OldStand: Blender, May 1995

Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

Oh man, remember the future?

Well, my Macbook doesn’t (thanks for nothing, Leopard!), because it refused to read the contents of this CD-ROM “magazine” from 1995. To rescue Blender 1.5 from technological obscurity I had to go to the PC, and even then half of the multimedia features were busted. So much for progress.

For those of you who are familiar with magazine but don’t know the history, Blender began in a CD-only format in 1994. A mix of cheeky list-type humor, soft (wicked soft, like 10,000 thread count) journalism, and reviews, it combined the graphic power of a Sega Genesis with the interactive convenience of a dial-up modem. Which is to say: not much.

Given the technical constraints, there’s an admirable amount of original audio and video here, including video interviews with Maus creator Art Spiegelman and a baby-faced Damon Albarn (Wikipedia tells me he was 27, but he looks 14). The cover “piece” about Courtney Love is about as vapid and contrived as it gets, but it’s fun to read about Traci Lords’ budding techno career while listening to her fabulous pornography techno music.

As you might expect, the multimedia elements best serve the review section, which clocks in at 25 reviews evenly divided into five categories: Dance, Hip Hop, Rock, Commercial Alternative (don’t ask — it was the 90s) and Everything Else. The caliber of the reviews (generally poor) takes away from the overall value of the magazine, but, at a time when song samples were difficult to come by, Blender generously provided two per artist. Good to see the Tindersticks’ second album getting some love.

Other features include some nonsense about how Michael Bolton is a sign of the apocalypse, a feature about Robot Wars, and something about hockey that crashed the computer. Also, for some reason, a 90-second trailer for Mallrats.


Traci Lords

Disaffected Writer Boy