Author Archives: Alan Cross

The Day Dave Grohl Quit Nirvana

November 8th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

After Nevermind broke big and Kurt Cobain got deeper into drugs (and when Courtney Love was on the scene), being in Nirvana wasn’t a lot of fun.

There was a lot of internal tension, including between Kurt and the new guy, drummer Dave Grohl.

Why Music Fans Should Be Worried About the Floods in Thailand

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This has been an awful time for the people of Bangkok.  First, please think of all the people who have been displaced from their homes.  

Second, give a thought for all the businesses (and their employees) who have been affected by the floods

Bangkok may be a millions miles away from where you live, but if you're a music fan who lives a lot of your life online, this flood is affecting you, too.

There’s a New U2 Single. Is It Really Necessary?

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

U2 fans are all hoping to get their hands on any one of the iterations of the Achtung Baby 20th anniversary reissues.

To push this, U2 has released a new (well, "new" if you're trying to say "a new song from sessions from an album that was released 20 years ago") called "Blow Your House Down."  It appears on at least three of the Achtung Baby sets.

It's getting some airplay in a few places but really, is it necessary?  I'm a fan of the band, but it's time to take a break from anything new.

Music from the Inbox

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I don't know about where you are, but the weather around here has been glorious.  This means more walks with the dog and more yardwork.  

Thankfully, there are people like Lisa Sookraj who can help filter through all the music submissions.

Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” Just Won’t Go Away

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

No, it's not your imagination.  This song--first released on September 10, 2010--is everywhere.  It's now sold more than 2.9 million downloads and appears on no fewer that five different music charts.  

Even soccer moms are singing it as they take little Dakota to her ballet class in the minivan.  I wonder if they realize that it's a song about a kid with a gun thinking about pulling a Dylan and Eric on the rest of the school.

What's the deal?

Gift Idea. Maybe.

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Back in the early 80s, the boombox reigned, lumbering across the landscape like a greatest of the dinosaurs.  Who cares if it weighed 40 pounds because you needed 16 D-cell batteries to run the thing?

But then the Sony Walkman and its descendents killed the need to carry around a suitcase-sized device for listening to music and annoying strangers.  

Today, we're a world of zombies, everyone encased in their tiny musical bubbles thanks to the iPod and other MP3 players.

Then again, never underestimate the power of retro and nostalgia.  Would you buy something like this?

Update on Nickelback’s Detroit Problem

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

One of the most hallowed games of the NFL season is the traditional Thanksgiving Thursday date in Detroit. This spot on the schedule is sacred with a history that goes back to 1934.

This year, the Lions contracted Nickelback to perform at halftime.  Nickelback, who have a new album out that week, accepted.  A chance to perform before a nationwide TV audience hours before Black Friday? A no-brainer.

But then the good citizens of Detroit got all in a lather.  

"Detroit has a rich musical history!  Motown!  Iggy!  White Stripes!  Nugent!  Why would you get this CANADIAN band to perform?  And Nickelback?  Seriously?"

James Van Doren Dies at 72. The Punk World Should Mourn.

November 7th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

James who?  Let's start at the beginning.

In 1966, James Van Doren, his brother and two friends started the Van Doren Rubber Company in Anaheim, California.  Their product was rubber-soled shoes.

A couple of years later, they released a shoe with a super-grippy sole with the aim of selling it to boaters.  The secret sauce in the design was a special compound combined with a special tread:  diamond shapes with six star-shaped forms around the ball of the foot.  

Some sailers boaters bought the shoes but the biggest market was unexpected.  Southern California was being overrun by kids riding a new thing called a "skateboard."  The shoes fit the needs of skaters perfectly.


The Wife Says: I Need a Wife

November 6th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

What I need is a "Carmen."

That was the name of the young woman on the tour with William Shatner. I finally met the entourage last Thursday night for the show at Massey Hall. I’d heard the stories but it was amazing to see everything in person.

Shatner gives everybody their money’s worth, whether in the cheap seats or the VIP section after the show. Where does he get his energy? I got sleepy watching and he’s about twice my age.

His wife, Elizabeth? Gorgeous. Perfect hair that didn’t need primping and she’s got that accessorizing gene that somehow I missed.

Inquiry to the Annual Christmas Shopping Question

November 6th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

"Can I get any of your radio shows on CD?  Or is there somewhere I can download them?"

Man, if I had a buck for every time I've been asked that question.

The answer is "Sadly, no.  There are far too many copyright issues involved with the music to make that possible.  Sorry."


The Shatner Tour Diary: Day…Whatever (Toronto and Montreal)

November 6th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Picture by Sara CollatonThe Shat is not like you and me.  

After the final show of the western swing of the How Time Flies tour in Winnipeg on October 25, William Shatner flew to Wichita, Kansas, aboard a private jet provided by Bombardier, where he was scheduled to speak in front of a group of Bombardier employees assembled for a safety convention.  

That was Wednesday.  He was just getting started.

The Recommendation Project Part 17: Songs to Have Sex To

November 5th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

If you check here, you'll find a The Wife Says column about how Nickelback is the biggest musical turn-off as far as sex goes.  

Bottom line is that if you ever hope to have sex with someone other than yourself, never, ever admit that you like Nickelback.

Fine.  But what songs are acceptable for boinking?  We could be doing a big public service here, people.

Here are the rules for The Recommendation Project:

The Wife Says: Chris and Madonna?

November 5th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The Star has a story about why Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna are no longer BFFs. (Yeah, I know. But I can’t spend all my free time toggling back and forth between T.S. Eliot and The Economist.)

Gwyennie and Madge were best buds back in the day. They practiced their mid-Atlantic posh accents, mean-girled lesser cellulite-ridden mortals with their macrobiotic diets and vomited side by side after doing a million crunches. They were tight.

And then, nothing. The paparazzi sightings in matching gym wear were over. Nobody knew what happened.

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