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Ongoing History of New Music


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.


London, ON


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.




Life After Music

If you are a professional musician—that is, you’re being paid to write and perform music and can actually make a living from it—you’re part of an infinitesimal quintile of people who are able to do that… you are living the dream… This, in fact, may be the only career you’ve ever known…you’ve never had a “real” job…maybe you’ve had a chance to see the world because of music…and if you love what you’re doing and the money works, you want this to go on forever…but it won’t…at some point, the music stops… It might not be your fault…the music industry moves fast…one day you’ve got it all figured out, working from immediate deadline to immediate deadline and from gig to gig…and then everything stops… Maybe it happens quickly…maybe it happens slowly then all at once…music changes…the industry changes…trends change…technology changes…and what you offer—what you can do—is no longer in demand… It’s like captain Jean-Luc Picard has said: “you can do everything right and still lose…that’s not weakness…that’s life”… So what’s next?...if you exit the world of music—be it voluntarily or by force—what do you do next?... Maybe it’s best to study what some other musicians have done to transition from rock star to civilian life…this is a look at examples of life after music… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Remembering Sinead O'Connor

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Music vs Technology Over The Years

In the mid-15th century, France was ruled by Louis XI, otherwise known as “Louis the Prudent”...but he was always known as “Louis the Cunning” and “The Universal Spider” because he was always spinning plots and looking for conspiracies...when it came to dissent and wars, he was a brutal sort... Being a despot is hard work and sometimes you need cheering up...that’s why he challenged Abbe De Baigne, a builder of things, to create a brand new musical instrument for his amusement... The result was the piganino, a keyboard that required a number of pigs of varying sizes...each was laid out on a flat surface, smallest to largest...above the hind end of each pig was a spike connected to a piano-like pressing a key, the corresponding pig would be spiked, resulting in an oink of a certain was thus possible to play a tune by poking the pig... It didn’t sound very good, but it worked and Louis XI found it very funny...the pigs did not... Music and technology have always had an interesting relationship...sometimes it’s harmonious and wonderfully...other times—like with the piganino—there’s a hideous clash... ...however, the piganino, invented 600 years ago, was the forerunner of future music-related technologies like sample, sequencing, and synthesis...the tech—or at least some of the concepts—would eventually win out... If we step back and look at the history of science, math, and engineering and the practice of creating the art music, we’ll see that every time the two intersect, technology almost always comes out the winner...and that’s okay... Something that seems radical, evil, transgressive, impure, and corrupting turns out to be a pretty good deal and music is the better for it... Here are some stories about the clashes between tech and music...I’ll lay out the facts and you decide if these were good things or bad... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Gord Downie - Canada's Rock Poet

It was Tuesday, May 24, know how when you land the flight attendant says it’s now permissible to “use transmitting and receiving functions your portable devices” while you’re taxiing to the gate?... I’d just landed on a 14-hour flight from Hong Kong...and as soon as I flicked my phone out of airplane mode, it blew up...emails and texts all about one thing: The Tragically Hip had just announced that their singer, Gord Downie, had brain cancer... At first, this didn’t make sense...had the jet lag kicked in already?...was this some kind of hoax?...I mean, this was Gord...he was practically a Canadian superhero...nothing like this was supposed to happen to him... But it was true...the emails and texts kept popping up...dozens, hundreds of them...and we all know how the next 18 months played out... When Gord left us in October 2017, it was really rough...the best tweet I saw that day was “Canada closed: death in the family”...the country spent the next week trying to explain to the rest of the world how a singer of a rock band had brought an entire nation to tears—even the Prime Minister...where else in the world does something like that happen?... The answer is you have to be a special kind of person: artist, writer, thinker, activist, and poet… this is the story of Gord Downie, Canada’s own rock poet… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Introducing... Black and Blue: Behind the Badge | Catching Hell

It’s 1986 and Michael Morrison is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to leave his life of poverty in Newark and start afresh. It’s a job offer he can’t afford to refuse. Michael has no idea what this new job has in store. But he soon realizes: he’s just joined ‘the biggest gang in America’. Join Seren Jones to hear Michael’s story and find out what it means to be both Black and Blue. Want to hear more? You can follow along on your favourite podcast app here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The Last Moments Of - Part 2

When someone dies, our first reaction is disbelief...we’re stunned...that’s immediately followed by a need to know what’s only natural...we need information to help us process the news and the emotion that comes with it... The next stage is might be “could anything have been done to prevent this?”... “Could someone have helped or intervened?”...In some cases, the case of health issues, maybe not... And finally, there’s this:... “could what happened to that person happen to me?”...again, totally normal... When it comes to the death of a famous musician, there’s an additional aspect to processing the news...chances are we never knew this person as, you know, a person...our only relationship with them has been as a why does their death affect us?... Here’s a possible answer...although we never knew them, it was through their music that we learned more about ourselves...and in a way, when they die, a little of us dies, too... This might only cause us to go deeper into what happened...we just need to know, to make sense if it, and to put everything to rest the best we can...yes, some people get very nosey and gossipy and intrusive, but there’s always a way to handle what’s known through the public record: family statements, doctors’ accounts, police reports, coroners’ testimony, toxicology examinations, and autopsy results.... And we often can’t look away because we just need to know...this is “the last moments of, part 2”.... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The Last Moments Of - Part 1

It’s always a shock when a rock star dies...and our first reaction is “what happened? did this person die?”... That’s completely natural...whenever we’re met with something incomprehensible, we demand an explanation...sometimes one comes quickly...other times, it takes days, weeks, months, and even years for the truth to come out—if at all... And how much are we entitled to know?...when do we cross the line from being curious and concerned to gawking and prurient and prying and invading very private space?... Yet there is something to be said for learning about how someone died...maybe there’s a lesson to be learned or a cautionary tale, steps we or someone else can take to make sure something like this never happens again—or at least not as often... A celebrity death is news, part of the public record...and wanting to know what happened helps us process the news and all the emotions that go along with such a death... Besides, some will say, these doomed people are celebrities...and as celebrities, they lived with the idea that the public was interested in multiple aspects of their existence, including how they goes with the territory... And one other thing: could we ourselves ever meet such an end?... With all that in mind, let’s look at some notable rock star deaths, focusing on what happened in the last moments of their time on earth... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Introducing...Uncharted: The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

The old days of air travel were quite risky…compared to today, the chances of your flight going down were far greater …every airport had kiosks and coin-operating vending machines where you could buy life insurance before you headed to the gate—you know, just in case you thought you weren’t going to make it to your final destination… 1977 was one of the worst years for accidents in aviation history…in addition to several violent hijackings every month—sometimes with fatal results—There were also passenger plane crashes with great loss of life…including the worst aviation disaster of all time when two 747s planes collided on a runway in the Canary Islands, killing 583 people. Frank Sinatra’s mother, the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, and all but one member of the University of Evansville basketball team died in crashes… But then there were the events of October 20, 1977, when a rickety chartered plane went down in a swamp in Mississippi…on board were members of Lynyrd Skynyrd…six of the 24 passengers died, including singer Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick…both pilots also died… What happened? Have I got a story for you... Show contact info: X (formerly Twitter): @AlanCross Website: Email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The History of the Drum Machine

One of the most important parts of music is beat and rhythm...without beats, without rhythm, there’s no groove...without a groove, there’s no movement or dancing or really physically getting into the and grooves are essential building blocks for so much of modern music... In some songs, the beat is subtle but feel it without someone having to keep it for you...but in others, you need a timekeeper, someone to emphasize and augment and the beats and the rhythms... For centuries, that job has fallen to drummers and percussionists...but what if a drummer or percussionist isn’t available?...or if you want to try something rhythmic but with different sounds, sounds that a drummer can’t make?...then you might find yourself reaching for a drum machine... Since their introduction in the very early 1980s, drum machines have become an essential part of modern compositions and fact, it’s impossible to imagine the music we have today without such electronic devices... Oh, we still have human drummers—we always will—but drum machines have taken us places that human timekeepers never could...and I’m speaking as someone who plays drums myself... But how did this all come about?...let’s investigate...this is the history of machines that keep time for our music... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The History of the 2010s Part 5: Music and Tech

For centuries, there’s been a dance between music and technology with each affecting the other in some way...almost always, though, there’s no fighting (and everything to do with it) ultimately bends to the needs and demands of new technology... For example, when the Catholic Church built big, echo-y cathedrals in the Middle Ages, the sacred music in those buildings adapted to this new architecture so that it made use of the natural reverb... Fast-forward a bunch of centuries...Thomas Edison’s talking machine, first demonstrated in 1877, and Emile Berliner’s gramophone, which debuted 10 years later, were the first machines able to capture sound, up to three minutes at a time...but because of that recording limit, the standard length of a popular song became about three minutes...the music bent to the limitations of the medium... I can give you other examples: radio changed the way music was consumed, marketed and sold...jukeboxes help spread the word on R&B, country, and rock’n’roll...they were so popular that a coin shortage in 1937 was blamed on the popularity of jukeboxes... Electricity gave us amplifiers and the electric guitar...the microphone turned singers from people who could belt out tunes at high volumes into crooners who used the mic to create softer, more intimate performances... Synthesizers were reviled by many musicians at first because one could make the sounds of an entire orchestra, threatening the livelihoods of professionals...but they were eventually accepted...sampling was thought to be evil and illegal at first, but we worked that out...file-sharing of mp3s meant that no one would ever pay for music again, but now hundreds of millions of people are paying for streaming...there’s more, but you get what I’m talking about... This music-and-tech balance continues today...and on episode five of our look at rock in the 2010s, we’re going to look how that particular dance played out and the effect these interactions had on our music... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Introducing.... Bad Parents | Vacationing with Children

We as parents get so little time to ourselves. So if you know when vacationing with kids actually becomes a relaxing vacation… please let us know. In this episode we discuss the literal ups and downs of traveling with kids. You can find and listen to this podcast wherever you get your podcasts: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The History of the 2010s Part 4: The Revivals

It’s an established fact that music comes in many different types of cycles...a sound and style will be big for a while, reach a peak with the public, and then slowly fade out....but once established, it’s unusual for a sound to completely disappear, never to be heard from again... The only genre I can think of is---maybe alt-rock-style was big in the very early 80s with bands like the stray cats...but then it just kinda went away...there’s never been a rockabilly revival—at least in the sense and style and scope of what we heard way back then when it was huge for about 18 months... Instead, after enjoying a time at the forefront of music, many of the cycle-prone rock sounds recede into the shadows, never really going away...they lie in wait until someone comes along—often a generation or two later—to rediscover and reactivate it... When that happens, it’s usually given a sonic update and if the timing is right, the sound enjoys a new period of time in sun before the cycle repeats yet again... The longer you live and the more music you become familiar with, the more you begin to see these cycles play themselves out, sometimes over and over again...we see it every decade... The 2010s were no different...we saw a series of revivals, rediscoveries, and comebacks, all based on the musical dna of what had come before...let’s examine that...this is the history of the 2010s, part 4... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The History of the 2010s Part 3: The New Genres

It must have been so easy to write about rock back in the 50s...comparatively easy to today, i mean...everything was so new that that’s all you had to pay attention to...there wasn’t exactly anything called “rock history” back then because the music had no history... What began as a spark in the early 50s turned out to be the musical equivalent of the cosmological big bang...and as the years and decades passed, this music—which began as a fresh take on the 12-bar blues template—separated, segmented, stratified, mutated, evolved—with increasing speed... New genres began to appear yearly, monthly, and sometimes even, it seems like every single day results in some kind of derivative spin-off sub-sub-sub-sub-genre... The new sound and approach may gain traction and stay with us for some time, perhaps even carving out its own permanent space in the rock universe...more likely, though, a new genre will have a half-life shorter than hydrogen 7...and to save you from looking that up, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of a second: a decimal point followed by 23 zeroes... But there’s no stopping the fission and fusion of rock...we’re always going to get new sounds...keeping up with them all is another matter... This is part of what makes writing a musical history of the 2010s so challenging...the number of iterations rock went through in that decade was insane...but if we’re going to understand what happened to rock during that time, we’re going to have to at least try... This is the history of the 2010s, part 3... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The History of the 2010s Part 2: The Role of Indie Rock

Traditional wisdom says that the recorded music industry is dominated by the major labels...there used to be a bunch of them, but over the last 25 years, their number has been whittled down to just three companies: universal (the biggest), Sony, and warner music... Here’s something you may not have last estimate, about 95,000 songs are uploaded to the streaming music services every day...of that number, only about 4% are from those three majors...the rest is from indie labels and do-it-yourself musicians... Let me flip that around: 96% of all new music comes from independent musicians...the market share of indie labels has been rising by double-digits for almost 25 years now... Indie music—or at least material from bands not directly signed to one of the three majors—was an important aspect of the 2010s...major label acts were still important, but without the indies, it would have been a pretty empty decade...but thanks to the sheer volume of new music and some crafty distribution by indie-friendly companies, we got to hear a lot of it... The width and breadth of indie over those ten years was staggering...and without the influence of independent musicians, styles, and trends, major label mainstream rock would have been much different... Let’s examine that...this is part two of the history of rock in the 2010s... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The History of the 2010s Part 1: Rock Struggles Again

We never know we’re living through history as it happens...for example, if we’re trying to assess what happened in a particular decade, we can’t really do it justice if we attempt to analyze things day to need a break, a little time for things to settle into place when it comes to the grand scheme of things... Take the 60s, for example...this sounds a bit weird at first, but they didn’t end when the calendar flipped over to January 1, 1970...decades have momentum—sometimes a hangover—that carries things forward for a year or two or even three afterwards... For example, the 50s carried on until probably took the assassination of JFK to really kick off the new decade...historians have made convincing arguments that the 60s didn’t end until 1972-ish... The 70s may have ended relatively on time, brought about by things like the death of disco, a terrible recession, the election of Ronald Reagan, and other markers that said the “me decade” of 70s were done... I’d say that the 80s ended by the end of 1991, thanks to the first gulf war, another awful recession, and a wholesale sea change in music as we quickly transitioned from a world awash in hair metal to the new alternative generation... I’d put the end of the 90s in 2001..buried by 9/11 and the retaliation that followed, the rise of the internet, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and the end of the traditional music industry, the introduction of the iPod... The aughts?...that’s another decade that I feel ended on much came to a screaming halt with the financial crisis—the great recession in 2008—and by the time the clouds parted, we were done with that decade... This leaves us at the dawn of the 2010s which was one of the few decades that started right on time...and for the next 10 years, we saw everything from prosperous economic growth to the rise of authoritarism...and technology? 2010s saw more people get into tech and gadgets than at any time in phones, the explosion of social media, cord-cutting... Which brings us to music...when we look back on that decade, what happened?...what did we learn?...and how were trends and styles and consumption different than earlier decades?... Let’s find out...this is the history of the 2010s, part 1... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The More Things Change Part 2

Continuing to dive into the Ongoing History of New Music archives, here's a show for 2016 that we are surprised has not been posted yet! At some point in your life, you said “I’m never going to become like my parents”…yes, you did…don’t lie…we all did… We vowed that we’d never become old and stodgy and boring and stuck in their ways and closed to new ideas… Do not panic…this is totally natural…this cycle of life has been going on since the invention of music—and it only accelerated with the birth of the recording industry in the late 1800s… Every generation has its thing…and every generation thinks that the people who came before them and comes after them are weird and wrong… This is part two of the more things change, the more things stay the same… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The More Things Change Part 1

Continuing to dive into the Ongoing History of New Music archives, here's a show for 2016 that we are surprised has not been posted yet! Have you every heard yourself say this? kids these days! What’s wrong with them? All their crazy music. It’s just noise! That usually leads to… music isn’t as good as it used to be. When i was younger—high school, university—music was awesome! That’s followed by a list of bands and songs you believe to be the greatest ever, a lot of which aren’t as popular as you still want them to be…and then things usually end up like this… if today’s kids would stop and listen to what we used to listen to, they’d see that i’m right! Then we’d start getting some goodnew music! Don’t worry…if any of this sounds familiar, it’s because this is totally natural… People always hate the music of the generations that are coming up behind them…and I mean always… The young are always denigrated for their music, their way of dancing, their technology and their overall disrespect for their elders and history and the way things used to be… It’s the cycle of life…and it’s been going on for not just decades, but centuries…here…let me show you… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The Book of World Records Version 1.0 - Part 2

This week we go back into the Ongoing history vault from 2008 and the second of two parts on world records. Most people want to leave this earth being known for... something. We want it to be at least a little memorable... to some, so that our time on this planet won't be forgotten so quickly. It's that whole sense of self my soul has self-esteem issues thing that we're all born with. Maybe you want to be known for being kind to animals. Maybe you're good at math, and you want people to remember your gift for solving difficult differential equations. Or maybe you want to be known as the only man who has ever eaten an airplane. You heard me. Michelle Lottito is also known as Massio Monge-tut, which translates as Mr. Eat Everything. He's the world record holder of the largest meal ever eaten. In this case, it's a Cessna 150. This is an airplane, and has a wingspan at just over 33 feet and weighs about 1100 pounds. It can carry two people at a maximum altitude of 14,000 feet for just over 400 miles, and this dude ate one. Apparently, he has a stomach lining that's twice as thick as it should be, which allows him to digest things like nuts and bolts and sheet metal and chain. Wonder what kind of wine goes with the prop assembly. Anyway, Michelle Lottito will be forever known as the guy who ate an airplane. A meal that size is a world record. Which is another thing that got me thinking. What are some of the superlatives and some of the weirdness that comes from the world of New Rock and alternative music when it comes to stuff like this? So I started looking, and I found out a lot. This is the Ongoing History of New Music Book of World Records, part two. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


The Book of World Records Version 1.0 - Part 1

This week we go back into the Ongoing history vault from 2008 and the first of two parts on world records. Chances are you have at least some kind of talent. Maybe it's not something very useful, but at least it's something that you can do that no one else can. My mom used to say that everyone is good at something or at the very least, known for something that no one else is. For example, I grew up with a kid who could dislocate his thumbs at will. It was great for freaking out substitute teachers. He got to go home early a lot. Another kid could pop a wheelie on his bike and ride it all the way home like that, and he'd live more than a mile from the school. Sometime in the 1970s, though, the world discovered the Guinness Book of World Records. And that's when we realized that there were things out there much stranger than we could ever realize. Like the dude from India whose fingernails had a combined length of over 20ft. Or Elaine Davidson, the world's most pierced woman; 720 piercings, including dozens in her face. Another dude from Scotland has tattoos over 99.9% of his body, making him the world's most tattooed man. Then, in the summer of 2008, Sandy Allen died. She was the world's tallest woman. At 7ft seven inches, she lived in the same Indiana nursing home as Edna Parker, who died year earlier at the age of 115. And up until then; she had been the world's oldest woman. Now, this kind of got me thinking. Has anyone ever put together a list of world records for the world of new rock? A list of all the superlatives, the biggest, the shortest, the highest, the longest, the most expensive, all those things? And I couldn't find one. So I thought to myself, hey, there's a gap in the market. There’s got to be enough genuine and morbid curiosity out there to make it worthwhile. And who knows? Maybe a project like this might inspire someone to-do something great, or at least something weird. Which, of course, would be good, too. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I give you…The Ongoing History of New Music “Book of World Records version 1.0” part one. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Tracking Down Demos

If you're a fan of a particular artist, you want as much as you can get from that artist, you know, the albums, the singles, the t-shirts, all the downloads and all the swag and that's great when your favourite group releases an album. But with some bands going 234 or even more years between records, things get kind of dry. Now in the olden days, that was too bad distribution systems being what they were access to everything a band did was pretty much impossible. The access was tightly, tightly controlled, but the best you could hope for was for one of those rare elusive and highly legal bootleg records, unauthorized recordings issued by some shadowy label without the permission of the artist. Mostly these bootleg recordings featured live performances. After all, they were the easiest to make, but some contained stuff in the vaults that was never ever designed to be heard by anyone outside of the band's inner circle. Heck, some of this material wasn't even heard by the executives of the group's record label for years. We had this cat and mouse game between the labels and the artists and the bootleggers and hard core fans were right in the middle, waiting, hoping and praying that they could somehow get their hands on this stuff. Bootleggers moved offshore to places like Italy, Singapore and Indonesia where copyright laws were, uh shall we say a little looser? One of the great bootleg labels was called KTS. They were renowned for two things, super high quality live recordings that they got from somewhere and a wide selection of studio recordings that were never ever supposed to be released. I have a bunch of KTS releases and they are very, very good. Then along came the internet and the bootleg CD industry suddenly dried up pretty much overnight. Why bother putting out something that you had to manufacture in a Backstreet factory in China when you could just put it all online. Meanwhile, a strange thing happened with performers and managers instead of being all freaked out about this unfinished or unapproved stuff getting released into the wild by someone else, they started doing it themselves. I mean, why not use this material to forge a deeper relationship with their best customers, their biggest fans. The result has been an explosion of interesting material from some very big bands. And here's how you can track down some of it for yourself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit