The thrill of musical discovery has long played a huge role in my life. Part of the reason I became a world music journalist was to help expose Americans to music they had no idea existed, to sounds that are often much better than what you’ll find in mainstream culture. For me, the discovery is the important part, not the hoarding of any particular musical act.
When I began high school in 1989—feeling my age as I write that, given that most if not all in the video below were not even born yet—my crew dreamt up a non-existent band: the Flaming Porcupines. That was code for us to represent that we were being the hardcorest of the hardcore. We were so down, the five of us loved a band that never even existed! This was playing off of a real band that those same friends were in: the Flannel Pin-Up Cows. They too were the alternative of alternatives; how could you not be with song titles like ‘No Bingo Tonight?’
Those memories came rushing back while watching the below clip from a recent Jimmy Kimmel show about Coachella. The interviewer made up a number of band names and asked what attendees thought of them. I’m sure they had to edit out some earnest folk who were like ‘huh?’ What they captured was brilliant, and, sadly, verifies that the country’s largest music festival is, to many, a chance to party rather than actually discover music. But hey, whatever gets people together.