Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"An ocean storm can be still risen by a woman's lips..."

Back to the Future Playlist
Saturday, 4 October, 2003

8 a.m.
David Bowie – “DJ”
Fred Schneider – “Monster”
Guadalcanal Diary – “Always Saturday”
Kate Bush – “Babooshka”
Peter Murphy – “Line Between the Devil’s Teeth”
Camper Van Beethoven – “The History of Utah”
X-Ray Spex – “Oh Bondage Up Yours”
Was (Not Was) – “I Feel Better Than James Brown”
Urban Dance Squad – “Deeper Shade of Soul”
PiL – “The Body”
M – “Pop Muzik”
Depeche Mode – “Shake the Disease”
Jerry Harrison – “Rev It Up”
The Ramones – “We’re a Happy Family”
(left blank for request)

9 a.m.
Elvis Costello – “Everyday I Write the Book”
Laurie Anderson – “Language is a Virus”
Let’s Active – “Fell”
Talking Heads – “Television Man”
Young Fresh Fellows – “Amy Grant”
The Pretenders – “Precious”
Charlatans – “White Shirt”
Soul Asylum – “Cartoon”
Firehose – “Sometimes”
Wolfgang Press – “A Girl Like You”
Jesus Jones – “Move Mountains”
The Fall – “Cruiser’s Creek”
The Police – “Driven to Tears”
The Buzzcocks – “Ever Fallen In Love?”

10 a.m.
Sinead O’Connor – “Jerusalem”
Echo & the Bunnymen – “The Cutter”
The Cult – “Revolution”
Ministry – “Work for Love”
XTC – “No Thugs in Our House”
Winter Hours – “Roadside Flowers”
U2 – “Gloria”
Tom Tom Club – “The Man With the 4-way Hips”
Special AKA – “Free Nelson Mandela”
The Clash – “White Riot”
The Replacements – “Here Comes a Regular”

No other band deserved to make the “big time” more than Winter Hours, but like so many others during the heyday of college radio, they got gobbled up and spit out by one of the majors.

Winter Hours originally formed in the early 1980’s and paid their dues playing in clubs up and down the east coast while trying to scrape together the money for demos. They first came across my radar sometime around ’85-‘86 when I stumbled across the Churches EP while flipping through the racks at Renaissance Music. I knew nothing about the band but was willing to take a chance on them based on their song titles and album sleeve artwork. I was blown away from the first listen, and actively sought out everything that came out afterwards.

The band released a couple of EPs and one LP for Link Records – not the U.K. punk label but the American one, which also released albums by The Godfathers, Full Fathom Five and O Positive. When I began working at WWSU I remember how excited I was the day the Wait Til the Morning EP landed on our doorstep. With the sublime “Hyacinth Girl,” I just knew the band would be huge. How could they not, with a song like that?

Their first full-length LP (released on Link), Leaving Time, remains one of my all-time favorites, and that is really saying something – coming from someone who has quite an extensive collection. With each listen I fall in love all over again.

The band signed with Chrysalis and released the self-titled Winter Hours, an album I felt wasn’t a patch on Leaving Time but was still very good. The single “Roadside Flowers” carried the album and could have taken the band to the next level, but Chrysalis had recently been made a public company and was still trying to adjust to a new playing field – they just didn’t have a clue. The label had no idea of how to market the band, they didn’t they recognize the band’s potential, and they looked upon college radio as a “fad” rather than a viable way to get the band’s music heard. Link had done what they could and knew college radio, but they didn’t have the money to really push the band. Chrysalis had the money but disdained college radio and the entire “alternative/modern rock” phenomenon. They were too busy pushing the likes of Pat Benetar, Slaughter and Huey Lewis & the News. That same mindset hurt them when Geffen unleashed Nirvana on the unsuspecting public a few years later and Chrysalis, like most of the majors, scrambled to play catch-up.

If there is one event that I look back on with abject regret, it is that I had the chance to see Winter Hours live at Bogarts (playing with Christmas) and I didn’t go. I had tickets but the weather was really bad and I figured that the show would be cancelled so I didn’t attempt the long drive in the snow and ice. I cannot count the number of times I have looked back on that decision and kicked myself for not going. I thought there would be other chances. How wrong could I have been?

This video of Winter Hours performing "Wait til the Morning" isn't the best of quality, but the song is stellar. Check it out. Likewise for more information on the band visit their tribute page.

Lead singer Joseph Marques died 28 June, 2003 at the age of 40. The beauty of his voice and lyrics will never be forgotten by those of us who loved the band.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Our nations need new heroes, time to sing a new war song..."

Back to the Future playlist
Saturday, 27 September 2003

8 a.m.
Fishbone – “Party at Ground Zero”
Concrete Blonde – “Still in Hollywood”
Graham Parker – “Temporary Beauty”
E.M.F. – “Unbelievable”
John Wesley Harding – “The Devil in Me”
The Replacements – “Waitress in the Sky”
Hindu Love Gods – “Raspberry Beret”
Lightning Seeds – “Pure”
Nick Lowe – “Cruel to be Kind”
Patti Smith – “Because the Night”
Beastie Boys – “Fight for Your Right”
The Church – “Reptile”
Wire – “Eardrum Buzz”
Jimmy Cliff – “The Harder They Come”
Lou Reed – “Sally Can’t Dance”

9 a.m.
Michael Penn – “No Myth”
Peter Gabriel – “Biko”
Stan Ridgway & Stewart Copeland – “Don’t Box Me In”
Material Issue – “Diane”
The Damned – “Alone Again Or”
Sam Phillips – “Standing Still”
The Waterboys – “This is the Sea”
The Stooges – “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
REM – “Don’t Go Back to Rockville”
Midnight Oil – “Best of Both Worlds”
The Godfathers – “Cold Turkey”
Stone Roses – “Elephant Stone”
Tom Waits – “16 Shells from a 30-6”
Kirsty MacColl – “Caroline”

10 a.m.
Boomtown Rats – “I Don’t Like Mondays”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Fight Like a Brave”
Morrissey – “Everyday is like Sunday”
Art of Noise – “Close to the Edit”
The Stranglers – “Always the Sun”
The Sisters of Mercy – “This Corrosion”
Throwing Muses – “Dizzy”
A House – “Call Me Blue”
Brian Ritchie – “Sun Ra – Man From Outer Space”
Martha & the Muffins – “Echo Beach”
Bauhaus – “She’s in Parties”
Buzzcocks – “Orgasm Addict”
Josie Cotton – “Johnny Are You Queer?”
Joe Jackson – “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”
They Might be Giants – “Particle Man”

After 9/11 happened I worried that I’d never hear Fishbone’s wonderful “Party at Ground Zero” on the radio again, especially when the knee-jerk reaction of the corporate bullyboys at Clear Channel was to ban a bunch of songs with “questionable” lyrics and other non-CC stations followed their lead. Not that anyone at Clear Channel had a clue about Fishbone, evidenced by it’s omission in the “questionable” list, but I thought that certainly a title like “Party at Ground Zero” would find it’s way to the chopping block.

So imagine my elation when, a few months after those planes hit the World Trade Center, I heard Barb spin the tune while I was driving in my car on a cold, grey November day. WOXY had always had a healthy rebellious streak, and although they always adhered to FCC law they weren’t afraid to do their own thing, and playing “Party at Ground Zero” was testament to that. It’s difficult to describe just how much of a weight I felt had lifted when I heard that song on the radio. The U.S. government was in full war-mode paranoia with civil liberties being snatched away with each passing day, and in cities and towns across the country our newspapers, TV programs and radio stations were jumping on the censorship bandwagon before the white soot in New York had even settled. I thanked my lucky stars that there were still independent stations out there willing to take risks, and that one of them was the little station out of Oxford known as WOXY.

for your listening and viewing pleasure, I give you Fishbone:

I’m so proud to have worked at WOXY, even though my stint was merely a blink in time. This year marks their 25th anniversary; they no longer broadcast over the air but are still flyin’ the flannel via the magic of internet radio. And they still play "Party at Ground Zero!"

Tune in!

Monday, November 24, 2008

"I belong to the Blank Generation and I can take it or leave it each time..."

Back to the Future playlist

Saturday, 20 September 2003

8 a.m.
Madness – “One Step Beyond”
Julian Cope – “Charlotte Anne”
Love & Rockets – “It Could Be Sunshine”
Neds Atomic Dustbin – “Grey Cell Green”
The Buck Pets – “A Little Murder”
Toad the Wet Sprocket – “Walk On the Ocean”
Wire Train – “Chamber of Hellos”
B-52s – “Private Idaho”
Tracey Chapman – “For My Lover”
Dukes of Stratosphear – “25 O’Clock”
Eurythmics – “When Tomorrow Comes”
Gene Loves Jezebel – “Desire”
Big Star – “September Gurls”
Adrian Belew – “Big Electric Cat”

9 a.m.
The Modern Lovers – “Roadrunner”
Klark Kent – “Don’t Care”
Golden Palominos – “Boy (Go)”
Husker Du – “Sorry Somehow”
10,000 Maniacs – “Like the Weather”
Living Colour – “Glamour Boys”
Richard Hell & the Voidoids – “Blank Generation”
Stereo MC’s – “Connected”
The Cure – “Killing an Arab”
The Chameleons – “Tears”
A Split Second – “Parallax View”
The Jam – “Start”
Holly & the Italians – “Tell that Girl to Shut Up”
The Nails – “88 Lines About 44 Women”
Beat Farmers – “Happy Boy”
Translator – “Everywhere That I’m Not”

10 a.m.
Grandmaster Flash – “White Lines”
Madder Rose – “Swim”
Michelle Shocked – “Anchorage”
Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper – “Jesus at McDonalds”
New York Dolls – “Personality Crisis”
Rockpile – “Teacher Teacher”
Pere Ubu – “Final Solution”
The Jazz Butcher – “The Devil is My Friend”
The The – “Infected”
Jesus & Mary Chain – “April Skies”
The Smiths – “Headmaster Ritual”
The Dead Milkmen – “Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance to Anything)”
The Connells – “Fun & Games”
The Call – “I Don’t Wanna”
Killing Jokes – “Eighties”

One of the greatest things about creating my own show was the ability to put songs on the air that would normally never get heard. I tried to intersperse the lesser-known songs with those that listeners would recognize, and it was always a thrill for me whenever someone rang me up at the station with a fun request or a compliment on how they were digging the tunes.

The listeners who took the time to phone in were a welcome distraction and usually had some awesome musical suggestions. They made my time on-air seem less like a job and more like a party. Knowing that folks were tuning in – even at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning - kept me on my toes to make my breaks as interesting as possible and I tried to give callers shout-outs on the air because for whatever reason, people like to hear their names on the radio. As more listeners learned about the show and tuned in, I began to leave gaps open in the playlist for their requests. Those will be evident in later posts.

This playlist is full of favorites for me: “Big Electric Cat,” “Roadrunner,” “Blank Generation” and “The Devil is My Friend” are just a few that I could probably put on an endless loop and never get tired of hearing.

Check out Richard Hell & the Voidoids:

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Things are going great, and they're only getting better..."

In May 2003 I got an email from old college buddy and current WOXY program director Mike Taylor, asking me if I would be interested in creating a Saturday morning program on WOXY to showcase the music we played as students during those halcyon days at WWSU.

“Hey -if you are interested in an air shift on 97X, and you think you will indeed still be living in the area for a while - let me know. there is a show i've been considering trying to get off the ground here, but needs to have a host with a serious knowledge of modern rock, particularly pre-Nirvana, whom I haven't run across with the desire to take it on. hope things are well -mike”

Of course I was interested! Several emails and phone calls later I was training in the studio with Mike, Sledge, Barb and Shiv, and then boom, I was on the air. I kept copies of all my Back to the Future programs and will be posting them as time allows.

My shift began at 6 a.m. with two hours of regular programming, and Back to the Future ran from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Back to the Future
6 September, 2003

8 a.m.
XTC – “Senses Working Overtime”
Berlin – “The Metro”
The Dbs – “Spy in the House of Love”
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”
This Picture – “Naked Rain”
Yaz – “Don’t Go”
Richard Thompson – “Valerie”
The Clash – “Ivan Meets GI Joe”
Stan Ridgway – “I Wanna Be a Boss”
The Beautiful South – “Rotterdam”
The Pursuit of Happiness – “I’m an Adult Now”
Thomas Dolby – “She Blinded Me with Science”
Blondie – “Denis”
Suzanne Vega – “Left of Center”
Too Much Joy – “Long Haired Guys From England”

9 a.m.
Timbuk 3 – “The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)”
Meat Puppets – “Sam”
Don Dixon – “Praying Mantis”
Pop Will Eat Itself – “Can U Dig It?”Big Audio Dynamite – “The Bottom Line”
BoDeans – “Angels”
Lloyd Cole – “Lost Weekend”
Tones on Tail – “Go!”
Yello – “O Yeah”
Time Zone – “World Destruction”
Guadalcanal Diary – “Watusi Rodeo”
Ian Dury – “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”
The Pretenders – “Stop Your Sobbing”
Let’s Active – “Every Word Means No”
Black Flag – “TV Party”
De La Soul – “Me, Myself & I”
Hoodoo Gurus – “I Want You Back”

10 a.m.
The Vapors – “Turning Japanese”
Soup Dragons – “I’m Free”
Adam & the Ants – “Antmusic”
Belle Stars – “Sign of the Times”
English Beat – “Mirror in the Bathroom”
Fine Young Cannibals – “Suspicious Minds”
INXS – “I Send a Message”
The Kings – “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide”
Depeche Mode – “Flexible”
Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party”
Plimsouls – “A Million Miles Away”
Shriekback – “Nemesis”
Elvis Hitler – “Green Haze”
The Housemartins – “Happy Hour”
The Shamen – “Ebeneezer Goode”