When the Rolling Stones announced their performance on November 18, 1994 as the first Internet broadcast concert, they were way off base. Soon thereafter they had to change the announcement to "the first Internet concert with a 'major' band". Already, a year earlier, on June 24, 1993, the entire world could see and hear Severe Tire Damage perform live via the Net. In order to really add insult to injury for the Rolling Stones, STD gave a surprise performance as a warm-up band on the Net half an hour before the Stones' concert.

Severe Tire Damage, describing their music as "loud", hail from Palo Alto, California, and is made up of four not entirely young garage rockers. Professionally they all work in the computer industry. The lead singer, Steve Rubin, works at Apple Research Laboratories. Mark Manasse, bass player and singer, works for Digital Systems Research Center (the outfit that created Alta Vista), where the guitar player Russ Haines used to be employed. He "doesn't work" nowadays, but he occasionally fills in as sound technician and record producer, and toys with 3D graphics. You can read everything about the hardware and software Russ Haines uses on his home Web page. The drummer, Mark Weiser, is cheif technologist at Xerox PARC, where the technology resulting in today's GUIs (Mac and Windows, etc.) was born.

With these high tech employers in the background it is not surprising that this California band that noone has heard of was the first live performer on the Net. The concert was sent over the Internet Multicast Backbone (MBone). Russ Haines, the guitar player, tells us how it came about:

Our drummer, Mark Weiser, got us a gig on the roof of Xerox PARC. Coincidentally, on the same day, PARC was visited by Van Jacobsen, the inventor of the MBone. Jacobsen was there to demonstrate multicasting technology. As another aspect of Severe Tire Damage's technological exaggerations, we figured it might be fun to broadcast the concert across the Internet. We had a small audience in Australia, but more importantly, our local audience went indoors to avoid the scorching sun, and viewed us on their computer screens. High-tech engineers don't like too much time in the sun.



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