Seven hundred freakin’ shows. SEVEN HUNDRED.
When I started this thing in February 1993, I figured that I’d end up doing the program to two years–three, tops. Yet here we are, 21 years later, and I’m still doing the bloody show. Not that I mind, you understand. In fact, this project has for all intents and purposes has become my life’s work and the focus of my career.
When the show was assigned to me back in late ’92, my reaction was “I don’t want to do it.” Management’s reaction was “You’ll do it–or you’ll find another job. Oh–and by the way, the show will be called The Ongoing History of New Music.”
“That’s a horrible name.”
“Too bad. We like it so that’s what it’s gonna be. So: You in or out?”
Having recently got married and bought my first house (with a bargain mortgage interest rate of 12.5%), what would you do? It wasn’t like I had a lot of portable skills to offer in the middle of a recession, you know?
I was given a 286 computer with a terrible DOS program canned Q&A and told to get writing.
In retrospect, this unwanted assignment was the best thing that ever happened to me career-wise. It forced me deep into an UNcomfort zone where I had to learn to sink or swim. Without much in the way of support, I pretty much faced making everything up as I went along.
And to my shock and surprise, it worked. And according to the traditional rules of radio, it shouldn’t. At all. Ever.
Why? The host talks too much. The host plays lots of unfamiliar music. And the host never mentions the call letters of the radio station within the body of the show. Those are THREE cardinal rules that are flouted each and every program.
Yet it works. I’m baffled. Grateful, but gobsmackedly baffled.
And it’s still working–even despite efforts to kill it. The OHoNM just will not die. Once established, the program led me into areas of the music industry that I never knew existed. It brought me into face-to-face contacts with some of the biggest names in rock and has sent me on excursions as far away as Singapore and Hong Kong.
Somehow I ended up with the home phone number of Joey Ramone, Courtney Love’s cell number, a friendship with William Shatner, hanging out with the Happy Mondays, going on a punk pub crawl (in China!) with Seymour Stein and acquaintances with managers, producers, record industry folk and artists.
And then there are all the interviews: U2, Bowie, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, the Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Elvis Costello, Morrissey, Blur, Oasis (and its constituent parts), the Verve, Metallica, Green Day, Offspring, Tragically Hip, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones and so many, many others.
Plus there are the books, the audio books, the TV appearances, the spin-off CDs, the speaking engagements, the writing assignments–dozens of off-shoot opportunities that would have never, every been possible had I not taken the assignment I didn’t want back in 1992.
So here we are, just a few days shy of episode 700, which is an epic interview with all five of the Foo Fighters inside their sacred space at 606 Studios in Los Angeles. (More on that anon.)
Before we launch into it, though, I’d just like to thank everyone who has supported this show in one way or another over the decades, especially long-suffering producer Robbie J.
So we’re at episode 700. How many more is there in the tank? Who knows?