting "bonus" epiosodes of the Ongoing History, lots of people began requesting topics...wondering if we had ever covered them. With 800+ shows in the vault, there is a good chance that we have. One request came to us from a drummer who asked "I'm sure you've done shows about singers and guitarists...but what about drummers? I play the drums and often am the butt of jokes because...well I play the drums". Well...good thing you asked becasue in May of 2004 we paid homage to the Drummer. And here it is...in Podcast form. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 10, 2018
Alt Rock Concept Albums: Part 2
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Every song comes from some sort of story. Sometimes it’s just the story of a feeling…good or bad…or maybe it’s just a way of getting a point of view across. Other songs are actual stories. They have a narrative, characters, drama, beginning, middle and end. But what if you’re a composer and you have a story that is too long….too complex to fit in the standard four minute song. Well then maybe you need to think about breaking it out to its constituent parts and telling the story across multiple songs. You do this over enough songs and you create a concept album. A record where a story or a variety of themes tie everything together front to back and back to front. Your four-minute short story has turned into an hour-long novel. This is part 2 of the history of the concept album in alt-rock. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 05, 2018
Sloan In Their Own Words: Part 2
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It's not easy making a living as a rock band in Canada... This is afterall the second largest country in the world. And when you consider that the Trans-Canada Highway is over 7600 kilometers long, and there is nearly 10 million square kilomters of land spead out over 6 time zones, well...it's a little daunting to say the least.  And even though 77% of Canada's 36 million people live in big cities, bands still have to work really really hard to reach everyone.   It's even harder when you factor in that we live right next door to the largest exporter of pop-culture in the universe.  Geography has chewed up the domestic careers of countless bands...but some have it figured out. They've got the routine and fanbase all figured out. They may not be rich, but they are making a solid and respectable living as rock stars in Canada. Sloan is one of those bands. They've been around since 1991and have become somewhat of a Canadian institution.  This is Sloan in Their Own Words...Part 2. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 02, 2018
Alt Rock Concept Albums: Part 1
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There are many ways to tell a story...a book, a movie, at TV, a comic book. You also use music of course; a ballad is a story set to music,  a lot of music videos tell a story. Operas and ballet are more grand.  The other musical option is the concept album. These are records where all the songs, all  the imagery, is somehow tied togethor by some sort of unifying theme or thesis. The music, the lyrics and sometimes even the artwork come togehtor to tell a story.  These were big in the '60's and 70's but they were seen as old rock and needed to be expunged from popular culture.  But then a funny thing happened. They started to make a comeback...the stigma vanished, and they even found a place in Alt-Rock. Here...let me show you. Songs in this episode: Green Day - American Idiot, David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust, Kraftwerk - Computer Love, Husker Du - Pink Turns to Blue, Nine Inch Nails - Hurt, Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Weezer - No Other One, Tool - Stinkfist, Marilyn Manson - Beautiful People     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 29, 2018
Sloan In Their Own Words: Part 1
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Over the years, there have been a good number of Canadian bands that have gone on hiatus, broken up, taken time apart....and eventually reunited.  Some have made it work....others not so much. Take Sloan for example. Aside from a brief 2 year hiatus between 1994 and 1996...we'll explain...they've been putting out music since 1991 and really, can you imagine a Canadian rock music scene without them? Fortunately for us, we were able to get Chris Murphy and Jay Ferguson in a studio and we thought it best to get them to explain the history of Sloan...in their own words.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 26, 2018
Medical Mysteries of Music
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Okay here is something that may shock you. As far as scientists can tell, there is no biological or evolutionary need for humans to have…music. As a species, we could get along just fine without it. Life would be much duller but we would be okay. Yet there is something about our brains…we’re hard wired to both crave and create music. Bottom line is that music is literally part of your DNA, which brings up some interesting issues. Welcome to an episode that I call “Medical Mysteries of Music” See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 22, 2018
Going Solo
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Sometimes when you’re in a band, you have ideas and ambitions that might not line up exactly with what your band is doing. This can cause tension, friction, confusion...suspicion. So, one of two things can happen: the band can break up and use the "creative differences excuse", or you can reach some sort of agreement where the keener can do whatever it is they want and everyone can then get back down to business. Sometimes this works...and sometimes it doesn't. This is what happens when someone in a band says, "Screw you...I'm going solo!"     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 19, 2018
Useless information
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Alright, let’s face it. My entire carrier is based on obscure information. The weirder stuff I can find out about a band, an artist, a musician, a performer…the better. However. Obscure information does not necessarily mean useful information. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with useless information.  This is the fun stuff…the bits of trivia that gives things spice. You can use it to win bar bets and I’m glad I know it because it’s just fun! So, I think it’s time that I gather this information and give it to you as one bit glob and data dump. Use it however you would like…I call this The Completely Useless Information Show. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 15, 2018
Eggheads and Geeks
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We're going to dispel some myths about the rock star. Over the decades, most people have come to believe that rock stars...of both sexes...are drunken, drugged out sex machines that had they not learned to play an instrument would have had a hard time holding down the worse type of minimum wage job.  But being a rock star isn't necessarily synonymous with having the intellect and manners of a caveman. Don't believe us? Have a listen and you'll see.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 13, 2018
Fans and Fatalities
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It's not only expensive to put on a concert or a tour, but it's also risky. There's the whole issue of liabiltiy. If a fan gets hurt or killed, the resulting lawsuits can be crippling. You need insurance. You know...just in case something awful happens.  And awful things do happen.  No one goes to or holds a concert with the idea of anyone being hurt...but...stuff happens. Well, what kind of stuff?  Well...I'm glad you asked See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 10, 2018
A Not-So Brief History of Ska: Part 2
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Ska was born in Jamaica in the 1950's. It was declared over at least twice. The first wave pettered out in the 1960's as Reggae took hold. Then in the early 1980's, post-punk Ska was suddenly deemed passe.  But on both occasions, Ska rose from the dead and came back even stronger.  Ska is not onto its 3rd wave...and that's where we are going. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 08, 2018
A Not-So Brief History of Ska: Part 1
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How many of today's Ska fans...and there are millions and millions of them all across the world...realise how deep and how rich, and how complicated the history of this music really is? From first wave, through second wave, and finally the present third wave of Ska...We think it's time to check it out. This is the first part of our in depth look at the history of Ska. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 01, 2018
Rage Against The Machine: Part 2
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On this Podcast, conclude our 2009 profile of Rage Against The Machine. Few bands in Alt-Rock are as passionate, powerful and influenctial as these four guys. We trace the roots of Rage from their earliest bands, all the way through their reunion in the late 00's. Enjoy. And turn this one up! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 30, 2018
The Inventors
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Every walk of life has its stars...the famous people who get all the attention. In business it's the CEO's, in sports the athletes. In movies it's the actors and to some extent, the directors. And in music it's the musicians...and the singers. But to be honest, these people are just the faces of their respective industries and pursuits. Some have real power and influcence...others are just figureheads and pupets.  Whatever the case, behind them...behind the famous people...are armies of people who made it possible for these folks to do what they do.  This is the kind of stuff I want to explore on this program. The people deep behind the music and who never got the credit. Until now... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 25, 2018
Rage Against The Machine: Part 1
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Few bands in Alt-Rock are as passionate, powerful and influenctial as Rage Against The Machine. On this weeks bonus summer Podcast, and by request, we dig into the archives to bring you our 2009 profile of RATM. We trace the roots of Rage from their earliest bands, all the way through their reunion in the late 00's. Enjoy. And turn this one up! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 23, 2018
Hidden Tracks and Sundry
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This is a program about the hidden audio that lurks in your music collection. You don’t know about it…you didn’t ask for it…you maybe didn’t even want it…but it’s there…and it needs to be exposed… And it’s more than just hidden songs, too…there’s all kinds of weirdness tucked away—if you know where to look…and when I say “weird”, I mean “super weird” See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 18, 2018
Great Lost Albums
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I hate not finishing something I start…for example, if I pick up a novel, I’m determined to finish the thing even if I hate it… But then I look around the house and I see all the jobs that I didn’t complete…organizing the basement…filing all CDs and records…that little project in the back corner of the garden that—well, I don’t even remember what I was trying to do there… Then there’s my novel…I’ve wrote two chapters in a flurry of creativity year ago—and I haven’t touched it since…it’s been so long that the file was written in WordPerfect…I hope I can still open it…I’ll get around to checking that…. All this unfinished business really bothered me—until I saw something that made me feel so much better… It was in china...north of Beijing is a giant amusement park that from the highway looks a lot like Disneyland…it’s called wonderland…it was supposed to attract millions of visitors from all across the country… But then in 1998, investors pulled out…120 acres of half-finished, abandoned, fairytale-themed amusement park…it was so weird…all this time and money and labour put into something only to never see it actually work out… Which brings me to this…just because you start on an album doesn’t mean you’ll ever finish it…and even if you do, it doesn’t mean it’ll ever get released… There are dozens and dozens and dozens of “lost” albums sitting in vaults and on hard drives all over the world…who made them?...and what happened?...let’s take a look—and maybe even a listen… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 11, 2018
Christian Rock
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For this weeks bonus Ongoing History Podcast, we go back to January 2005 and our look at Christian Rock. In this episode we trace its history and evolution of  in the Alt-Rock world. It's not all Creed! Thankfully... Special thanks to Brad from Brampton, Ontraio who asked for Alan's thoughts on the genre. And fortunately, we had one on file!  Here it is!  Enjoy! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 10, 2018
You're Going to Jail!
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Welcome to a show about crime—specifically crimes committed by performers in alt-rock…and i’m not talking about petty misdemeanors, bar fights, minor felonies, drug convictions or overnight stays in the drunk tank…the topic is real crime and hard time…arrests, convictions and long-term jail sentences—in some cases, sentences scheduled to last decades…robbery, murder, child abuse…there’s some scary stuff coming up here… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 04, 2018
History of Indie Rock: Part 4
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For decades, the attitude was that if you recorded for an independent label, you were in the minor leagues…after all, if you were any good or you made music that the masses were likely to enjoy, you’d have been picked up by a major label, right?... The world of indie rock—which itself was a subset within the already left-of-centre alternative rock scene—was a place to put all the extra weird misfits or those whose talent was questioned… Totally unfair…mostly…yes, there were plenty of dregs when it came to indie rock…but this is also the universe where people took chances…and every once in a while, something great inevitably happened…a new sound…a new trend…a new band…even just a new song… And when things got weird with the music establishment in the era of music piracy and illegal downloads, it was the indie world that was forced to step up and figure what everyone needed to do… This is part four of our history of indie rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 27, 2018
Green Day: From their Beginning to 2005
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For this weeks bonus Ongoing History Podcast, we go back to early 2005 and our profile of Green Day. In this episode we trace their history from their very beginnings before the band even formed, right up to the release of their "comeback album" American Idiot. Special thanks to Colin who asked: "Hey Alan...have you ever done a show about the history of Green Day"? Why yes we have Colin...13 years ago. And here it is again! Enjoy! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 25, 2018
The History of Indie Rock: Part 3
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There was a time when indie music was ignored by most people…the thinking was that if the music was any good, then it would have been picked up and released by a major label… And there was some merit to that argument…there was a time when the major labels—back when there were six or seven of them—scooped up all the best stuff…they could afford to take those kinds of chances back then…the indie labels were, for the most part, left with the dregs… I know, I know…that sounds shortsighted, elitist and unfair…but there really was that imbalance in quality—generally speaking, anyway… Indie and alternative music was looked upon as the domain of weirdos and outliers—stuff that just wasn’t good enough for everyone to enjoy… For the musicians who made that kind of music, the labels that distributed it and the fans that enjoyed it, that was fine…they were penned off in their own little parallel universe, free to do things as they pleased… So this music lived in its little petri dish and grew…and grew…and grew…and by the time we got to the early 90s, no one was in a position to ignore anything… This is part three of the history of indie music… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 20, 2018
The History of Indie Rock: Part 2
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The music industry is dominated by three major record labels: Universal, Sony and Warner…they are multi-national entities that control most of the world’s trade in music and all the revenue that goes with it…. But beyond those three companies are hundreds, thousands of labels that do their own thing…and because they are unaffiliated with the big three, we consider them to be “independent”… They are the indie labels….the musicians who record for them are indie artists…this is the universe of the non-mainstream…the experimental, the daring, the outliers, the unusual, the non-conformist—or, if you prefer, the not-ready-for-prime-time…at least not now—and maybe never… The indie universe is the engine of change for rock’n’roll…whatever sounds and trends and fads are coming next often start here…and it’s through their work and their art that we’re all dragged into the future… I shall illustrate…this is part two of the history of indie rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 13, 2018
The History of Indie Rock: Part 1
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We’re going to spend a couple of programs tracing the history of “indie rock” and why music that has come up through these ranks has become to important to not just alternative rock but today’s rock’n’roll in general… Our story is of the records and the artists—but it’s also of the labels and the people behind them…you can’t tell one part of the story and not the other… But what are we really talking about?...what, exactly, is “indie rock?”…tough one, so we’ll have to unpack this carefully… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 06, 2018
24 Years of the Warped Tour
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In the early days of rock—and we’re talking the 1950s here—the most efficient and cost-effective way to put acts on tour was to bundle them together as a package and put them on the road… In some cases, there would be a common backing band for most of all of the artists…PA equipment—such as it was in those days—was often supplied on site… These became known as caravan tours…guys like Alan Freed, the pioneering disc jockey and Dick Clarke—you know him, right?—took all these acts on the road playing places like theatres and county fairs and wherever else they could find a booking… This package tour approach was pretty common until the late 60s when music business was producing artists big enough to tour on their own and play areas and later stadiums…that’s where the real money was…that and big festivals… But then along came Lollapalooza in 1991…Perry Farrell, singer for Jane’s Addiction, put together a multi-act bill to support what would be the last-ever tour for Jane’s Addiction…the net effect was very much like those old caravan tours… That ’91 tour was successful enough for Lollapalooza to try again in 1992…this time, things were expanded across multiple stages and multiple attractions…and for the next couple of years, Lollapalooza was thetouring music festival for the alternative generation… This spawned imitators:  Edgefest…Lilith Fair…Summersault…Another Roadside Attraction…and for a while, it was all pretty cool… Things are different now…Lollapalooza is a static festival held in Chicago ever August…Edgefest, Lilith Fair, Summersault, and Another Roadside Attraction are all defunct… But there was one travelling music festival that survived for 24 years…and it’s been so big that no one knows for sure how many acts have played it… This is the history of the Warped Tour. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 30, 2018
Before They Were Famous
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No one is born a rock star…well, maybe in terms of their attitude but not in terms of vocation…you gotta have the talent and you need to put in the work if you want to achieve actual rock star status… But that takes a lot of time and a lot of effort…and before you get to the stage where people acknowledge your rock star-ness, there are lots of twists and turns, false starts and dead ends… Later, when you’re rich and famous, these early attempts become part of your archeological record…some of this stuff may be found in shallow graves…the rest may be buried very, very deeply and need serious excavation work… Finding this material used to be hard…tapes were locked away in vaults…other early music on tape was erased, recorded over in order that this tape be reused… Cassettes were placed in shoeboxes and lost in closets…music that was released went out of print and was no longer available for sale… There were fires that destroyed archives…storage sites were wrecked with water damage…and then there were all the legal disputes…who owned all these old recordings…which member of the band?...the record label?...someone else?...until that can be sorted out, this music remained unheard… Some of this material did leak out and was released on bootleg albums and CDs, but they were very hard to come by… But then the internet hit…slowly, first through file-sharing sites like Napster, these demos, alternate takes and long-lost recordings started changing hands…and then came YouTube…that’s a treasure trove of old music… Finally, there are box sets and reissues…as physical music sales, record labels are looking deep into the catalogues to find stuff that might entice fans to buy high-margin physical product… The result is that today, a lot of the heavy archeological excavations have already been done for us…and I think it’s time we sifted through the results, don’t you? See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 23, 2018
The History of Nerd Rock
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Nerd…noun…a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious…definition 2: a single-minded expert in a particular technical field...example: a computer nerd… It’s an old word, too…the, er, nerds at google have a thing called “the ngram viewer” which scans the text of books going back to 1500…in other words, pretty much right back to the inventing of the printing press… According to these nerds, “nerd” (the word) shows up for the first time in an book called “a true discourse of the assault committed upon the most noble Prince, Prince William of Orange, County of Nassau, Marquesse De La Ver & C,” by John Jarequi Spaniarde: with the true copies of the writings, examinations, and letters for sundry offenders in that vile and diuelifh (i have no idea what that word is) attempt”… I can’t tell you what “nerd” referred to in that book because it’s written in old Spanish and i couldn’t be bothered to find a translation…I’d need a real etymological nerd for that… The word fell into disuse after about 1725 returning into the popular lexicon thanks to Dr. Suess in 1950…to him, a “nerd” was some kind of creature found in a zoo… But the following year, Newsweek magazine reported that “nerd” was being used in Detroit to describe an awkward sort of dude who wasn’t very cool…it kind of lingered in the slang world for the rest of the 50s and into the 60s before it really took off in 1974 with the TV series “Happy Days”…Fonzie was always calling Richie and Potsie “nerds” for being uncool dorks…so props to Henry Winkler… By the end of the 70s—and coinciding with the rise of the culture around the personal computer, consumer technology and “Star Wars” and other science fiction pursuits—the use of “nerd” became even more widespread…remember the “Revenge of the Nerds” movies in the 80s?... But now in our technological society, being called a nerd is a compliment…people aspire to be like Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…look at shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley”…we’re actually celebrating nerddom…people want to be nerds ‘cause—well, it’s kinda cool…the geeks have truly inherited the earth… This brings me to music…nerdishness is now so widespread that nerds even have their own genre of music…and as you might guess, it falls squarely in the world of alternative music… This, then, is a short history of what we unreservedly, unashamedly and unironically call “nerd rock”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 16, 2018
The Truth About Concert Tickets
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Buying concert tickets used to be easy…you show a show you wanted to see, went down to the box office, plunked down some cash and in exchange were given a couple of stiff pieces of paper with some words on them… When it came time for the show, you presented those pieces of paper to a person at the door who torn them in half—and you went inside to enjoy the gig… It really was that simple—in theory, anyway…it wasn’t, but we’ll get to that… As time went on, buying concert tickets got more complicated…through the mail…credit cards…bar codes… Then the local ticket sellers vanished, replaced by a big mega-corporation…physical box offices started disappearing…the internet came along with online sales…scalpers…the secondary market…bots…and all the while, concerts and touring became big, big, big business… These days, buying concert tickets is really confusing…you still exchange money for admission to gigs, but the experience has very little in common with the so-called good old days… Stay with me…i’m going to give you the honest truth about concert tickets… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 09, 2018
Songs of Protest
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Sometimes people get so pissed off or so inspired by something that they just have to sing about it…this is the protest song and it’s been with us for centuries… It’s music that encourages political and social change… and if done right—and if circumstances are correct—the song can mobilize people to take action, lift spirits and annoy (or even scare) authorities of the establishment… Protest music comes in all forms:  classical, folk, reggae, pop, hip hop and, of course, rock…it can rail against war, demand social justice, call out politicians and petition for greater rights for women, minorities, labour and the marginalized… The singers and musicians behind this music may be regarded as thought leaders, social influencers and even prophets—and least for a time… What i’d like to go is go through the history of protest in song from the world of alt-rock, those times when a loud guitar becomes tool for making things better—for everyone… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 02, 2018
Airplanes!
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People often ask me where I come up with ideas for this program…my answer is always the same… you know that feeling when it’s Sunday night and you promise yourself you’ll start on that assignment that’s due the next morning as soon as “the Simpsons” is over?... Yeah, that’s me…every week…and after more than 700 of these one-hour assignments stretching back to 1993, I hit a wall…total writer’s block… I started to panic…there are hard deadlines…I have a contract…I’m expected to deliver another new show…there are radio stations all over the place that need new programming from me…what the hell am I gonna talk about this time when I got nothin’?... I mean, this is the seven hundredth and forty-sev— Wait…show number 747?...that’s the same as the airliner…what about stories of alt-rock and airplanes?... And so I started go back through all my files—and sure enough, there’s tons of stuff on the subject…plane crashes, near-misses, air rage, terrorist bombings… Well, that settles it…show number 747 will be able civil aviation and alt-rock…there…that wasn’t so hard, was it?... Dodged that bullet for another week…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 25, 2018
The 90s Part 9: The Festivals
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I don’t know if you realize this, but the music festival isn’t a modern creation…people have been gathering in fields to hear music for centuries…and in some cases, those original festivals are still happening… Ever hear of Fiera Della Frecagnola?...it started in the village of Cannalonga, up in the mountains in the south of Italy…as far as we’ve been able to tell, the first gig was in 1450…and it’s still happening today… There are other long-timey festivals in Germany, England, India, Latvia…so this isn’t a new thing… The first modern music festival—the thing that would be recognizable to us today—would be Monterey Pop, which was held in San Francisco in the summer of 1967…that led to Woodstock, Glastonbury, Roskilde and a ton of others… But the 1990s was the decade where the festival really came into its own with a series of regular events that reappeared year after year in the same spot—or ones that moved from place to place… Europeans were pretty used to standing in fields in the mud and the rain and the heat…but we north Americans were late to the party…there was no tradition of us doing anything like that…we’d go to the occasional outdoor gig, but it wasn’t the lifestyle thing it had become in other parts of the world… But by the time the decade was over, we had embraced the summer festival…now we have our own events and traditions…and it couldn’t have happened without the 90s alt-rock nation… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 18, 2018
The 90s Part 8: The CanRock Revolution
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Canada is now the sixth-largest music market in the world…only the US., Japan, the UK, Germany and France are bigger…not bad, considering that we’re living right next door to the biggest exporter of popular culture in the known universe—and considering that unlike Japan, Germany and France, most of our domestic music industry isn’t isolated and protected because of language… I mean, the whole world consumes English-language music…what’s the market for Japanese music outside Japan?...or German music outside of Germany?... Then there’s the matter of population…of those top six nations, Canada, with 36 million people, has the smallest number people…compare that to 66 million in both the UK and France and 83 million Germany… Canada also exports far more music to the rest of the world than we should…every year, the export numbers grow bigger and bigger thanks to stars like Drake, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, Arcade Fire and a long list of artists that came before: Alanis Morrissette, Sarah McLachlan, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Rush, The Guess Who and dozens and dozens of others… And maybe most important of all, Canada has a super-strong domestic market…Canadians listen to and support Canadian music…and the country tends to be very proud of its homegrown talent…just look at the national outpouring of affection for The Tragically Hip in the summer of 2016… But it wasn’t always this way…there was a time when “Canadian music” was a synonym for “substandard” and “not very good”…Canadians went out of their way to avoid Canadian music—unless it had received a stamp of approval from music fans in the United States…that was the only form of validation the country would accept… That attitude is pretty much extinct now…and the roots of our current musical nationalism can be traced back to the days of the alt-rock 90s… This is chapter 8 of our look at that decade…let’s call it “The CanRock Revolution”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 11, 2018
The 90s Part 7: The Other Genres
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One of the great things about the alt-rock revolution of the 1990s was its diversity… The sounds from this part of the rock universe had always been varied…that’s because the idea of “alternative music” was so amorphous…if it was (a) non-mainstream and ignored by most radio stations; (b) a little left of centre in terms of aesthetics; and (c) considered weird by the majority, then it qualified as “alternative” by default, simply because the was no other way to categorize it…and humans love to organize things into piles, right?... Multiple genres thrived in the alt-rock universe…plus there were all the sub-genres and sub-sub-genres and even sub-sub-sub-genres…this mean that if you into alternative music before the 1990s, you were spoiled for choice…there was something for everyone… Then along came grunge, the biggest sound of the decade…it ripped a whole in the music-space-time continuum, opening a hole into this parallel universe, allowing all these sounds to invade the mainstream… And because these sounds and scenes and sub-genres had been happily evolving almost unseen for years, the people making this music knew what they were doing…the mainstream was flooded with new songs from scenes that were already mature—or at least close to it… Never before had so much solid music from so many seasoned performers been waiting in wings, ready to show their stuff…and when they got their chance—wow… This is our look at the alt-rock of the 1990s, part 7… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 09, 2018
The 90s Part 6: The Punk Revival
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The early 90s were an amazing time for music…generation x, a powerful demographic force, reached the age where they were in a position to demand music that reflected their needs and wants and wishes and desires and fears… The biggest sea change came with the rise of grunge, thanks to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and, of course, Nirvana…but that music was just the kick-start for the alternative nation that came to dominate most of the 90s…. For many, grunge was alternative music with training wheels…those who liked what they heard were invariably led deeper into a culture that had existed outside the mainstream for years…Gen X discovered different flavours of goth and industrial and electronic music…and they also discovered punk…. Punk had always been around…sure, it kinda got burned out at the end of the 70s, but it never died…the Ramones kept touring…bands like husker du were putting out records…and American hardcore established itself as a force to be reckoned with… But punk was still a niche thing, away from the attention of most music fans…but then an interesting set of circumstances came into play that resulted in a massive resurrection of interest in punk rock—and echoes of that resurrection are still being felt today… This is chapter 6 of our look at back at the 1990s…it’s the mid-90s punk revival… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 03, 2018
The 90s Part 5b: Hip-Hop's Effects Part 2
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If we look at the state of rock here in the 21st century, it is no longer the main musical driver of popular culture…hip-hop is king… This doesn’t mean it’s dead, that it doesn’t have a place in our lives, that it isn’t going to be around for decades to come…but if you’re honest, you’ll have to admit that hip-hop has extended its reach into popular culture with the strength and depth that used to belong to rock… And it’s not like rock’s appeal shrank…it’s that other genres have exploded, hip-hop being the genre with the most growth… Now let’s go back to the 1990s, the last decade where rock ruled everything…alt-rock was the thing…but if we dig through what happened in the 90s, we can see how hip-hop not only infiltrated alt-rock but how it was embraced, incorporated, and celebrated… Regions of the alt-rock universe began to evolve…the beats got bigger…the rhymes got tougher and more complicated…the vibe began to change…and it was all pretty good—but not all of it worked out well… What were hip-hop’s effects on alt-rock?...we’re going to continue with that topic on this next episode on the alternative 90s… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 25, 2018
The 90s Part 5a: Hip-Hop's Effects Part 1
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There are some things you should never mix...oil and water...nitro and glycerin...tequila and—well, it’s not a good idea to mix tequila with anything other than salt, lemon and maybe some fruit juice… They used to say this about rock and rap music, too...and they were pretty adamant about that… When rap and hip-hop started seeping into the mainstream in the middle 1980s, it immediately polarized people...those who didn’t (or refused) to get it, were aggressively dismissive of what rap brought to the table... “that’s not rap…it’s crap!” …. “this isn’t music…it’s just bad poetry over beats stolen from another record”… It took a few years, but by the time we got into the 90s, hip-hop and rap was becoming a very powerful musical and cultural force…today, it is the genre when it comes to driving culture…after half a century of being in charge, rock has fallen to second place… Not only that, but a chunk of the rock scene was co-opted into hip-hop, creating a new series of hybrid sounds… The original post-punk alt-rock population also aged...the older, set-in-their-ways crowd was pushed out by a new generation who didn’t have any preconceived notions or baggage when it came to these new sounds...to them, rap was just another form of exciting new music... So, by the end of the 80s, there were signs that punk, funk, rap, hip-hop and metal were all becoming inextricably intertwined...but who knew that in a few years we’d all be talking about this thing called “nu metal?”... This is part 5 of our look back on the alt-rock of the 1990s… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 17, 2018
The 90s Part 4: Britpop
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I want you to think about fashion for a moment…fashion is one of the most disposable of all the artistic endeavours…much of what’s created isn’t designed to last more than a season…once the season is over, time to toss out all the coture and buy new stuff… But there are cycles in fashion…after a certain amount of time, old styles might come back into favour again…this, in a way, makes fashion a renewable resource… Music is also like that…trends and sounds and styles come along and then disappear…but then ten, fifteen, twenty or more years later, those trends, sounds and styles are resurrected by a brand-new generation… Sometimes the kids rediscover the joys and appeal of a certain style of music independently…or maybe they got into some older records and were inspired by that…whatever the reason, anything to keep from being bored, right?... If you were around in the early-to-mid 90s, you may remember a period when every week seemed to bring along something new and cool…a new band with a new sound and a new attitude…and this stuff was coming from all directions… North America had developed a massive appetite for all things alternative, led by grunge…in fact, grunge threatened to completely swamp rock music worldwide, including the UK… But some young musicians would have none of this musical imperialism from the colonies…they decided to fight back with a real Made-In-Britain approach… The result was fantastic…and until the whole thing collapsed under its own weight of excess and overexposure and drugs, it was an excellent party…this is part 4 of our look back of the alt-rock of the 1990s…the topic?...Britpop… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 10, 2018
The 90s Part 3: Grunge
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Up until the 1990s, the section of the rock universe known as “alternative” was all over the place…there wasn’t what anyone could call a defining sound…if it was left of centre, weird to mainstream music fans and ignored by the media, then it was “alternative”... If you were around the late 80s—the decade where the word “alternative” began to be used to describe a certain attitude in rock—you’ll remember that this was an umbrella term for so many different types of artists… If you couldn’t categorize a song or an artist by tossing it into any of the regular buckets, then there was only one other bucket you could use…and it quickly filled up… Singer-songwriters…indie pop artists…industrial bands…groups with synthesizers…goth groups…extra-noisy guitar bands…even rap was alternative for a while in the 80s: it was new, it was weird and it was hated by the mainstream…ergo: alternative! There were so many different sounds and textures and moods and looks that just trying to come up with a definition of “alternative music” was impossible…basically, we went by the credo of “I can’t tell exactly what it is, but I know it when I hear it”… Come to think of it, in many ways, back then was a lot like the alt-rock of today…a vast variety of sounds that were adventurous, different and sometimes weird… But then came along something that codified everything, something around which everything else could coalesce and organize…and once that happened, alt-rock was unstoppable—for a while, anyway… This is part 3 of our look back on the 1990s… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 27, 2018
The 90's Part 2B: Front Women
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In 1967 during the summer of love, anything seemed possible…civil rights issues were being addressed…the war in Vietnam could be stopped…drugs and free love were in the air…and women were being liberated… Amongst all this was Jimi Hendrix who became a fan of an all-female rock band from San Francisco called “the ace of cups”… Wait a second…an all-girl rock band?...who wrote their own songs?...who had a chick out front that could shred like a man?...and a girl playing drums?... Even in 1967, that was radical…Hendrix was so impressed by their chops that he invited them to open a couple of his shows…it really did seem like a defining moment… But then the old sexist attitudes took over…women groups did not—could not—rock…it was common sense…self-evident…everyone knew that… The ace of cups gave it a good shot, but by 1972, they’d broken up…and until punk rock came around a few years later, the idea of a female-fronted rock band was considered silly… But punk brought in new egalitarian values…and fans embraced groups fronted by, led by and occasionally consisting entirely of women… Deborah harry and blondie…Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders…The Slits…Patti Smith…Siouxsie and the Banshees…Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics… These amazing women did all sorts of good for women’s role in rock…and by the time generation x and the 90s started to happen, the idea of bands where the leader and most (or all) its members had extra x chromosomes wasn’t weird at all…finally… But there was still work to be done…and all through the alt-rock 90s, we were influenced and inspired and entertained by some of the greatest female musicians in rock, period, full stop…this is part 2 of our series on the alternative rock of the 1990s… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 21, 2018
The 90's Part 2A: Solo Women
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In a less-enlightened time, women were barely tolerated by the rock’n’roll establishment…they could sing, shake a tambourine and look pretty…but that’s about it…in retrospect, the sexism and misogyny was unbelievable…but back in the day, it was business as usual… Some strong women who broke through…Joan Baez, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Carole King, Janis Joplin…but they were the exceptions… Sexism continued through the early- and mid-seventies…the prevailing “wisdom” was that women just couldn’t rock…it was a biological impossibility, apparently… But then along came punk rock and a sense of egalitarism…the central tennet of being a punk was that anyone with anything to say should be allowed to say it, regardless of musical ability, class, race, religion—or sex… The punk rock of the 70s opened musical doors for women more than any other era in musical history…this doesn’t mean that sexism and misogyny and abuse was over…but it did mean way more strong, powerful female musicians… Slow, steady progress was made in through the 80s…and yes, there were setbacks…but by the time we got into the next decade, the music world was flooded with women who, in many ways, set the agenda for all rock music… This is part 2 of our series on the 1990s… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 18, 2018
The 90's Part 1: Foundational Changes
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Writing history takes a very long time…sure, you could write down everything as it happens, but that’s really only like writing a diary…you only have a record of events—which is fine…but real history, meaningful history is something more… To understand what happened in the past, more time has to go by so that we can observe the ripples events have the world…it’s only by examining those ripples that we begin to understand what’s happening in the present and what could happen in the future… It’s often helpful and convenient to look at the past by decade…that’s certainly a favourite way to do things with music…in fact, that’s how we like to categorize music history… If I say “50s music,” you know exactly what I mean…if we move to the music of the 1960s, same thing…the names or artists and songs leap to mind, just as they do if I said we’re going to talk about the 70s or 80s… But what about the 1990s?...what comes to mind on that branch of music history?...grunge, Britpop, raves, electronica generation x, hip hop, sampling, cell phones, personal computers, the internet, MP3s, music piracy… The 90s were a transformational decade, in so many ways, the end of the way music used to be and the beginning of what it would become in the next millennium…many people have come to the conclusion that the 90s were the last great decade for music… Is that true?...now that enough time has passed, we can now look back on the 90s to help us understand where we are today… And if we’re going to be successful at that, we’re gonna need to spread this investigation over out over a lot of shows… These are the 1990s, part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 07, 2018
RocknRoll Scientific Nomenclature
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How would you like to be remembered when you’re gone?...most people make do with a tombstone or some such other grave marker…maybe a few photographs and other detritus from a life… But maybe you’ve done something exceptional, something that extends beyond just your family and friends…my dad was mayor of my tiny hometown on the Canadian prairies and was instrumental in the development of a tourist area…for that, he had a street named after him…very nice… Others have schools named after them…buildings…airports…whole towns and cities and countries and even continents…North America, for example, is named after an Italian cartopgrapher named “Amerigo Vespucci”…you get the idea… Another way to achieve this sort of immortality is to have something in nature named in your honour…it turns out that this is a great way to pay tribute to rock stars… Sit tight…we’re going to spend the next hour learning a few Latin terms… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 31, 2018
Gorillaz: A History
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Everything is virtual these days…outside of the stuff you’ve got in your pocket, money is nothing but a bunch of zeroes and ones…we shop online at virtual stores…we read virtual books on our tablets… Even our relationships have gone that way because of Facebook and twitter and Instagram… A lot of our music is virtual, too…it’s been that way since we started ripping our cds and trading mp3s online...then came stores like iTunes with its digital tracks and albums and metadata… So it stands to reason, that we should have virtual artists, performers that don’t exist in real life…sure, there’s some human component, but the stay in the background where we rarely (if ever) see them… Back in the 60s, we had the Archie’s, who were followed by Josie and the Pussycats…then Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem on “The Muppets” … Dethklok, The Chipmunks, Prozzak, Crazy Frog, The Banana Splits….Mistula is from the Philippines and represented by a bunch of female dools…the bots are all cg creations…Hatsune Miku is a Japanese hologram…then there’s Jen and the Holograms… They all have their appeal, but there is one virtual group that eclipses them all…not only have they had hit singles and multi-platinum albums, but they also tour…they’re even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most-successful virtual band of all time… This is the story of The Gorillaz… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 20, 2018
Remembering David Bowie: Part 2
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He was known by many names over the six decades he made music...and for the last 40-plus years, he was the most discussed, photographed, imitated, worshiped and admired rock star in history... No single rock and roll performer had a more profound an effect on our music as David Bowie...all of today’s best alt-rock bands all have a bit of Bowie in them …and that net can be cast much, much wider…Madonna, Lady Gaga, Prince…the list is endless... He was a singer, a songwriter, record producer, movie actor, stage performer, internet entrepreneur, artist, art critic, fashion maven, wall street investment and gay icon... He has been a trend-setter, a shapeshifter, a cultural mover-and-shaker…he’s Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack, Plastic Soul Man, the Thin white Duke...and now he’s gone…he’s David Bowie—and now that he’s gone, it’s important to recognize all the contributions he’s made to our music… This is Remembering David Bowie, Part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 16, 2018
Remembering David Bowie: Part 1
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The sound of a text coming through woke me up at 2:15 in the morning…what was so important that it couldn’t wait until later?...it was either a wrong number—or it was bad news… It was bad news…a friend in L.A. had just heard some awful information: David Bowie had died… This wasn’t supposed to happen…Bowie was supposed to be one of the immortals, someone who would always be with us….after all, he’d been making music through six decades… And yes, he’d been almost entirely out of sight for a decade, but we knew he was there…he released a surprise album in 2013 to much critical acclaim…and didn’t just release another acclaimed album just three days ago…how could be dead?.... No, there must be some mistake…one of internet hoaxes…but as soon as my computer booted up, I could see that it was all confirmed…David Bowie had suddenly, surprinslgy passed away….and from cancer?...he had cancer?... And so began weeks of mourning all over the world… Look, I realize that if you’re of a certain age, Bowie might be as foreign to you as some big band leader of the 1930s…he was an old guy that belonged to another generation, like Elvis or John Lennon…you might even feel that way about Kurt Cobain…Michael Jackson dying—you get that—but this Bowie guy?...why should I care?...why are people making such a big deal about this?...isn’t this just another baby boomer sob story… No, it’s not… here’s a line I’ve repeated again and again since Bowie died:  if you take any contemporary artist—and I don’t care which one—and you draw a line from that artist into the past, that line will inevitably, unavoidably intersect with bowie: something he did, something he touched, something he influenced…no matter where you start, all roads lead to Bowie… If you are to understand anything about today’s music, you to acknowledge this…fans already know this…and if you’re still uncertain, don’t go anyway…I will explain why Bowie does and will always matter…   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 11, 2018
Who the Hell is Arcade Fire? Part 2
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Let’s just say it: Arcade Fire is weird…just about everything they’ve done in their career has been not only unconventional but against the rules… They rarely give interviews…they won’t license their music…they’d rather spend weeks working with the people of Haiti than lounging by a swimming pool somewhere…they won’t even stay on the stage when they perform… Yet whatever they’ve done has worked…junos, Grammy’s, Brits, The Polaris Music Prize…members have had their work nominated for an academy award…humanitarian awards… Critics have fallen all over them for years…they’ve made all the important magazine covers…big name stars all the way up to Chris Martin and U2 and David Bowie have lavished praise on them…and they’re one of the few new rock bands to emerge in the 21st century that is capable of selling out an arena… Okay, so they haven’t sold a gazillion records, but who has these days?...still, they’ve moved several million, which is very respectable…and all those records were made for a small indie label, not a major… Oh—get this: a chunk of the money they’ve big made—a million-dollar chunk—was donated to a Haitian relief organization… There are no reports of legal issues, tabloid scandals, drunken antics, drug use or any kind of anti-social behavior—unless you count it when singer Win Butler gets into foul trouble when he’s playing in a celebrity basketball game… All of this is very good…but in the context of rock’n’roll, it’s very weird… [off mic] how am I supposed to come up with all kinds of juicy bits when there’s nothing at all salacious about these people?...do my best?...what’s that’s supposed to mean?...thanks a lot… All right…let’s see what I can do…this is who the hell is Arcade Fire, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 05, 2018
Who the Hell is Arcade Fire? Part 1
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The music world went a little weird on February 13, 2011…and I remember it very, very well because I was in a hotel room in Vancouver with nothing to do but watch TV…I think I was coming back from a speaking thing in Victoria and my flight home had been cancelled… I ordered up a club sandwich from room service and lay on the bed watching the 53rd Grammy awards…all the usual suspects were there…lady gaga, whose album “the fame monster” had been, well, a monster…six nominations, including best album… Katy Perry…seven nominations for her “Teenage Dream” album…Eminem was back…Rihanna had a bunch of nominations…there was buzz about Justin Bieber, Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Lady Antebellum…. Finally, after more than three hours of awards and speeches and performances, it was time to present album of the year…the presenter was Barbra Streisand, who, earlier in the evening, was feted with the “musicares person of the year” honour—a big deal… She stepped onstage with the envelope….the crowd buzzed… “it’s gonna be Katy Perry” ….”No way! They’re gonna give it to Eminem!...”Are you crazy? Lady Gaga has this sewn up”… Babs opened the envelope and—well, just listen… Didn’t she sound so confused?...let’s listen again…and note the long pause as she stares at the printing on the card as if she doesn’t know what to do… Twitter exploded…I mean, it just melted down with indignation, outrage and hate…“The Suburbs?”…by who?...what’s an “Arcade Fire?….never heard of them…you people are Grammy…how come I don’t know who they are?....no one knows who they are…who the hell is Arcade Fire!” It was epic....and for those who still don’t get it, hang on…we can fix things for you…or at least try to… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 01, 2018
Scott Weiland: Part 3
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If you’ve ever been responsible for managing a group of people, you’ll understand when I say, “humans are complicated” …as much life experience you may have, you will always, always encounter folks who have gone through lives that are much different from yours… You consider your life normal…they consider their lives normal, too…but the gulf between these senses of what’s “normal” can be huge… It all depends on your upbringing, your current environment, your family life and your state of mind…no judgements here: those are all statements of fact… When you’re a rock star, the definition of “normal” changes…living in your celebrity bubble skews things…when compared to civilians, things can quickly become abnormal—although because of your bubble, you don’t realize it…it’s like as usually, even though those on the outside find your life very weird… But even by the standards of rock star normal—which pretty weird to begin with—the life of Scott Weiland was off the charts…I mean, when a guy like slash takes you aside and says “dude, I’m worried. You’d better take it easy”—you know that you’re dealing with some extraordinary circumstances… This is the life and death of Scott Weiland, part 3…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 31, 2017
Scott Weiland: Part 2
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We all react differently when we hear that a celebrity has died…if it’s someone whose work has managed to touch us in a particular way, the loss can really hurt… Our idols aren’t supposed to be life-sized…they’re something bigger than that…maybe not immortal, but somehow not subject to the day-to-day things we have to deal with…. It really, really bothered me when Joey Ramone died…it hurt when Kurt killed himself…and when Amy Winehouse OD-ed, it affected me even though I wasn’t what you’d call a big fan… A lot of people were similarly affected by the death of Scott Weiland…if you grew up in the 90s, his was one of the great voices of that era….and even though you knew about all his problems—drugs, alcohol, mental health issues and all the rest of it—you didn’t want to believe that things might end up going very badly for him…but deep down… So, what happened with him?...and I’m not just talking about his final days…I mean “what happened to him over the years that put him on this path towards dying in the back of a tour bus?”…. As I said when we started this investigation, this is going to take a while…this is Scott Weiland, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 27, 2017
Scott Weiland: Part 1
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The layout of a tour bus is standard…first, you have the driver’s compartment…behind that is an area where everyone can hang out…a couple of tables, some seating, a fridge, a stove, a microwave and an audio-video system connected to a big-screen TV… Next is a hallway lined with sleeping bunks, usually about three per side…after that, a bathroom and maybe some shower facilities…and finally, we come to the rear bedroom… Here you’ll find a double bed, more seating, another TV and few more amenities… Sometime on December 3, 2015, Scott Weiland entered the back bedroom on his tour bus, which was parked outside a country inn and suites hotel northwest of Minneapolis…he wanted to rest up before that night’s show at the medina ballroom that night…he never came out alive… After 8:00 that night, police were called…there were reports of an unresponsive male, perhaps suffering from an overdose…it was Weiland—and by the time help arrived, he was long dead… The fact that scot weiland had died wasn’t the biggest surprise…it was that he had managed to live to 48…the man lived—and let’s be charitable—a colourful life…unfortunately, those colours were pretty dark… And he was well aware of it…this is a guy who published an autobiography until the title “not dead yet and not for sale”…the first-ever stone temple pilots single was called “dead & bloated,” which features the lines “I am smellin’ like the rose that someone gave me on my birthday deathbed”…Scott was always well aware that he wasn’t living the safest kind of life… At the same time, though, Scott Weiland was one of the great voices to emerge out of the 90s…he was up there with Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder… But who was he?...and how did it eventually come to end in the back of a tour bus in snowy Minnesota?...let’s do what we can to find out… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 26, 2017
60 Mind-Blowing Facts About Music in 60 Minutes: 2017 Edition
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One of my great accomplishments of the year was the construction of a new home office…after 12 years working on this program in a converted bedroom, I built a full-feature workspace in the basement… Oh, it’s lovely…for the first time since I started doing this program in 1993, all my stuff is in one place…all the computers, all the CD’s and vinyl and books and magazines are all together…it’s a marvelously efficient workspace… This, however, was not an easy project…renovations being what they are, it took a full ten weeks longer than projected…permits, trades, materials—the usual problems…and then there was the matter of all the stuff I had scattered about the house… I feel terrible for Matt and Elisha…they were a couple of interns who had to haul thousands of books—most of them hardcover—out of storage and down into the basement where they had to be sorted by topic, alphabetized and neatly put on the shelves…mat had the horrible duty of filing hundreds of CD’s that I had neglected for a couple of years… And then there were dozens of bankers’ boxes, many filled with forgotten research notes and newspaper clippings…which brings me to this: collectively, me and the interns uncovered a lot of material that has never been used on an ongoing history program…it would be a shame to let all that knowledge go to waste, wouldn’t it?... So here we go…this is third annual office cleanout…it’s another edition of 60 mind-blowing facts about music in 60 minutes… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 24, 2017
Joe Strummer: A Remembrance
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Back in the day, they called The Clash "the only band that mattered" and few voices are more important or influential in the history of rock than that of Joe Strummer. Without Joe and The Clash, we wouldn't have a fraction of the bands and musicians that we do today. Put simply;  Joe Strummer is one of the most significant musicians in the history of rock. Full stop. December 22nd, 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of Joe's sudden passing at just 50 years old. To mark the occasion, and honour Joe, we go back into the Ongoing History achieves and present our profile of Joe that first aired in the spring of 2003.  This is our tribute to the legend of Joe Strummer... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 22, 2017
Remembering Chester Bennington Part 3
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If anyone were to look at Linkin Park around 2011, there no reason to think that anything was going wrong… In the ten years since the band was formed, they’d sold over 80 million albums…they had millions of fans all over the world…they were in firm control of their career, planning to release a new album every 18 months or so, a schedule they, not the record label, set out… Plus they had time to indulge in all kinds of side projects, some musical, some not—like remix albums, soundtracks, even movies…DJ Joe Hahn had started to direct films …not a bad position to be for a bunch of guys still in their 30s, right?... That was the view from the outside…and for the most part, that rosey view was correct…but if anyone had taken the time to really get to know Chester Bennington, there might have been some warning signs…they would have been subtle, slow-burning, almost undetectable…but in hindsight, something was going on inside, something that would end tragically about six years later… This is the third and final part of our remembrance of Chester Bennington… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 15, 2017
Remembering Chester Bennington Part 2
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When a musician dies, there’s a light that goes out in fans…it’s not like we knew this person, you know, personally…but it might feel that we did…that’s because the art they created expressed feelings and concepts and thoughts that we couldn’t articulate ourselves…it’s through their music that we are able to learn more about ourselves…that’s why we need artists… And we often don’t realize how deeply their music affected us and in what ways it has worked into our lives and psyches until that person is gone… We saw this when bowie died...it happened when prince left us…same thing with Chris Cornell and Gord Downie and any other musician you wanna mention…and it happened again when Chester Bennington died… Linkin Park sold tens of millions of records, many on the strength of Chester’s abilities to express how he felt, feelings that resonated with so many others…and now that he’s gone, we’re looking at how he did that on his own, with Linkin Park and with some of his side projects… This is remembering Chester Bennington, part 2… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 07, 2017
Remembering Chester Bennington Part 1
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When the news first came down on the afternoon of Thursday, July 20, 2017, maybe your reaction was the same as me… “another celebrity death hoax…it’s gotta be because this doesn’t make sense”…but it as the minutes ticked by, it was soon obvious that it wasn’t a hoax…but it still didn’t make sense… By the end of the day, everything was confirmed…Chester Bennington, vocalist with Linkin Park, was not only dead, but dead by his own hand…what?... This guy was the frontman for a band that has sold somewhere around 100 million records...he was drafted in to sing for Stone Temple Pilots for a couple of years…he having fun with a couple of side projects…he dabbled in acting…and he had a loving family with six—six—kids… What happened?...and even though the news came during a long string of musician deaths, this one was one of the most shocking…totally unexpected… Let’s see if we can’t sort out what we can…and as we do, we’ll remember Chester Bennington…this is part 1… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 29, 2017
60 Band Name Origins in 60 Minutes
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As someone who churns out tens of thousands of words a week—everything from emails to blog posts to business documents to these radio scripts—I’ve developed a fascination with words and, for whatever reason, names…especially the origins of names… The study of word origins is “etymology”…and the study of name origins is “onomastics”… Take, for example the name Ignatius…this is an ancient name dating back to the Etruscans, the civilization before the romans…a lot of dudes were named “Ignatius” over the centuries… When Spanish came along, it morphed into Ignacio, which was often abbreviated to “Nacho”…fast-forward to 1943…Ignacio Anaya lived in Piedras Negras, which is just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, home to a U.S. military base… One night some American soldiers came to his restaurant looking for something to eat…with almost nothing in the kitchen, he wiped something up featuring deep-friend tortillas cut into triangles, covered in cheese and served pickled jalapeno peppers…the soldiers loved the improvised snack so much that they named it after their host: Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya… But there’s another part to the Ignatius story….back over in Europe in Bavaria, Ignatius transformed into Ignatz…the short form for that was “Nazi”…this is how “Nazi” came to denote a backwards peasant from the Bavarian countryside… This is the same part of Germany that gave rise to a political party called “nationalsocializmus” led by a guy called Adolph Hitler….those who thought Hitler was a clown, abbreviated “nationalsocializmus” to “Nazi” as a way of calling the party a bunch of boobs…it was a taunt, an insult… But Hilter and his crew turned everything around and took the term “Nazi” as their own and—well, things turned out badly for the planet… But isn’t that kind of cool?...there’s a connection between something as diverse as German fascists and a plate of junk food that’s great for hangovers… What if we apply this sort of scholarly etymological and onomastical research to the names of musical groups?...let’s do that…hang on…a lot of data is about to come your way… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 22, 2017
Legendary Recording Studios
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Not that long ago, if you wanted to make an album, you needed rent a big, expensive recording studio…in addition to paying an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rate, you need to pay for a producer, an engineer or two, all the recording tape you used and any catering that was required…it could get very expensive very quickly… But that was okay because back then, the music industry was awash in money…your label would happily advance you the money to cover your recording costs because they were just going to take it out of profits derived from the future sales of that album… Because there was so much money to be made, a lot of big, expensive recording studios were built…some were in big centres like New York, L.A., and London…others were chateaus out in the countryside or maybe on an exotic island…even a medium-sized city could boast half a dozen solid studios…. These days, it’s possible to make a very good-sounding album on a laptop in your bedroom…heck, I know of some people who have made credible-sounding records on their smart phones… But this doesn’t mean that big-time recording studios are now irrelevant…there are some things, some sounds and some needs that require a dedicated recording studio environment…but then there are those facilities that have been forced to shut down, killed by the massive changes to the music industry and the high cost of maintaining a studio when bookings are down… Still, there’s something really, really cool about recording studios, places where Legendary songs and iconic albums were created…and I’d like to take you on a tour some of these studios and listen to some of the music that was made within those walls…some of these places are still with us while some are only memories… Legendary recording studios, past and present… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 10, 2017
Gord Downie: A Remembrance Part 2
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This is part two of our remembrance of Gord Downie… We left off last time with The Hip in their golden years—a glorious run of singles, albums, tours, festivals (like edgefest, their own “another roadside attraction festival, edenfest) along with appearances on radio, TV and in movies—plus things like Junos and Much Music video awards… “Day For Night” was followed by “Trouble At The Henhouse” in 1996, which spun off five singles…the concert album, “Live Between Us” was recorded that year at Cobo Hall in Detroit… And the band continued to evolve…song structures became more complex…Gord started experimenting with different vocal styles and phrasing…and the longer the band stayed together, the more Canadian their music seemed to be with more and more references to people, events and places… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 07, 2017
Gord Downie: A Remembrance-Part 1
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Here is how we’re going to do this…we all know how important Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip have been to Canadian music, Canadian culture and Canada, period…we’ll take that as read… And when Gord died on October 18, 2017, it seemed like the whole country went into mourning…the best tweet I saw read “Canada closed…death in the family” …those six words summed things up better than anything else I saw... What I’d like to do is remember and celebrate Gord and The Hip, filling in some blanks along the way…they’ve never been interested in any kind of chronological autobiography and no book about them has ever received official authorization from the band… So, although The Hip was around for more than three decades and have some of the best fans ever, there’s still plenty of stories to be told…and along the way, we’ll remember Gord for who he was and what he did that touched so many people across this country…and we’re going to start at the very, very beginning… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 01, 2017
The Tragically Hip: A Retrospective
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I’d just landed at Pearson airport in Toronto after a long flight from the far east…as soon as we left the runway, I turned on my phone…the texts and the emails came one after another…blam: Gord Downie was dying…blam: brain cancer…something called “neuroblastoma”…blam: and the prognosis wasn’t good…the condition was terminal…one year, maybe two—five at best… But that same news conference also announced that The Hip was going on tour again…the Man Machine Poem tour…that turned into a massive national celebration of all things Gord, all things hip, all things rock and all things Canadian… Tens of millions of people stopped what they were doing and watched the final show that Saturday night in August…the band never said it would the “last” anything—but I think we all knew that was the case… Then came a period of denial…sure, Gord was sick, but we were still seeing him around…a couple of interviews…his “Secret Path” documentary…showing up to receive an order of Canada…things were fine, right?... They must have been—especially after we heard about a solo album in late September…that was a sure sign that Gord was doing well, right?... Well, no…sessions for that album wrapped up in February…and since thing, radio silence…lots of rumours, but no news…nothing from him, his family, the band, his management or the label… We knew it was coming, but all we could do was wait…and then on the morning of October 18, we got the news…Gord was gone… The outpouring of affection and grief was immediate and sustained…Hip music started playing everywhere…we covered his death like other countries might cover the death of a head of state… And as the tributes continue to pour in, I thought we’d have this look back on Gord and The Hip and what they meant to us… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 22, 2017
What's The Big Deal About Bauhaus
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For this Friday bonus Podcast of the Ongoing History of New Music we dig deep into the OGH archieves to the spring of 2005 and have a look at one of the most influcential bands of the 80's They only exhisted for barely 4 years and released just 4 albums but without them would there be a Smashing Pumpkins? Nine Inch Nails? Marilyn Manson? White Zombie? This is a program in the "what's the big deal series?". An occasional look at why todays music sounds like it does.  This time we ask "What's The Big Deal About Bauhaus?!?" See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 14, 2017
The Oral History of Manchester Part 2
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It's a Friday bonus Podcast of the Ongoing History of New Music. We dig deep into the OGH archieves to bring you episodes that you want to hear again. This time in Podcast form. This week it's the 2nd part of the Oral History of Madchester as told by someone who was there to see it and make it happen. Gaz Whelan of the Happy Monday's! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 06, 2017
The Ongoing History Book Of Firsts Volume 2
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There’s a first time for everything…we know who the first man on the moon was…Edmund Hillary was the first to the top of Mount Everest…the first movie with talking in it was “The Jazz Singer”…and so on… I started thinking about “firsts” the other day, so I started looking things up…the first McDonald’s was in san Bernardino, California…the first guy to literally walk around the world on foot was Dave Kunist…it took him four years to walk 14,452 miles …the first person to be killed in an automobile accident was Bridget Driscoll of Surrey, England…in 1896, she was hit by a car traveling at 4 miles per hour…the first porn film?...”Bedtime For The Bride,” 1895… We can get weirder…the first thing ever sold on ebay was a broken laser pointer for $14…the first video on YouTube is still up there…it’s called “Me At The Zoo”…the first person with a Facebook account outside the company who wasn’t a friend of Mark Zuckerberg was a guy from India named Sachine Kumar… The more I looked at famous firsts, the more I started wondering about firsts in music…. Who was the first person to perform on a guitar run through an amplifier?...the first song downloaded from iTunes?...who was the first to drop an intentional f-bomb on record?...what was the first song to fade out instead of having a definite ending?... You see where I’m going with this, right?...I started compiling a list of “firsts” in music—and then I set out to find some answers…which I did…prepare yourself…this could be the first time you hear about this stuff… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 04, 2017
The Tool Odyssey
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As we sit here together, it’s been about 11 years and five months since Tool released their last album, “10,000 days”…that record came out on April 28, 2006…  Let’s put that into perspective…the last time we tool gave us a record of new material, the introduction of the iPhone was still more than a year away…Bob Barker was still hosting “The Price is Right”… And this is my favourite: that was the year when NASA launched the new Horizons Probe towards Pluto…it has since flown past Pluto and is well into the Kuiper Belt…in other words, you can travel out of the solar system in less time than it takes Tool to make an album… This isn’t the longest interval between albums from a band who has never broken up…in fact, Tool has gone out on tour multiple times, just to remain acquainted with their fans…but this has only served to underscore the point that Tool hasn’t come up with any new music since 2006… Here’s the question: why?...what’s the holdup?...where’s the new music?...those are three big questions that we’re going to try to answer…i call this show “The Tool Odyssey”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 27, 2017
10 Unusual Things About Nirvana
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Nirvana is one of those bands where it seems we know everything…when they broke through with the “Nevermind” album in 1991 and 1992, there was a rush to learn everything we could about them…and then we Kurt died—which happened roughly at the same time the internet began to be a thing with the general public—that interest exploded… Now, in the decades since nirvana ceased to exist, study of the band, its history, its individual members and its influence can best be described as scholarship…that’s how deep we are into the band…so what’s there left to learn, really… While, you might be surprised…here are ten unusual and little known things about one of the best documented bands in the history of rock… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 20, 2017
The Last Hours Of...
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At some point, all of us will shuffle off this mortal choir and join the choir invisible…doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you may have or how famous you might be…in the end, we’re all mortal… This really hits home when musicians we love disappear forever…it’s not like we personally know these people, but because their music helps us know ourselves, a little piece of us dies with them… The circumstances of their passing’s vary…misadventure, accidents, overdoses, suicide…some can be explained away while other deaths will forever remain a mystery… With that in mind, let’s take a look back on the last hours of some of those musician’s who have left us… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 13, 2017
Unfortunate Sonic Coincidences
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Here are a couple of musical terms you may have heard of… Earworm: that’s when a clip of a song keeps running through your head on a loop over and over and over again. Mondegreen: a misheard lyric…a great example is in Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”…he sings “’scuse me while i kiss the sky”…some people hear that as “’scuse me while i kiss this guy”…there are lots of mondegreens in popular music… I propose we need a third term…it’s that opinion that overcomes us when we believe one song sounds almost exactly like another… I know you know what i mean…you hear a new song and a brief sense of déjà vu fills your head as your brain tries to correlate its musical database with what you’re hearing…and when all the processing is completely, you might think (a) “hey! Someone ripped off [artist x]!”…or (b) “someone’s gonna get sued!”… But you know something?...it’s not that simple…far, far from it…welcome to the murky world of unfortunate sonic coincidences… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 11, 2017
Catching Up With The Black Keys
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It is so hard to have a hit record these days…hell, with all the music out there it’s nearly impossible to attract any kind of attention…all the noise and distractions and competition… If you’re a new band with a debut record, you’ve got anywhere from six to thirteen weeks to make an impression once that first single comes out….if you fail to achieve significant traction with radio and retail and with fans during that short window, you’re in trouble…and if your record label doesn’t make it happen for you with the second single—well, I hope you didn’t quit your day job… It wasn’t always like this…back in the day when music was harder to come by, a record label could afford to wait for a band to develop and mature through two, three, four, five albums… Look at U2…they stumbled through their first two records before settling down with “War”… Look at the Red Hot Chili Peppers…warner brothers let them discover themselves through three albums before they could deliver the a little breakthrough with “Mother’s Milk” and then the big breakthrough with “Blood Sugar Sex Magick”… And look at REM…they released five indie records, each better than the last, before they were signed to a big major record label deal…that was hard…they were on a treadmill of recording and touring and recording and touring with little downtime…but they wanted it bad, so they did what they had to…it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll, y’know?... You can say the same of the Black Keys…a lot of people might think that these guys have what, three records in their catalogue…nope… They have eight full albums, two eps, one live album and close to two dozen singles…and unless you’re a longtime or hardcore fan, you may not know about some of the stuff they’ve done…  Let’s fix that for all the latecomers…this is catching up with the Black Keys… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 30, 2017
Spectacular Acts of Self Sabotage
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You probably know someone like this: a guy (or a woman) who through having loads of talent or tons of luck or both has become successful…they have everything anyone could ever hope to have…money, notoriety, stuff…access to all kinds of pleasure and adventures and opportunity...everyone you know wishes they cold be this person… And then they screw it all up…not by bad luck or illness or any other misfortune, necessarily…they just make some bad decisions or questionable moves that damage or destroy their careers and their lives… Sometimes this downfall happens in slow motion over a period of weeks or months or even years…but sometimes, the crash comes in seconds…and in the end, there’s no one to blame except the person themselves…. This sort of things happens in music a lot…ego, bad advice, hubris, arrogance, drugs, stubbornness, being out of touch, mental illness—all these things can lead to tarnished legacies at the very least and full-on catastrophes at worse… These are stories of spectacular acts of self-sabotage… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 22, 2017
The Amazing Year That Was 1991
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When it comes to music, not all years are created equal…listen, every year features some great new songs from great new bands…but over the long term, this music isn’t equally distributed…sometimes—maybe once a decade, but usually less—we run into what can only be described as an embarrassment of riches… What i mean by that is that we go through a period where every week—even every day—seems to bring something amazing… Like when?...1955, maybe…Elvis…Chuck Berry…Little Richard….Bo Diddley…Bill Haley and the Comets…they all exploded into public consciousness…it was the birth of rock’n’roll… 1965…The Beatles and everything they were doing…the rise of The Rolling Stones with “Satisfaction”…Bob Dylan releases “Like A Rolling Stone” for “Highway 61 Revisited” after going electric… Actually, rock’s most prolific years—at least when it came to being an agent for social change and a driver of western culture—were 65, 66, 67, 68 and 69… After that, we might consider 1977…punk, the beginning of new wave, the era of post-punk and all that came with it… But then there was a long fallow period…lots of disco, lots of pop, lots of hair metal—which was great if you were into that, but not exactly music that changed the world… But then came one particular year…if you look back on it, it’s astounding at what happened, what was released and the music we’re still talking about…by the time the calendar turned, everything—and i mean everything—was different… This is the amazing year that was 1991… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 09, 2017
Chester Bennington and Linkin Park
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The last few years have been rough for music fans…Scott Weiland, David Bowie, Prince and a dozen more have left us…2017 has also had its share of loss…Chuck Berry…Gregg Allman…Chris Cornell—and now Chester Bennington of Linkin Park…  A new ongoing history show about Linkin Park is on the schedule for the fall…but in light of the events of the past week, we’ve pulled out an older show dating to 2008…this tells the story of Chester and Linkin Park to that point… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 25, 2017
Inside The Foo Fighters
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Being in a band seems straightforward…you pick up some instruments and start playing…but it’s much more complicated than that…the music that you end up making is influenced by so many outside forces…where you grew up…what music you listened to as a kid…what music you listen to now…the city in which you’re writing songs…the city in which you’re recording those songs… All these factors (and more!) Affect the music you make…but how?...and fans love this stuff…they love to know what other bands influenced their favorite musicians…it’s all part of the understanding and discovery of music… The Foo Fighters know this…and they set out to document all the stuff that goes into one particular album: Sonic Highways…eight songs recorded in eight different cities…and not only did they make a record, but they made an HBO tv series documenting the whole process… Here’s how it worked:  the band set up in a new city for each of the eight songs on the record…they’d hang out, talk with musicians from that city…and then at the end of the week, Dave would sit down with a transcription of the conversations he’d had and then sort of cut’n’paste words and phrases from those conversations into what would become the lyrics for that song…and then the band would get to work on the song… It was a very, very interesting way to make a record—and the process also laid bare the influences that went into writing these songs as well as digging into the influences that made each member of the foo fighters who they are as musicians and who they are as people… I had a chance to talk to the whole band about all the different things that make the Foo Fighters the Foo Fighters… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 19, 2017
10 Terrible Career Moves
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We’ve all done something that we’ve later regretted...it seemed so right at the time, you know? In hindsight, though, it turned out to be really, really dumb… Maybe we were misinformed or lacking all the information we needed…maybe it was emotion or ego that prompted us down that path… or maybe we just disobey what our gut was telling us… “Hey! What’s that big wooden horse outside the city gates! Let’s bring it inside!”…that kind of thing… Prohibition…New Coke…the Ford Edsel…the U.S. invasion of Iraq…. Or the doofuses at mars refusing to allow M&M’s to be used in the movie “ET”…that’s why Elliott ended up using Reese’s Pieces… Listen, everyone has regrets, right?…the best we can do is minimize the number we have...so how can we do that?...the first thing we can do is study the mistakes of other people…if Hitler had learned anything from Napoleon and not decided to invade Russia during the winter, what kind of world would we be living in now? Then there all the bad decisions we’ve seen in the music industry…Elvis agreeing to do all those bad movies…Decca turning down a chance to sign The Beatles…Van Halen hiring Gary Cherone… Those are the famous boneheaded moves…but what about the worst career moves in the history of Alt-Rock?...glad you asked…here are ten of them…listen and learn… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 28, 2017
RockNRoll Drugs
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There are many ways to clear or expand your mind to allow creativity to flow, stress to dissipate and peace to descend on the mind and body…exercise, meditation, prayer…but that takes exertion, practice and devotion…what if there was a simpler way? Well, there is…drugs…it’s not the smartest way to solve your problems, but for centuries and centuries, drugs have worked for artists… We can go all the way back to cave paintings made in France, Spain, Italy, southern Africa and the Americas 50,000 years ago that some anthropologists claim were made after these ancient artists took drugs, probably some kind of hallucinogenic mushrooms or plant extract…  Why do scientists think that? because many of these paintings feature specific geometric shapes and images that scientists say are common visions resulting from the ingestion of certain types of chemicals…in other words, some of humankinds first artists were junkies… Art and genius drugs have gone together ever since—not always, but more than you might realize… Vincent van Gogh?...he took digitalis for his epilepsy, which caused him to see everything with a slightly yellowish hue…think about that the next time you look at one of his paintings …Picasso liked hash…some say his cubist period was all about smoking hash… Would Friedrich Nietzsche have become a famous philosopher without his opium?...Thomas Edison enjoyed cocaine elixirs…how would World War II have turned out if Winston Churchill wasn’t wired on amphetamines? Andy Warhol liked obetrol (an early form of Adderall) so he could stay awake all night…both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were fans of LSD… See what I mean?...and we haven’t even touched music… rock stars often use drugs for both inspiration and escape, just like those cavemen 50,000 years ago... Which drugs, which rock stars and why?...that’s what we’re going to investigate in a show that’s part chemistry, part psychiatry and part warning…welcome to a primer on rock’n’roll drugs… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 21, 2017
Remembering the Beastie Boys Part 2
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It is almost impossible for anyone from a lightweight boy band to transition to serious, respected artist…it can be done—we can look at Justin Timberlake and, um…well, we can look at Justin Timberlake…. And as tough as that is, it’s even more difficult to move from being pigeonholed as a novelty act to one that carries gravitas and serious artistic merit…yet that’s what the beastie boys managed to do… No one took them seriously for the first eight years of their career…they were spoiled, snotty frat boys writing goofy songs and making funny videos… “Licensed to Ill” was a parody of hip hop…a good one, but a still a parody…let’s not forget that “Rolling Stone” described the album as “three idiots make a masterpiece”… But then something changed…The Beastie Boys grew up…they grew as artists…they grew as businessmen…they grew as humans… They took risks…they experimented…they branched out…they sought to make a difference—not just in music but in the world…and by the time it all came to an end with the death of Adam Yauch in the spring of 2012, The Beastie Boys had cemented a reputation as one the most important bands of not one but at least two generations… This is remembering The Beastie Boys, part 2. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 14, 2017
Remembering the Beastie Boys Part 1
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For an entire generation of music fans—two generations, really—The Beastie Boys were always there…and now that they’re no longer with us, there are a lot of people who feel like there’s a void in music… But we’ll always remember their contributions…and there were a lot…this is part one of “Remembering The Beastie Boys”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 09, 2017
10 Unusual Things About Pearl Jam
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Pearl Jam is one of the most-documented bands of the last 30 years…even before the internet came along, fans were obsessive about cataloguing everything the band did…tour schedules, setlists, bootleg recordings, news stories… Pearl Jam encouraged this, too…a big part of their long-lasting appeal has been this relationship—this covenant—they’ve had with their fans about collecting and archiving stuff… The band understands this because they’re collectors, too…all you have to do is look at the 20th anniversary box set for the “Ten” album that came out in 2009…it came with things like a replica of Eddie’s notebook at a cassette designed to be just like the one Eddie used to audition for the band back in 1990… The band’s stories have been told many times, but you get the sense that the history of Pearl Jam is so deep that there still must be more to learn about theme…imagine what it might be like for a fan to dig through all kinds of Pearl Jam emphera to see what unusual things can be found there… That’s been done…and i’m here to report back… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 24, 2017
Chris Cornell: 6 Degrees of Separation
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There’s a misconception that it takes a lot of people to come together to create a viable music scene…not true… The original punk scene in New York consisted of a few dozen weirdos who hung out at places like CBGB, the mudd club and Max’s Kansas city in the uglier end of town… The UK punk scene started with a similar number in the fall of 1976, pretty much every London punk fit into a single club on oxford street for a two-night music festival…capacity at the 100 club was official 350, but there was plenty of room to move around… The start of the english technopop scene focused around the few people who hung around the blitz club in Covent Garden… The same can be said for a dozen other scenes that resulted in sounds that eventually spread around the world…that includes grunge… Grunge started with maybe a dozen people in and around Seattle…that’s it…but within a few years, it expanded to became the dominant sound of western rock for much of the 90s… To become this in such a short period of time, this required a swift and steady change reaction…among those dozen or so people were artists who were not only to form successful bands but multiple successful bands…and every one of these groups exploded with a force great enough to prompt other neighbouring music to do the same… To prove my point, i would like to trace one of those chain reactions…and for the purposes of this show, we will call the singularity of this chain reaction “Chris Cornell”…a lesson in grunge physics coming up… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 19, 2017
The Diversity Show
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Here is a truth that some people find very uncomfortable: rock, alt-rock and indie rock are predominantly white…why is that?...the answers—and there is more than one—are complicated…there has actually been a quite a lot of study on this question… Perhaps it’s because non-white people don’t choose this music as part of the way they project their identity to the world…culturally, they just don’t identify with these forms of music, so they naturally gravitate somewhere else… Others ask how this is different from someone choosing the music of their culture and ethnicity over that of another?...if you’re Italian, for example, the chances are you will have a greater affinity to Italian music than you would, say, gamelan music of bali… Here’s another truth: any form of music tends to reflect the shared sentiments of a particular community…. compare indie attitudes with hip hop…an indie band wouldn’t think of singing about drinking Cristal in the back of a Maybach while discussing the size of the diamonds in their new grillz…. neither would a hip hop artist rhapsodically describe their new pickup...neither would a rock band, for that matter… Each form of music has its own aesthetics…if they don’t mean anything to you on a cultural or emotional or personal level, then you’re not going to be into that music… Others don’t buy into this, seeing the non-whiteness of rock as a status quo barrier to people of colour who would like to participate but feel excluded, an outsider, unwelcome…they also see countless microaggressions, covert expressions of racism and continued cultural appropriation… We’re not going to solve any of these issues on this program…but I would like to acknowledge the contribution people of colour have made to the evolution of alt-rock…alt-rock is pretty white, yes—but not always… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 04, 2017
Why Punk Happened
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Every once in a while, something extraordinary happens in rock’n’roll…I hate the use the cliché of “a perfect storm,” but that’s exactly what I’m talking about…a bunch of things involving culture, politics, demographics, economics and technology all collide and mix in just the right way for something totally new and unexpected to be created… Lemme give you some examples…Elvis came along in the 1950s just as million post-war kids—these new constructs that were now called “teenagers”—began gravitating to new radio stations that played music derived from a mix of the blues, country and r&b…this music greatly annoyed their parents, something that made it dangerous and forbidden… In 1964, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show with a fresh, new sound that helped drag America out of the funk that followed the assassination of JFK…as far as rock is concerned, the 60s really began that February night in 1964… Let’s try something more current…you might remember the appearance of the music video in the early 80s transformed the industry…. or the time you heard “smells like teen spirit” for the first time and immediately you somehow knew that whatever came next in the 90s would be very, very different… And hip hop? don’t get me started…there are people—academics! —who will argue that the appearance of hip hop in popular culture was an even bigger deal that the Beatles… There’s one other event that we need to include on this list: the rise of punk rock in the middle 70s…as it was happening, it was no big deal…it was an aberration, a niche thing that indulged weirdos and misfits… “it’s just noise,” said the rock purists, “ignore it and it’ll go away” … But it didn’t…in fact, we’re still talking about punk…and punk became more than just a form of music… it became a way of thinking and acting and creating and presenting…it’s music, film, visual art, literature, dance, politics… it altered much of western thought…the punk aesthetic—that “screw you, I’m gonna do it anyway” ethos—can be found virtually everywhere in society today… But what led to this? what were the factors that led to the rise of this music? and how it appears worldwide at virtually the same time in an era long, long before the internet? great questions…. let’s see if we can find the answer to the question: “why did punk happen at all?” See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 22, 2017
Rock And Roll Myths
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Myths and legends come in all sizes…Atlantis…that’s a big one that we can’t seem to wrap our heads around…but maybe homer was just yanking our chain… “feed a cold, starve a fever”…turns out that’s wrong…depriving yourself of calories may make it harder for your body to fight off that infection or virus… “we only ever use 10% of our brain”…wrong…neuroscience has proven that to be false…the right number may be 20%--but there’s a lot of dispute over that… Here are some other myths I’ve run across…don’t feed pigeons uncooked rice or they’ll blow up…the great wall of china isn’t the only man-made object that can be seen from space…and you can’t certainly see it from the moon… Oh—and the “fact” that men think about sex every seconds…untrue…it happens a lot every day, but there’s no basis in any scientific literature that it happens every seven seconds…we’d never get anything done… There are also myths and legends in music, too…Robert Johnson’ pact with the devil at the crossroads…Gene Simmons of Kiss did not have a cow tongue grafted onto his…Jim Morrison, Biggie, Tupac and Elvis are most certainly very dead…but Paul McCartney is still very much alive… But what about the alt-rock word?...what kind of myths and legends lurk there…stick around…you may be very, very surprised… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 15, 2017
Billy Talent In Their Own Words: Part 3
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It’s hard being in a band…all that time close together, day and night, in cramped vans and crappy dressing rooms…record company issues, personal issues, personnel problems and the general fragile state of the human condition…it’s no wonder so many groups break up...after a while, it’s just too much trouble. But there are exceptions, bands that somehow manage to stay together in the same form forever, no matter what happens… the Radiohead that we know today is really the only Radiohead there’s ever been…U2 hasn’t had a lineup change since 1978… ZZ Top has been the same three guys since 1969… And here’s another one to add to the list: Billy Talent…same four guys since 1993…how have they managed that?...well, if you want the truth, go to the source… This is Billy Talent: in their own words, part 3 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 09, 2017
Billy Talent In Their Own Words: Part 2
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I’ve done hundreds of interviews with individual artists over the year…it’s relatively easy...all you have to do is get one person in a room, turn on the recording devices and you’re set… When it comes to interviewing a band, you’re lucky to get two members in the same place and the same time…  But getting every member of a band in the same place at the same time for an interview is next to impossible…I’ve only managed to be so lucky a couple of times… U2, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Blink-182—and that’s about it… And lemme tell you something: each of these interviews required extraordinary efforts under extraordinary circumstances… Such circumstances miraculously presented themselves with Billy Talent…all four guys around the same table in the same studio…the purpose?...to get them to tell the story of the band in their own words…this is part two of our conversation… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 02, 2017
Billy Talent In Their Own Words: Part 1
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The best way to construct a profile on an artist is to round up everyone together, put them in a studio and get them to tell their story themselves… But that can be difficult, especially with a band…beyond touring and recording schedules, everyone has their own lives and may even live in different cities…putting everyone in the same place could be impossible… It took a while, but we did it…i have all four members of Billy Talent in one place…and they’re here for one purpose: to tell their story in their own words… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 23, 2017
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Blink 182 Part 3
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Some years ago, I had a conversation with Don Letts, the DJ, filmmaker and confidant of The Clash…and he said something that stuck with me: “the average lifespan of a band is seven years…that’s enough for them to form, get big, become stars, develop creative differences and break up” … He’s not wrong…the clash did their best work from ’76 to ’83…The Beatles from ’63 to ’70…Nirvana was around from ’87 to ’94…  But then there are the exceptions, groups that have survived multiple seven-year cycle…U2, the Stones, Oasis, Green Day, Foo Fighters…and if we’re going to make a list, we must include Blink-182…this is a band who had a big rise and then a big fall before clawing back again…  This kind of roller coaster career can be really hard on a band—and there are often casualties…you’ll see what I mean as we get into part three of the rise and fall and rise of Blink-182… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 17, 2017
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Blink 182 Part 2
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It’s rare that a band has a career with two acts…it’s not impossible…the survivors of Joy Division managed to do quite well as new order…the Barenaked Ladies were once written off before roaring back to life…and how many times has Black Sabbath risen from the ashes?... I’ll give you another one…Green Day…they’d run out of gas by the end of the 90s and contemplated breaking up for good…but then they reinvigorated themselves with their “American idiot” period and continue to do well… And then there’s the story of Blink-182…by 2000, they’d made it to the top and were selling albums by the tens of millions…but then things slowly started to go sideways—badly… However, like Green Day, Blink-182 was able to recover from that career nosedive—but not before having to enduring some serious—and literal—casualties…this is part two of the rise and fall and rise of Blink-182… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 10, 2017
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Blink 182 Part 1
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After grunge blew up in the early 1990s, the walls between mainstream rock and the alternative universe crumbled completely…what other music had been hiding in the plain sight?... There was goth and industrial and various forms of electronica…and there was all this punk rock…tons of it…all different flavours, too…pop punk, punk-funk, hardcore, garage punk, glam punk, queercore, riot grrrl, ska-punk… Punk had always been there, waiting to be discovered by a whole new generation…and finally, the time was right… There was green day, offspring, rancid…then there was sublime, no doubt and 311…NOFX, Pennywise and Bad Religion…some of these bands were brand new…others had been doing their thing for a while… Alot of the big action seemed to be centred in California…orange county, the bay area…but down in the skatepark suburbs of San Diego, something began brewing that would end up being responsible for selling 35 million records… These guys went from zero to worldwide superstars and then almost back to zero again before clawing back… This is part one of the rise and fall and rise of blink 182… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 31, 2017