“I want to be different, like all the different people.”
Here’s how it all happened for me. I’m admitting it…
In the summer of 1990, a friend introduced me to a few bands that I hadn’t heard of. I immediately joined Columbia House and got something like 12 cassettes (yep, tapes) for a penny. This new music that I’d been introduced to made such an impression that I used my penny to get, among others:
They Might Be Giants – Flood
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mother’s Milk
World Party – Goodbye Jumbo
The Mighty Lemon Drops – Laughter
R.E.M. – Eponymous
Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
The Cure – Disintegration
[I’m pretty sure I spent a few choices on Hair Metal, because I was still pretty deep into that stuff during that time too.]
No one really knew what to call it…College Music, New Wave, it wasn’t until sometime later that the term Alternative Music came around. The Alternative music craze hit Portland and 970 the Beat came on the air. I still remember the few weeks leading up to their launch when they ran what I think was LaTour over and over again with a tag that the Beat was coming. When Nirvana’s Nevermind hit the scene things changed quickly.
Why am I saying all this? There’s a revolution that’s happening today and I liken it to the “Alternative Music” revolution of 1989-1992. I’m talking about the Old Media vs. New Media debate going on. If you’re not familiar, “New Media” types have dubbed blogs, podcasts, video casts, etc as “New Media” and consider newspapers, TV, traditional radio, etc as “Old Media” also sometimes referred to as MainStream Media (MSM). It takes me back to debates in the early 90’s about Alternative music. At some point, and I could probably remember the exact moment with enough thought, being “Alternative” went from a good thing to something all the bands were fighting being labeled as. The problem with Alternative music and New Media is that both are trying to succeed, but their success will ultimately change them from Alternative/Indie/New Media to what they are/were rebelling against. I enjoy New Media, and I hope that as these outlets succeed, they remain true to the voices that cause them to be considered Alternative.