Dramarama, The Dream Academy, Winter Hours, The Stone Roses, Wire Train, The Smiths, Wire, Brian Eno, Killing Joke, Gene Loves Jezebel, Simple Minds, INXS, Flesh For Lulu, APB, Romeo Void, The Slits, Missing Persons, Modern English, The Alarm, The Producers, The Jags, Blancmange, The Lotus Eaters, Ministry, Lene Lovich, The The, Tears for Fears, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Julian Cope, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Human League, ABC, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, The Times, Fun Boy Three, They Might Be Giants, Spizzenergi, The Fall, Pulsallama, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission, The Wonder Stuff, Soul Attack, Pushtwangers, The Boomtown Rats, Adam & The Ants, The Fixx, Talk Talk, See No Evil, Flaming Mussolinis, The Motors, 20-20, Missing Persons, Kirsty Maccoll, New Order, Dead Or Alive, Yazoo, Bronski Beat, Time Zone, Public Image Ltd.
The Playlist you seek is here
From The Basement #180
“If you write, fix pipes, grade papers, lay bricks or drive a taxi - do it with a sense of pride. And do it the best you know how. Be cognizant and sympathetic to the guy alongside, because he wants a place in the sun, too. And always...always look past his color, his creed, his religion and the shape of his ears. Look for the whole person. Judge him as the whole person.”
― Rod Serling
Mr. Serling was so much more than the creator of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, although that would be quite enough for most. Over the course of his career, he wrote 252 scripts and won six Emmys and I would wager that hardly anyone remembers his powerful story “Requiem For A Heavyweight,” if you are one, may I suggest you investigate. I keep finding quotes from him that remain appropriate, applying to the present day as much as when they were created. Some fab new sounds are included in this edition as well as shout out to a pair of drummers that remain central to my own life, Birthday wishes to Dino Danelli and congratulations to Bill Bruford on his outstanding career retrospective. We also have a bit of fun at the expense of hateful scumbag Josh Rawley. Wish Carlos Santana well after his health scare and happy belated 75th. Finally, I say goodbye to a schoolmate and my very first bandmate, Johnny D. O’Toole. Thanks to all who made the last Donation period the best ever. Sending peace and love and music to everyone. Ringo is right but I need to add music to everything.
And so it began. Surprisingly I do not remember the exact date but one night at Midnight the transmitter stayed on for the FMfor the first time ever and from Midnight until 6 AM, I was on my own. In complete control of what I played. The year was 1984 so everything was still on vinyl only and I would bring anywhere from 3 to 5 large milk crates stuffed with albums, 12” singles, EP’s and a separate box for 7” singles. It was very important to us that we do something different. First song played on the first overnight show was, what else… “Peaches En Regalia” by Frank Zappa. All the stations we had grown up with and admired were no longer keeping up with what was happening musically. They were more and more reliant on research, consultants and appealing to the lowest common denominator. With very few exceptions they didn’t allow the DJ to pick what they played, the most libral might give them a DJ choice slot but no more than 1 an hour. We had no interest in that. Corporate Radio had taken over and if you wanted to keep your gig you followed the playlist handed to you by the letter. The once groundbreaking stations that put together thoughtful, flowing and enlightening sets of music, kept the audience informed of new artists before anyone else, had slid very comfortably into reading liner cards and playing the same stuff ad infinitum. We had basically stopped listening to them, except for Vin Scelsa there was nothing playing we didn’t already hear too much. By 1984 there was quite a large body of great music that commercial radio wouldn’t touch. It was left to College Radio and Noncom signals to play, as well as clubs with more and more branching out from Disco by playing Rock stuff people could dance to.
As already covered, we did not have very good equipment and a sub par signal. To give locals an example, the studio was on Hope Road in Tinton Falls, as was the antenna. I lived in Old Bridge, 23 miles away and could not pick up the station. But due to our location, when it was dark and there were less leaves on the trees I would sometimes get it but usually in Mono. However, once the signal hit the water and skipped it would come in crystal clear in places like Short Hills, Staten Island, the southern part of Long Island and even places like The Village or parts of Manhattan. It was very weird. But we couldn’t concern ourselves with what was wrong, we had too much work to do building our sound and stationality. Endless suggestions and discussions abounded but Rich and I made a pact that we had the final word regardless. He knew a lot more about how radio works but when it came to music he agreed that more often than not would be my purview. Having lived in the area and worked in record stores and clubs we both knew the market and the taste of the population. WNEW was the station of choice in Asbury Park with their “Bruce Juice,”interestingly coined by Morning DJ Dave Herman at WNEW who actually started his radio career playing “Beautiful Music” right here at WHTG. WNEW had yearly concerts on the beach and a partner relationship with The Stone Pony. We made the decision to go another way.
We could feel a change in the air and it wasn’t happening on the Commercial dial. We would cue and fire up “Lust For Life” by Iggy and the dance floor would fill in clubs that even a year earlier wouldn’t even think of altering the incessant 120 BPM of Disco for a second. MTV and Cable TV were in their infancy and bands like The Cure, R.E.M., U2, The Smiths, Generation X, New Order and many more could only be heard on College Radio or in small clubs. There were hundreds of songs, maybe thousands that were connecting with not just a new generation, but the fringes of our own. We would use them in combination with artists abandoned and/or ignored by rock radio like The Tubes, Garland Jeffreys, The Talking Heads, Devo, Mink DeVille, The Ramones, Television, The Stooges, T. Rex, David Bowie and when the weather warmed add in great beach “singles” like The Grass Roots, Stevie Wonder, Sly & The Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Beach Boys, The Monkees, Tommy James, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Rascals, even Buddy Holly, early Who and great tunes like ‘I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night,” “The Letter” or “Mendocino” and make it flow. It was all about what was next and making sure you didn’t get too far from something familiar so there was an easy point of entry. Our goal was to answer questions like, “Hey what was that song you played after ‘Sail On Sailor’?”
The other key for us was if you called the station you actually spoke to the person on the air, who not only answered the call but also engineered their own show. Sure we only had a 1955 rotary dial phone in the studio, but it worked. It would blow people’s minds when we would answer, give them the info they were looking for and actually played their request, most of the time. I used to enjoy getting calls for the Grateful Dead, who were gods in the area. I would say, “sorry man, don’t have any.” Invariably they would say “Tuna?” and sometimes I would play a track from Hot Tuna’s first album. But usually I would play Pop O’Pies version of “Truckin’” laughing my ass off and waiting for the usual call saying that was a really “harsh thing to do, man.” Imagine my surprise when one night around 2 AM the call came from Joe Pop O’Pie himself, who was now living about 2 miles from our studio. He headed right over and hung out with me until 6AM.
Who knows, this might just work…(more to come)
“The writer's role is to menace the public's conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus on the issues of his time.”
― Rod Serling
“Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete”
― Rod Serling
For the complete series playlist to date click Here
From The Basement #179
The Bell’s Palsy has subsided so I am back behind Mr. Microphone for this episode, I think you will be able to understand me, although with a packed episode of new and rarely heard tunes, sometimes I feel like I’m just getting in the way. While it’s very sad to say goodbye to supreme showman and Pop hook genius Cliff Johnson (hit me hard), Paul Ryder of Happy Mondays and the legendary William “Poogie” Hart of The Delfonics, we do get to revel in the unexpected return of Lewis Taylor and Jazz great Ronnie Foster. Add in more brilliant new music from Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp (2 Beach Boys covers), Nightlands, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad bring the latest episode of their Jazz Is Hell series featuring a band that won’t be a secret much longer, Katalyst. In addition, Ginger Wildheart has crafted some pop gems on his new outing, JayWood, Death Cab for Cutie, Jonah Tolchin and The Gabbard Brothers/Buffalo Killers join in with riveting new sounds. We have Manic Street Preachers covering Sinatra, Johnny Thunders does Doris Day while the unmistakable musical link between Joni Mitchell and Duke Ellington is displayed. All this is only about 30% of the show and the unexpected sonic links and twists abound as usual. Thanks to all who contributed to the cause, I don’t believe I’ll need to hit you up again until the end of the Summer. Please send some positive vibes to my Aunt Connie and Uncle Bill, they are the last Aunt and Uncle left from my huge family and exemplary humans, even though I am related. I am thankful to be just 10 minutes from them, so there’s someone close when needed. Have fun, smile more and always listen to as much music as possible. Thanks for listening and everything.
THERE ONCE WAS A RADIO STATION CALLED FM 106.3 WHTG, EATONTOWN NJ
So we had a plan, better yet we had an actual transmitter and Antenna… Well, sort of. Let’s just say that the equipment at WHTG was “vintage” and we knew nothing would improve unless we managed to find and build an audience. The board was an old rotary dial Ampro which was installed give or take a year or so since the day I was born, and it was literally held together with well placed paper clips and scotch tape. The cart decks were mono and in need of some work and the way commercials got cut was when on the air in channel 1, you would cut the commercials in channel 2 while doing your show. Ok, Ok… we’ve all been in similar situations, but there was one sticking point I had that needed to be addressed ASAP. Rich had managed to assemble about 150 records into a station library, and although I had everything we would need record wise, there was no way I was going to play them on those 1950 Transcription Turntables that tracked so heavy you could see the new groove cut in the record. If we could get them to spring for a pair of Technics 1200s, I would provide what we needed record wise, until we could replace them. At the time, the station (a 3,000 watt daytimer) FM and AM still went dark at Midnight. Our plan had me starting an Overnight Show with no boundaries musically, while figuring out how to be a DJ, selling air time and designing and building a record library.
Rich was on during the day and we had other DJ’s on the air until Midnight. J.T. Copolous was actually the first to play this “strange new music” when he cued-up and let fly “Planet Claire” the opening track from the B-52’s second album on his weekend show, “Suuuuhhhh-PRIZE” indeed! Finally, Rich calls me up and says, “you won’t believe it and I’m not even sure I do but I’m looking at a pair of brand new Technics 1200 turntables, with Stanton movable coil cartridges (essential for back and slip cueing) they are here!” I began loading records into milk crates before hanging up the phone. This was actually going to happen. We both grew up on great radio, first AM and then FM with call letters like WOR-FM, WNEW-FM, WABC-FM, WMMR in Philadelphia, which we would sometimes hear down the shore further south, we wished we could pick up WLIR but couldn’t, and both of us had an affinity for what Meg Griffin and her Husband Joe From Chicago had done with the short-lived but much loved WPIX “From Elvis To Elvis” as well as another short lived NY station, WQIV - The Quadfather. I had another station on my list though which actually had as much or more impact on me than all those mentioned, namely, WXRT in Chicago. My best friend Max had moved out to the Chicago area to study at Chiropractic School, and shortly after he arrived began sending home tapes of this amazing, free form station. What they were doing at the time was truly revolutionary. (more to come)
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There Once Was A Radio Station Called FM 106.3 WHTG, Eatontown NJ
WHTG was always planned to be a main topic for this series since it was really the starting point for everything I have managed to do in my so-called career. WHTG changed to a "Rock" format in 1984 but was the culmination of conversations, friendships and projects that started in 1976 when I was managing a record store in the Monmouth Mall called Musicden. It was there I first encountered Rich Robinson, Bart Cross-Tierney and Chuck Michaels (Pierce), hiring them one by one to help out in the store, which was everything you could imagine a “hip” record store was in the mid-70s in a mall with a Sam Goody also down the hall and to the left. It was actually a real blast and I would not trade coming of age when I did with any other. Rich would go on to work with a variety of bands I was in, Chuck was involved with building DJ equipment and Bart would drift in and out of everyone’s lives, eventually getting back in touch when he heard me on the Overnight show and we brought him aboard the good ship HTG immediately as he was the only one of us who had a legitimate radio voice.
All of us were fanatical music fans, Bart an insane Beatles collector and me just a record collector, trying to hunt down and acquire all different kinds of music, especially new sounds. By the time I was turning 25 the realization that a career in drumming was not going to provide any sort of financial security so when offered a job at Jem Records, the major importer of all the music I loved, I jumped at the chance. Between years of playing in bands, running a record store and collecting records I had a sort of Rainman vibe in regard to rock and jazz knowledge. Useless stuff to normal people like knowing the catalog number, providence and members of pretty much every band and artist off the top of my head. I felt this was like going to College, and that being the case this job at Jem was akin to entering Graduate School.
This was a new level and there was so much I didn’t know, but these were my people. Records and Music were all we talked about. My knowledge and collection were a mere speck in a place where one dude actually owned every single that entered the Billboard chart from 1950-1980, and had them perfectly filed by Label and Catalog Number in matching green sleeves covering the originals. That is where I finally found the original “Valerie” single by Jackie & The Starlights, as he had an extra! This is also where I met Brian Eno and Richard Barone and The Bongos, as we were releasing their records here in the USA. We were also the company that first put out records by Killing Joke, Siouxsie & The Banshees and The Cure in America. Jem Records is celebrating their 50th Birthday this year, as Marty Scott the “M” in Jeff, Ed & Marty, had reactivated the label years back and continues to put out some very cool records today.
Eventually I found myself living in Arlington, Texas and opening Jem Records Texas in Grand Prairie. That put Cathy and I at the midpoint between Dallas and Fort Worth. Cathy got a job in Dallas and I tried to assimilate with my new co-workers, all native Texans. It just wasn’t a good fit, except for one, a guy named Terry. You see, Terry was a Black Man and I was a Yankee, in their eyes that made us the same. Both of us did the work of 5 of them and I made sure to wear a Yankee shirt of some sort every single day. I was nowhere near as mellow as I later became, nor one to hold either my contempt or temper. It wasn’t meant to last, but as always, one good thing came out of it. Thanks to Terry I got my first radio show at KNON in Dallas. It was “The Mr. Mike Show” every Friday night. Two hours of new music, imports and independent releases from around the world. I debuted The Smiths first singles on KNON, The Voice Of The People. I finally realized that this is what I needed to do and the sooner I could get out of Texas and back home to NJ the better. Jem would not pay to move me back, so I borrowed the money from my Father-In-Law, quit and moved home. I was sort of working for them again upon my return, but it wasn’t the same, so I started spinning records at bars, clubs and wherever I could. And we did pay my Father-In-Law back. Larry is a great man, still going at 92 years old. The last parent between us. That time arrives quicker than expected, occasionally all at once and drives home the fact that we are the older generation now. Maybe it’s time to just write this shit down while I still can.
As luck would have it, my old pal Rich was spending his time working at a Radio Station in a little house in the woods in Tinton Falls, with a mailing address in Asbury Park. You guessed it, WHTG. It was a Beautiful Music Station, playing album sides of Mantovani and Andre Kostelanetz, and was privately owned, literally broadcasting from the house where the owner lived. Started in the 50’s by Harold and Theo Gade (HTG) it was currently being run by their daughter Faye, after Harold went off to Hawaii with his new bride following the death of his wife. But Rich, that smooth son of a gun, had a plan. With his hair length almost reaching his waist, he was certainly not into playing that sort of music on the radio, so he set about conducting a survey in the very same Monmouth Mall where we first met. After gathering the results he suggested to Faye that she should really consider changing the station to Rock. Then he called me. Now this could get very interesting… (more to come)
playlist - click
From The Basement #178
Once again Art Damage and his golden tones selflessly come to the rescue of Bell's Palsy afflicted Mike, although ne makes a brief appearance on-air to attempt to talk about the new Julian Cope single, he has worshiped Julian's music for more than 40 years. Otherwise he remains planted in the mix zone, really stretching bounderies in this episode with extra long, widely diverse sets that include Tears for Fears, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, James Gang, Phil Roy, Maia Sharp & Buddy Mondlock, The A's, David Hines, The Swimming Pool Q's, Jane's Addiction, fIREHOSE, J. Geils Band, James Carr, Four Tops, Willy DeVille, Morphine, Peter Himmelman, The Doobie Brothers, The Doors, John Lennon, George Jones, Wilco, Warren Zevon, Hoodoo Gurus, Hüsker Dü, New Model Army, The Clash, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Stevie Wonder, Little Axe, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Porcupine Tree, Public Image Ltd, Pere Ubu, Gang of Four, Walter Cronkite, The Colorblind James Experience, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Steve Forbert, Translator, Whirling Dervishes, David Byrne, Talking Heads, Novo Combo, The Police, Tom Waits, Cream, Treat Her Right, Julian Cope, Herman Brood, The Tragically Hip, Tin Huey, Wire, Love Spit Love, Immaculate Fools, 1990s, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Wildhearts, The Tubes, Jon Auer, Jon Brion, The Cars, Roxy Music, Nine Horses, John Martyn and Airto Moreira. Thanks again for keeping us solid financially, the like is good until July 17. https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8KJGb9YYJn
We are appealing to you on behalf of legendary master percussionist/drummer Airto Moreira for help with his physical rehabilitation. After a recent and challenging battle with pneumonia, Airto was finally released from the hospital and is now back at his apartment in Curitiba, Brazil. The experience has left him extremely fragile and with very minimal corporal mobility. He cannot perform the most basic daily tasks without assistance and requires the support of a professional caregiver. In addition, he also requires bi-weekly home visits from a registered nurse, as well as medication. He also needs extensive treatments and particular physical therapy to recover as much of his corporal mobility as possible. Airto and his family need your help with this overwhelming task! He has no medical insurance and is currently on a waiting list to receive government assistance. However, the wait time for his age group is a minimum of six months, and it could take up to a year for him to get just some of the governmental support he requires. We hope that together we can all generate the resources he urgently needs to support his recovery and inspire him on the uphill journey back to himself. A tribute concert for Airto is on the way in the spirit of this endeavor. The target is mid-September to early October. Look for updates on this and Airto's progress on the Go Fund Me page, and with our sincerest gratitude, we thank you all for your prayers, good vibes, love and support!!
This is late getting to you as I was banned for 24 hours from Facebook for commenting “Beat the shit out of them” to a photo of drummer Tony Snow looking out behind his drumset. I am just about ready to disconnect from all social media. This holiday is somewhat meaningless for me this year, as the women in my life and everywhere in the USA have much less Freedom today. One of the guiding principles of The Declaration Of Independence, Separation Of Church & State, much like Slavery is being erased from the history books. Hold your loved ones close and as Lee Michaels sang, “Hold On To Freedom.” This link is still active until July 17 https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8KJGb9YYJn and even though the goal has been reached, we still find ourselves underfunded due to prices on everything rising daily. Thanks as always for your support. This episode features: Elliott Smith, Petra Haden, Nouvelle Vague, Richard Swift, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Ian Hunter, Lee Oskar, Swamp Dogg, Dr. John and the Lower 911, Anthony Hamilton, Curtis Harding, Negativland, H. Rap Brown, Eugene McDaniels, Miles Davis Quintet, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lee Michaels, Chris Whitley, Dramarama, Jimmy LaFave, Mike Boldt, 20-20, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Metro, Ani DiFranco, Aimee Mann, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Ones, Joe Purdy, Ari Hest, First Aid Kit, Iron & Wine, Jeffrey Foucault, Richie Havens, James Carr, Jon Batiste, Ice-T, Devo, Frank Zappa, Eminem, Gil Scott-Heron, Max Roach, James Brown, Pops Staples, Prince, The Rascals, Chuck Berry, Steve Miller, Syd Straw, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Willie Nile & David Forman , Will Hoge and more.
THE PLAYLIST IS HERE
With a flurry of what the fuck rulings to close their session, SCOTUS has taken the wind out of my celebration instincts for the Fourth of July Weekend and I have heard and felt the same vibe in the air. I am proud to be an American and I do love my Country. There have always been disagreements and divergent views, but friends and family were able to put it aside and agree to disagree, have some fun and enjoy the company. Not any longer, folks. And that is the difference and I fear where it may lead. Life is too short. There will be at least 2 parts to the latest entry in the Mixtapes Series #003, here’s the first one featuring:
Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, X, Jackson Browne, Allen Toussaint, Charles Bradley, Bobby Womack, Albert Brooks, Ornette Coleman, Bill Callahan, Ben Sidran, Ben Harper, Amanda Shires; Jason Isbell, Ben E. King, Bob Dylan and the Band, Bruce Tunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, Bill Hicks, Chicago, James Taylor, Bobby Darin, Alvin Lee & Mylon Le Fevre, Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicano Batman, Lee Harvey Osmond, Lack Of Afro, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Charlie Haden Family & Friends, David Bowie,
Childish Gambino, Butch Walker, Dinah Shore, Eva Cassidy, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Garland Jeffreys, The Comsat Angels, Francis Dunnery, Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and Friends, Cashman & West, Dada, 7Horse, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Luka Bloom, Gloria Steinem, James McMurtry and…
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