Friday, June 27, 2008

"It ain't whatcha do it's the way thatcha do it..."

Had another training session at WOXY yesterday and I think I am finally getting a feel for the equipment and process.

Now if I can just find my voice again...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"There you go, way too fast. If you don't slow down you're gonna crash..."

WWSU Playlist
15 March 1989
Wednesday 9 p.m.-midnight

K The Primitives – “Crash”
H Flouride – “Keep on Walking”
TOTW Morrissey – “Last of the Famous International Playboys”
H Birdhouse – “Brixton’s Burning”
DC The Cure – “Boys Don’t Cry”
H A Split Second – “Bend My Body”
H Lead Into Gold – “Idiot”
PMLS Young Gods – “Face a Face”
H Prince Far I Singers – “Water the Garden”
PMREC Tones on Tail – “War”
H Frank Allison & Odd Sox – “Louder”
H UK Subs – “Motivator”
DC Skinny Puppy – “The Choke”

Suicidal Tendencies – “I Saw Your Mommy”
H Shades Apart – “Shadow of a Cross”
TOTW Tim Finn – “Crescendo”
H Half Japanese – “Said & Done”
DC The Misfits – “Skulls”
H Ungh – “Skate Afrikana”
H Government Issue – “Strange Wine”
PMLS Karen Findley – “Lick It”
H Elvis Hitler – “10 Wheels for Jesus”
PMREC B.A.L.L. – “If I Break Down”
H Love & Rockets – “Bike”
H Arsenal – “Little Hitlers”
K The Damned – “In Dulce Decorum”
REQ Tuxedomoon – “Atlantis”

K XTC – “Dear God”
H The Splat Cats – “Get Ready”
TOTW House of Freaks – “Sun Gone Down”
H Hector – “Hurts So Bad”
DC Til Tuesday – “Rip In Heaven”
H The Skeletons – “Outta My Way”
H Victims Family – “In a Nutshell”
PMLS Anastasia – “What Kind of Truth is This”
H Monty Cantsin – “Every Six Minutes”
PMREC Killing Joke – “Willful Days”
H The Sandmen – “Hate Your Ways”
H The Specials – “Ghost Town”
K U2 – “Drowning Man”
DC INXS – “Black & White”

Once again I had a trainee in with me for the third hour – someone with an appalling scrawl. It looks more like Sanskrit!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So it is written...

WWSU Playlist
1 March 1989
Wednesday, 9 p.m.-midnight

Bauhaus – “She’s in Parties”
H Fini Tribe – “Finis”
TOTW (blank)
H Elvis Hitler – “Green Haze”
DC Batz Without Flesh – “Retention”
H Ultra Vivid Scene – “You Didn’t Say Please”
H Dead Milkmen – “Punk Rock Girl”
PMLS Royal Court of China – “Half the Truth”
H Girl Trouble – “Hurt Yer Heart”

Hula “Voodoo Chile 1”
H Dharma Bums – “Dropping Out”
TOTW (blank)
H Too Much Joy – “Bad Dog”
DC Zoetrope – “Seeking Asylum”
H Soundgarden – “Circle of Power”
H NoMeansNo – “Theresa, Gimme That Knife”
PMLS Laibach – “Sympathy for the Devil”
H Pussy Galore – “Adolescents Wet Dream”
PMREC Alice Donut – “Lisa’s Father”
H UK Subs – “Sabre Dance”
H Birdhouse – “Devil Looks After His Own”
K Talking Heads – “Stay Up Late”
REQ TRC – “High Speed 1996”
H Red Temple Spirits – “Nile Song”

K Pete Shelley – “Homosapien”
H The Brood – “Cry”
TOTW Pond – “Bullets”
H Ungh – “Boop Boop Bwahh” ??
DC Minimal Compact – “Next to Real”
H My Dad is Dead – “Cut Out”
H Victim’s Family – “Crap”
PMLS Laibach – “Sympathy for the Devil”
H Murphy’s Law – “??”
PMREC Metal First Aid – “Poolside”
H Blacklight 13 – “Graveyard Signal”
H Spongehead – “I am…”
DC Savage Republic – “So It Is Written”

My third hour is written by someone else, so I am assuming that I once again had a trainee sitting in with me. The playsheet doesn’t say who it was, but they had god awful handwriting. They also didn’t look over what I had played previously, because they played Laibach, which I had played during the previous hour.

There are two bands on this playsheet that I couldn’t get enough of back in the day: Red Temple Spirits and Savage Republic. Both band’s albums came through Fundamental Recording Co.’s distribution – RTS on Nate Starkman & Son Records and Savage Republic on IPR (Independent Project Records).

I won’t delve too deeply into Red Temple Spirits because although I loved the music on their luxurious, gatefold debut Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon, which had a post-punk tribal feel similar to Savage Republic, I never really warmed to singer William Faircloth’s nasally voice, which I felt was affected and fake. The band made interesting use of native instruments like flutes and bells, and incorporated natural sounds like birds and water into their music, but they simply haven’t stood the test of time for me.

Savage Republic, on the other hand, were so far ahead of their time that their music still sounds as fresh today as it did twenty five years ago.
The band first popped up on my radar via Camper Van Beethoven. Camper’s first album, the superb Telephone Free Landslide Victory, was released with a gorgeous hand-screened sleeve designed by Bruce Licher of Independent Project Press. When I bought the album (in 1985) I wasn’t familiar with Licher or IPP, but the letterpress graphics drew me in and spoke to me on an organic, primitive level, and while thumbing through some vinyl at Renaissance Music one day I stumbled across a staggeringly beautiful and moving sleeve reminiscent of TFLV. I didn’t know what the album was called because the name was screened in Arabic, and had no idea what the music sounded like, but I bought it nonetheless because I recognized the IPP style.

The sleeve featured a hand silk-screened version of a famous photo by Jahangir Razmi of several Iranian professors being executed by firing squad at the time the fundamentalists took over the country.
It’s a grisly photo, certainly, and recognizable to most who remember the Iranian hostage crisis. That Savage Republic was able to turn this horrific photo into an even more profoundly moving art statement is impressive and very brave. Aptly, the album is titled Tragic Figures.

Even if I hadn’t liked the music Savage Republic released I would have continued to collect their albums because of their uniquely striking sleeves, so it was a real bonus to find that the music was every bit as good as the wrapping. Tribal and evocative, their music seemed to exist outside the space-time continuum, far beyond the normal realm. Their use of metal percussion and Licher’s monotone-tuned guitars created a powerful onslaught with a decidedly eastern flavor. I fell hard for them, and set about collecting everything they released. That I never got a chance to see them live is tragic – for their live performances infused a raw energy unmatched by anything before or since. They were doing shows and blowing up stuff with Mark Pauline out in the desert years before the Burning Man phenomenon, and the full-length concert footage I have on video can only hint at the harnessed chaos they created.

The band never released a bad album and it’s difficult to play favorites, but as far as I am concerned they reached their zenith with 1988’s Jamahiriya Democratique et Populaire de Sauvage. From beginning to end this is the one Savage Republic album that latches on and doesn’t let go. Tightly wound, ethnically flavored sonic expanses ripple and shimmer under a crashing industrial veneer. Surprisingly for the motherlode of power contained within its grooves, the gatefold sleeve for Jamahiriya is something of a letdown in comparison, although Licher’s redesigned CD sleeve packs the punch lacking in the album version.

Savage Republic went on hiatus in early 1989 and briefly came out of "retirement" in 2002 for a whirlwind tour. In 2006 they reformed - minus founder Bruce Licher.

Licher has received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Recording Package: once in 1988 for Echelons by For Against, and in 1989 for Camper's Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart.

He continues to design gorgeous, original art from his studio in Sedona, Arizona.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Plenty of chances but no one will win, over and over and over again..."

WWSU Playlist
8 February, 1989
Wednesday 9 p.m.-midnight

Visage – “Fade to Grey”
H Ciccone Youth – “MacBeth”
TOTW Tooba Blooze – “Seven Million Miles”
H The Dead Milkmen – “Punk Rock Girl”
DC Camper Van Beethoven – “Good Guys & Bad Guys”
H Trotsky Icepick – “Bury Manilow”
H The Sandmen – “Hate Your Ways”
PMLS 1000 Homo DJs – “Apathy”
H Rapeman – “Trouser Minnow”
PMREC Ministry – “Deity”
H The Damned – “Ballroom Blitz”
H Girl Trouble – “Wreckin’ Ball”
DC Suicidal Tendencies – “Trip at the Brain”
REQ The Cure – “Why Can’t I Be You”
REQ Eclipse – “Slam Dancin’ Dog”
REQ The Replacements – “Cruella DeVille”

Fishbone – “Party at Ground Zero”
H Hummingbirds – “Hindsight”
TOTW Elvis Costello – “Veronica”
H Dinosaur Jr – “Don’t”DC Bongwater – “Pornography”
H Sharkbait – “Big Rallies”
H Living Colour – “Broken Hearts”
PMLS The Church – “Under the Milky Way”
H Dead Can Dance – “Severance”
PMREC B.A.L.L. – “Shelter/Dylan Side”
H Tater Totz – “Bhartha’s Boogie”

THIRD HOUR (The Twang that Thang Hour)
Golden Palominos – “Boy (Go!)”
Broken Homes – “Seeds I’ve Sown”
True Believers – “Rebel Kind”
Hoodoo Gurus – “Death Defying”
Camper Van Beethoven – “Sad Lover’s Waltz”
Violent Femmes – “Breaking Hearts”
Guadalcanal Diary – “Watusi Rodeo”
Webb Wilder – “Poolside”
Nick Lowe – “The Rose of England”
Let’s Active – “Fell”
Winter Hours – “Hyacinth Girl”
REM – “Pretty Persuasion”
Dave Edmunds – “Almost Saturday Night”
Wire Train – “Take Me Back”
Jason & the Scorchers – “Good Things Come”
The Feelies – “Slipping (into something)”

Well I threw the third hour of the playsheet right out the window and played what I wanted to. The only reason I got away with this was because I was the MD at the time, and hypocritically I frowned on the staff for deviating even a little bit from the playsheets. “Do as I say, not as I do” was obviously my motto at the time.

Gotta say – I LOVE this third hour. Every song played during my self-titled “Twang that Thang Hour” is one that I still love to this very day. If you were to pry my iPod away long enough to scroll through the rotations list, you’d find these tunes still racking up plays.

Where to begin? A quick glance shows my predilection for Stiff Records artists - there’s Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and The Feelies, whose first album Crazy Rhythms was originally released on Stiff in 1980. The song I chose, “Slipping (into something)” was taken from their sublime 1986 Coyote Records release The Good Earth, which after all these years still ranks in my top ten albums of all time.

I sadly never got a chance to see them live, even though they opened some dates for REM on the Pageantry Tour. We in Cincinnati got shafted with opener Fetchin’ Bones by some cruel twist of fate. In fact, let me just say that REM always seemed to have fantastic opening acts (The Feelies, The dbs, Guadalcanal Diary, Camper Van Beethoven, Let’s Active, Robyn Hitchcock – my god, it reads like a MK-wet dream!) but they NEVER brought these fantastic acts to Cincinnati. I saw REM a number of times in the 80’s and the only good opening act I think I saw was when The Minutemen opened for them in Columbus at Vets Memorial on the Reconstruction Tour. I’m sure many would argue that 10,000 Maniacs were a good opener, and I have no doubt that fans were pleased to see The Indigo Girls on the Green tour, but replacing Robyn? Oh please, you guys know me better than that. Of COURSE I was pissed off!

Anyway, The Feelies had a sound similar to REM – in fact, REM regularly cited them as a major influence – but imagine Lou Reed fronting the band instead of Michael Stipe. The band got caught up in the major label feeding frenzy of the late 80’s, signed to indie-friendly A&M Records and released two very good, critically acclaimed albums, Only Life and Time for a Witness. They had mild radio and MTV success with the song “Away,” but big, bad corporate monster Polygram committed possibly the worst crime of their existence when they bought out A&M and left the band to languish in obscurity. I swear I’d like to punch someone at Polygram when I think about how poorly this fabulously creative, hard working band was treated.

Next week: Winter Hours, Camper Van Beethoven, and Hoodoo Gurus.

"The past is your present, the future is mine..."

Had my first training session at WOXY this week. Boy, production sure has changed since I was last on the air in 2004! Whereas before I had to physically pull CDs from the library to play, cue them up, check the outcue notes (the way the song ends) and do my best to make seamless segues, now it's all done via a computer program.

In some ways it is a lot easier now - I can fiddle around with the intros and outcues and can preview them beforehand - something I certainly couldn't do back in the day, and it's pretty handy. It's also nice that all the music is in one large database, so there's no pulling CDs for the show and no filing them away afterwards. I have only ever known the hands-on method, so this new (to me) software is very nice.

But in other ways it is a little more daunting. I'm something of a perfectionist, and I'll admit that I am more than a tad bit worried that I'll waste scads of time messing around with the song order and segueways ad infinitum. Add to that a library as large as WOXY's and you can maybe see my dilemma.

Holy crap!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Rode seven million miles in the trunk of a car - don't know where I'm goin', but I'm goin' far..."

WWSU Playlist
1 February 1989
Wednesday 9 p.m.-midnight

The Stooges – “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
H Eclipse – “Slam Dancing Dog”
TOTW Tooba Blooze – “Seven Million Miles”
H Revolution 409 – “Crazy Horses”
DC Revolting Cocks – “You Often Forget”
H The Damned – “Looking At You”
H Sharkbait – “Big Rallies”
H Front 242 – “Headhunter” (CD!)
PMLS (crossed off)
H Pailhead – “Don’t Stand in Line”
PMREC Webb Wilder – “How Long Can She Last”
H Pussy Galore – “Yu Gung”
H NoMeansNo – “Dark Ages”
DC Public Image Limited – “Rise”

Nitzer Ebb – “Join in the Chant”
H Volcano Suns – “Nature & Me”
TOTW Elvis Costello – “Veronica”
H Half Japanese – “Said & Done”
DC Velvet Underground – “Foggy Notion”
H Skinny Puppy – “Testure”
H Mission of Burma – “Forget”
PMLS Young Gods – “Face a Face”
H Love & Rockets – “Motorcycle”
PMLS Violent Femmes – “Breaking Hearts”
H Broken Bones – “Seeds I’ve Sown”
H The Waterboys – “We Will Not Be Lovers”
K Robyn Hitchcock – “The Man With the Lightbulb Head”
REQ The Proclaimers – “Make My Heart Fly”
REQ The Pogues – “Sally MacLennane”

Crossed off with note “Signed off at 11 p.m.”

I haven’t explained why I signed off an hour early on this playsheet, but I’m guessing that since it was February, maybe the weather had turned bad – or was slated to turn bad – and I decided to bunk off early for the long drive home, which, on a good day, took around 45 minutes.

Tooba Blooze was a local Dayton band that I really dug. As the name might suggest, they were an R&B inspired foursome with a twist: instead of a bass player, they had Hal Taylor blasting away on a tuba.
I know it sounds odd, but it really worked. I caught them live a number of times, usually at Canal Street Tavern but a few other places around town too, and they never disappointed. I remember hanging out at Renaissance Music one evening shooting the shit with owner Geoff when a customer came into the store. I was busy giving Miss Lucy (the sweet little shop cat) a good head scratching and had my back to the door, so I didn’t notice the guy come in, but when he passed by I think I got a contact high off his hair and clothes. It was, of course, TB lead singer Denny Wilson. We got to chatting and he ended up visiting the station a few days later as a “special guest.” Even though he was a major stoner at the time, I always thought that he was incredibly focused and talented. I know a lot of folks grumbled that he had a massive ego – and maybe he did, but so what? He had the talent to back it up.

When Tooba Blooze split up, Denny formed the short-lived Wizbangs (with Tim Taylor and Juan Monasterio, later of Brainiac) and released an E.P. of groove-funk-rock similar in sound to Columbus’s Royal Crescent Mob. He later moved to New York and is still active in the music business.

I really ought to take this time to mention the fabulous Dayton label I Wanna. Founded by WYSO DJ Jim Carter (aka Rev. Cool), I Wanna had an impressive run, releasing albums by Tooba Blooze, The Highwaymen (whose lead singer Troy Campbell would later move to Austin and form Loose Diamonds), The Obvious and an excellent Dayton compilation called Hard to Be Cool in an Uncool World, which featured The Highwaymen, The Reducers, Mecca Normal, Human Switchboard, and True Believers, among others. In a future post I'll expound further on The Highwaymen, who were by far my favorite local band at the time. Loved. Those. Guys.

Unbeknownst at the time, the label secured a footnote in history with the release of Forever Since Breakfast, the first Guided By Voices album. It would be several years before GbV’s career took off on it’s meteoric rise, and by that time I Wanna was defunct and the band had moved on to Cleveland’s Scat Records (run by Prisonshake guitarist Robert Griffin).

The only other thing that really stands out on this playlist is the notation that the Front 242 song was played on a CD, which at the time was still something of a novelty at the station. A harbinger of things to come...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"If one should have made it, it should have been you..."

WWSU playlist
25 January 1989
Wednesday 9 p.m.-midnight

K Wall of Voodoo – “Mexican Radio”
H Skinny Puppy – “Censor”
TOTW The Replacements – “I’ll Be You”
H Tooba Blooz – “Seven Million Miles”
DC Revolting Cocks – “Attack Ships”
H Psychic TV – “Ballet Disco”
H Shaved Pigs – “Feel Free”
PMLS Keith Levene – “If 6 Was 9”
H Lead Into Gold – “Blackened Heart”
PM REC Alice Donut – “Lisa’s Father”

Wire Train – “Chamber of Hellos”
H Half Japanese – “I’ll Change My Style”
TOTW The Reivers – “It’s About Time” (formerly Zeitgeist)
H Volcano Suns – “Laff Riot”
DC Monks of Doom – “Save Me From Myself”
H NoMeansNo – “Real Love”
H Big Stick – “Crack Attack”
PMLS The Young Gods – “Face a Face”
H Spongeland – “Mail it off to China”
PMREC Guadalcanal Diary – “Trail of Tears”

O Positive – “With You”
H The Inbred – “Walk this Way”
TOTW The Pogues – “Yeah Yeah Yeah”
H Feeding Frenzy – “Tug”
DC Joy Division – “Ceremony”
H Rapeman – “Trouser Minnow”
H Soundgarden – “All Your Lies”
PMLS Karen Finley – “Lick It”
H Demented R Go – “Shadow Crypt”
PMREC Ministry – “Deity”
H Zoetrope – “Unbridled Energy”
H Dinosaur Jr. – “Don’t”
K The Jesus & Mary Chain – “April Skies”

Ah, The Reivers. Now there was a band that totally deserved to make it but was sadly overlooked during their brief career. Hailing from Austin, TX, The Reivers began their journey under the name Zeitgeist and built up quite a following with their self-titled E.P. on db Records in 1984. They seemed to have it all: jangly melodies, great hooks, evocative lyrics, beautiful harmonies.
Their first full-length, the magnificent Translate Slowly, built their fan base considerably and attracted the attention of major label Capitol Records, with whom they signed around 1987. On the eve of their major label debut however, Capitol learned that the name Zeitgeist was already copyrighted by a German new age band who were steadfast in their refusal to change their name.

Much to their chagrin and dismay, Austin’s Zeitgeist were forced to scramble and come up with a new name. They chose The Reivers after a William Faulkner novel of the same name, and Capitol sent out info sheets to local media alerting them to the new moniker.
I added the 12" single of "It's About Time" to our playlist as soon as Capitol sent it to the station and put a note on the sleeve to alert staff to be sure to announce their name change. But we were only a small 10-watt college station with a limited audience...

The name change obviously hurt the band – many fans didn’t learn of the name change in a timely fashion, and it has to be said that there was a certain apathy within Capitol’s promotions department regarding the band. Such a shame really, as Zeitgeist/The Reivers were a band who truly deserved to make it on the same level as REM was then doing. Instead, by 1991 they were no more.

This same situation would be replayed with Tucson's The Sidewinders, who after releasing two LPs under the moniker would be forced, via a lawsuit from a North Carolina cover band, to change their name. They chose Sand Rubies. By 1993, they too had disbanded.

Monday, June 09, 2008

"Viva SeaTac, they've got the best computers and coffee and smack..."

WWSU Playlist
11 January 1989
Wednesday 9 p.m.-midnight

Cabaret Voltaire – “I Want You”
H Laibach – “Get Back”
TOTW Easterhouse – “Come Out Fighting”
H Pailhead – “Don’t Stand In Line”
DC The Revolting Cocks – “Attack Ships”
H The Damned – “Fall”
H Sharkbait – “Furry Mounds”
PM LS Young Gods – “Face a Face”
H A.C. Temple – “Weekend”
PM REC Ministry – “Deity”
H Robert Wyatt – “Unmasked”
DC Frank French & Kevin Kinney – “Alice is my Ally”

The Fall – “Victoria”
H Eclipse – ‘Slam Dancing Dog”
TOTW The Wonder Stuff – “Gimme More x3”
H The Wipers – “Time Marches On”
DC Happy Flowers – “Mom, I Gave the Cat Some Acid”
H Half Japanese – “Face Rake”
H Girl Trouble – “She No Rattle my Cage”
PM LS Karen Finley – “Lick it”
H KMFDM – “No News”
PM REC Time Zone – “World Destruction”
H Front 242 – “Work 01”
H Soundgarden – “Flower”
K Hunters & Collectors – “Throw Your Arms Around Me”
REQ The Jazz Butcher – “Chickentown”
REQ Sinead O’Connor – “Just Like U Said it Would B”

Les Rita Mitsouko – “Cest Comme Ca”
H Tater Totz – “Give Peace a Chance”
TOTW The Fixx – “Driven Out”
H Demented R Go – “Shadow Crypt”
DC Siouxsie & the Banshees – “Hong Kong Garden” (request)
H Pussy Galore – “Yu Gung”
H Sonic Youth – “Teenage Riot”
PM LS Sigue Sigue Sputnik – “Frankenstein Cha Cha Cha”
H Dinosaur Jr. – “Freak Scene”
PM REC Scott Goddard – “Two Triple Cheese”
H Mudhoney – “No One Has”
DC Reverb Motherfuckers – “Highway to Hojos”
K This Mortal Coil – “Strength of Strings”
H Dead Can Dance – “Song to Sophia”

I’m really liking the second hour of this show – from The Fall’s excellent rendition of The Kinks’ classic “Victoria” to Irish chanteuse Sinead O’Connor, it’s a pretty good hour.

Much like Alice Donut’s “Lisa’s Father,” Karen Finley’s “Lick It” was another song with contentious content that I relished playing, just to see if I could “get away with it.” Finley is an artist who, a year of two after this song came out, was denied National Endowment for the Arts funding because of the controversial nature of her work. She wasn’t so much a musician as a performance artist, and her most successful work (music or otherwise) pushed the boundaries on topics of sexuality, power and abuse in the hopes of stimulating reflection and change. She and several other artists fought the NEA’s decision and won, but as a result the NEA stopped making grants to individual artists afterward to avoid similar messiness. Win one, lose one.

My good friend Rodney – an exceptional artist himself – once attended a dinner party thrown by Finley and was seated next to Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys. He phoned me up afterwards to dish, and what I remember most about the conversation is that Jello apparently didn’t believe in using deodorant and smelled so gamey that it put Rodney off eating. He held Karen personally responsible, since she had placed them next to each other, and I don’t think he ever quite forgave her.

Another great song this hour was Girl Trouble’s “She No Rattle My Cage.”
I LOVED Girl Trouble and championed their work every chance I got. Hailing from Tacoma, Washington and signed at the time to Calvin Johnson’s K Records out of Olympia, Girl Trouble played raw garage rock with blistering surf overtones. I had correspondences going with quite a few indie labels at the time, and of them all I enjoyed the insightful, funny and friendly letters and phone calls from Johnson, who turned me on to the burgeoning SeaTac scene. I was already well into the Sub-Pop phenomenon by 1989 but I felt that K Records artists were just as good and tried to give them as much airtime as I could.

Somewhere along the way I took up a spirited correspondence with Girl Trouble drummer Bon Von Wheelie, whose humorous letters I have kept all these years, stuffed away inside the Hit It Or Quit It LP. A quick Google search shows that she has a MySpace page but it doesn’t look as though there’s been any activity in months. It appears that GT is still slogging away, fighting the good fight. You GO, girl!

Friday, June 06, 2008

"and the radio man says 'it is a beautiful night out there'..."

I've added Matt Sledge 97 to my blogroll. He's WOXY-licious. Check it out.

"Even though it's complicated, we've got time to start again..."

It looks like I will be resurrecting "Back to the Future" at sometime this summer! Yippee!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Why?! Why don't you like me!?"

WWSU Playlist
27 December, 1988
Tuesday, 9 p.m.-midnight

Ministry – “Stigmata”
H Clive Greggson – “Not a Day Passes”
TOTW Marty Willson-Piper – “On the Tip of My Tongue”
H Skinny Puppy – “Human Disease”
DC Neon Judgement – “I Stood In Between”
M Thinking Plague – “Etude 4 Combo”
H Living Colour – “Broken Hearts”
PM REC Violent Femmes – “I Held Her in My Arms”
H Waterboys – “Fisherman’s Blues”
H Dinosaur Jr. – “Don’t”
H Richard Thompson – “Gypsy Songs”

K Hula – “VC1” (Voodoo Chile 1)
H KMFDM – “King Kong Dub Rubber Mix”
TOTW Laibach – “Sympathy For the Devil”
M Contoocook Line – “Goliath”
DC The Residents – “God in 3 Persons”
H Sharkbait – “Car Crash”
K REM – “South Central Rain”
PM REC Scott Goddard – “Two Triple Cheese”
H Alice Donut – “Lisa’s Father”
M Ben Vaughn – “Darlene”
DC Pop Will Eat Itself – “U.B.L.U.D.”
M Billy Bragg – “The Price I Pay”
H Tater Totz – “Bhartha’s Boogie”

The Ramones – “The KKK Took my Baby Away”
H Soundgarden – “All Your Lies”
TOTW New Order – “Fine Time” (silk mix)
DC The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Something’s Wrong”
H Lead Into Gold – “Hatred”
M A Split Second – “Scandinavian Belly Dance”
H Rapeman – “Radar Love Lizard”
PM REC Bongwater – “Dazed & Chinese”
K The Pogues – “Sally MacLennane”
H Diamanda Galas – “The Lord is My Shepherd”
K Laurie Anderson – “O Superman”
H Big Stick – “Crack Attack”
H Front 242 – “Headhunter”

Dinosaur Jr.’s Bug was the crescendo of my love affair with the band. Now the album itself I liked, in particular the raw emotion of “Don’t” which I used to put on loads of mix tapes.
Bug, while not quite as good as You’re Living All Over Me – which I still think is one of the best album titles EVER – had it’s share of would-be hits with “Freak Scene,” “No Bones” and “Budge” and probably would have been massive had it been released a few years later when grunge exploded. And this is the last album with the original line-up, before Lou Barlow left for the greener pastures of Sebadoh.

In 1988 I was the station’s music director and spoke with label folks on a regular basis. Usually it was the bastard offspring of the majors who rang (Warner Brother’s subsidiary Slash Records, for example), as well as indie distributors like Caroline. Dinosaur Jr.’s label at the time, SST, was one of the few indies with the resources to maintain weekly contact with tiny little college radio stations like WWSU, and as such friendships developed over time as they rang to chat about new releases, gossip about the acts, and find out how well the album was being received by staff and listeners.

I’m really not sure anymore how the conversation came about, but somewhere during the course of a chat with one of the peeps at SST, I was offered the opportunity to do a phone interview with J Mascis. Naturally I jumped at the chance. The SST told me to call at 3 p.m. on a certain date and gave me J’s HOME PHONE number! I got a crash course in how to patch the phone to the reel-to-reel so that I could get him to do a couple of station I.D.s, and a few hours before I was scheduled to ring him up the SST rep phoned to make sure I was still raring to go. Of course I was!

J, on the other hand, obviously wasn’t. When I phoned at the allotted time his father Joseph informed me that J had left the house about fifteen minutes previous. He apologized several times during our conversation for his son’s inability to handle the level of fame he had achieved, and he was so sweet about it and such a wonderful character to talk to that I ended up conducting my interview with him instead. He was a dentist with lots of interesting anecdotes about the profession, Amherst, and his family – a real charmer with a great sense of humor.

Naturally I was disappointed that I hadn’t gotten to speak to J, but his dad was so awesome that it made up for it. The SST rep was perplexed and somewhat pissed off when he learned that J had bailed on the interview (it wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last) but there was little he could do about it. When I broached the subject of interviewing one of the other Dino members I was told that it was J’s band, and that he was the official spokesperson. Um…oh-kaaaaaay.