With his long flowing hair and flannel shirts – not to mention the guitar in his profile picture, which he doesn’t really know how to play – Alper looks like a classic rock follower. In fact, he’s a musical omnivore, with rock and poptimist energy transformed together. During our conversation, he expresses his affection for Nickelback (“I know there’s gonna be snark out there”), Olivia Rodrigo (“love her!”), and the relatively obscure funk band 24-Carat Black (“I’m a huge fan of Stax”). The only music he’ll admit to disliking is classical – and even then he adds that he’d like to develop an appreciation for it someday: “I’d love to go to a show. I wouldn’t be sitting there angry, like ‘I don’t understand this.’ “
Her first gig was ABBA in 1977. Her last show before the lockdown was to see The Chainsmokers with her 18 year old daughter, Hannah Alper, a remarkably accomplished activist and blogger. It was, he said without irony, one of the five best concerts he had ever seen: “[The list is] like Genesis or My Bloody Valentine, where they almost pissed me off my own pants because of the bass, and then I’ll say, ‘The Chainsmokers.’ And [people] are like: “really? “”
When Alper, who calls himself a “longtime music addict”, this music is in his blood, it’s hardly overdone. He was born and raised in Toronto, and raised in a middle-income neighborhood not far from where his grandfather, Al Grossman, had opened Grossman’s Tavern, one of the city’s first bars to host people. live music with an alcohol license. During the Vietnam War, Grossman’s became a hippie haunt. “My grandfather made the rebels stay there for free,” says Alper, “because he believed in the cause.
Alper often visited the bar as a child. But his own life changed when he was eight and saw American Hot Wax, the 1978 biopic about early rock-and-roll DJs Alan Freed. Alper was in awe of the musical legends on screen. “They were like Star wars characters for me, ”he says. “From there, I started to listen to the radio a little more carefully.
At 11, Alper saw Genesis on his Abacab to visit. Since then, it is his favorite group. By the time he was a teenager, he knew he wanted to work in the music industry, but didn’t know how. “I didn’t know how to play an instrument – I still can’t,” he admits.
The pieces fell into place when he was in college in the early ’90s, writing for a campus newspaper and meeting publicists who introduced him to bands like the Stone Roses. Alper liked the idea of turning his enthusiasm into a full-time job. “That was it,” he said. “I just wanted to become a publicist. ”