FROM THE BASEMENT #190
From this human’s point of view it is more important than ever to try and maintain some semblance of normalcy while witnessing, what at times, looks to be everything bursting into flames. Maybe it’s simply a product of getting older but I suspect not, as the infrequent times venturing from the cocoon of the studio into what passes for the real world, the eyes of the public say it all. By nature an extrovert, I am that guy looking to interact with others. I will always hold a door or let someone move ahead in line, enjoying the small talk that will usually arise. People don’t do this anymore. Anxiety, fear, disbelief and confusion is what I read now. Most recently today in the supermarket, but clearly increasing at a steady rate over the last few years.
Musically speaking, this is a normal episode of FTB. New or previously unreleased things from Lambchop, Josh Rouse, Julian Cope, The Waterboys, Jesse Malin, Artists For Action, Calexico, Will Sheff, Wilco, Jack White, Sloan, Bartees Strange, Bruce Springsteen, Dan Mangan, Spain, Death Cab For Cutie, Christone Kingfish Ingram And Big K.R.I.T., The House Of Love, Brian Eno, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, The Beths, The Godfathers, GA-20 and The Afghan Whigs. Joined by sounds from King Missile, The Rave-Ups, The Clash, Nazz, The Move, Beagle, The Db’s, Darrell Scott, Warren Zevon, Love, Nick Drake, R.E.M., Charlie Hunter, Phil Roy, Glen Hansard, Free, Ani Difranco, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mark Lanegan, Isobel Campbell, Caravan and others. Seems a little light on Jazz this time but that’s just how the muse moved around the library.
Thanks for listening and please try to keep your head up and moving forward while dodging the explosions of upheaval all around. If you can’t find the will to speak, at least offer a smile if you happen to spot a pair of eyes that obviously could use one.
The playlist can be found by clicking HERE
Unsure of the contents prior to opening the box I was not fully prepared to be transported instantly back to the last century, but that is exactly what happened. Bright colors and weird covers adorned the top layer of DAT tapes filling the carton. I don’t even use them anymore but back in the 1990’s it was a very common site. Here they were, I knew I never got rid of them. Last seen in early 2001 while packing to move to Washington, DC for XM. The shows that I did for WHTG from my home studio in Peabody, MA while I was working for Rykodisc. Now there’s a story…. And quite frankly I’m not sure I want to share it all, at least not this week. But since context and environment are a necessary element for full enjoyment, here’s what I will share for now.
Before Ryko I was programming my dream station, Coyote Radio in New Mexico. Located in Santa Fe and privately owned. I thought we would be there forever. It lasted a year and a half! For now we’ll avoid getting into the drama, but this was the period that changed terrestrial radio forever. The future for anything above lowest common denominator programming on FM was terminal once ownership caps were removed. So let’s just say that there is most definitely a book in there.
Rich Robinson had joined me in Santa Fe and wound up staying for a while but I took a great job with Rykodisc and once again moved across the country. This was it as far as Radio was concerned. No more. Fuck Radio! Ryko was a wonderful place to work, truly great people all with music as the center of their life. The roster of artists contained absolute gems like Morphine, Bob Mould, Alejandro Escovedo, Lloyd Cole, Golden Smog, Bruce Cockburn, Medeski, Martin & Wood, John Cale, Andrew Bird, Josh Rouse and on and on. Plus we had the catalogs of Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Nick Drake, The Soft Boys, The Undertones and so much more. Jeff Rougvie was the A&R guru and we are friends for life. He’s about ready to publish his book on the label and I can’t wait to read it.
I can’t remember the exact date but in 1997 good old Rich gave me a call that started with “Hey Spike, I’m back in Jersey and you’ll never guess what station I start programming soon.” I hesitated for a second and knew there was only one answer, ``Don't tell me, HTG?” Yep, he was back and talking about “putting the band back together.” He knew there was no way i could afford the beyond extreme pay cut a full time job would be for me, but before long we had devised “Radio Terrorism.” Every Saturday I would do 10 pm to Midnight via a recorded show and Bart Cross-Tierney would come back with his new creation “Barrage From The Garage” LIVE from Midnight to 6 AM. Vintage Vinyl, easily the best and now largest Independent Record Store in the State, would pay for the whole shebang. Owner Rob Roth was a huge supporter of the station since we started it in ‘84 and he was thrilled with the change in programming.
I made zero money for doing the show and didn’t care. They covered blank media (DATS) and all mailing expenses, but the key was the rules. There weren’t any. I could play and say anything I wanted. Rob was basically sub-contracting the signal for 8 hours and was paying six months in advance. He made sure to include a clause in the contract that any forced change to the programming would terminate the deal immediately. This 77th show was actually picked at random out of the box, but is a perfect way to begin the series, as the week before it aired Rich had been let go as PD and the new program director, had a big problem with the lyrical content of the Bruce Cockburn song I played and called me up. I was in no mood. By 1999 my contempt for radio had increased to maximum. With very few exceptions, the corporations were completely in control and had systematically squeezed the adventure, discovery, respect for the audience and above all, fun from the assembly line. They had dumbed everything down to a degree I considered insulting. I almost felt bad for my reaction to that phone call, but I said what I needed to say and am glad I did. Basically I told him to check the contract. Since it was already paid through to a period about 6 weeks or so down the line, I don’t have to play or better yet, not play, anything. You have no say. Consider this my notice. I will fill out the contract and not renew. Please let me know ASAP if you will need me to provide the shows remaining. They did and so did I. Fuck Radio. I was done and haven’t done a show for “terrestrial” radio ever since.
Although very comfortable with computers, I had not yet patched mine for audio, so I would use my basic setup, 2 turntables, 3 compact disc players, 2 cassette machines, a portable DAT and cheesy old reverb. It was all done live, a 2 hour show took about 2 and a half. Today I could put together a 2 hour show in 15 minutes if necessary. And literally none of the gear just listed would be involved.
I can’t believe I have managed to save all the playlists!
The Playlist is right HERE
From The Basement #189
Last Day Of September, 2022.
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders
It feels as if the last 4 years have taken a decade and a half at least. A swirling cycle rapidly accelerates the tragedy of Cancer, Death, Lies, Pandemic, Death, more Lies, more Death, Hurricanes, greed, bigger Lies, Corruption, violence, Guns, contempt, spite, lawlessness, bigger LIES… ad nauseum. Picture poor Alex toward the end of A Clockwork Orange. Admittedly some are personal and at this age expected; family, close friends, musicians,. However, the rest of the 24 hour news cycle continues to amp up the volume of pure noise leaving us exhausted and filled with dread when thinking through how astoundingly awful it still may get. Fear rules! And that’s got nothing to do Lee Ving. Take a good look around and try to look someone in the eye. We are a shell covered with skin, rotting from the inside. Helplessly watching our culture devolve into tribes, rituals and sorcery. It’s as if Germany in the 1930’s has been ripped from the history books. Wait a minute, has it? A solid 30-35% of Americans apparently want an Emperor and what’s worse is the one they have chosen. A vain bully with self interest and greed in place of compassion and honor. I still blame Ronald Regan for kicking this drive toward stupidity into high gear. We have reached the result. It is time to start again from scratch. Please Vote.
Music is the only thing prying this Senior Citizen out of bed and pushing forward. The beauty of discovery is alive and well with new arrivals from Linda Chorney, Jean Dawson, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, James Deely, David Poe, Beth Orton, Makaya McCraven, The Smithereens, Buddy Guy with Mavis Staples, Alain Zane, Dr. John, Stevie Nicks, Beck, David Bowie, Cliff Hillis, JD Simo and The War On Drugs. We also bid a tearful farewell to the groundbreaking Pharoah Sanders, closing the episode with the full version of his brilliant “The Creator Has A Master Plan.” Let it wash over you and heal what hurts. Thanks for the support and for listening. VOTE.
Here is where to find the playlist and full cover art.
I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die,
so let me live my life… the way I want to. --- Jimi Hendrix
It’s safe to say that at my age (closer to 70 than 60) saying goodbye to family and friends takes up a much greater part of what time is left. That old saying, “With time comes wisdom” joins all those other tidbits from youth like “these are the best years of your life” and “they grow up so fast” that prove over and over that at least my parents were absolutely telling the truth. Max and I had drifted apart in recent years, mainly due to my entire life exploding in 2018 and the pandemic kind of sealed it, arriving just as I was starting to recover. We always think we’ll have enough time but rarely do, and now that has run out with utmost finality. Classmates through Grammar and High School, music and the counterculture brought us together as friends and he served as Best Man when Cathy and I married in 1980. I’m pretty sure I DJ’d his wedding, as I served as resident DJ for a great deal of the Coakley (and cousins the Holton’s) weddings. They were always a hoot with an ages old velvet painting of Elvis Presley being presented to the newest Bride and Groom from the last couple to get hitched. A touching ceremony and one of the best family traditions I have ever encountered.
Max was usually the smartest guy in the room, he excelled at school. I took a different path but he went to College at Rutgers while I played in bands and ran a record store. I was the oldest child but Max had 4 older brothers and through their influence I was exposed to music I would have either never heard, or discovered much later in life. It was an enormous influence. While at college, Max got into a really bad car accident that he was lucky to survive. The constant pain had him seek help from a Chiropractor, the same one my Pop brought me to see when my back locked up playing Basketball, Dr. Alexander. This changed his life, as he decided that’s what he wanted to do, study to be a Chiropractor. Sure enough he moved to Illinois for school and became a Chiropractor. His time in the Chicago area also had a huge influence on me, as he discovered this amazing radio station that was just getting going called WXRT and he would send me tapes of the programming that blew my mind. We would wind up in separate states quite a bit from then on but regularly communicated through mailed cassettes.
Max, now Dr. Max came back to Jersey, married the sister of my Amazing Bolt brother Tommy and set about opening a small office in the little town we grew up in, South Amboy. Max and the Mrs. had two boys and all was well, or so it seemed. Without getting into specifics, let’s just say the marriage didn’t last, and something in Max broke. He changed. Like a switch had been flicked off. The light never fully returned to his eyes, although it broke through in shorter and shorter bursts. It seemed like he just didn’t care and retreated. I missed him. Dr. Max closed the office and headed for the shore. And that’s where it ended. Alone. 66 is too young to go, especially these days. I’ll never forget him.
This show is a musical remembrance of artists and songs we both loved and touches on so many things that were first brought to my ears through our friendship. It really is the only thing I can do and I need to do it. Hope you enjoy the show.
Playlist is Here
We are having major difficulty with this website, so while I plan our move to a new host you will need to adjust to not getting a big cover picture here. When you follow the playlist link it will be there.
As discussed during last episode, the response to FTB#186, our Power Pop packed tribute to Bobby Sutliff was so positive it was decided to make the next Mixtape Episode, songs we consider Power Pop Essentials. Since #186 was just a few episodes ago, we have not included most of the things played on that show, but they will be ripe for picking for Part 3 which should surface within a month or so. We are at 80% of our fundraising goal and the link is only good for another 4 days, so if you can, the place to go is https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8MLkB5ZR4b. Please accept our deepest gratitude for the support.
PLAYLISTS ARE HERE
FROM THE BASEMENT #187
Traditionally speaking, this is the point on the calendar signaling arrival of the year’s musical offerings for the be here before ya know it, Holiday Shopping season. Mentally drifting back to days running a record store (1974-1979), with orders placed for months and boxes of shiny new records just starting to appear, carefully opened, examined, priced and placed in a special area waiting to showcase them as the new bounty. Lovingly arranged and fixed with “20% Off” stickers on their freshly shrink wrapped, straight from the pressing plant goodness. One can savor “new car smell” till the cows come home but to these nostrils it’s not even in the same ballpark as “new record smell.” Like a grade school mimeograph, the aroma simply can’t be described, just deeply inhale holding your breath and exhale slowly. “Ahhhh”... Heavenly.
Assembling this episode of FTB inspired precisely that memory. The Afghan Whigs new album was my #1 anticipation and as you will hear it doesn’t disappoint. Joined here by fresh sounds from Built To Spill, Julian Lennon (with Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile), Buddy Guy (with Mavis Staples and Jason Isbell), GA-20, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Son Little, Freedy Johnston, Beth Orton, Ryan Adams, The National, previously unreleased history from Joe Strummer and David Bowie. There are new Kinks remastered sets and the just turned 30 celebration of Sugar’s incendiary pop masterpiece, “Copper Blue” in the mix, as well as a few more tears for the departed Jazz Icon, Ramsey Lewis. Our racks are almost full here and for that we thank your always generous contributions at https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8MLkB5ZR4b.
THE PLAYLIST IS RIGHT HERE
A Power Pop episode of FTB has been on the must-do list right from the start, but the death of Bobby Sutliff moved it to the front of the line. By no means is this show’s aim to be the last word (or even the second paragraph) of what constitutes the best of Power Pop, because who the hell are we to decide what is best? There is no best or worst as all art is subjective. The artists included here are either connected in some way to Bobby or just seemed to fit the mood, the moment and the overall vibe. Many are true favorites personally and the hope is some previously unheard song will become essential to your library. Big thanks go to Tim Lee for the info, and Art Damage and Ripper McSesh for helping with the nuts and bolts. And please accept our deep thanks for continuing to support the program. Here’s the donate link - https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8MLkB5ZR4b
NEED THE PLAYLIST? CLICK ME
TO DONATE DIRECTLY TO BOBBY'S FAMILY HERE IS THE INFO:
GOFUNDME.COM - LET'S GIVE BOBBY A HAND
Technically Labor Day is not the end of Summer and considering the blistering heat we’ve experienced this year, with more predicted, who knows if it will feel like it until Halloween or so. Time has been in limbo, suspended while medical trauma and recovery morph into a Pandemic and all of a sudden it’s 4 years gone. Poof. The mental fog has lifted to the point of grateful acceptance that this will be as good as it gets and that’s cool with me. But far too many friends, family and musical inspirations are also missing and their absence leaves an ache of longing. It was my buddy Joe’s Birthday on the first and almost 2 years have now passed since he did. Life often feels like being an observer, not an active participant. Truth and honor are in dwindling supply and Democracy has been under siege, but optimism still burns within that as a society we will get there. Bill Hicks said we have two choices, fear and love. Simple choice. Music is love and that never fails. We bid farewell to Jazz great Joey DeFrancesco and New Orleans favorite son and original Continental Drifter Carlo Nuccio. There are a few new things like Chris Forsyth and old friend Dan Navarro as well as a set for the holiday at hand. Shadow Morton is in the spotlight dance along with Joe South, while Marvin Gaye, Max Frost & The Troopers, Joe Strummer, Mott The Hoople, Pharoah Sanders, Television and the new Blondie box are just a small part of FTB185’s sonic fabric. Thanks as always for your ears and heart. Your support has been a true blessing. The link - https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8MLkB5ZR4b
The PLAYLIST ishere.
From The Basement #184
FTB #184 is another Free Form romp through the music library, with some brand new sounds courtesy of Julian Cope, The National, Miles Davis, Silversun Pickups, Robyn Hitchcock, Valerie June, Tedeschi Trucks Band, David Bowie, Freedy Johnston and more. Ripper McSesh and Art Damage were hanging with Mike in the studio the entire time, continuing their quest to figure out how he can include Chet Baker, Alice In Chains, Led Zeppelin, Mississippi John Hurt and John Waite in the same set without even a minor musical trainwreck. Thanks again for the use of your ear holes to park our musical obsessions. As the great Lenny Bruce said in “Father Flotski’s Triumph” -- We’re giving it all up for you, Kinky!
We tried to make it until September before asking for donations, but came up a few days short. We completely understand if you are also tapped out, but in case you find some spare change in the sofa at least you will have a handy link. Thanks, as always, for keeping the dream alive. https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8MLkB5ZR4b
If you want the Playlist click HERE
Didn’t realize it was National Radio Day but who are we to argue, instead of waiting we’ll unleash this puppy tonight. New music from Kasabian, Moby and Serpentwithfeet, Jesse Malin, Cheap Star, Duncan Sheik, Broken Bells, Kal Marks, Nick Piunti, The Grip Weeds, Julian Cope and Richard Barone. We dial the clock back for a visit with David Crosby and Ripper McSesh steals the station van, loads it with Interns and heads over the bridge to Atlantic City in an effort to take the temperature on a potential run for the White House from someone who already is guilty of fraud, mismanagement and not paying his bills locally. They apparently recommend a rectal probe for the best result. Thanks for everything, especially your ears.
Click and ye shall find the PLAYLIST
The passing of Lamont Dozier leaves a void that simply cannot be filled. While anyone musically aware likely know his name, you would be surprised how low the percentage really is. Especially when you consider that his astonishing body of work has touched and enriched the lives of nearly everyone. The least we can do is dedicate an entire episode to this remarkable individual. While I would urge anyone not familiar with the contributions of Mr. Dozier to the culture of the world investigate his likely never to be equaled achievements. Even those who do need to do the same. Although I have spent most of my 66 years on the planet absorbing, digesting and seeking out music and related information somewhat obsessively, there were still many things I learned over the process of putting this episode together. We should be thankful that we were alive during the same period that Lamont Dozier was enriching the musical culture of the planet. A true Giant has left the building, Ladies & Gentlemen. We hope you enjoy the show. Sending out thanks and respect to Art Damage and new addition Ripper McSesh for their essential contribution to this episode.
PLAYLIST is right here
I almost don’t want to let this one go, just like none of us wanted to let Uncle Bill go. A wonderful Human in every possible way, William Peters was a very spiritual, principled and kind man. He possessed the ability to be a source of calm in the midst of any sort of turbulence. While he was a Deacon and very religious man, for him it was not a political statement or means to an end, it was simply the way he was constructed. I’m pretty sure the mold used for Uncle Bill 88 years ago is out of circulation or at best very sparingly utilized, at least in the last few decades. As recently as the overturn of “Roe” he and I had a long talk and were in complete agreement about how wrong it was and he said, “All they want to do is control women, they don’t care about nurturing and taking care of the child after they are born.” Married to my Aunt Connie for 68 years, they are as in love today as the very first day they met. I miss him already.
This episode is a twisting path musically with turns aplenty but is all in his honor, even though some of the stuff I’m sure he wouldn’t care for, he wouldn’t let that stop his enjoyment of the rest. We all can’t like the same things, it would make life pretty boring. I’m just a bit miffed that I didn’t discover his love of “real” Country music until recently, allowing me to give him a new nickname. So Tex, this one's for you with all our love and respect. We’ll Meet Again.
The Playlist is here
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.
Dad, Husband, Radio Programmer/DJ, Music Enthusiast, Drummer, Baseball Fan and Retired American.
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