Here are a few reminders of how things were if you grew up in the early to mid-90s and were heavily into rock music.
You know exactly where you were on April 5th 1994.
The day Kurt Cobain died. I was working a night shift when the late-night radio host broke the news. It was early morning US time, late night Australia, and I just sat there in disbelief for a few moments to let it sink in. We didn’t get much more work done that night, we were just in shock. I was 19 years old and Nirvana was the biggest band on the planet.
You owned AT LEAST four different flannel shirts.
Guilty! This was a phase that started well before the grunge scene made them a popular look, in fact, everyone I knew had flannel shirts growing up, they were a necessity due to the cold weather in Melbourne. I would wear mine skateboarding in the 80s because they were light and warm, and with a t-shirt underneath, meant easy layering, and they were simple to tie up around your waist. I’m going to buy more. So versatile.
You owned Dr Martens boots or shoes.
I still own my 10 up black Docs. They never go out of style, but EVERYONE had them in the 90s as they were the most comfortable, secure boot to go to gigs or festival in. Docs were, and still are, the ultimate gig footwear. Must have.
You kept your money in your sock at concerts.
When you’re in the pit or crowdsurfing, the last thing you need to have happen is to lose your wallet. Solution? Don’t take a wallet, just a few notes stuffed in your socks with good elastic. Good old paper notes would mold to your legs and stay there even when you took your sock off.
You didn’t have to worry about losing a mobile phone at a gig.
Because none of us had mobile phones. When we did start to get them, the Motorola brick was popular, but hardly pocket-friendly so they stayed at home.
You had meet up times and places with your mates and if they didn’t turn up, bad luck.
With no mobile phones, you just organised with your friends where and when you would meet. You’d wait maybe 10 minutes, and if they weren’t there, you left. No one liked to be left behind, so people were generally on time.
You ALWAYS bought CDs from local bands you saw.
They were always dirt cheap, and a lot were homemade. You didn’t care that they didn’t come with a glossy booklet and fancy cover, they usually just had a sleeve with the album name written in pen on the front. They’d usually go straight in the car CD player and stay there anyway.
You made mix tapes and swapped them with your friends.
This was an almost weekly occurrence for me, especially in high school. I was never fully happy with a mix tape, so I’d make another. Then swap it with mates, we’d always turn each other on to new music. Sometimes it was old music though, from the 70s or 80s that we’d missed. Mix tape swapping was an awesome way to find new music before the internet.
You could afford to see international bands.
I saw Metallica in 1993 for $47. Pantera in 1994 for $44, Machine Head in 1995 for $39 and so much more without it breaking the bank. Even Big Day Out tickets were under $50 for killer lineups.
You could watch music videos on MTV.
Believe it or not, there was a time when MTV played nothing but music. It was a great time to be alive. Slowly but surely they changed their ways to move into reality TV full time, but before that, it was a brilliant way to discover new tunes and watch your favourites.
You relied on the radio for new music.
Before Limewire, MP3.com, Napster, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Apple Music etc people used to listen to the radio for new music. Yep, I even hosted a national nightly countdown to highlight where songs were in the charts, voted for by the public. Crazy. I should point that I am referring to commercial radio, community stations still rule on this front.
If your head still lives in the 90s, be sure to follow our 90's Oz playlist below covering the best Aussie rock and pop... or, if you're still old skool and love CDs and vinyl, you can pick up some gems in the I Like Your Old Stuff store.
Listen to 90s Rock on Apple Music: