Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 1013: Anonymous bands

Usually, the whole idea of being famous is to be, well, famous. You’re known by everyone. Your face is everywhere. You’re a celebrity. And you get invited to the best parties, you get endorsements, you get free stuff.

Sure, there’s a trade-off. Your right to privacy is greatly diminished. Your every move is scrutinized. It might become harder to maintain meaningful relationships. And then there’s the constant pressure to live up to this thing you’ve become. This is emotionally draining. After a while, you may start to resent this fame thing. The challenges and pitfalls can overshadow all the perks.

But you can also be famous and not famous at the same time. You just have to be very, very careful about revealing who you are.

There’s the story of Comte de Saint-German. He was some kind of adventurer in the 1700s who popped up throughout Europe. He spoke almost every language on the continent, knew a lot about chemistry, and was quite the musician. He was so mysterious and amazing that he acquired the nickname “The Wonderman.”

Remember Tank Man? He’s the guy who held up that row of tanks during the crackdown on Tiananmen Square in China. We still have no clue who this dude was.

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Is he the creator of Bitcoin? He disappeared from the internet around 2014 and has stayed hidden. There are theories but nothing concrete.

Let’s riff on that a little bit more. Can you be a famous musician and still be able to walk through the mall without anyone knowing you are? Yes. It’s difficult and comes with its tradeoffs, but it can be done. Plus you have to work very hard to maintain the art of hiding in plain sight.

This is the history of anonymous artists from the world of rock.

Songs heard on this show.

  • Massive Attack, Angel
  • The Residents, Constantinople
  • Nash the Slash, Born to be wild
  • GWAR, Immortal Corruptor
  • Lordi, Hardrock Hallelujah
  • Daft Punk, Da Funk
  • Ghost, Dance Macabre
  • Slipknot, Psychosocial

Here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.

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

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 38291 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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