Sunday, November 20, 2011

Show #68 November 12, 2011

For Dolly in Ye Olde Boston Towne....

- The Lyres On Fyre
Talking About The Weekend- Seventeen A Flashing Blur Of Stripped Down Excitement
Johanna Beach- Hawaii Mud Bombers Mondo Primo
She's Only Cool- Cotton Mather Kontiki
Words- The A's The A's
Late Nights with the Power Pop- Matthew Sweet Modern Art
Runaround- The Lambrettas Beat Boys In The Jet Age
Ain't No Use In Tryin'- The Finders Calling Dr. Powerpop
^Just What I Needed- The Cars Just What I Needed - Anthology
Losing Your Cool- Paul Collins King Of Power Pop
Still Around- Slaters The Big Black Bug Bled Black Blood
Noisy Song- Cute Lepers Adventure Time
The Devil Has Work For Idle Hands- Psycotic Pineapple Where's The Party
Every Time I Ask You Out- D-Day Too Young To Date 7"
*At The Rat- Willie Loco Alexander Boom Boom Band Live At The Rat
*I Don't Want To Know Your Name- Susan Live At The Rat
*Boy From Nowhere- DMZ Live At The Rat
*Better Be Good- The Real Kids Live At The Rat
Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart- Fountains Of Wayne Sky Full Of Holes
Nights With You- The Heats Have An Idea
Don't Tell Her- City Lights Blackout EP
How Much More- The Go-Go's Beauty And The Beat
Rebel Rousers- The Reactions Love You E.P. 7"
Rachel Rachel- Richard Taylor Rachael Rachael EP
^Rendezvous- The Sidewinders The Sidewinders
Just A Number- The Last Stand Shake Some Action Vol 1 (UK)
Bear With Me All The Way- Van Duren Idiot Optimism
The Seeker- Sunnyboys Love To Rule EP
Suburban Paradise- The Agents Need The Girl EP
Blame It On The Kids- The Pets Misdirection
The Fenway- Jonathan Richman Rockin' & Romance

^Power Pop Peak:

*SacroSet: Live At The Rat

^Power Pop Prototype:

Nostalgia is funny. It's one thing to pine for an earlier time in your life but you know you're getting older when you yearn for a place that doesn't even exist anymore. I remember my dad reminiscing about Scollay Square in Boston: freak shows, boxing matches, vaudeville comedy acts and especially the burlesque houses he was always trying to sneak into as a kid. In the mid-70's a guy named Rik Tinory released a song called "Remember Ol' Scollay Square" that includes the verse:

Remember ol' Scollay Square
All the dancin' ladies were there
Doin' bumps and grinds, people in long lines
Remember ol' Scollay Square

Four ladies chain across the ring
Turn and chain them right back home again
Promenade go 2 by 2
I sure hope that you
Remember good ol' Scollay Square

Scollay Square was bulldozed in the 60's to make way for the godforsaken hellscape of Government Center, an excellent example of Soviet era architecture, only less warm. In fact, on wind chill days I believe it is among the coldest places on the planet. Jonathan Richman sums it up in his song "Government Center:"

Well we've got alot alot of hard work today
We gotta rock at the government center

To make the secretaries feel better

When they put those stamps on the letters

We won't stop until we see secretaries smile

And see some office boys jump up for joy

Tell old Mr. Ayhern, "Calm down a while,
You know that's the only way the center is ever gonna get better"

Replacing Scollay Square with Government Center- now that's adding insult to injury. All these years later, I know what my father was feeling when he talked about Scollay Square because that is exactly how I feel about Kenmore Square today.

One of the things that helped me endure the suburban high school torment was thinking about moving to Boston for college. Cousin Rich and I had been making monthly record buying pilgrimages to Boston for years and I couldn't wait to live there. From Fensgate, my Emerson College dorm, it was a short walk to Kenmore Square, home at one time to record stores New England Music City (a chain, but one that sold singles by Boston rock bands), Planet Records (a cool indie store where Barrence Whitfield was often working behind the counter), Strawberries (a lame chain store), and Nuggets (a past its prime institution that remarkably is still there). Kenmore Square was also home to my favorite pizza place, Captain Nemo's. Of all these landmarks however, the one I was most excited about was Boston's infamous rock & roll club The Rathskellar a.k.a. The Rat.

After discovering The Real Kids first album (which included my radio show's namesake song "All Kindsa Girls"), Cousin Rich and I went looking for more and soon discovered Live At The Rat. The record had come out in 1976 and included all of the great Boston rock & roll bands of the time (the word "punk" hadn't caught on yet and in any case, never felt right with this music). Live At The Rat kicks off with an introduction from Boston college radio legend Oedipus (who went on to program powerhouse commercial rock station WBCN) and Godfather of Boston Rock Willie "Loco" Alexander (who replaced Lou Reed in a late era Velvet Underground incarnation). An amazing document of its era, Live At The Rat is in my opinion far superior to New York counterpart Live At CBGB's, which didn't include the leading lights of the its scene (Ramones, Blondie, Television, Dictators, etc.) as they had already been signed to major labels. In fact, Live At The Rat preceded debut releases of The Real Kids, Willie "Loco" & The Boom Boom Band, Thundertrain, and the amazing DMZ (pictured below on The Rat stage).

Reading in The Boston Globe about 2am street fights between patrons of The Rat and the disco across Comm Ave (called "Narcissus"- what a perfect name), in what the paper dubbed "The Battle For Kenmore Square," only added to its infamy. This was in the late 70's before my time, but The Rat was still standing when I got to town in 1982 and I'm proud to say my band No Idea played there several times:

No Idea was Pete Levine (bass, vocals), Frank Prosl (drums, vocals), Jim Harris (lead guitar) and me on rhythm guitar/lead vocals. (After seeing The Clash in hats in the London Calling photo sessions I started wearing them on on stage). It was incredible playing at The Rat- the sound and lights were fantastic for a club that size. If sound man Granny and the light guy were in the right mood, you could have an amazing show. Those light banks on the side you can see in the top pictures were brighter than the sun and you could actually feel the heat on your face- what an incredible feeling.

The last time I was on stage at The Rat was in 1989 or so. I was playing bass in a band that was listed as "Gravel Pit" though Carl the drummer and I had never agreed to the name (which another Boston band used later on). We were first up on the bill at a reunion show of Boston Rock heroes Unnatural Axe and it was an incredible show. My mom came, so did my girlfriend Lisa and "work friend" Jaime (who would soon replace Lisa) as well as this anal retentive friend Jaime dragged along. Seeing The Rat through the eyes of Jaime's friend really reminded me what an underground cavernous, urine-smelling, shit hole my beloved club really was- after a while I'd just forgotten. The best part was when this woman had to go to the bathroom, dragging Jaime with her of course, they found the toilet overflowing with the seat broken in half and sticking up out of the bowl! (I LOVE that story.)

Jaime and I went to The Rat many times. In fact our terrifying plunge into the abyss called "more than just friends" was after a Zulus show in December 1989 ("first kiss to first $%*$ in 45 seconds" she later joked). The Rat was even part of our wedding as my bachelor party started at the Hoodoo Barbecue, the restaurant upstairs.

The Rat closed in 1997, replaced by monstrosity The Hotel Commonwealth. While the hotel isn't as ugly as Government Center, it pretty much completed the gutting Kenmore Square started by the Barnes & Noble @ Boston University store (enveloping the space once occupied by the disco Narcissus). B.U. cops even "relocated" Mr. Butch, a homeless dude dubbed "The King Of Kenmore Square," to Allston. Unlike Scollay Square, Kenmore Square still technically exists, yet it is a mere shadow of its former self. Even so, I'm thankful for The Rat, Captain Nemo's, Planet Records, Mr. Butch and all the unforgettable times I had there.

Rather than end this post on a downer, I'll conclude with the lyrics to the first song in tonight's SacroSet: Willie "Loco" Alexander & The Boom Boom Band's "At The Rat."

spoken: "You know this song's about Boston. Boston Rock & Roll started right here with Barry & The Remains back in 1965. The stage used to be over there but it's here now and we're still is rock & roll in Boston."

Down in Kenmore I saw her standing there at The Rat
She took off my hat sat down on my lap at The Rat
She was my B.U. baby and I don't mean maybe at The Rat

Under the Citgo sign she was looking so fine at The Rat
Everybody goes crazy baby save me save me at The Rat
Down in Kenmore Square, all the bands play there at The Rat

(spoken: "Don't they now, oh everybody sing!")

Let's go to The Rat (4x)
Down in Kenmore Square, all the bands play there at The Rat
Oh yeah, oh yeah

The download links have already been taken off the server. I'll be sure to re-post when they are available again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Show #67 October 29, 2011 Halloween AFRADIO Show

The Halloween AFRADIO Show is dedicated to Wicked Annabella and The Last Gladiator...Evel Knieval!

Wicked Annabella- The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
Chain Saw- The Ramones The Ramones
Rendevous With The Devil- The Doits This Is Rocket Science
Skeleton- Elf Power The Winter Is Coming
Devil's Food- Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare
^Eye Of The Zombie- John Fogerty Eye of the Zombie
Little Jack O'Lantern- The Dead Elvi Graveland
Skeletons- The Sound From The Lion's Mouth
Ghost Ride- Nebula Apollo
Black Night- Green on Red Gas, Food, Lodging
Halloween Parade- Lou Reed New York
Graveyard Groove- The Revillos Attack of the Giant Revillos
The Witch- The Sonics Here Are The Sonics
Arthur Is Dead (Let's Rot)- Radio Stars Songs For Swinging Lovers
*Zombie Dance- The Cramps Songs The Lord Taught Us
*Zombie Creeping Flesh- Peter & The Test Tube Babies Zombie Creeping Flesh 7"
*I Walked With A Zombie- Roky Erickson and the Aliens The Evil One
*I Was A Teenage Zombie- Fleshtones I Was A Teenage Zombie Soundtrack
*Zombies Ate Her Brain- The Creepshow Sell Your Soul
Chupacabras- Groovie Ghoulies Go! Stories
The Time Warp- The Rocky Horror Picture Show The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
Victims of the Vampire- Slaughter and the Dogs Do it Dog Style
Where Evil Grows- Gore Gore Girls Get The Gore
Nightmares- Jay Reatard Blood Visions
Ghosts on the Road- Guadalcanal Diary Walking In The Shadow Of The Big Man
>Rockin' Zombie- Crewnecks Doo Wop Halloween is a Scream
Lucifer Sam- The Three O'Clock Baroque Hoedown
Party in the Woods Tonight- Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers 23 Great Recordings
God Of Thunder- Kiss Destroyer
Attack of the Ghost Riders- The Raveonettes Whip It On
Skulls- The Misfits Walk Among Us
Country Death Song- Violent Femmes Add It Up
Halloween- Dream Syndicate Days of Wine and Roses

^Power Pop Peak: #81 Billboard Hot 100 9/6/86

*SacroSet: Zombies!!!

>Power Pop Prototype: 1961

I put two shows together while I was in the hospital, but with Halloween fast approaching I realized I had to get going on a third. Since I was still rehabbing and had the time, I also thought it might be cool to find a few Night Of The Living Dead quotes to use in the SacroSet which shouldn't be hard since the film is in the public domain. In fact a few years back my friend Joe and I hosted the first "Sonoma Drive-In" show on the local cable station screening George Romero's classic:

Next time you've got a couple of hours on your hands, you should check it out. Bob Taylor did a great job putting the program together.

Anyway, a quick web search revealed not only Night Of The Living Dead audio but clips from hundreds of other films. So, along with great music, the Halloween AFRADIO Show includes audio from my favorite horror films, including the obscure (2000 Maniacs) popular (Nightmare On Elm Street) and just plain nasty (Candyman).

In my opinion, vampires (especially the modern broody, perfectly coiffed versions) have nothing on zombies. I've been a zombie fan from the first time I saw Night Of The Living Dead at a midnight show when I was in junior high school. On top of the success of the brilliant TV show The Walking Dead (which calls them "walkers"), zombies were the obvious choice for tonight's features. And I'm talking flesh eaters only- no metaphorical zombies allowed. I mean, c'mon its Halloween!

I had a pretty bad head cold when I recorded this show and was surfing a wave of Dayquil. My insane alter ego "Dick Hate" was supposed to sound menacing, but came off more like Droopy Dog. My friend Jim from Japan commented that "Dick Hate" sounded "very, very, very gay." In any case, I had fun doing the show as somebody else- especially telling the "poop hand" Halloween story in the second hour.

As for my Halloween, Jaime and I had rehearsal for Romeo & Juliet that night but I still got in 90 minutes of Trick or Treating with Nica and her friends. I think you'll agree- I looked awesome!! Jaime got me the Evel suit for Christmas last year and I have to say it is one of the best presents I've ever been given. I was still using a cane at the time, which made it even more authentically "Evel." (My goal for next year is to get the helmet.)

Along with the suit, Jaime gave me the Evel Knieval stunt cycle I had loved as a boy but lost somewhere along the way. If I may say so myself, the resemblance is uncanny:
I loved Evel Knieval when I was growing up. I wasn't a big sports fan, but I would sit through 90 minutes of ABC's Wide World of Sports to see Evel's jumps on TV (which always seemed to run in the last 15 minutes of the show). Leading up to the jump they would show his most heinous crashes, especially Caesar's Palace (12/31/67) and the Cow Palace, San Francisco (3/3/72) so by the time he was ready to go my head was about to explode in anticipation. I have to say I was rooting FOR Evel, not hoping he would crash- to me he was an American Hero. To this day it blows me away that he would go back to jumping after a crash- the guy had balls of steel, no doubt.

My father was beside me on the couch for most of those Wide World Of Sports broadcasts. Dad would poke fun at my love of Evel, but I could tell he had a grudging respect for the man. One of the things I love about my dad was that he would take the time to find out what I was into. So, without my even having to ask, he bought us tickets to see Evel jump at Fitton Field at Holy Cross University in Worcester, Mass on October 9th, 1976.

I just about had a heart attack when the jump was rained out, but thankfully it was re-scheduled for Monday the 11th, which was Columbus Day, so I was already out of school. The pre-show was great- a maniac in a monster truck crushed a bunch of cars demolition derby style and 14 year old Robbie Knieval jumped four U-Haul vans in what I just learned was the start of his illustrious career as a daredevil. Evel came out like a rock star with his cape and cane, did some amazing trick riding and told us some cool stories about his past. He started with a jump of four U-Haul vans, then seven and finished with a smooth as silk jump over ten of them. What an amazing day! Dad and I had a great time and I felt like I was seeing history being made. In a sense I was. Evel only jumped three more times after Worcester; two in Seattle and the infamous aborted "Shark Jump" in Chicago (1/31/77- he crashed on a practice jump over a tank filled with 13 sharks broke both arms again and retired for good).

Perhaps Evel Knieval's greatest success was that he beat death for 69 years, passing away on November 30, 2007 of pulmonary disease. There will never be another like him.

Click the links below to download this week's show (right click and "Save Target As"):
Hour 1
Hour 2

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show #66 October 15, 2011

Dedicated to Paula, Jaime and my wrecked left side...

Paula- The Golden Horde The Golden Horde
Sorry- The Smithereens 2011
Adventure Time- Cute Lepers Adventure Time
Can I Take You Home Tonight- The Lookalikes Can I Take You Home Tonight Single
Salad Days- The Grip Weeds Infinite Soul: The Best of the Grip Weeds
Got You Where He Wanted- David Myhr Got You Where He Wanted Single
Nightlife- Kevin K Band Nightlife
New Feeling- Future Dads 24 Winship
^My Girl- Donnie Iris 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Donnie Iris
Answers- The Questions Can't Get Over You Single
Dirty Back Road- The B-52's Wild Planet
You Belong To Me- Incredible Kidda Band Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
A Beautiful Lie- Bill Lloyd Set to Pop
(Can't Tell You) It's Over- The Jolt The Jolt
*My Girl- Face Dancer About Face
*My Girl- Hoodoo Gurus Stoneage Romeos
*My Girl- Madness The Business
*My Girl- Eric Carmen Eric Carmen
Can't Be Wrong- Travoltas Modern World
Drop By And Stay- Piper Piper/Can't Wait
Feel Like Myself- Brendan Benson The Alternative To Love
Thought Balloon- Urge Overkill Rock & Roll Submarine
The Girl is Alright- Big Kid You Must Be Kidding
Dame to Blame- Slaughter and the Dogs Do it Dog Style
>My Girl- Master's Apprentices Complete Recordings 1965 - 1968
Livin Alone- The Rattlers On The Beach Single
I Wanna Be Free- The Rings I Wanna Be Free
Catch Your Wave- The Click Five Greetings From Imrie House
Hit And Run- Battered Wives Cigarettes
Dance- The Fevers Love Always Wins

^Power Pop Peak: #25 Billboard Hot 100 3/27/82

*SacroSet: Songs For "My Girl"

>Power Pop Prototype: 1968

Do you know where your acetabulum is? Neither did I, but I sure as hell do now. On September 10th, 2011 I went on a bike ride with my friend Phil. The plan was to climb Cavedale Road- the highest elevation within riding distance of our houses:
7.61 miles, 2145 feet (200 feet per division)
We've done this climb dozens of times over the years, in fact I had done it on my own the preceding Saturday (9/3/11). In other words, no big deal. Phil and I hadn't ridden together in a while so it was good to reconnect. The trip up Cavedale was its usual bastardly self (I said I'd done it a lot- not that it was easy) with the descent down Trinity Road (3.01 miles, 1715 feet, pictured below). The top of Trinity is very steep with some tight switchbacks but down at the bottom, it evens out and you can build up some speed before you have to stop at Route 12. Well, I'm at the bottom winding part (formerly my favorite) when I come around a bend and my front wheel starts shaking violently, like it's going to potato chip and send me flying over the handle bars. I was going about 25 miles an hour, so there was no way I could slam on the breaks but I also couldn't control the bike enough to stay on the road. I took a bead on an open field on the left side of the road and hoped for the best. I don't remember the impact but I must have gone off the bike immediately because the next thing I remember I'm on my back with my knees up. Goddamn if it didn't hurt.

Phil was about a minute behind me so he didn't see anything. When the pain didn't let up, he called 911 and a Sonoma ambulance came. Paramedics nixed my request to go to Sonoma Valley Hospital and took me to Santa Rosa Memorial which has a trauma unit. My neck wasn't injured but they put me in a collar anyway. The worst thing though was the backboard. Sweet mother of mercy, that thing just about killed me. I was on it for the next three and a half hours, strapped in with my body weight pressing down on my wrecked ("involved" is what the Physical Therapists call it) left side. The dope they were giving me simply wasn't cutting it- just thinking about it now puts my teeth on edge. Anyway, my trauma wasn't as traumatic as other people's that day which is why I spent so much time on the board. I'm not complaining, "first come first serve" may work for the deli but not a trauma ward.

When Jaime got to the hospital I was surrounded by cops who were trying to get away from the raging douchebag on the other side of the curtain who got tazered in a domestic dispute in which he threatened his girlfriend with a gun. As you might imagine, the trauma ward is aptly named. They finally let me off the board when I went upstairs for a CT scan. Jaime got the news piecemeal: first they told her I had a cracked acetabulum. This is the part of your hip that your femur fits into, like a "hip socket." Of the injuries I sustained that day, this was the most serious. This image shows the acetabulum as if the femur isn't even there- the doctor kept going on about his new imaging machine and seemed bummed out that Jaime wasn't suitably impressed with the awesome special effects.

As I said, Jaime got the prognosis in stages, so about fifteen minutes after the acetabulum deal they told her I had a broken pelvis. This sounded much worse to Jaime (as it would have to me if I wasn't in a narcotic cloud) but when she asked about it they told her the words "broken" and "fractured" were interchangeable. Finally, they threw in three broken ribs. In summary, the left side of my body was blown up real good.

By this time the drugs had taken over- I don't even remember saying goodbye to the accursed backboard- and at some point I was admitted and got a room. Jaime brought the kids to see me and Reverend Nancy from my church came by that night but it is pretty blurry so I don't remember much else. The next day a bunch of friends visited: Chris, Todd, Joan, Beverly, Frank & Joanna- it was great to see all of them. Dr. Schaeffer, my GP from Sonoma also came by and got to talk with my orthopedist who was still hyping his fancy new machine.

The nurses were great- especially when I clarified that I was hurt on a bike and not a motorcycle. In my limited experience, it seems that nurses, especially female nurses, hate motorcycles with an all-encompassing passion. If I'd seen what they'd seen I might feel the same way. The drugs were free-flowing; a mix of Oxycontin, blood thinners, and at one point some Atavan that, in combination, had me insisting that I could hear Metallica music coming out of the air conditioning vent (I'm pretty sure it was Side 2 of Ride The Lightning). Jaime and the kids loved that one. Being in the hospital kicks your ass, if you don't believe me check out this sexy, sexy picture that my daughter Nica took.

The second night they moved a guy into the room with me who was a hardcore junkie. I've heard how boring and "one note" drug addicts can be and got to see for myself. The dude asked for drugs every five minutes, driving me and the nurses nuts. I'd have given him my hillbilly heroin if they'd let me. Luckily he was moved from the ward before lunch. I was in such a haze on Sunday and Monday that I forgot to re-schedule a conference call already set up for Tuesday. So, I took a mid-day drug holiday and re-presented a research study for some Wichita clients and their new consultant. It went pretty well and the clients seemed happy- I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself. Afterwards, I met with physical and occupational therapists who gave me the go-ahead to get out the next day.

Our friend Diana lent us her huge van for the ride home on Wednesday so it went off without a hitch. There was a point though where I said to Jaime: "you have a yellow mustache." I can still picture it clearly in my mind- bright yellow, like sunflower pollen, on her upper lip. She looked in the rear view mirror and tried to wipe it a way for a minute, with me saying "nope, still there," before it dawned on her and she said: "why am I listening to you, you're stoned." Apparently I was talking drugged out nonsense. Whatever I'd taken really kicked in when I got home. I don't drink so my son Jack had never seen me in giggling idiot mode- it really freaked him out.

Jaime had ordered a hospital bed for the living room and that's where I slept for the next three weeks or so. (In case you're wondering, there's no way to feng shui a hospital bed in the living room.) Jaime had a ton of work lined up, so my mom came out from Massachusetts for the next ten days, which was a blessing. After crutches, crutch and cane, I am now walking unassisted- two months after the accident. I dropped my bike off at the shop this week. I'm hoping they can do a CSI job on it and tell me what went wrong.

I put this show together while still in the hospital and despite the blistering drug cocktail, I think it is surprisingly coherent. Jaime has been amazing since day one of this ordeal, so that's where the idea for the "My Girl" features came from. Paula is this show's namesake but it is especially dedicated to "My Girl" Jaime to thank her for everything these past two months- and the 20 years or so leading up to them. I am a very lucky guy.

Click the links below to download this week's show (right click and "Save Target As"):
Hour 1
Hour 2