Volume 91, Issue 58

Tuesday, January 13, 1998

fun dipped


It's a new rock fact!

over the edge
Alan Cross
Prentice Hall
$19.95, 241 pgs.

By Jamie Lynn
Gazette Staff

The world is full of a lot of useless information. It is the term 'useless,' however, which often becomes the operative word.

Most individuals couldn't be bothered knowing that U2's Bono is allergic to whiskey or that Ice-T's real name is Tracy Marrow. Some would even consider the entire text of Kurt Cobain's suicide note an unnecessary addition to their depth of knowledge. Yet for those who have any interest in the history of the modern alternative rock scene, the new music almanac Over the Edge is destined to become their one-stop encyclopedia for facts and figures of modern rock 'n' roll.

Alan Cross, new music's answer to Cliff Claven, managed to compile a fantastically thorough collection of information certain to keep any music fan completely engaged.

Toronto residents are familiar with Cross through his work as an announcer on the popular FM radio station, 102.1 The Edge and it was here that he founded his nationally syndicated radio show, The Ongoing History of New Music.

While Alan Cross may look like an aging '80s hipster with a bad hair weave, do not be fooled by looks. His radio show has consistently proven to be among the medium's most engaging and his book compiles much of his wonderfully detailed rock research.

While some aspects of the book are undoubtedly trivial, most of Over the Edge is a well-organized collection of enticing music information. Aspects covered in the book include a list of the most important indie releases, a guide to hidden tracks on CDs, some true stories behind famous songs, Oasis's top 12 scandals and a 366 Days of New Rock chronological history.

Mix this in with some interesting short stories on a variety of performers, which include David Bowie's requirement that he always be provided with a punching bag in his dressing room and details on an early R.E.M. gig which took place in a New Mexico bar in front of some drunk cowboys during a "hot legs" contest.

Undoubtedly, this book is not one which will intrigue all readers. Still, Cross set out to document some of alternative music's most interesting moments and has managed to do so with zest and flare.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998