Thursday, November 01, 2007

rerun: KINK (you're gonna be dissappointed.)

I have to make a bunch of arrangements for the Playboy of the Western World...he's being released from interim care but he needs a lot of new things because his condition really isn't much better. Anyway I'll be busy. So have a re-run from way, way back!

(Actually I'm busy writing porn. Naked, naked porn.)

(I wish.)
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Generally I don't listen to the radio while I drive because if a good song comes on it makes me drive faster, and let's just say that's been a problem for me in the past. But the Yummy Biker was behind the wheel the other day, and so the oldies station was playing and we were singing along and beating on the armrests, punching the dashboard, yelling 'fuck, yeah!' and generally acting like a dignified middle aged couple.

Now it's a good thing there was a nice lineup on or I'd have started whining...the Biker, God love him, does tend to stick with the classics, while I'm up for just about anything musically as long as it doesn't involve yodelling or fake southern accents or taking a popular tagline and whamming it against a fence until it bleeds and then setting it on fire and peeing on it; or as it's more commonly known, Pop.

Well, as fate would have it, later on that evening we were at our favorite eatery, sitting in the bar having dinner and they started in with the inbred cornpone shit. I made my displeasure known verbally, eliciting a noise from the Yummy Biker. Kind of a 'huh' noise.

But damn. This is a place that usually plays ranchera. I like ranchera. It's kind of like a German oompah band, but Spanish, with someone intermittantly cutting loose an 'aaaaaAAA-HAIIiiiii...' or 'ooooooOO-PAA!' which is rad because it sets off everyone in the kitchen to doing it too.

This lead to a conversation about our favorite radio stations when we were kids, back when you had to rub two dinosaurs together to generate fire. His was Armed Forces Radio. Well, he had no choice; he spent a large portion of his childhood in arctic military installations and that's all ya got. Mine was a Portland, Oregon FM station called...
KINK.
No fucking lie. Is that not cool?
That motherfucker changed my life.

1972-73.
I had a crush on every single one of guys on the daytime lineup. They were all refugees from college radio trying to outdo one another proving that they weren't really selling out, so to say the resulting lineup was eclectic is an understatement. You'd get Tibetan nose chant* followed by an entire side of Disraeli Gears, some Tom Lehrer, a couple boring comments from Alan Watts, some ZZTop, a little Monty Python, Mountain, Firesign Theatre, Nixon speech remixes... And then later in the day it got, the stranger the lineup became.

Around 9:30 p.m. the jazz dogs would take over. They had a running feud, modern vs oldschool, so you heard a lot of Blind Faith and Weather Report-that seemed to be the audio demilitarized zone-while they mustered their forces against each other.

Oho, but at 12:00 midnight my boy came on. I wish I remembered this guys' name. I called him the 'Lude Dude. I don't think his blood pressure even registered on normal instrumentation. His on-air personna was so profoundly laid back and so unself-conscious that he just connected.

Apparently all semblance of management supervision dissappeared around 10 pm at KINK. By midnight, fuggeddaboudit. 'Lude Dude would audibly toke on air. One night he gave a brief tutorial on how to heef coke off a turntable with an empty Bic pen barrel by stopping down the rotation with his thumb, during which the technicians were falling on the floor laughing in the background. You'd hear them taking bong hits and hacking. One night he spilled the bong on the desk and ruined his notes, so he did a call-in show and took requests; had to be titles dealing with altered states and illegal substances. First time I heard Billie Holliday was that night, singing 'You Make Me High' (which isn't about drugs. Oh my, no.)

I discovered this guy by sheer accident, only because I had trouble sleeping when I was younger. To me, it was like discovering a hole in a tree that magically refilled with gold coins or something. I could not believe something this cool existed

'Lude Dude was no brainless wastoid. He was brilliant and interesting. Most importantly, this guy knew his music and loved it. He'd stick to the playlist for a couple of songs, start expounding on the influences and then start picking from the racks to illustrate his points. It was an honest to God free associative education in music, unabridged. He gave me my favorite music in a way I could OWN IT. ZZTop and Neil Young. Janis. Brother Jimi. Led Zeppelin. He did a whole show on the original recordings that the Rolling Stones had re-released and made famous long before 'This Ain't No Tribute' was a gleam in some producers' eye.

Can you believe I had never heard Blues before I found this show? Oh, every now and then you'd catch a couple of sanitized bars in the soundtrack of a movie, or Dinah Shore would warble something from Porgy and Bess in her soulless waspy voice. But 'Lude Dude played Muddy Waters for me. He played Howlin Wolf for me. Eddie Vincent.

The effect hearing this music had on me was like having a question answered that I had no idea I was even asking. Read the first few paragraphs of Dante's 'Nuova Vita' because he expresses the type of transformative experience I'm talking about better than I can. All I know is that I was lying on my bed at 2:00 am, 1973, and that man played 'Bad Like Jesse James' and it blew through me like I did not even exist. Something inside me opened up and my life was different from one moment to the next. It was better.

22 comments:

  1. Late night blues is one of my life's pleasures.

    Howlin' Wolf moanin' out Smokestack Lightnin' is a personal fave.

    And I don't have to tell you about John Lee Hooker. Oh noooo I don't.

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  2. he was called John Peel over here, god rest his soul.

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  3. (the following is from one of the whitest of white boys, raised on the mean streets of suburbia, under the shade of trees and manicured lawns)

    Ah yes...The best reason to be in Chicago...the blues...Boston Blackie, Buddy Guy, Corky Siegel, Elmore James, Freddie King, Hound Dog Taylor, the aforementioned Howlin' Wolf, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Mighty Joe Young, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Paul Butterfield, Son Seals, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon...listen to these folks and THAT, my friends is an education in Chicago Blues. Sometimes I love where I be.

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  4. Canadians didn't get FM radio until 1993 and even then it was only La Canadienne Broadcorping Castration playing the Hockey Night in Canada theme in both awficial languages.

    Oh sure Stompin' Tom would sing 'Bud the Spud' or they'd play enchantez avec Céline Dion dans une celebration pour les musique de les arbre maple.
    LDFn'D!
    (btw Yankees it's pronounced
    Se-lyn Dee-yoh,
    not Sayleeeeen Dee-yawn)

    Luckily my buddies and I had been going downtown every Saturday since the early 70s to hang out at the Head/Record Shops.

    We would listen for hours on end to the instore stoners spin really, cool, weird, sh*t like Eno, BeBop Deluxe, Amon Düül "mother earth was really shocked" and...
    Amon Düül and um...
    um...
    aaaahhh...
    pfft...
    wo flashback!

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  5. b.t.w. Canadians: Yankee, is a term for those from the states that did not secede from the union during that internal squabble right about Pres. Lincoln's time. You know, North of the Mason/Dixon line? (and it is pronounced Sue-pee-ree-errr)

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  6. You write awful purty, Nations!!! Really I'm not a stalker but shit girl, I hear ya!
    Me? music? I was lucky to get so called popular music for 2 hrs a day when I was a kid. It was all country, sad state of affairs. Probably made me the warped human being I am today. I luv country....ye-haw.

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  7. I prefer the sweet song that radiates from plucking my powerful body hairs from various regions.

    And, Canada doesn't deserve radio.

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  8. IS that the sound of a zither ????

    Oh no its just the champ strumming his underarm hair.

    I used to listen to the European pirate radio ships late at night under my bedcovers. There was the hippyish radio Caroline or the more disco/sould radio Luxembourg . They regularly used to go off air when customs and excise raided or rammed them or a hooly of a storm blew up the chanel. Those were the days

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  9. hendrix6:59 AM

    Never really listened much to radio when I was a kid mainly because I was too busy playing my parents records (luckily they both were/are well into music and so the dining room was turned into a recording studio complete with mixing desk and they had a weird and wonderful record collection) but I completely get where you're coming when you talk about the answer to the question you never even thought you asked. For me, music has always been like having my own personal mood machine - I can dramatically alter my state of mind just by playing a certain artist.

    I loved what you wrote about the DJ who expounded on the influences. Living with F is like that...he lives and breathes music - all music (his tastes are far wider ranging than mine) so I get the free associative education in influences and techniques used in playing and in recording. It's absolute bliss.

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  10. mj: that is the truth, lady. we have to let that boy boogie woogie. it's in him, and it's got to come out.

    ziggi: and god bless him for being there.

    mullet: THERE YA GO. ladies, he's single, he cooks AND he knows what good music is. (is muddy considered chicago? i did not know that. i thought he was delta. i don't know blues very well, i just love it so much.)

    homoE: dang, eno! i remember doing the same thing, until the clerks got really tired of us and played something terribly, terribly WRONG, like william shatner, or basil rathbone reading 'the telltale heart' and chased us out.

    gale: i just grew up in the wrong era for country, i guess...70's country was TERRIBLE. my husband had to turn me on to people like Allison Krause and (of all people) early Dolly Parton to make me see that not all country sucked.

    WCSN: we ALL prefer that, champ.
    but let the canoodles have radio. how else are they going to listen to 'radio free america' if they don't have radio? hearts and minds, champ, hearts and minds.

    beast: i always thought that sounded so cool, the pirate stations. we had some in the Gulf here-thats what the ZZTop song 'heard it on the X' is about. but i've heard epic stories about the british stations. and you gotta figure, a person has to be pretty fucking serious about what they're doing, period, to sail around in the north sea.

    hendrix: you know how lucky you are. what an incredible background! i didn't do too bad in that respect...my mom had great taste in music. she liked big sound that featured the human voice. Broadway musicals, movie soundtracks, and opera.

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  11. Electric Muddy is pure Chicago, acoustic Muddy is Delta. :-)

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  12. no one better than the king of the blues, b.b. king...yes, i know i'm biased b/c he's from the same state as i am, but he can make that guitar sing.

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  13. But do you do the tube steak boogie?

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  14. Oh Oh I've heard of the Rolling Stones, I must be Daddy Cool.

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  15. I have come to lurk in your comments lounge Miss FN , its an oasis of good taste and polite conversation.Its all gone horribly wrong at Beastbite.

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  16. Thank goodness we have Terry Wogan. The worlds most listened to DJ.

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  17. Dang girl. This is good stuff.
    My radio station was WPLJ out of NYC. Even though it was pretty commercial and I had learned about lots of music from my older brothers, PLJ was the first place I heard Pink Floyd, the Kinks, the Doors, the Band and even the likes of James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. I fell asleep lots of nights listening to the radio. I woke one early morning to hear the DJ say that Lennon was dead.
    I dated a guy who had a local radio show when I met him. There is nothing like a man whose voice can purr through that radio, who speaks sentence after sentence without one "ummm." It was so sexy, I married him.
    Good luck with the playboy.

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  18. Where has Miss FN sneaked off to ???

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  19. Pro'lly getting a last few rides on the new scooter before the weather turns to complete shit.

    At least that's what I'd be doing.

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  20. she's probably still writing porn.

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  21. MY DARLINGS:

    I is here.
    blues are good.
    y'all are bitchin'keen.
    PINK is the only one who got it right.

    MUCHAS SMOOCHES

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