The Ongoing History of New Music, encore presentation: Catching up with Twenty One Pilots

[It’s summer. While I’m gathering new material for the fall season, we’re going through some of the most-requested programs from the last couple of years. – AC]

Not all bands hit it out of the park their first time at bat. They need a few albums and a couple of long tours before things start to fall into place.

Take the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for example. Their career really didn’t start to blossom until their fourth album. Same thing with Muse–at least in North America. They might have been playing arenas in Europe and Japan, but leading up to the release of their fourth album, they were still playing clubs on this side of the Atlantic.

Then there’s the case of R.E.M. They may have had a strong cult foloowing through their first four records, but it wasn’t until their fifth that they were really able to cross over into mainstream consciousness. And the Black Keys? It took until album number six for them to have their big breakthrough.

These stories underscore the need for patience, dedication, and foresight on the part of record labels, managers, booking and everyone else associated with the welfare and success of a particular artist. If you honestly see potential, then you gotta be prepared to play the long game, one that may stretch out over years.

We also need to look at this from the artist’s perspective. Are they prepared to live through some lean and dark times on their way to the top?

This brings me to Twenty One Pilots. They blew up with the Blurryface album in 2015. But before that, there were six years of really hard slogging, times when few people knew who they were.

Let’s get caught up on that part of the story, shall we?

Songs heard on this episode (all songs by Twenty One Pilots except that one)

  • Chlorine
  • Tyler Joseph, Blasphemy
  • Oh Ms Believer
  • Forest
  • Guns for Hands
  • Car Radio
  • Heavydirtysoul (instrumental)
  • Stressed Out
  • Jumpsuit

Eric Wilhite has created this playlist for us.

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

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Halifax, 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 ever miss a show, you can always get the podcast edition available through Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

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.

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