Sunday, December 18, 2011


At 4 and the last instalment. Wait, instalment only has one "l"? Oh, anyway, Saturday was an incredibly late night. When you get home at 5:00 the next morning I'm pretty sure it isn't technically Saturday any more. Put a long Saturday spent outside in the cold on top of a long Saturday night rubbing shoulders at the club, drinking beer and riding the filthy subway together and you get...sick on Sunday!

I felt so shitty that during my dinner date with family I almost blew Sunday night off entirely. That would have been a mistake, though. Because of said dinner I missed out totally on what could have been my first time ever seeing Bloodshot Bill. I take back what I said about one-man-bands belonging on subway platforms, by the way. I also fucking missed the Figures of Light for fuck's sake! Just get your info, I don't know, here

The Real Kids were scheduled but couldn't make it, so the last-minute addition was The Swingin' Neckbreakers. How ecstatic a couple young ladies in front of me were to see them! They knew all the words to all the songs and between each one kept raving about how totally psyched they were to see their old faves unexpectedly. For me that is like if the Jesus Lizard had bbeen substituted in or something.

Since I spent most of Sunday night half-asleep leaning against a wall, I was able to observe the crowd more. During the A-Bones a girl in front of me was texting her lame friend who wasn't at the show for like the whole A-Bones set. The exchange went something like this:

Lame Friend: So like how's the big concert?
Girl: So like the A-Bones are on right now.
Lame Friend: I so do NOT like that band.
Girl: You should have seen the Condo Fucks.
Lame Friend: LOL
Girl: They had this guy named Gaylord singing.
Lame Friend: WHAAT?!!
Girl: It was pretty funny.

...and then...the Tandoori Knights! King Khan, Bloodshot Bill, and band all wearing south Asian-ish costumes and parodying south Asians in a way only south Asians could get away with. Oh but also great rock'n'roll. As you know from my post below about Bloodshot Bill, I was swept entirely off my feet, although that was pretty easy on Sunday night. Hell, I didn't even stay for the Sonics. I had already seen them, and was so dead tired and sick that I slouched on a couch in the front room at the Bell House until my friends came out and we got a car home.

That's all! Now back to posting on this blog only once every three months.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I admit it, I had not heard of Bloodshot Bill before the Norton Records Ball. How is this possible? Well, due to living in a 'depressed market', as one promoter called the southeast Michigan area, and smugly but erroneously believing that having my own radio station would keep me informed about good new music I needed to hear, I'm pretty out of touch. I realized that at the Norton thing.

If you've been as deprived as me you may not realize that Bloodshot Bill has about a million records out. He's like a modern-day Hasil Adkins, only somewhat more sophisticated, and Canadian. But don't take my word for it- see for yourself! He has a blog.

I will get back to telling you about the rest of the Norton Dance in a little while, but for now enjoy this brief interlude inspired by the amazing Bloodshot Bill, who played in Detroit Sunday night November 27 at the Magic something or other and whose new record I finally discovered and which may well not leave the turntable for two months, a record previously set in 1993 by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's second album Extra Width which, incidentally, has been reissued this year.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Saturday night. Minds were blown. At least, mine was. Not to sound like a cop-out, but for the one of you actually reading this blog on a semi-regular basis, I got the idea that you probably don't need seventeen paragraphs of philosophy. If you did you'd go to grad school. So I'll do what I can to be brief.

Here is the Norton Records 25th Anniversary theme song: JJ Jackson's "OO MA LIDDY". By the third or fourth time I heard this record in between sets, it started to stand out as an obvious DJ favorite. Were there others I didn't notice? Possibly, but this song will now always remind me of these fabulous four days in New York.

Saturday was so much fun, I got sick. Saturday. Saturnalia. The Nortones by day 3 had found their groove and achieved full sloppy appeal. Brooklyn's Daddy Long Legs were next, purveying a cruder, lower-fi Legendary Shack Shakers (who are an excellent live band) or perhaps Link Wray of the "Hidden Charms" style of Link Wray. They were joined by Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney of the Flamin' Groovies. I think I would have fainted if that had been my band.

I didn't imagine that The Hentchmen, a Detroit band I have seen many times and (I admit) take for granted a little would be one of the highlights of the ball. I heard they were a little nervous before they went on. Nervous! I can't say they stole the show that night entirely, because Luis & the Wildfires were also great, but they were great. Did going on early enough not to be drunk yet have anything to do with it?

The South Bay Surfers are said to be the West Coast's answer to King Uszniewicz & the U-tones. Someone please tell me if these bands suck out loud (in a good way) on purpose. I'm definitely not in on the joke...or maybe I am! Russell Quan played drums and at one point during their set, the singer/sax player turned around and told him he had to follow along with the rest of the totally dysfunctional band.

WCBN's rockabilly DJ shared Luis & the Wildfires' new album "Heart Shaped Noose" with me a few months ago and I was on the fence. That neo-rockabilly scene occupies a grey area between sorta cool and really corny as far as I am concerned. Robbie Fulks sums it up pretty well with this song. Chances are if someone raves about how "authentic" one of these bands is, they spend more time on their costumes than on the music. Luis & the Wildfires, thankfully, turned out to be a fantastic live band. I don't think I was the only one thusly impressed: later on at the bar, as I tugged on Luis's coatsleeve to compliment him on an awesome set, several other drunk boys & girls were doing the same. He very graciously thanked us all and called all the girls nice things like "honey" and "beautiful."

Saturday night was the only night I drank more than my share of beer. By this time I was half in the bag. I'm pretty sure that Untamed Youth and Randy Fuller Four with Deke Dickerson were great, but this is the part where you might want to look at the Youtube videos. The last act was ? and the Mysterians. I was that drunk lady next to you singing along too loud with "Be My Baby" which I am certain they played twice. We didn't get home til about 5am, but that is partly because I refused to take a cab and spent an hour and a half on the subway. Bad move.

Damn. Still not brief enough.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I thought it would be cool to show up fashionably late on Friday, but I overshot and missed not only the Nortones but also the Condo Fucks with the Great Gaylord. I walked in just in time for the last song on their set. It looked good. Luckily there is video footage of the whole thing, both tolerable video and godawful video, for those of you who prefer to have your senses assaulted by shaky pixelated images and bottom-of-trashcan sound.

One-man band Mark Sultan was next. It was hard to tell if he was seriously berating the audience for its generally tepid response to him (plausible) or if he was being punk rock. He plowed through a set that couldn't have lasted longer than 15 minutes, breaking his drum pedal at some point and appearing to use that as an excuse to finish and leave even though Billy Miller brought him a different one. I like Mark's records but I have to say the one-man-band routine live is the sort of thing that belongs on subway platforms. What I mean by that is it's not the most spectacularly interesting thing to watch unless you are one of those "how does he DO that?!" geeks. Which you probably are.

I picked up a new copy of the formerly readable, now useless newsrag The Village Voice either Friday or Saturday and it had a teeny little teaser someone had written for the Norton Fest. It said basically that each night had a band or two worth seeing, but the best night would probably be Friday. It was all moot of course since the whole shindig was sold out for weeks prior to the printing of last week's Voice, but that didn't stop them from recommending Friday night and listing the price of tickets. At least it's free- you can use it to line your catbox every week, or light your barbecue. And for your information, Village Voice, Saturday was the best night, but we'll get there soon.

Oh anyway. Jackie and the Cedrics! From Tokyo! I believe they said this was their first time in NY in about 5 years. They wore matching loungecoats like the Phantom Surfers, but worked a lot harder to appear competent and pulled it off. It is always a challenge to look like you are rocking out while you play most any kind of keyboard instrument; extra member Tucker Rodriguez made it happen.

The Reigning Sound is a band (and by band I mean a rotating cast of musicians supporting Greg Cartwright) I've always wanted to like so much more than I do. The current lineup is basically the Jay Vons with Greg Cartwright. They played an excellent set and were appreciated by a moderately sized but enthusiastic group of fans. Seeing them live was definitely more interesting than listening to Reigning Sound records, some of which (the new one, I'm thinking of) border on positively pop and ballad-y. You can download that new record here, by the way.

The crowning event of the evening was ostensibly the Norton Records Soul and R&B Revue. It was weird.

I know I stated previously that sloppy is about what I merrily expect from Norton...but the R&B Revue was supposed to be better executed. At least I imagined it would be, which was why I was surprised to see essentially a garage band with a bunch of old gentlemen singing a few songs. The Mighty Hannibal was led out by King Khan and did fine as long as he held onto the mic stand. You see, he's had a stroke and a heart attack, can't see a thing, and looked pretty feeble up there. His mind is obviously still sharp because he said a couple funny things including telling us that he had had a stroke and a heart attack, but tonight he was gonna give us all strokes and heart attacks.

Andre Williams came up next and did a couple tunes, including one of the newer ones, "Agile, Mobile, Hostile." Someone missed a cue and the result was the band repeating the same refrain over for a couple minutes, looking confused and embarrassed, while Andre Williams snapped his fingers, tapped his feet and opened and closed his mouth a whole bunch while he apparently waited for the band to do something. I started wondering if he was OK. Then finally they moved on to another song.

I know they still want to perform, and they are finally receiving their due after many years of relative obscurity, and I want them to receive the credit (and pay) they deserve, but trotting out elderly musicians in questionable health has a certain level of exploitation involved. It reminds me of the horrible spectacle of Chuck Berry fainting on stage in Chicago in January of this year. I won't post a link to that video- google it yourself if you really need to see it. You're a terrible voyeur, though.

To sum up, Friday night was not the best night of the four-day ball, in fact, it was the least best. I ended up being a little depressed and weirded out by the last hour. The most exciting thing about Friday night might well have been walking back to the train station and seeing some drunk driver totally plow over the median on 4th Av without even slowing down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


You didn't ask for it, but you got it anyway: the obligatory post-bonanza writeup of the bands events party etc that were the Norton Records 25th Anniversary Ball. They didn't call it ball but it was a ball. It was such a ball that I came home ill and had to stay home from work hawking phlegm balls. Oooh I said ball/s again. Ball.

As a prelude to all this, let me tell you that the Meat Puppets passed through Ann Arbor again on Wednesday November 9, the day before I took off for New York. They're great people and they always stop at WCBN when they come through and everyone gets on the pest list. I went to bed around 3am and had to get up to go the next morning at 7am.

Never travel anywhere with me because my bad luck will fuck you up. We were supposed to leave at 10:25am and yet, I didn't land at LaGuardia until 4pm. My plan to take a nap before the Norton Ball commenced was thwarted. I got to the Bell House in time for the Norton Records house band, the Nortones. They played covers of songs like Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper" and the Ramones' "Judy is a Punk" and the Rivieras' "California Sun." They were wearing matching white cardigans with red "N"s stuck onto the right breasts. I said breasts. Given what we've come to expect from Norton Records (you know what I mean!) I was surprised that the Nortones were pretty tight but also little stiff, as if they had rehearsed quite a bit and were nervous. I'd be nervous too if I were kicking off a four-day Norton Ball. I was expecting something sloppier, but by the third night they had relaxed and were closer to what I was expecting. I like sloppy.

Up next was Dex Romweber and his sister Sara in the Dex Romweber Duo. She is some kind of drummer! I saw them once before, on a night in Detroit where there were three great things all happening in one night so we were like "ooooooooocheckoutdexromweberooooooocheckouttheseotherbandsnotimetothinkjustgogogogo" so maybe I forgot to notice that she could really play the shit out of the drums, not just your standard perfectly passable garage drummer but like Bruce Brand or something. At this point I finally stopped thinking I should've taken a nap and skipped the first couple bands. Dex Romweber is great.

After Dex it was the Phantom Surfers. I think Russell Quan used to play drums but this night he was the singer. All good instrumental bands need a singer. He did a really good job conducting with his back to the audience, waving drumsticks and dropping papers on the stage. At a certain point he started doing jumping jacks. He also climbed up on a flimsy folding chair and then fell off it and even though that was probably deliberate, it was still hilarious.

Following up after the Phantom Surfers were the Alarm Clocks. Their single "No Reason to Complain" is obligatory proto-punk fare and appears on countless 1960s garage comps everywhere. Norton put out a record or two recently by the recently reunited revitalized band. The Alarm Clocks are on my "probably should but don't give a shit" list. I spent this 45 minutes mostly looking through the Norton records at the merch table. Sorry, Billy & Miriam, if I drooled on any of them.

The Hentchmen were booked at this shindig, for Saturday night. It was nice to see familiar faces so I talked to Johnny Hentch for a few minutes and met the closest thing I have to a counterpart at WFMU, the inimitable Terre T of the Cherry Blossom Clinic.

It occurs to me I haven't mentioned emcee Kim Fowley yet. I don't remember specifically any of the things he said but I believe his main role was to horrify and offend (and thus delight) the audience. Mission accomplished! He is a depraved old man who was funny but also offensive. He asked one woman to shout the worst word she knew into the mic. Of course she said "cunt!" Someone in the audience yelled "Kim Fowley!" Cunt's not such a bad word, though.

Finally, the's were cute and coordinated and everyone loved them and after that it was the Black Lips, a last-minute-addition to the bill to make up for the last-minute-cancellation of the Gaye Blades. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I had never seen the Black Lips- in spite of multiple opportunities, including one where they played with Quintron, I've just never made it in to Detroit to see them. So they were young and punk and sloppy and unshaven and they made out with each other, maybe to shock people or maybe to demonstrate their love for each other, I'm not sure. At this point though because of the previous late night and the all-day trip to LaGuardia I was kind of crashing so I left before they were done. I'm old so I can do that now.

This was only the first day. Let's post this now, how about that, and add in the other days one at a time. I know you are on the edges of your seatses.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Going to rock & roll shows used to be more fun.

I'm revealing my age by stating that I can hardly stand going to rock & roll shows any more because of all the "hipsters."

For those of us who don't remember the original "hipster," the term used to evoke images of young jazzbos hanging around New York clubs or in artists' lofts making paintings and poetry (some of it shitty, surely.) I'm guessing the original hipster we picture is a highly romanticized version of what they really were, but I've always imagined they were untouchably cool.

It's ironic (and what isn't, in this millennium?) that the word never really enjoyed a rebirth- or a reapplication- until now. These days, the term is used to refer to a certain type of young person, one that is not likely to play bongos, listen to jazz or write poetry. I think you know what this kind of "hipster" is.

A "hipster" is a rich white kid who buys his/her clothes at a thrift and doesn't ever wash them. He/she can't tell the difference between styles of the 60s, 70s or 80s, all of which he/she is borrowing and mixing. He/she wears your 6th grade English teacher's giant eyeglasses and thinks ill-fitting moth-eaten clothes, hair feathers, and fur hats are cool. For purposes of distinguishing these clowns from hipsters of the 1950s, I'll indicate that I mean the new kind by saying "neo-hipsters."

Neo-hipsters, I was the grumpy over-30 lady whose feet you tramped on in your high heels the other night. Who wears high-heels in a pit? I was the one who kept taking advantage of the vacuum and getting in front of you every time you got shoved to the side by one of your fellow hippies. It was my face that you bonked repeatedly with your big hairy fake fur hat. I was the one who didn't move out of your way just because you tried to push me deliberately/accidentally.

Actually, in very good humor I waved away your tepid apologies, when they were offered. I've been in a million pits and had my feet stomped, my kidneys kneeed, my ribs elbowed, my tits twisted, my head kicked, and my nose broken by a feet-first-stage-diving metalhead at an Agnostic Front show in 1987ish. I understand the risks of standing front-and-center. I even understand that you might not have taken a shower before the gig, and I certainly have been drenched in other people's sweat after a show many hundreds of times. But there's something about your anti-style that is worse than all the ones before it. Is it because I am old, or is it you?

You don't really smell like B.O. Your problem isn't necessarily your failure to wear deodorant, although I have heard that as many as 20% of you never use the stuff. I've rubbed up against enough sweaty young boys and girls (I've been one myself! it gets hot in the pit) to be resigned to smelling other people's odors until I get home, strip, take a shower, and throw show-clothes in the laundry. But you guys don't smell like sweat. You smell like trash.
No, literally- do you bunk with Oscar the Grouch? Do you live in a dumpster? Do you sleep in gutters routinely? Do you mop up spills with your wormy cardigans and then put them back on?

I'm all for belonging to a counter-culture and expressing yourself as a unique individual. When I was a teen I thought that meant a painted leather jacket and studs and spiked green hair. I still let my mother wash my clothes, though, and I even showered routinely! Not like those gutter-punks you're probably also emulating.

Neo-hipsters, you are as much of a cliche as any other cliche, just like hippies and punks. Thanks to the internet, you've achieved this in record time. Congratulations! Now take your stank-ass and get a shower already. Then get your moms and dads to take you to the mall and buy some new clothes from H&M.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too much Flipper is never enough.

I'm catching up on posting radio show archives and having the brilliant new idea that won't last a week that I should post whenever I add a new archive, e.g., once a week, and have the post have something to do with the archive. Of course in reality it won't work out that way since my archive manager (hello Mischa!) only manages to upload my archives once a month or so and then he does a whole bunch at once. It's obvious we're related, actually, because we do things the exact same way. Also, there's no way I'll be able to think of something engaging to tell you about every archive and therefore about each Friday I was on the radio. That would imply there's always some sort of special occasion or agenda going on, and there isn't.

None of that interests you. I'm not sure what interests you, but you came to read this, so I'll try to keep interesting you. On Friday, August 12, I picked out a wide range of music to play as usual, but then I started off with Flipper and afterward just wanted to play a bunch more Flipper and then a bunch of pissed off punk rock. I mean, more than usual, since that's what a lot of Tight Pants is about: pissed off punk rock, pissed off soul, pissed off r&b, pissed off spoken word, and pissing on hippies.

If you didn't already know it, Flipper is one of my most beloved bands. I love how they were so punk, they stuck their middle fingers up at punk and hardcore and were punker than anyone. When everyone else was trying to play as fast as possible (thus encouraging the popular conviction that slow music therefore sucked) Flipper was playing slow. Every word they said was clear, so you could follow along without a lyric sheet or a bouncing ball.
If you've never listened to Flipper, I don't know how you ended up here, but may I helpfully recommend that you begin with Flipper's first album, the one known as "Generic," the yellow one that PiL ripped off four years later. It only has nine songs so you won't be too overwhelmed with your short attention span. Also, two of those songs are incredibly long- "I saw you shine" clocks in at over eight minutes, while "Sex Bomb" (which says the same thing over and over again so you get the idea after two or three minutes) is nearly eight- so you could take a break and come back to them later.

I keep getting older and wondering why this album keeps getting better and better. You would think that something so juvenile would someday become too embarrassing to listen to once you get into your 30s but I'm pleased to tell you it doesn't. So August 12's show opened with three in a row by Flipper, including one from this lovely album, and I'm linking the archive for you right now. Thank you for reading. Now listen to Flipper.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's July. It's been 2 months. I'm very busy.

Contrary to popular trends at WCBN right now, I will not gripe about how much I hate the Art Fair. In fact, I don't really mind it that much. It only lasts a few days, and in those few days I can cross downtown streets without peril (admittedly, that depends on one's concept of peril) and in general enjoy a slower pace of life in this already slow-paced small town.

It did occur to me today that ArtFair should really be staged outside of town, on some fairgrounds or something, but then how would local businesses be able to capitalize on it? However much some people complain it does break up the monotony of daily life in downtown because face it, this is a small, mostly boring town. Oh yes it is.

One more comment: ArtFair isn't as bad as football Saturdays, so I'll take ArtFair, thank you very goddam much. If it inconveniences your drive, don't drive. It's not as if there's no other way to get into town.

Now, since today is Friday, readers are reminded that the horrible radio show known as Tight Pants is on WCBN today, and will be as fresh and exciting as a new bag of old records, because that is precisely what I have. Listen for vinyl selections of The Buzzcocks, Davie Allan & the Arrows, The Falcons, Hound Dog Taylor,and more.

The new WCBN movie schedule is posted on the website, and I'll be on for an extra hour tonight doing the 6 O'clock Shadow. If you're looking for a way to escape or undermine ArtFair, then tune in to Tight Pants from 3-5:30pm and stay on for the 6 O'clock Shadow at 6pm.


WCBN Ann Arbor

Friday, May 6, 2011

13 is my lucky number

I have nothing better to talk about today, so let me direct you elsewhere: WCBN's bookface page, WCBN's blog, my favorite place to read, anywhere.

I first heard this song 20 or so years ago on WHRB at some ungodly hour of morning when they used to have nightly punk programming during summer called The Record Hospital. Actually in looking up these links it's evident the show still exists, which is great. Long live college radio and the outlooks it forever changes. Anyway, I am certain that every DJ who has ever played this song has taken a perverse pleasure in doing so. I certainly have. I'm not really sure what's up with the images accompanying it but whatever.

Enjoy The Child Molesters. That's all I've got for today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Omni: from the not so lucky country, back to US.

Americans make great music. There might be a lot of shitty things we hate about this place, but no one can argue that we make some of the greatest fucking music ever produced by the human species. Many of us are descended from British settlers, and the language we speak is still called 'English', but now it is they who emulate us. This is no great revelation. For instance, The Rolling Stones have never been anything other than a rhythm and blues band, trying their very hardest to emulate their idols: Chuck Berry, Scotty Moore, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, the list goes on, and on, and on. Led Zeppelin were the same.

I hear people comment with some degree of incredulity that it is the Europeans- the Germans, for example- putting together all these collections of American music and then selling it back to us. The Bear Family label is a good example, not to mention all the hundreds of rockabilly comps like the Desperate Rock'n'Roll or That'll Flat Git It serieseses.

I'm not really leading up to any major point here, only that...DUH! We humans frequently take for granted what is easily accessible or at least familiar, and rhythm and blues, rock'n'roll, country and rockabilly certainly are that to Americans. It isn't really surprising then that an Australian label is now giving us back some of the bitterest, weirdest, not-square-est country music we've ever made. I'm talking about Omni Recordings, a project of basically one guy who happens to have a taste for American country music and has licensed quite a wide range of it from Columbia and other original labels. In many cases, he is using the master tapes and reissuing recordings that were previously available only on 78s. A friend of mine who works for Allmusic got this as a promo, and I decided I could no longer be aware of the great shit Omni was doing without asking for some of it for WCBN. As a college radio station, it just isn't in our budget to go out and buy everything we want, so we have to ask for freebies. That is how things work. In the old days, radio was free advertising for record companies.

So I wrote to Omni, and I asked nicely and said please, and would you believe, I received a reply saying they were trying to cut down on promos because postage was so expensive from Australia but what the hell, since I made a great case for WCBN. Two weeks later a box arrived, with 12 CDs in it. It was far more than we expected, and then last week another bigger box with even more goodies in it arrived, and all we've done is fax the guy some money for the international postage. We now have practically the whole Omni catalog.

This post is basically me urging all three of you to buy something from Omni. Even if you don't like country, there is probably something there you will like. He is reissuing Bruce Haack, for example, for all you vintage electro heads. Keep the man solvent so WCBN can keep playing more great American music. And all music. On this phony, dying-music-industry-created "record store day", be glad there are still labels out there making great stuff available to you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What a nice young man...

Sunday, April 10: Another record fair at Weber's. (Next one July 10.) I broke my usual rule of avoiding the collectibles or pretty much any record priced higher than $1. The reason some people have this rule is obvious: because if they didn't, they'd either go home frustrated because they couldn't buy all this stuff they really wanted but was out of their price range, or they'd go home knowing they were going to spend the next six months eating out of dumpsters and hitting up relatives to pay the rent.

There was this one dealer with a corner spot who had hundreds of 45s, in stacks and in boxes, no sleeves, no order, no prices. They were filthy and beat up. How much did he want? A dollar a record! Crazy record fair motherfuckers: I swear I am not imagining that you think I was born yesterday because I am a girl. Well then, kindly bend over and suck my dick. Come back when it's quarter to four and you still somehow have 40 boxes of records to carry back out of the basement.

Anyway, close to the crazy man, there was another man, with one box of quarter 45s and a table of newer, pricier stuff. I made the mistake of looking and got a Talking Heads album of demos they made for CBS in 1975, before they had Jerry Harrison. I also got a 3-CD box of live New York Dolls from 1973-1974 (sound isn't bad) and the Bruce Haack LP "Electric Lucifer". It's not an original, it's the first reissue, but I am not a collector, I am a listener. I also picked up the Dick Hyman "Age of Electronicus" LP, which is Dick doing whacked out versions of the day's hits on the Moog. For instance, check this one out:

There's lots more great stuff in this list but I can't remember what it all is right now. Anyway, you don't need a list. You're probably wondering if I'll ever upload an album and post a link to it on this blahg. Hmmm. I wonder, too.

Now, back to the title of this post. I think my eventual stack ended up totaling in the $60 ballpark, but the nice man at this table knocked quite a bit off, asked me for $40, and said me and my accompaniment were the nicest people who had been at his table all day. Aww, shucks. What a nice young man.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lightning Strikes!

One post per week. Maybe then you'll click on the ads enough that this will be worth my while. No just kidding. Saturday April 2 the B-Side hosted Providence's Lightning Bolt. It is my belief that much of the audience did not know what hit them.

Instead of setting up in the middle of the floor, as they are known to do, the duo stuck with convention and used the stage. Presumably half the crowd was just there for a spectacle and expecting insanity, so they created it. The last time I got so crushed by an audience surging towards the stage was probably the time I saw the Ramones about a million years ago. Funnily enough, that was in Providence. Anyway, there wasn't really enough room to move for people to get out of hand, but somehow a few of them managed to levitate out of the mob enough to crowd-surf. They nearly destroyed the suspended stage lighting in the process. To their credit, NZ staff on the premises did not freak out or try to stop people from...uh...dancing.

Well. It's been some time since I was pressed hard against so many sweaty youths. As much as I enjoy it, this time I opted out of elbows in the throat and armpits in the nose and heads in the chin, and retreated to higher ground behind the mob.

For some time I lived far away in an exotic land where rock & roll was still new, fresh, and forbidden, and on the rare occasion a band managed to play a few songs on a stage before the authorities shut them down, the teenage audiences would lose their minds and go into this frenzy of emotional release. They needed to blow off steam and rock music, the heavier and louder the better, was their way of venting, rebelling, escaping, shocking, and banding together. In writing this appears to sound tame and obvious, but this was a society where expressing your individuality was frowned on, where no normal kids would dare to scream in public or behave in any way that might embarrass their families.

In a weird way, this crowd last night reminded me of those days when it was clear the kids didn't care what was in front of them as long as it was loud and they could rip their shirts off and scream their lungs out and then go home and change back into their public persona.

Are you still reading this? Wow, thanks, I guess. This is why I don't post every week. Who wants to read it, anyway.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

WCBN Fundraiser and the fabled power increase

Dear John, I guess it's been a long time since I last wrote. The thing is, I have something to tell you. It's WCBN's annual on-air fund drive, and they really need money.

You might have heard WCBN talking about increasing its transmitter power. It seems like a long time since they first mentioned that. In fact, it's only been two years, but this is a process that can't happen overnight.

First, the station needed to conduct a feasibility analysis. With only zero full-time paid staff, and a part-time engineer, this was not a job that WCBN could do itself. It had to hire a firm, and that cost a lot of money.

Then, once the study was complete, an application to the FCC had to be submitted. Once again, the firm was called upon to carry out this task. The application might have been submitted sooner, but in the year between the feasibility study and the application, WCBN lost its only paid employee, a half-time engineer. This slowed the station down, impeding its actions, communication with the firm, and appropriation of the necessary fees, but nonetheless, an application was submitted to the FCC for a power increase. This application also cost thousands of dollars in fees.

At this point in the story we have just arrived at 2010. The application was approved, but WCBN was still a long way from seeing permission to effect a power increase transform into the purchase of a 3000 watt transmitter (tens of thousands of dollars), the purchase of a compatible antenna (thousands of dollars) and the construction of a taller tower on the top of U of Michigan's Dennison Building (thousands of dollars, permission to build, god knows what else.)

It is now 2011. The permission slip to increase WCBN's power, if nothing is done, will expire at the end of 2012. We don't plan on doing nothing. We have a new engineer. We are negotiating with U of M for placement of the new tower, transmitter and antenna. It is likely that we will have to move them to a different U of M building, in which case we will have to submit a re-application to the FCC for transmitter relocation. This is likely to be approved, but...have you guessed what I'm going to say next? It's going to cost us more money.

The point of this is to respond to questions some DJs have received from listeners regarding our past discussion of the new transmitter (an oversimplification in terms) and assure the public that we have every intention of following through on our plans to increase our power. However, Rome wasn't built in a day, and this process- without multiple paid professionals working at WCBN full-time- will take us until the deadline. We will have to apply for grants, loans, whatever is available, and in the meantime, we will keep appealing to our listeners for donations.

Our fund-drive raises somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 annually. That's enough for our usual overhead. It will never be enough on its own for the power increase, but that doesn't subtract from WCBN's daily dependence on your generosity for the station's operations. Please stay with us, and help us continue to produce the programming you crave every day for another year.


WCBN Program Director and host of Tight Pants

Friday, February 4, 2011

Record Fairs

Every quarter year, the Ann Arbor record show comes to Weber's Inn. The fliers in fact call it a "Monster" record show. Having only one record show to compare Weber's to - the truly monstrous WFMU record fair - I disagree with its self designation as a monster show, but it's pretty good anyway. Weber's Inn is a hotel/restaurant/convention center on the road heading west out of Ann Arbor. Their billboards sport such catchy phrases as "MEAT WITH FRIENDS" and pictures of, what else, meat. If I had larvae to escape from I'd probably get a sitter and book a weekend at Weber's. I'd invite a special friend and soak in a hot tub and then do some other stuff too.

Oh, anyway. The record show. If you can dodge the many exhibits aimed at weenie collectors who buy records to look at instead of listen to, and buzz directly to the budget 45s, you'll crap yourself at the megatude of little records with big holes just waiting for you to take them home. You can hear some of the newestlatest on the last Tight Pants in January. They include such gems as Del Shannon: "Don't Gild the Lily, Lily"; the 5 Du-Tones: "Divorce Court"; Little Johnny Taylor: "I'll Make it Worth Your While"; and Led Zeppelin: "Immigrant Song" which must be played at 33rpm.

Once I win the lottery or whatever, I'll be able to show off all the wrapped-in-plastic never-to-touch-a-phonograph-needle record ripoffs I pick up at real monster record shows in exotic lands but for now you'll have to be content with little scratchy jukebox singles on WCBN. If you want to comment, tell us about the last fun things you took home from a record show!