Once upon a time in the ancient days, before social media and the internet, all musicians were mysterious. Outside of seeing them live, our only connections with them were through their music, the liner notes on albums, the album artwork, stories in music magazines, and whatever rumours were floating around.
Yes, there were the occasional TV appearances, but relative to today, those were quite rare. In fact, it wasn’t really until music videos started to become a thing in the early 80s that fans began to grasp what their idols looked like in a major way. And consider this: It wasn’t until MTV and MuchMusic started interviewing musicians that we began to discover what their speaking voices sounded like.
Today, though, there are no secrets. Artists are in constant touch with their fanbase through social media. Fans are constantly trading news online. There are a billion sites for music news. Camera phones are everywhere. We live in a world of oversharing and TMI.
Hell, even KISS–a band that spent its first decade hiding behind make-up as a way of creating myth and legend, essentially inventing the concept of the mysterious, unknowable rock star–gave up on that idea in the 80s.
However, I’m happy to report that there are still some mysteries, artists who have managed not only to maintain a sense of distance from their fans but also to enjoy some carefully-protected anonymity. Some of them successfully obfuscated their identities through disguise and subterfuge. Others have disappeared into a hermit-like existence where they remain beyond the reach of the general public while still somehow releasing material and maintaining a fanbase.
Who are these artists? And how do they manage to stay out of the limelight? These are rock’s most mysterious musicians.
Songs heard on this show:
- The Residents, Constantinople
- Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill
- The La’s, There She Goes
- The KLF, What Time is Love?
- Manic Street Preachers, Faster
- Jandek, 12 Minutes Since February 32nd
- Daft Punk, Around the World
- Slipknot, Psychosocial
- Ghost, Dance Macabre
And here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.
The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:
- 102.1 The Edge/Toronto – Sunday night at 7
- Live 88-5/Ottawa
- 107.5 Dave-FM/Kitchener
- Power 97/Winnipeg
- Sonic 102.9/Edmonton
- The Zone/Victoria
- The Fox/Vancouver
- Surge 105/Halifax
- WAPS/WKTL The Summit/Arkon, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown
We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor, Montreal, 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