The Alphabetical Archive for 27 July 2012: Material Issue

I remember being very impressed by this band’s proper debut, 1991’s International Pop Overthrow. Coming out of Chicago with a ton of great power pop songs, there were high hopes for Material Issue.  

But then on June 20, 1996, singer Jim Ellison committed suicide by running his car in his garage.  No one is really sure what compelled Jim to end his life (Being dropped from their label? The end of a long-term relationship? Chronic depression?).  It came as a huge shock.

Point of trivia #1:  I interviewed Jim once.  And yes, the Valerie in this song is a real person.

Point of trivia #2:  “Escape Is at Hand for the Travelin’ Man,” a song from the Tragically Hip’s Phantom Power album, is dedicated to Jim.

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 Alphabetical Archive for 27 July 2012: Material Issue

  • July 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Escape is at hand…is probably my favourite Hip song, and for YEARS I tried to find out what the story was. I only found out a few years ago, but what sweet relief.
    Thanks for posting this!


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