Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Dead wax

If you’re into vinyl records, here’s something that you might want to investigate. You know that space near the centre of the record between where the songs end and the paper label starts? That’s called “dead wax,” an area of the disc that contains no sonic information.

This space is left blank because when you get this close to the centre, the angle makes it very difficult for a tonearm to track the grooves and audio quality suffers. Some artists didn’t like that space to go to waste. That’s why they began to inscribe bits of graffiti and secret messages into that area.

The Clash liked to do this. Just check out the inner grooves of albums like London Calling or Sandinista! Joy Division used to do the same thing. And one of the ways to confirm that several Nirvana 7″ singles on Sub Pop are genuine is through the graffiti inscribed on the dead wax.

Monday’s Ongoing History Daily post featured a bit on Flea the Actor.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38562 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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