My name's Sean Rose, and I am a writer-performer guy based out of Chicago. Tonight, (Wednesday, October 24th) at 8PM, my fellow writer-performer buds Richard Joyce and Conor Sullivan will be putting on a show at the Upstairs Gallery called Collector's Edition. It's a live essay show based on pop music, featuring monologues and singalongs and some serious deep emotional moments from all three of us. Tears. Feelings. Love.
We're putting on this show because we all love popular music more than anything. We are bona-fide pop-rock obsessives who will end almost every rehearsal with a 20-minute exploration of our favorite Foo Fighters album tracks. We are deeply in love with popular music and Collector's Edition is a direct product of that love. It is an outpouring of affection straight outta our hearts and hopefully into yours.
We also like exploring the strange and neat corners of pop music history. In past shows we've tackled the weird trend of Justin Bieber hatred and dug deep into the history of doomed pop music program Total Request Live. For this upcoming show we're gonna chart the rise and tragic fall of alternative rock radio, a subject that hits us particularly hard. The three of us were kids when Nirvana knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the charts, so we've witnessed the birth and death of alternative rock firsthand. The phenomena of underground alt-rock radio made the mainstream success of bands like Pearl Jam, Green Day, and the Smashing Pumpkins a possibility, making it all the more tragic when it was swallowed up and spit out by corporate masterforce Clear Channel at the end of the 1990s.
So we wonder: what was so important about alt-rock radio? What did we lose when it faded away? Is it still alive today, and if not, could it ever rise again? Tough questions that we will answer, without a doubt, tonight. Come to this show, folks.
But hey! Why don't we take a quick look at facet of alternative rock we won't be covering at the show: music videos! Man, I love me some alt-rock music videos. Here's a few of my favorites!
GREEN DAY - REDUNDANT
This here video for Green Day's "Redundant" is a simple, prototypically 90s alt-rock piece of work: bright primary colors, a goofy concept, and a mild dose of lady cleavage to rile up the parents of America. It's a cute twist on the bone-dry "band stands there and sings their song" concept - sure, the Green Day gang aren't doing too much here, but look behind them! Whoa! Colorful kooky characters galore! And - wait for it - they keep doing the same thing over and over again! At different times! Killer! Wicked! Boffo!
This one's also got a silly gag ending after the song ends, which always warms the cockles of my heart. Watch it all the way through!
EVE 6 - PROMISE
Eve 6 are destroying the American workforce! You heard it here first, people! This is an election season! Unemployment is rising! Do NOT let Eve 6 play in your hometown! Their word-heavy blend of crunchy radio-rock will awaken the sleeping Abbie Hoffmans inside millions of workers, forcing them to throw down their Jimmy Johns aprons and dash outside to join the awaiting throng of Eve 6 devotees. It is a serious problem.
I am not kidding when I say this is the most convincing alt-rock music video I have seen. I could be getting paid $3k an hour to sit Indian-style in a room full of America's cutest & most precious kitties, but if Eve 6 were outside my window tearing out "Promise" I would be gone. I would be out the door. Anyone who says otherwise is a dirty lying weirdo. For the love of God.
PAVEMENT - PAINTED SOLDIERS
Let's end on one I like cuz it makes me laugh. Somehow Pavement songsman Scott Kannberg has taken Stalinesque control of the group and is firing them one by one! In various hilarious ways! And, in a goofball twist, replaces them all with Veruca Salt! Gosh, do I love it. Gosh golly.
Hilarious moments include (but are not limited to): Steve Malkmus calling an ambulance for himself, hopping into it and folding his arms; bassist Mark Ibold's turn as an angered pimp; and Steve West screaming in a house full of crying despondent children. This is what life is all about, Ladies And Gentlemen.
-- Sean Rose