The Misremembered ’90s: Gregory Gray, “The Pope Does Not Smoke Dope”

18 May

New thing we’re doing here – “The Misremembered ’90s” – all our favorite “alternative” acts that got snapped up by the major labels during the post-Nirvana explody-thing.

Oh, the record labels… In the long tradition of hilariously ignorant decisions made by people who should totally know better (see: Gates, Bill, re: comment on 640k; Records, Decca, re: rejecting the Beatles because guitar music was on the way out; Union, Western, re: “the telephone is of no practical use”) they really really really really really should have gotten their collective act together sooner.  I know, I know, I’ve been saying this so long I’m beginning to sound like a broken record industry, but come on.  Someone should have called a meeting the second Real Player was invented, and the bullet points at that meeting should have looked like this:

  • This is a free computer program that plays music over the internet.
  • Explain concept of “internet”
  • Explain concept of “computer”
  • Explain that yes, while it’s even plain to complete technological illiterates like yourself that Real Player blows, you should still hear me out.
  • Presentation of computer from like 5 years ago that could barely display a grainy image file.
  • Presentation of brand new computer that can play a fricking video.  That I just downloaded.  For free.  Sure, it took me about 3 days, and it’s only 30 seconds long, but hear me out.
  • Explanation that this is because technology increases incrementally, and not because of magical elves.
  • Conclusion: one day, someone will invent a program that allows your customers to steal everything you make, and everyone will do it because it’s really easy and no one feels guilty about it because you’ve been overcharging for years. Perhaps you’d like to take certain steps to rectify that before some kid from bloody Northeastern of all places invents that program and destroys your business like a horde of termites ransacking a once grandiose and vainglorious slave plantation until it crumbles under the weight of its own obsolescence?  Maybe?

That meeting did not happen.

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, that’s where the record industry is now, but before then, it almost sank itself by snapping up every single band of 3 or more kids with flannel shirts and guitars they could find, thus leading to a glut of no-hit wonders that had one single that barely made it past the 2am on WFNX phase. And a lot of those bands released exactly one record, which didn’t get promoted because there were already a million other acts the label had to throw their weight behind, and then sank into obscurity, having tasted the big time for about twelve seconds.  Then the labels started folding.

Then nu-metal happened.  A lot of smart, creative, slightly geeky kids *loved* “alternative rock* when it first broke.  Not just loved – made it their lifestyle – because here was an entire genre of music created by, and for, ordinary, bright, socially awkward folks.  Maybe not book smart, but definitely not ignorant and certainly creative in their own ways.   After a while this fell out of fashion and you got bands like Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach, and smart alterna-kids stopped listening to the radio because all the new bands seemed to be fronted by the assholes who used to beat them up in middle school.

Then Napster.  Then the end.  And a lot of these baby bands got crushed between the wheels of inevitability.

The thing is – a lot of those baby bands had at least one or two really great songs… and that is why we’re here today.

So… song one:  “The Pope Does Not Smoke Dope” is a real obscure one and a real oddity.  I saw it on the legendary Rage TV on Boston’s TV 38 in about 1995 – it’s very similar to that Primitive Radio Gods tune, or maybe the mellower moments of Blur or London Beat.  Either way, it’s great stuff, and someone should find this dude and tell him.  He’s somewhere in Ireland right now, probably managing a hip club or a hip pub or a hip peat bog or some such thing.  It’s an enjoyable, chill tune and in the video, he’s either a ghost or a hologram, so I totally approve.

<— That’s the only picture of Gregory Gray out there.  On the whole internet.  Seriously.   He’s that evasive.

So cut the crap – get real sweetheart

The pope does not smoke dope – even if he should.

1 Comment

Posted by on May 18, 2011 in music, nostalgia, songs you don't know


One response to “The Misremembered ’90s: Gregory Gray, “The Pope Does Not Smoke Dope”

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