February 14, 2010
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 2001, specifically 9/11/2001, and the significance of four albums released on that day. For earlier installments, go here.
So, our exploration of music in the 1990s has come to a close. Things were “bad” for creative rock music at the beginning of the 90s, then they were “good” for a while, then by decade’s end, things were “bad” again. The modern record industry didn’t die entirely on January 1, 2000, though; things crutched along for another couple of years, and so we’re still here, trying to figure out exactly when the industry hit critical mass.
Rather than do a serial exploration of 2001, as we have about other years in this column, I’d like to talk about one specific date: September 11. Many New Yorkers who were living here on the day have insinuated to me over the years that all things New York City can be divided into two categories: “pre”-9/11 and “post”-9/11. I was still living in Kalamazoo, MI, at the time, staring at my watch through my last year of college, obsessing over alt. country, and doing my small part to run one of the nation’s few remaining freeform independent radio stations, 89.1FM WIDR Kalamazoo.
WIDR’s director’s staff, myself included, were booked and all set to attend that fall’s CMJ Music Marathon, four days of music and conference all across Manhattan’s greatest clubs and shitty bars. Sure, it’s corny now, but we’d attended the year previous (my first visit to the city), and I’d gotten to meet some of my heroes (David Lowery, John Flansburgh), see shows that I still talk about to this day (Low, PJ Harvey, Sean Na Na) and left what was supposed to be my last pack of cigarettes on the bar at CBGB (the actual physical sight of the marquee made my breath stop in my throat). I was hooked, and my (then) girlfriend and I swore we’d be living in New York as soon as we could.