Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Show #94 February 2, 2012

Tonight we rock for la bonita Margarita!

Margarita- Henry Essence Shake Some Action Vol 8
On The Radio- Cheap Trick Heaven Tonight
Girls Want Rock- Free Energy Love Sign
Showdown- Off Broadway Quick Turns 
Any Other Woman- Greg Kihn Greg Kihn Band "Best Of Beserkley" '75-'84
Lone- Swag Catchall
Doormat- Ben Vaughn Mood Swings
Suspicion- Scott Wilk + The Walls Scott Wilk + The Walls
^Radio Radio- Elvis Costello and The Attractions This Year's Model
Help Me Fall- The Wellingtons Keeping Up With The Wellingtons
iPod Girl- The Scruffs Conquest
Let's Go Away- Travoltas Endless Summer
Paper Dolls- The Nerves One Way Ticket 
Sooner or Later- Hot Knives Hot Knives
*Radio Heart- Willie Alexander and The Boom Boom Band Willie Alexander and The Boom Boom Band 
*Radio Heart- Crosby Loggins Time To Move
*Radio Heart- The Secrets Titan: It's All Pop!
*Radio Heart- The Futureheads This Is Not the World
*Turn On The Radio- Bay City Rollers The Definitive Collection 
*Turn The Radio On- Lisa Mychols Sweet Sinsations 
*Turn Off Your Radio- The Essentials Fast Music In A Slow Town E.P. 7"
*Turn Me On Your Radio- Hilly Michaels Calling All Girls 
Bottle Of Fur- Urge Overkill Saturation 
Go Go Go- The Innocents No Hit Wonders From Down-Under 
I Feel Alright- Cosmic Dropouts Sonic Circus 
>Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)- Reunion Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day
The Jet Set Junta- The Monochrome Set Eligible Bachelors
Dead End- Adam Schmitt World So Bright
Stop Thinking About Yourself- Seventeen A Flashing Blur Of Stripped Down Excitement 
Saint Jake- The Del-Lords Johnny Comes Marching Home 

^Power Pop Peak:  #29 UK Singles Chart 10/20/78

*SacroSet:  Turn On Radio Heart

>Power Pop Prototype:  #8 Billboard Hot 100 9/7/74 

I guess it's just human nature but when I tell people I work in radio, many say "I NEVER listen to the radio."  I find this pretty rude, the equivalent of them telling me "well, then your children will STARVE- bwah ha ha haaaa!"  It's also not true, because when pressed they'll usually admit to listening "but only in the car."  Yes ONLY in the car- as if this is an inconsequential amount of time and we aren't all spending more and more time behind the wheel.  When I was a kid, I'd leave the house about 9am on a summer day, swing by for a fluffernutter at lunch time, and not return until supper.  Apparently that would now be called "child neglect," but I have no complaints.  Childhood today is a long succession of car trips as parenthood has largely devolved into an unpaid chauffeur position, driving the kids to school, to sports, to the doctor, music lessons, etc.  That's a
lot of time in the car "never" listening to the radio.  Oh, you may ask, but what about all the choices available in the dash these days?  True, satellite radio offers hundreds of choices and will continue to do so right up until the day it is run out of business by
wi-fi enabled cars.  Then, with the Internet at your fingertips, you'll have thousands of choices!  Imagine thousands of options for the 20 minute round trip taking Billy to soccer!  I have no doubt that the tech savvy will be listening to Zef radio out of  Johannesburg or J-Pop broadcasts from Osaka but the rest of us?  I think radio is going to be around for a while.

Now I'll grant that there has been a considerable artistic decline in commercial radio since it was deregulated in 1996.  Sadly, I doubt my boyhood hero Duane Ingalls Glasscock, renegade "clone" of WBCN morning man Charles Laquidara, would get his own show on any station in America today  ("Hello Rangoooooon!"). Yet you have to laugh at those newspaper stories about "the death of radio;" a 17th century medium calling a 20th century medium dead!  Placed any classified newspaper ads lately?  Ha!  Compared to other deregulated industries, like oh say banking and the airlines, radio is holding up pretty well.  How many mergers has your bank been through since '09 and have you flown on an airline recently, say in the last 10 years?  I get how deregulation is supposed to work theoretically, but sweet mother of mercy it has caused a world of hurt in the U.S.  I know the free marketeers would call this "creative destruction" but that's little solace when it's your knees that are being destroyed on a jam packed "beverage service only" flight that's been sitting out on the tarmac for 90 freakin' minutes.

Anyway, I still listen to the radio- FM and AM both.  Truth be told, I always have a selection of CD's in the car as well but after a while, especially on long trips, I start feeling like I'm in a "closed loop" and on goes the radio.  When I'm listening to the radio, whether its for music or talk, I feel connected to both the people at the station and my fellow listeners- it's not a feeling I get from a CD or my iPhone set on shuffle.  Plus, even though I have about 6,000 songs on the phone, there are no real surprises like those you get listening to a music station when you never know what they'll play next.  Furthermore, ask people who suffered through Hurricane Sandy or the Nor'easter in February how important radio is in a tragedy.  No power, no landline or wireless phone service- for many radio is their only connection to the outside world.  I have to say it really makes me mad that the aforementioned "free market forces" have kept an FM receiver out of smartphones for so long.  From what I've read, many phones already have the chip, but the manufacturers won't activate it because there's no money in it for them.  You would have thought after Katrina that they would have worked this out.  The good news is that I just read today that Emmis Broadcasting has an agreement with Sprint for FM radio in Android and Windows phones so hopefully we've turned a corner on what is an obvious no-brainer. 

My son rarely listens to the radio, but I'm happy to see my daughter Nica embrace the medium.  She fires through her four pre-set stations, lighting up when she finds her favorite hit song of the moment, singing at the top of her lungs.  That's one of the other things radio provides:  cultural consensus.  You can't really call a song a "hit" until you hear it all over the radio.  The Internet gives each of us the power to be our own "cultural curators" but as my ten year old self, alone in a bedroom full of Kiss posters and albums could tell you- it's much more fun when we share our passions.  That's not just what social media is about it's what all media throughout history is about- from cave paintings to Twitter, and that of course includes ALL KINDSA GIRLS!

Stream tonight's show below, or to download, right click and "Save Link As:"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Show #93 January 19, 2012

[NOTE:  This post is from an earlier era, before we realized Bill Cosby is a monster.]

Tonight's all about Amanda!

Amanda- Green Day ¡TrĂ©!
Can't Get Through- The Tearaways Ground's the Limit 
You Won't Break My Heart- The Nomads Solna 
I Love The Way You Touch- The Rubinoos Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About 
What In the World?- The Cavedogs Joy Rides for Shut-Ins 
Forget the Chef- Big Dipper Crashes On The Platinum Planet 
Got the Time- Joe Jackson Look Sharp! 
What Can I Do- The Late Show Portable Pop 
^She- Southcote She 
Youth Coup- Holly and the Italians The Right to Be Italian 
Out Of My Head- The Producers Coelacanth 
Don't Ask Me- OK Go OK Go
Diamonds- The Damned So, Who's Paranoid? 
Lovers Of Today- The Only Ones Special View 
*She- Hoodoo Gurus Mars Needs Guitars! 
*She- The Taxi Boys The Taxi Boys 
*She- Popsicle Laquer 
*She- Green Day Dookie
*She- Kiss Dressed to Kill 
Keep Believing- Bob Mould Silver Age
(It's Gonna Be) A Heartbreaker- The Cryers The Cryers
Maybe Tomorrow- The Chords This Is What Thay Want 
Candypants- The Dahlmanns All Dahled Up
Bring Back The One I Love- The Smithereens 2011 
Best of Intentions- Happy Hate Me Nots Out
>She- The Monkees Listen To The Band
Five Minutes In A Hero's Life- The A's The A's
No Answers- The Proof It's Safe 
Back In The Middle- Pezband Cover To Cover
Smart Boys- The Starjets God Bless The Starjets
She Rocks Me- Graham Parker and The Rumour Three Chords Good 

^Power Pop Prototype:  #80 Billboard Hot 100 3/9/74

*SacroSet:  "She" Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1968

Like most kids, the first records I ever listened to belonged to my parents.  They had a laissez-faire attitude about their albums- my sister Sarah and I could do what we wanted with them.  (Just to be clear, my kids have never even touched one of my records and that's just the way I like it.)  I don't remember my dad having any music albums, though he did have several comedy records, my favorite being Revenge by Bill Cosby (see above).  I memorized the title track "Revenge," a story about Bill's plot to get Junior Barnes for pelting him with a slush ball.  Bill makes a perfect snowball, hides it in the freezer and spends the next four months befriending Barnes, doing things like "letting him take a sip out of my soda bottle and not even wiping it off after."  Then, on a fateful spring day Bill and Junior Barnes are sitting on his front steps and Bill goes inside to get the snowball, only to find his mother has thrown it away.  What follows is one of my all-time favorite punch lines- Bill says "so I went outside and I spit on him."  I performed the entire bit for some neighborhood kids, who didn't find it nearly as funny as I did although I suppose it's possible that at eight years old I lacked the comic chops of an in-his-prime Bill Cosby.  My grandparents were a much more receptive audience- though I can only imagine what it was like for them watching their white Boston Irish Catholic grandson imitate Junior Barnes' black Philly ghetto accent.

Another of my father's records was a very bizarre album called Why Not! by Dayton Allen, who got his start on his brother Steve's TV show.  It was a very silly record but Dad and I loved it.  I couldn't get my friends to listen to it for more than a minute but as I write this I'm smiling just thinking about his signature catch phrase "Why Not!"  Further confirming Dayton Allen's genius, I later learned that he went on to voice Heckle and Jeckle, Lancelot Link Secret Chimp and ....wait for it.... Deputy Dawg!!  So there you go you “Dayton is Steve’s untalented brother” doubters.  

One Christmas several years later I got a chance to pay my father back for all those hours I spent enjoying his comedy records.  That fall a neighborhood kid named Steven invited a few of us over to his house- for what he wouldn't say, it was very hush hush and his parents weren't home.  After
getting us to promise that we would not tell on him he pulled out one of his older sister Kim's albums with a cover photo of a hippie in jeans and an open shirt making a stupid face.  I probably made some music snob remark about hippies but he just smiled and put the record on.   And my mind was blown!  You see what I was listening to was George Carlin's Class Clown album featuring his infamous "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." I couldn't believe how shocking, funny and smart it was.  When I went to the record store to buy Class Clown for my father that Christmas I saw that Carlin had just released a greatest hits album called Indecent
so I went with that instead.  Dad spent Christmas afternoon listening to it in the family room (on headphones of course- Mum wouldn't have approved of "the language") and howling with laughter.  We couldn't hear any of what he was listening to, only his laughter getting louder and louder.  It was awesome!

My Mom’s records leaned more towards folk music and some early rock and roll.  She had a few albums by a folk singer named Josh White.  Turns out he was an early civil rights activist and according to Wikipedia "the closest African-American friend and confidant to president Franklin D. Roosevelt."  All right Mum!  One of the things that proves how right my parents were for each other is that mixed in among her "serious" folk and 50's rock records were two albums by Allan Sherman, the folk/comedy singer of "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" fame.  I found the Sherman records corny though she had two albums by satarist/pianist/mathemetician Tom Lehrer that I remember liking.  I'm sure I understood only a little of what he was singing but the way he sang struck me as hilarious.  

I tried listening to Josh White, but that's just not the type of music that appeals to a nine year old.  Much more up my alley were her Elvis albums, especially his first.  I remember listening to the songs "Tutti Frutti" and "Money Honey" over and over.  That was an attitude I could relate to! To my ears, Elvis' singing sounded like he was trying REALLY hard not to explode and that tension was exciting to hear.  Staring at the record cover I'd think, "well he finally did explode, right when this picture was taken!"  There is a freedom in this photo that for me is a big part of what rock and roll is all about. Needless to say, I was thrilled years later when on a snowy December day Cousin Rich and I scored our import copies of The Clash's London Calling at the Strawberries in Harvard Square.  The cover took me right back to listening to my mother's Elvis LP!   Completing the circle, London Calling is my favorite album of all-time.

Click the link below to stream this week's show or to download, right click and "Save Link As:"