The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 748: A History of Modern Stoner Rock

People have been getting high and listening to music forever. Alcohol, herbs, potions, smoke, chemicals–they’ve all been used to heighten the enjoyment of music.

When rock came along, these practices accelerated. Getting high was inextricably interwoven with certain bands and scenes. There was the Grateful Dead, of course. Millions put on headphones and listened to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with a joint in hand. There are those who will tell you that the only way to listen to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” is while in an altered state. The Beatles’ druggy period resulted in their best work. And don’t get me started on reggae.

Spark it up, crank the volume, turn of your mind and float downstream. That’s how it was for years.

But in the early 90s, a new sub-genre emerged out of the alternative scene. It was heavy, sludgy, blues-based metal-ish music played slow and low. It was psych-like, but not quite. It was grunge-y, but now as well known. It was distorted, but you could sing along with the melody. And it had a groove, but something that made you sway (or stagger) rather than dance.

This is worth exploring. Welcome to the history of modern stoner rock.

Songs from this show:

  1. Queens of the Stone Age, “No One Knows”
  2. Blue Cheer, “Summertime Blues”
  3. Velvet Underground, “Sister Ray”
  4. Black Flag, “Nothing Left Inside”
  5. The Melvins, “Heaviness of the Load”
  6. Soundgarden, “Rusty Cage”
  7. Kyuss, “Thumb”
  8. Monster Magnet, “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”
  9. Queens of the Stone Age, “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”
  10. Sheepdogs, “Feeling Good”

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

We’re still looking for more affiliates in 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.

If you’re in the US and you want to stream the show, I wish I could help. A performing rights organization called SESAC has made threatening noises about suing non-American radio stations who dare stream into the US without paying crazy fees. Most Canadian broadcasters had no choice but to geo-block their streams. But hey, if you know of an American station that would like to take the show, contact me and we’ll make it a priority.

Oh, and good news: The show will start running on OneFM in Singapore in May. From there. we’re hoping to go deeper into Asia and the make a run at Australia and New Zealand.

Anyone else? Love to hear from you. Just email me at [email protected].

Alan Cross

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.

One thought on “The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 748: A History of Modern Stoner Rock

  • March 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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    Awesome, I’ve been listening to QOTSA all morning. Albeit sober – not counting caffeine. Whenever I listen to them it really makes me want to be intoxicated though! They may not have invented it but they damn near perfected it. Desert Sessions and Kyuss as well.

    There are a couple of other great examples of QOTSA’s stoner-robot rock; some of their earlier stuff had more of the repetitious, drone type of sound. Check out ‘You Would Know’ for a very Nirvana-feeling song (surprising that Dave Grohl wasn’t on that one!), and the song Era Vulgaris, which was not on the album, is another great one. That features Trent Reznor as well.

    Reply

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