Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 961: Rock Explainer, part 2

Humans do some very weird things. For example, there’s the La Tomatina Festival that happens on the last Wednesday in August in Buñol, a little village near Valencia, Spain. It’s the largest tomato fight in the world.

I have questions. First, why would you do this on a Wednesday? Second, isn’t this an awful waste of food? And third, why has no one bothered to ask why this festival happens in the first place? The best guess is that it began in 1945 when there was a brawl in the main square and one of the few weapons available was the tomatoes on the cars of vegetable stands.

They do something weird in Denmark, too. If you’re single, 25 years old or older, people throw cinnamon at you on Valentine’s Day. Again, no one knows how this tradition started, but it is a thing.

Or how about this? There’s a temple called Sri Saneswar in India. Tradition has it that people who were married at this temple throw their newborn babies from the top of the building. It’s a 50-foot drop! The baby is caught by people holding a big cloth below. I’m sure there are reasons for this, but they escape me.

Here’s the segue to music. Rock music has been around long enough–three-quarters of a century or so–that we fans have developed some weird habits and traditions, too. These are things we do…just because.

We engage in this behavior and do these things because everyone is doing it and because it’s always been done. If you were to ask why we do these things, almost no one would be able to provide you with a good answer. You just accept this thing–whatever it is–as part of the culture.

But what if you really, really, really want to know what’s going on? What if you just can’t take someone’s word that this is what’s supposed to be done and how things are supposed to be?

That’s where this program comes in. It’s another edition of The Rock Explainer.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Echo and the Bunnymen, People Are Strange
  • Pavement, Cut You Hair
  • Beastie Boys, Mullet Head
  • Korn, Freak on a Leash
  • Peter Gabriel, Biko (Live in Toronto)
  • Everclear, Santa Monica (Live)
  • Consolidated, The Men’s Movement
  • Foo Fighters and Rick Astley, Never Gonna Give You Up

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, 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.

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 38051 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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