The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 900: Even More Alt-Rock Music Conspiracies

First of all, some business. This is the 900th episode since this thing started in February 1993. And at some point over the next few days, the official podcasts for this program will have been downloaded 10 million times. I can’t even begin to thank everyone for their support over the decades. If there’s a longer-running alt-rock music documentary anywhere in the world, I don’t know of it.

A few stats’n’facts:

  • When the program began, Kurt was still alive and Pearl Jam had just one album.
  • Except for hardcore computer nerds, no one knew about the internet or email.
  • The first hundred episodes were composed on a long-forgotten DOS word processor. When Windows 3.1 came along, I switched to WordPerfect. The next 600 or so shows were written that way. I didn’t make the switch to Word until 2014.
  • For nearly a decade, the show only ran on 102.1 The Edge/Toronto. CFOX/Vancouver picked it up near the end of the 90s. The show is now syndicated across the country.
  • In addition to the hour-long shows are the 60-second daily features. I’ve written over 7,000 of those.
  • Craig Venn was the original technical producer working with old-school reel-to-reel tape. Rob Johnston took over at show 110 and has been with me ever since.
  • We transition to all-digital production in 1996.
  • Shows were first archived on reel-to-reel tape, then DAT, then CD-Rs. Now everything is archived digitally.
  • I used to record everything in the studios of 102.1 the Edge. Now I have my home studio. I just record my bits and upload them to Dropbox. Rob takes it from there, producing the programs and then distributing them to affiliates. He also takes care of the podcasts.
  • The podcasts have been downloaded in almost every country in the world with Canada in the lead, followed by the US, the UK, Australia, and Germany.
  • Among the countries immune to the shows charms are North Korea, Niger, Chad, and the Republic of the Congo. But we’re working on that.

Thanks again for all the support and feedback. On to show 1,000!


The universe is a weird, random place that has little regard for what us puny humans think. This is something we find very, very hard to accept. We’re always looking for explanations for the weird, random, and sometimes evil things that befall us.

Occam’s Razor, the conjecture that the simplest explanation for something is usually the correct one, doesn’t cut it for some people. They believe that there are nefarious things afoot, controlled by mysterious elites.

For example, I know someone who is all-in when it comes to all this QAnon rubbish. If you need a quick primer, this is a convoluted belief system led by someone known only as Q, who has been dropping breadcrumbs about Donald Trump leading a secret global fight against a cabal of Satan-worshipping politicians and celebrities who are engaged in everything from child sex trafficking to cannibalism. Everything about QAnon is bat-guano crazy and has nothing to do with reality. Yet there are people who honestly believe Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and even Tom Hanks are harvesting a special hormone from frightened children which they then consume. But Q has assured followers that they will all be arrested and jailed for their hideous crimes.

This is even nuttier than the most out-there JFK-was-assassinated or 9/11-was-an-inside-job theory. They probably also believe that Stanley Kubrick helped fake the moon landing. Or that Sandy Hook was a false flag event. Or that Bill Gates is big on vaccinations because he wants to inject miniature tracking chips into all of us.

What else is out there? Chemtrails. The truth about the Denver airport. The UFO coverup. The evils of fluoridation. Flat-earthers. Weather control machines. Earthquake generators. Freemasonry. And of course, the Illuminati.

Okay, so what about music? Are there any conspiracies that have taken root? The answer is, “Yes. Plenty.” Here’s another look down that rat hole.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Steinski and Mass Media, The Motorcade Sped On
  • RHCP, Love Rollercoaster
  • Foo Fighters, Monkey Wrench (live)
  • Lorde, Royals
  • Depeche Mode, I Feel You
  • Weezer, Breed (Live)
  • Blink-182, Aliens Exist

And here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.

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 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.

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