Music History

Published on May 18th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 823: Before they were famous

No one is born a rock star. Well, maybe in terms of attitude, but not if we’re talking about an actual vocation. You gotta have the talent and you need to put in the hours if you want to achieve actual rock star status.

But that takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. Before you get to the stage when people acknowledge your rock star-ness, there are plenty of twists and turns, false starts, and dead ends.

Later, when you’re finally rich and famous, all those 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 require serious excavation.

Finding this material used to be hard. Unlabeled tapes were locked away in vaults–if the tape was erased and recycled. Cassettes were placed in shoeboxes and forgotten in closets, under beds, and in basements. Music that may have once been available went out of print and was no longer available for sale.

Fires 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? A record label? A publisher? A manager? Someone else?

Some of this material did lead out and was released on bootleg albums and CDs, but they were often 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. Then came YouTube, which is now a treasure trove of rare and interesting music.

Finally, there are all the box sets and reissues. As physical music sales sag, record labels are looking deep into the archives and vaults 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 some these findings, don’t you?

Bad Radio, Homeless

Nirvana, Sappy (Demo)

Mission Impossible, Getting Shit for Growing Up Different

On a Friday, Girl in the Purple Dress

Grey Daze, What’s in the Eye

The Upholsterers, Apple of My Eye

Muse, Weakening Walls (live)

Pezz, Happy (Demo)

Our Lady Peace, Super Satellite (demo)

Eric Wilhite did his best to pull together this playlist.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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