Sunday, August 23, 2009

Show #16 August 22, 2008

Rock on Monicas!

Monica- Richard X. Heyman Hey Man!
Combat Love- Shrapnel Combat Love 7''
Mother Mary- Foxboro Hot Tubs Stop Drop and Roll
I Wanna Be With You- The Raspberries Power Pop Volume One
Queen And Country- The X-Certs Queen And Country 7"
School Is In- Josie Cotton Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack
Airport- The Motors Airport - The Motor's Greatest Hits
She's Not Leaving- Stranglehold Leisure Tour '84 45
^Your Love- The Outfield Play Deep
First Night- The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America
Moving Target- Western Hysteria Computer Love 7"
A Nation Fit For Heroes- The Damned So, Who's Paranoid?
What You Do To Me- Teenage Fanclub Bandwagonesque
Jerome- Ruth Ruth The Little Death
*Laser Love- T-Rex The Very Best Of T-Rex
*Always Yours- Gary Glitter 20 Greatest Hits
*Hang On To Yourself- David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
*Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me- Slade Sladest
Pride Is Burning- Happy Hate Me Nots Out
Back In Flesh- Wall Of Voodoo Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground
Treason- Naked Raygun Understand?
The Disappointed- XTC Fossil Fuel The XTC Singles 1977-92
Beaverworld- The Shades Ward And June Never Understood... E.P. 12"
Running This Family- Denzil Pub
>Picture Book- The Kinks The Village Green Preservation Society
Falling Into Place- Mike Viola & The Candy Butchers Falling Into Place
Sex Beat- The Gun Club Fire Of Love

^Power Pop Peak: #6 Billboard Hot 100 2/15/86

*SacroSet: British Glam Rock

>Power Pop Prototype: 1968

I have never cared for the hippie aesthetic. Growing up in the early 70's on the west side of Brockton, Mass., near the huge citywide high school and the fairgrounds, I had several early negative experiences with hippies. Everything about their hair, clothes and manner screamed "look at me," yet I was ridiculed when caught staring. While I viewed hippies with mistrust as a child, as an adult I've come to blame them for some of our society's ills. First and foremost, I think making the quest for personal fulfillment your sole purpose in life pretty much guarantees that it's never going to happen. What's more, you're going to make a lot of the people closest to you suffer in the process. So, you take all these young people and you tell them that monogamy, family and community are outdated concepts and that happiness only lies within which, of course, leaves them feeling cut off and alienated. Then you tell them you've got the answers: free love will "release your body" while drugs "free your mind" so you can "tune in, turn on and drop out." I think "free love" is an oxymoron; loving everybody is the same as loving no one- it's a closed loop. As for drugs, I think Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men puts it best:

I think if you were Satan and you were settin' around tryin' to think up somethin' that would just bring the human race to its knees, what you would probably come up with is narcotics.

A little while back I read T.C. Boyle's Drop City about a hippie commune in Northern California and I have to say it confirmed a lot of my prejudices against hippies. I fully acknowledge the advances in civil, women's and gay rights made in the late 60's. Yet it's my belief that 99.9% of hippies were not political, and had they not been lured to the cities by "free love" and other bullshit concepts, most probably would have stayed in the suburbs or on the farm. Yes, I probably sound like Dr. Laura or some other right wing hack, but I think our society is still paying a heavy price for the hippie's legacy.

In the early 70's, British Glam Rock was a direct refutation of hippie culture. While the hippies were organic and earthy, Glitter Kids strived to look artificial and otherworldly. A dodgy Wikipedia article cites Glam as a fusion of "transvestitism" with "futurism," which sounds about right to me. No doubt the scene was sexy and druggy, but this time the decadence was the whole point. After growing tired of Tyrannosaurus Rex, his hippie folk duo, Marc Bolan (pictured above) invented Glam Rock with his reworked band T-Rex. Soon fellow hippie folk singer David Bowie, pop star Gary Glitter and rock bands like Slade and The Sweet climbed on the bandwagon and a musical movement was born. They brought attitude and swagger back to British rock & roll, setting the stage for punk rock and Power Pop in later years. (I should mention that I debated whether or not to play convicted sex offender Gary Glitter, but decided he was too important to the Glam genre to exclude. I have to admit though that hearing Do You Wanna Touch Me? again made me nauseous. I'm not kidding.)

It was really fun show this week- my whole family were guests in the studio the first hour. Jack talked about the Green Day show we went to earlier in the week, where they played Mother Mary by their alter-ego The Foxboro Hot Tubs. Nica and her friend Selah plugged their winter ETC! show featuring songs from Mamma Mia! and Jaime talked about this weekend's Wine, Women & Song: An Excellent Adventure in which she is performing and I will be playing "Ted" of "Bill & Ted" fame.

When I got home from the station my wife Jaime, who I think of as my "First Listener," said she thought the show was "too hard." This is the first time she has criticized the show, so I took note. After reviewing the playlist, I think she has a point as it includes Shrapnel, Stranglehold, The Damned, Ruth Ruth and especially Naked Raygun. One night in Brookline, Mass. after a bad break-up I listened to Naked Raygun's "Treason" 10 times, then I taped it 10 times and I listened to it about 40 more times. Still, it's a downer and not a good fit with the uplifting All Kindsa Girls spirit. Likewise The Damned's "A Nation Fit For Heroes;" cool song but thematically out of place. So, I apologize and promise to do better next time.

Download links for this week's show aren't yet available, I'll post them as soon as they are.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Show #15 August 8, 2009

Loretta makes me feel like #1

Loretta- Nervous Eaters DIY: Mass. Ave. - The Boston Scene (1975-83)
Just Fade Away- Stiff Little Fingers Go For It
Behind The Wall Of Sleep- The Smithereens Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground
Shy Around Girls- The Secrets ...Secrets
Systematic- 4/4 Systematic 7"
Dead Serious- Tinted Windows Tinted Windows
News At Ten- The Vapors Anthology
She Like Moon- Tommy Hoehn I Do Love The Light
^Our Lips Are Sealed- The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat
Somebody- The Barracudas Drop Out
Down On The Boulevard- The Pop Down On The Boulevard 45
Lonely Boys- The Lonely Boys The Lonely Boys
Jerry Lewis In France- Ben Vaughn Mood Swings
Baby Let's French- The Haskels Taking The City By Storm 7"
*Savage- The Nuns Savage EP
*Wanna See You Cry- Svt New Year 45
*Cryin' Over You- Jo Allen & The Shapes Cryin' Over You 45
*Everywhere That I'm Not- Translator Heartbeats And Triggers
1976- Redd Kross Third Eye
Every Summer Day- The Last L.A. Explosion!
Have A Heart Betty (I'm Not Fireproof) #1- The Soft Boys 1976-81
Whips & Furs- The Vibrators Pure Mania
New England- Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers 23 Great Recordings
Love & A Molotov Cocktail- The Flys See For Miles (1978-1980)
>Sorry- The Easybeats The Definitive Anthology
Kids In The City- Candy Whatever Happened To Fun
Can I Be Your Hero- Wreckless Eric Big Smash
Love Her All I Can- Kiss Dressed to Kill
When I Was Dead- Rudi Big Time
Hearts in Her Eyes- The Records Crashes
Rock'n'Roll Radio- The Pleasers Thamesbeat
AC/DC- The Sweet The Collection
Live For Today- Secret Affair Glory Boys & Behind Closed Doors

^Power Pop Peak: #20 Billboard Hot 100 8/29/81

*SacroSet: 415 Records

>Power Pop Prototype: 1966

After spending one horrendous winter in Rochester, NY (the words "lake effect snow" still send shivers down my spine) Jaime and I got the call to come to San Francisco where I would program a new radio station called Star FM. This was the original Star at 98.9/99.1 FM. It was a Hot AC station and our biggest competitor was K-101, which, long after my station's demise, ironically changed its name to Star. Anyway, one of the things I was looking forward to with the move was re-connecting with my old friend Pete Levine. Thanks to the alphabet, Pete Levine and Rick Love were in the same home room throughout high school. Pete was pretty shy, but a great guy when you got to know him and he shared my interest in punk rock. Getting a bass guitar and amp his senior year cemented Pete's position in our circle of friends and he joined our band, No Idea, when we all moved to Boston to go to college. The band practiced in Pete's basement, first on Mission Hill then in Jamaica Plain, and even after he quit, we all stayed friends.

The things I valued most about my friendship with Pete were his compassion and sensitivity- he wasn't like my other friends, most of whom valued intellect and vicious, cutting wit over other human qualities. I was "softer" when I was with Pete and I was coming to value this side of my personality more and more. Whether we were playing racquetball at Northeastern University (where I managed to sneak in for two years with a fake ID) or just hanging out, I could feel myself evolving into a different person the more time we spent together. During one of the worst nights of my life, when I was nearly overwhelmed with loneliness and despair over my father's death, Pete called me up and he, his girlfriend Rebecca and I went to see the movie Bolero with Bo Derek, one of the most laughably bad movies of all time. I still count this as a personal Someone Saved My Life Tonight moment.

So, needless to say, it really hurt when Pete "broke up" with me the first time. This was when we were still in Boston and at the time I had no idea what I had done to upset him. Pete stopped returning my phone calls and after a few months I just stopped trying. I asked mutual friends what the problem was and no one had an answer for me. Almost a year later, as I was planning to go to a party at my friend Lance's in Everett, I get a call from Pete. Apparantly he wanted to go to the party too, but realized we needed to talk first. I never found out what had come between us, yet when he showed up at the party it was like nothing ever had. I remember this night clearly, because it was the start of the first Gulf War (August 2, 1990 according to Wikipedia). He moved to San Francisco a few months later.

My first weekend in San Francisco, Pete, his girlfriend Janice and I went to a party at his sister Cyndi's apartment in the Mission District. I had a great time; everyone was a poet or musician or playwright and a bunch of us ended the night at Sparky's, one of the few all-night restaurants in the city. Pete, Janice and I ended up walking all the way back down Market Street to 3rd and Folsom where I was staying and didn't get in until about 4am- all in all a nearly perfect night and a great start to my new life in Calfornia.

After Jaime had packed everything up in Rochester, she flew out to San Francisco to join me. She and Janice hit it off right away and the four of us saw a lot of each other for the next year or so. Everything was going great until one day Janice announced that she and Pete could not see me anymore- Jaime was okay, but I was out of the gang. My wife is a VERY loyal person, so there was no way this was going to fly. She and Janice forced Pete and I together to talk things out. When pressed, Pete told me that he was still angry that I hadn't apologized profusely enough for accidentally hitting him in the head with my racquet during a game of racquetball four or five years earlier in Boston. Turns out, this was the reason he "broke up" with me the first time too. The thing is, I know I was often out of control during those racquetball games. Pete is much more of a natural athlete than I am, it was only through sheer ferocity and aggression that I managed to win about half the games we played. So, I was more than happy to clear the air and apologize for the racquetball incident which put the Rick & Jaime/Pete & Janice relationship right back on track.

When Jaime and I moved to Sonoma, Pete & Janice were our first overnight guests and I still have the sledgehammer and axe they gave us as housewarming presents. They also were some of the first people to come to the hospital when my son Jack was born on November 30, 1995. Around that time, Janice and Pete got engaged and bought a house together in Oakland. I never really found out why, but a few months later they broke up and sold the house. Jaime and I stayed friends with Pete, but with the all-consuming demands of new parenthood (especially with a kid like Jack), we unfortunately lost touch with Janice.

Over the next couple of years, Pete (Oakland), our friend Frank (San Francisco) and I (Sonoma) would meet "half-way" in San Rafael to get dinner and shoot pool. Pete was asking his new friends to call him "Peter Nathan" at that time, but his oldest friends could still call him "Pete." He had met his future wife Marsha and they had bought a duplex in Fairfax they were fixing up. Around the time his daughter Sophie (or Sophia, I don't know for sure) was born, Pete "broke up" with me for the third and final time. He stopped returning my calls and on our more and more infrequent get togethers in San Rafael denied that anything was wrong. Eventually I gave up for good.

I saw Pete five years ago at Frank's wedding in San Francisco. His little girl and my daughter Veronica were close to the same age and really seemed to hit it off. Late in the evening, after a few occasions of really stilted small talk, Pete looked me in the eye and said "let's rebuild." Thanks in large part to his influence in my life, I didn't answer with a cutting remark and responded "I'd like that." That's the last time I spoke to him. At the Santa Rosa fair two or three years ago, Jaime, the kids and I were taking our bleacher seats for a trained dog show when I noticed a woman several rows behind us who looked very familiar, but I couldn't place her. We enjoyed the show and as we were leaving I glanced back and saw her sitting next to an 8 or 9 year old girl and a guy who looked even more familiar. It was Pete, Marsha and Sophie (or Sophia) and like us, they seemed to have enjoyed the dog show. Jaime saw them too and when she caught my eye we shared one of those married couple looks that would take two hundred pages to summarize. Before we could say anything though, Jack and Nica were running off in the opposite direction and without a glance back, we were hurrying to catch up with them.

San Francisco's 415 Records was the first record label in North America dedicated to punk/new wave/power pop, etc. "415" is the city's area code and supposedly also the police code for disturbing the peace. 415 put out a lot of great records by San Francisco bands like The Nuns, The Mutants, Pearl Harbor & The Explosions and Romeo Void which were still easy to find in record stores when I moved to the city in the early 90's. As is often the case, 415's slow decline started in 1981, after its signed a deal with the devil (in this case, CBS), but its early releases will always remind me of my first days in San Francisco with my friend Pete.

Download the first hour of tonight's show here (right click and "Save Target As"):
And here is hour two:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Show #14 July 25, 2009

It's Jennifer's turn!

Jennifer- The Rubinoos Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About
What I Want- The Donkeys Television Anarchy
I Want You Back- Hoodoo Gurus Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground
Good Times- Jack Lee Jack Lee's Greatest Hits Vol. 1
I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie- Mary Monday And The Bitches I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie 7"
Can't Get You On My Mind- Adam Schmitt World So Bright
Yellow Spot- The Freshies The Very Best Of
Not Enough Girls (In The World)- Milk 'N' Cookies Milk 'N' Cookies
^Precious To Me- Phil Seymour Phil Seymour
Shot by Both Sides- Magazine DIY The Modern World: UK Punk II (1977-78)
I Can Only Dream- Protex I Can Only Dream 7''
Whisper/Touch- Code Blue Code Blue
She Doesn't Love Me- Cramp She Doesn't Love Me 7"
Girls Like Me- Bonnie Hayes With The Wild Combo Valley Girl: More Music From The Soundtrack
*Stupid Einstein- The Three O'Clock Sixteen Tambourines
*Tell Me When It's Over- The Dream Syndicate Tell Me When It's Over: The Best of
*The Real World- The Bangles The Real World
*I Look Around- Rain Parade Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground
Sun Shine Through- Dipsomaniacs Freakin Eureka
When I Met the Girl- Big Kid When I Met The Girl
Crazy Kids- Jook Different Class
>Let There Be Rock- Blue Ash No More No Less
Better Be Good- The Real Kids Real Kids
Young and Dumb- Rubber City Rebels Rubber City Rebels
Letter From An Occupant- The New Pornographers Mass Romantic
Giving Me That Look In Your Eyes- The Fans Giving Me That Look In Your Eyes 7"
Wouldn't I- The Tremblers Twice Nightly
Going Underground- The Jam Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground
I'm Shakin'- The Sunnyboys The Sunnyboys
Too Much Kissing- Senseless Things Postcard C.V.
Blackout- The Pods It's A Bummer About Bourbie EP

^Power Pop Peak: #22 Billboard Hot 100 1/24/81

*SacroSet: The Paisley Underground

>Power Pop Prototype: 1973

When I was a kid, it was always a given that I would go to college, but until my senior year in high school the details were sketchy. Before then I was more focused on rock & roll, girlfriends, dodging bullies, playing in a band, etc. and while I yearned to get out of Duxbury, Mass with every fiber of my being, I hadn't thought much about exactly where I would be spending the next two to four years. What did I want to do with my life? I found it hard to imagine a career in my aforementioned pursuits; not talented enough to be a rock star or, for that matter, a professional boyfriend (gigolo?) and though my skills were prodigious, it's also unlikely the client base of junior and senior high school geeks for my bully dodging consultancy would provide a living wage. Furthermore, neither my father (teacher/vice-principal) nor mother's (dietician) professions held any interest for me. About the only thing I knew is that I wanted to go to a school in my beloved Boston.

I grew up listening to The Rock of Boston WBCN (recently deceased- RIP- though it had been on life support the last 15 years or so) but by high school my tastes were much more specialized than its broad AOR playlist. Duxbury is about 30 miles south of Boston, outside the signal range of the MIT, Harvard and BC college radio stations. Yet, with 3000 watts, Emerson College's WERS came in just fine. WERS had an eclectic array of folk, jazz, reggae and r&b programs during the day but at night its as yet unnamed show played punk rock, post punk, power pop and Boston rock- all the music I loved at the time. My favorite DJ on the station was Ed Slota- the guy simply had the greatest music taste. Slota was a rockstar to me and my small circle of friends- so many of the bands we grew to love over the years we first heard on his show.

It may sound stupid to choose an institution of higher learning based on a three hour weekly radio show (that was eventually called "Niteklub" after the first Specials album came out in 1979) by a guy who graduated the year before I even got there, but that's what I did. By December of my freshman year I was hosting my own Monday evening Niteklub show and Ed Slota even dropped by the station one night and he was very cool. He still is by the sound of it- Ed currently hosts a show called "Citibeat" on UMass Dartmouth station WUMD and I found this link to a show he guest hosted in 2005 on the Brown University station (Hearing the second song, "Part Time Punks" by The Television Personalities, took me right back to 1980, up in my bedroom listening to Ed Slota on WERS.)

Working at WERS got me on the guest list at clubs all over town and when fellow WERS DJ Dave Mindich gave me his old fake ID I was good to go. I got to meet several of my favorite bands like X, The Gun Club, The UK Subs, and The Neighborhoods. Some of the nicest people I met though were the guys in The Three O'Clock (pictured above), who lead off tonight's SacroSet. The band's Michael Quercio may have tossed off "Paisley Underground" as an in-joke but it came to represent an entire genre of music. Here's what Wikipedia says

"The term was most likely first coined at an early morning post-show conversation at Los Angeles' Pantry (24 hour restaurant) between Michael Quercio (The Three O'Clock), Tom Betts (a friend, who was wearing a navy blue button-down shirt with paisley cuffs that night), and Karl Precoda (Dream Syndicate). It was intended as a reaction against what had become an intensely violent hardcore Los Angeles punk scene at the time, and was a reference to "peace and love" inspired rock of the 1960s."

The Three O'Clock put out a couple of great records and despite a very pop sound on vinyl, really rocked live. What's more, they didn't make an 18 year old college radio DJ feel like an idiot when he asked stupid questions in an interview. They were huge music fans, just like me, and it was a pleasure meeting them. The Three O'Clock were later "discovered" by Prince, on whom they had a considerable influence. Prince's 1985 album Around the World in a Day, featuring the hit "Raspberry Beret," was his first foray into psychedelia and he named his record label Paisley Park Records. Prince also wrote the song "Manic Monday" for the Bangles, another of the artists featured in tonight's SacroSet.

I was lucky to see many of the Paisley Underground bands live and include a mid-80's Dream Syndicate show at The Rat as one of my all-time favorites. As hardcore was getting more and more infantile, I think the Paisley Underground put rock and roll back on track.

Here's the link to listen to the first hour of tonight's show (or right click and "Save Target As" to download):

And here's hour two:

If you have any problems with the links, this is the page they came from: