The official publication of SOCAN did this interview with me
He regularly posts on Facebook and Instagram, does voice work and audio books, and also gives speaking engagements, and consultations. 24, 2018, Corus radio station Q107, in Toronto, introduced a familiar name as its new voice. He volunteers for several mentoring programs, writes books, artist bios, daily blogs, and weekly reports for his own website (A Journal of Musical Things) and for several Corus radio stations. We really wanted to bring rock back to ‘The Mighty Q,’ and who better to do it than Canada’s rock music expert?” It’s only slightly ironic that a man who’s become one of Canada’s most recognizable radio voices for introducing new music, will now be the voice of a station dedicated to a classic rock/greatest hits format
Alan Cross has been in the music business for the better part of four decades now, and to say he’s still keeping very busy would be an embarrassing understatement. A bit self-serving, perhaps. Cross wears many hats, so an average day is generally jam-packed with hourly, daily, and weekly obligations. On occasion, he even gets to watch some TV with his wife. Starting on radio in his native Manitoba, then arriving at Toronto’s CFNY in 1986, he’s pretty much stayed on the air for the next 32 years. Here’s an interview I did with for the official publication of SOCAN, Canada’s performing rights organization. Ask him what one looks like, then sit back and marvel:
Keep reading. DECISION-MAKERS: ALAN CROSS
Story by Perry Stern | October 18, 2018
On Sept. But people seem to like this sorts of features. He’s been a DJ, and an award-winning program director. Said Program Director Tammy Cole: “Alan has been telling the story of rock music’s evolution for decades now, and he’s the perfect voice for Q107. He’s produced (to date) 833 hour-long episodes of The Ongoing History of New Music.
Bomb threat in North Carolina declared over a Journey cassette
The building was evacuated. With America on edge because of last week’s coordinated bomb threats, that employee decided to call the authorities. There’s no word on which Journey album it was. Can you blame them? Roads around the building were closed. You know, just in case. The K-9 unit was called in. The bomb squad was mobilized. (Via Consequence of Sound) When the package was carefully examined, it turned out to contain a cassette. Not a literal bomb, but to some, it might have been a metaphorical one. When someone in the mailroom of The Duke Energy Building looked at the package, it seemed…suspicious. Enter your guess here. A rectangular shape could be seen inside a manila envelope. By Journey.
Geeks and Beats podcast, episode 206: Roger Ashby signs off
Read all about it here. Make us feel loved
Reddit From cereal to bedsheets Star Trek is everywhere. It is hard to imagine a time when every department store aisle was not filled with Star Trek spin-offs. By the way, we’re a total non-profit operation that performs this selfless service for benefit of all humanity. http://media.blubrry.com/geeksandbeats/p/www.geeksandbeats.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/S06E09-Roger-Ashby.mp3
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We sit at the edge of over 20 new Star Trekspin-offs, everything from the second season of Star Trek: Discovery to a yet unnamed Star Trek Picard series. Canadian broadcasting legend Roger Ashby of CHUM Radio joins Alan and Michael to talk about 50 years of being on the radio, the secret to a successful marriage to work-wife Marilyn Denis, and how his “sound” evolved over the course of his career. But we still have our fixed costs. If you’d like to support the show (please?) go here. As Derek Dresser writes, it was not always this. Meantime, Michael admits he should have taken Amber MacArthur’s advice and avoided raising Marilyn’s ire on Roger’s CHUM FM morning show.
Once you see this, you might not hear SLAYER the same way again
(Blame Tom for the link.) From the description of this video, this is apparently supposed to be some kind of Halloween thing. Please enjoy The Brett Domino Trio (yes, there are only two of them, but that’s part of the joke) covering SLAYER’s “Rain in Blood” in a way you’ve never seen/heard before.
Prozzak’s website is www.prozzakofficial.com. Follow on Facebook and Twitter, too. It’s an incredible discography of hundreds of bands. [Mike Carr has put together a massive volume on Canadian music history entitled Canadian Alternative & Indie Reference and Collector’s Guide. Get your copy here. This is the latest excerpt from his book. Find out more about this artist and hundreds of other Canadian artists in the softcover edition of Canadian Alternative & Indie Reference and Collector’s Guide.
Rock My World Canada, Chapter 16: Prozzak
In praise of the iPod Classic–and how Apple ruined everything
Gee, if I’d known, I’d have baked a cake or something. It was on that day in 2001 that Apple introduced the first iPod, an event that was mostly lost in the post-9/11 fog. Why October 23? And it set Apple on the way to becoming America’s first trillion-dollar company. You can still buy a straight iPod, but the iPhone has pretty much cannibalized by the capabilities of the iPhone. There are, however, still people who cling to their old-school iPods. It may have had a slow start, but once it caught on (especially after it was made Windows compatible), it changed everything about the way we consume music. (Via Boing Boing) They even claim that Apple managed to ruin everything. Last Tuesday (October 23) was apparently National iPod Day in the US.
A “lost” Kurt Cobain interivew has surfaced
Word from The NME is that a never-before-released interview with Kurt Cobain from 1989 has surfaced. They also say they are “loving touring America” and that they enjoy smashing up instruments on stage at the end of their gigs. Here’s a bit from the NME article:
Discussing some newly written songs, Cobain describes them as being about “anger, negativity” with a “typical punk rock attitude” before telling Robb that he found it harder to be “angry” since leaving home. Conducted by a Manchester journalist (and member of a band called Membranes) named John Robb, it was done in New York when Nirvana was on the road promoting the Bleach album. In the interview, Kurt and Krist Novoselic talk about what it was like growing up in Aberdeen, Washington and how they hoped that music would provide some means of escape. Then there’s this:
Cobain and Novoselic talk about the intensity of their gigs being “a nice relief” and a “release” of anger on stage. “I imagine I am becoming happier because I am escaping. I find myself sometimes making things hard for myself so I can still have a little bit of anger,” Cobain tells Robb. Read more here. Cobain can be heard laughing, saying: “the other night I jumped into the drum set and Krist was taking beer bottles and throwing them at us and they were busting all over the place.
Science says they’re mostly terrible. Q: Is Spotify too big to fail (or be stopped)? Queen bass player John Deacon is worth more than $150 million, even though he’s been a golfing recluse for 30 years. Considering a new pair of Bluetooth headphones? America is okay with all kinds of guns and violence being depicted on TV. Speaking of Queen’ here’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” sung in FORTY-TWO different styles. This Nobel Prize-winning cancer scientist is also a whiz at the harmonica. Ringo Starr won’t stop touring. In other news from ‘Merica, some new Kanye-designed T-shirts urge black people to bail on the Democrats and vote Republican. Cesar Sayoc, the accused behind last week’s bomb plot in the US, was once a strip club DJ. Here’s why. (Via Andrew)
“The troubling lyrics of Chris Cornell.” Stressed this Monday? Ponder that as we look at music news for October 29, 2019. Courtney Love and Melissa Auf Der Maur reunited on stage over the weekend. Ozzy has fully recovered from his triple thumb staph infection. It’s the most stubborn tree in the neighbourhood. I have a maple tree in my backyard that refuses to let its leaves turn colour. Try this lo-fi playlist. A: Yes. But f-bombs and nipples? A new biography on Eric Clapton has turned up some interesting new details about his life. NO WAY! This is a new sort of hip-hop trolling. My weekly column for GlobalNews.ca was about my visit to a new Toronto vinyl pressing plant.
Random music news for Monday, October 29, 2019
(Oct 29, 2018): Michot’s Melody Makers, Bob Mould, and MUNYA! New Music From The Inbox – Monday Edition!
Sometimes even the wealth of music in the ‘box doesn’t quite meet the strict (okay, somewhat strict) standards of Recommended Music, but don’t worry – I’m not holding out! Watch/Listen:
Song: “Hotel Delmano”
Sleek, alluring, atmospheric, and mildly melancholic (at least, that’s how the French lyrics play), “Hotel Delmano” projects a shimmering and shifting ambiance. Relaxing synths and breathy vocals extend a warm, velvety, comfortable blanket over this indie pop tune. Watch/Listen:
…and that’s it! Like cool silk sheets on a warm summer’s evening. Watch/Listen:
Artist: Bob Mould
Song: “Sunshine Rock”
Album/EP: Sunshine Rock
Bright and open rock like a budding flower leaning toward the first spring sunshine, “Sunshine Rock” overflows with optimism and vigour in its splashy hi-hats, uplifting injection of strings, and trebly guitar chords strumming away. Spinning and cavorting through its 2:20 runtime, you’ll feel like the ride is only half over by the time this tune runs out of breath. That being said dear reader, if you’d prefer to see more songs rather than less (or if you dig the shorter format), don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments below 🙂 Otherwise an alternative folk tune leaning towards the edgy side with its fuzzed-out guitars and yelping, cracking vocals, “Grand Marais” takes on a more aloof, worldly, and traditional tone with its stringed saviours. Not exactly the kind of music you’d expect to be inspired by the 2016 election, but for veteran artist Bob Mould the silver lining yields more content than the cloud – and this tune is the sonic equivalent. Artist: Michot’s Melody Makers
Song: “Grand Marais”
Album/EP: Blood Moon
Does that fiddle ever change things! Usually I try not to run an Inbox article with any less than four songs, but this week’s offerings were strong enough to warrant just three.
Poll: Let’s Build the Scariest Halloween Playlist Ever
After the success of the Greatest Rock Frontperson poll convincingly won by Freddie Mercury (which turned into a Toronto Star article, wha-a-at?!), I thought it would be fun to run another one with a definitely seasonal feel to it. I’ll compile the Top 50 or so vote-getters into a Soundsgood playlist for you to blast out of your phones boombox-style while trick-or-treating. Just don’t egg my house if your choice doesn’t make the final cut, or come around past 8 PM – I’m shutting off all the lights and eating candy! Unlike the last poll where I didn’t want to influence things, I am totally willing to bend the non-existent rules so that I don’t have to resort to “Thriller” and “Monster Mash” automatically taking up two slots. I will accept and welcome anything with a spooky tone (think Queens of the Stone Age’s “A Song for the Dead”), Halloween-like in the title (hellooo “Everyday Is Halloween” by Ministry, or tracks by bands such as The Cramps, Misfits…or the obvious one featured in the video below, you get the idea I hope. Reply to this post, comment on Facebook, tweet @alancross, or if anyone wants to email me directly at email@example.com, it’s all good in the crypt! Halloween is on a Wednesday this year – although we all know Devil’s Night on the 30th is what should be declared a holiday – and to liven up what is usually Hump Day, I want to crowdsource the most terror-inducing playlist anyone has ever heard. Feel free to nominate as many songs as you want, as many times as you want before Tuesday at midnight.
“The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy.” Discuss.
In the case of classical music, if you can’t read music you can’t play in an orchestra or symphonic band. In college I continued in a jazz band and also took a music theory class. The experience gave me the ability to visualize music (If you play by ear only, you will never have that same depth of understanding music construct.)
Both jazz and classical art forms require not only music literacy, but for the musician to be at the top of their game in technical proficiency, tonal quality and creativity in the case of the jazz idiom. Over the last 20 years, musical foundations like reading and composing music are disappearing with the percentage of people that can read music notation proficiently down to 11 percent, according to some surveys. With the decline of music education in schools, fewer people are learning to read music off a score. His ability to compose and create new styles and directions for jazz was legendary. Tom points us at this article from Intellectual Takeout. What happened?”
That’s one way of looking at it. You would need to sight read, meaning you are given a difficult composition to play cold, without any prior practice. Throughout grade school and high school, I was fortunate to participate in quality music programs. Our high school had a top Illinois state jazz band; I also participated in symphonic band, which gave me a greater appreciation for classical music. Another is the notion of musical literacy, the ability to actually read music. Jazz masters like John Coltrane would practice six to nine hours a day, often cutting his practice only because his inner lower lip would be bleeding from the friction caused by his mouth piece against his gums and teeth. It wasn’t enough to just read music. At some point in our lives, we will inevitably come to the same conclusion: “Today’s music isn’t as good as it was when I was younger. Continue reading. With few exceptions such as Wes Montgomery or Chet Baker, if you couldn’t read music, you couldn’t play jazz. Sight reading would quickly reveal how fine-tuned playing “chops” really were.
Two of the dads, though, are the surviving members of the Beastie Boys: Adam Horovitz, with upswept gray hair and a white T-shirt with a faint graffito on the front; and Michael Diamond, wearing a bright red button-up, his hair still dark, his face creased and tan from years living in Southern California. Ad-Rock and Mike D explain how this whole project came together. His absence, six years later, is a palpable fact in the room. The volume, full of old photographs and comics, with a riot of fonts and layouts, is a nonmusical summa of Beastie aesthetics. Called “Beastie Boys Book” (though the front cover might lead you to believe that the actual title is “PIZZA”), it’s a 571-page doorstop and a tombstone, a compendium of anecdotes, recipes, impish riffs and shaggy-dog stories and a heartfelt elegy to a much-missed friend. The Sunday New York Times featured a cover story in the Arts & Entertainment section on the new Beastie Boys book. Dad stuff. Since there won’t be any more new Beastie Boys music, this scrapbook will help to consolidate a sprawling and complicated legacy. His name comes up a lot in the conversation, as it does in the new book Horovitz and Diamond have written. If you’re a fan, you must keep reading. Bad behavior is acknowledged; feminist-ally bona fides are upheld. The story begins — or maybe ends — with three guys in their early 50s hanging out on a beautiful late summer afternoon, drinking iced coffee and talking about how much they love the Clash, and how weird it is that the celebrity-clogged hotel where they’re sitting is just up the block from where CBGB was way back when. The third Beastie, Adam Yauch — MCA, the conscience, shaman and intellectual backbone of the group — died in 2012 after a three-year battle with salivary gland cancer. Ad-Rock and Mike D, in other words. Some scores are settled, some beef is squashed, and no doubt some ugly business gets airbrushed or skipped over. Personal history, tour bus folklore, studio geekery and a generational drama that summons an impressive roster of witnesses, including the writers Jonathan Lethem, Ada Calhoun and Colson Whitehead, the comedian/actress Amy Poehler and assorted fellow musicians.
The Beastie Boys’ new book: How they wrote it.
Just in time for Halloween: The History of horror movie music
The right combination of pitches, rhythms and sonorities, deployed in just the right way, has the ability to inspire anything from jubilation to terror. It’s only when you put Bernard Herrmann’s justly celebrated score for “Psycho” behind that scene – with its jabbing string textures and angular rhythms – that the viewer’s stomach begins to tighten in anxious anticipation. Keep reading. Music has a direct, hard-wired line to our most elemental physical and emotional responses. Got that? Now check out Datebook’s look at horror music. Reverb has this look at the music that helps makes these movies so scary. As Alfred Hitchcock was quick to point out, Janet Leigh behind the wheel of a car could just as easily be on her way to the supermarket. With Halloween nearly here, we’ve again reached peak horror movie on the calendar. But right now Halloween is approaching, so we’ve got terror on our minds.
For proof, let’s go to the video. Richard Ashcroft can be a difficult (or at least weird) interview.
Gotta love live TV… Hey, at least it was entertaining, right? I interviewed Richard Ashcroft exactly once back in 1993 when The Verve (they still had the “The” in their name back then; that’s how far back this was) and he was fine. Not long after, though, he acquired the nickname “Mad Richard” for reasons that are well-illustrated in this TV interview last week. A tiny bit loopy, but that could be chalked up to the fact that he’d recently recovered from a serious case of dehydration that required urgent medical attention.
No, Justin Bieber doesn’t do it wrong when it comes to eating a burrito. Back to DefCon 5. It was all a hoax.
On Sunday (October 29), they came clean. No one eats a burrito by biting into the middle first, so naturally, Twitter went wild. But here’s the thing. The Internet melted down last week when this picture purportedly showing Justin Bieber eating a burrito by biting into the middle of it started making the rounds. It was all a hoax perpetrated by the people behind the Yes Theory YouTube Channel.