Between last week’s incredible show featuring Vortex Remover, and the punk rock blast we got from Just Kitten tonight, The Meaning of Life party promises to be pretty fuckin’ dope this weekend. Eight bands, two venues, and 42 years, all brought together to enjoy good music. If you’re not doing anything, come out and enjoy the show.
Because at The Fifty, Just Kitten will be debuting in front of audiences. And on this show, you can preview all their songs, and get a taste for what they’re all about. I’ve done this a few times over the years, and there is something very special about a band at the first stages of their work. It is never polished, it is never how the band turns out in the end, but there is an energy and a momentum to the earliest phases of a band that I find incredibly compelling, and for that, Just Kitten delivers in spades.
Half Interweb Joke, and deadly serious the rest of the time, this is down home, queer cat punk rock the way it was meant to be. So often the airwaves have a straight (male) perspective, and even if it is just to have fun and make a lot of noise, I find that it is endlessly more entertaining to present that other perspective, and get to know what these kittens are all about.
The line-up this weekend is crazy, and throughout the show I pepper the presentation with the other acts on the bill. And they, podcast listeners get a bonus track: MKUltramegaphone, performing live in Portland in March. They’re closing out the show on Sunday, and bringing this party weekend to and end. Seems fitting we should end the podcast this way, too.
This show was a lot of fun, and really, you’ve gotten hear it to believe it. And in that regard, you are lucky.
Just Kitten, LIVE! (TBD)
Part I: très gone
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) tres gone on WTC? 15:50?
03.) the long Division trio
Cat tattoos Part II:
06.) Gordon Taylor space fuck 33:18? Part III:
Among the many reasons that I have become a huge supporter of these home-town heroes is that they have songs about tea. (And, as rumor would have it, a forthcoming release that will feature a number of songs about tea in various ways.) So any chance I get to put the kettle on for these gents just feels right. There is a certain amount of Douglas Adams in me that constantly feels like I’m wandering around in my dressing gown trying to find a creature comfort that just doesn’t exist in this universe, and when you meet people like Vortex Remover, you have to respond with healthy enthusiasm, because you get the impression that they feel that way, too.
In some ways, this might veer a little off the “experimental” path, so for those of you who are already loosing interest because they don’t make harsh noise or drones, fear not. While some elements of what they do might veer into the world of rock music, their is a strangeness to the instrumentation, the songwriting… Vortex Remover is probably more experimental than some of the noise guys I’ve worked with just in terms of their lo-fi, stripped-down, anything-goes approach, and they are painfully DIY, given that they build their own gear, do all their own recording, and create some of the most compelling sounds I’ve heard out of a drum stick and mini-amp. Vortex Remover might have a little more “pop” and “rock” in their tunes than a lot of the stuff I play usually does, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t one of the weirdest things you’ll ever hear, and you’ll get what I mean when you start to hear them play.
What follows is a casual, technical-difficulty-laden, but otherwise very fun evening with a pair who have such a specific vision for the music they make that words truly fail to describe them, and if that sounds exciting to you, then you’ll get why I’m such a fan. While they are of few words when it comes to the interview portion of this program, they more than deliver in terms of excellent live music, which just gets better as the show goes on. (And, if you would like a little more conversation, might I recommend the recent interview that Julie and I did with them on our podcast.) Couple that with a short DJ set of their favorite tunes, and another installment of Dimestore Radio Theater, and this is a practically a super-sized broadcast.
Here’s to ridding your own house of any unneeded vortexes that may be in your home. These guys are pros.
Vortex Remover, LIVE!
Part I: electro Atlas
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Engine Hum * The Enterprise * Star Trek: The Next Generation * Paramount (1987)
03.) Atlas Holding Up the Celestial Spheres * Vortex Remover * Rawkward Phase * Self-Released (2017)
04.) electro ambience * Leigh Stevens * electro ambience * self-released (????)
Part II: LIVE VR
05.) Live Set 1 * Vortex Remover * 21 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
06.) Interview * Vortex Remover * 21 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
07.) Live Set 2 * Vortex Remover * 21 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part III: The VR DJ Set
08.) Tumble Bumble * Vortex Remover * Rawkward Phase * Self-Released (2017)
09.) Farmer Girl * Sustentacula * Farmer Girl * Self-Released (????)
10.) Conduct This Misfortune * Shepherds of Ontario * Conduct This Misfortune * YouTube.com (2009)
11.) Pornogirl * 40lb Suit of Bees * Pornogirl * Self-Released (????)
12.) Starting Over (Bad Habits) * Typhoon * Hunger and Thirst * Tender Loving Empire (2010)
13.) Making Me Feel * Kylie Burbank * Demos * Self-Released (2015)
19 years ago today, I began my first radio broadcast on KWVA in Eugene, Oregon. This is a recreation of that three hour broadcast, using what was left of the tapes I used to record that show, playlists, and the best of my memory. Here’s to 19 years of Mutated Radio!
This was my first ever radio broadcast. 4 A.M. – 7 A.M. on KWVA. What follows is a recreation, based on playlists, recordings, and memories from that evening. This is an approximation of what it was like to listen to my show this evening.
01.) Strychnine * Strychnine * Born to Loose * Industrial Strength Records
02.) Millionaire * ?? * ?? * ??
03.) Teenagers From Mars * Misfits * Collection * Caroline Records
04.) Christine * The Con Men * Live In-Studio * KWVA Radio
05.) Dicks Hate The Police * The Dicks * 1980-1986 * Alternative Tentacles Records
06.) Stereo Phasing Test / Television * Man… Or Astro-Man? * Experiment Zero * Touch & Go Records 07.) Cramp Stomp * The Cramps * Big…
In 2015 Bob and I played a show together at Mothership Music (as part of the group I sometimes perform with, Dead Air Fresheners). The show was incredible, but what stood out for me what how I managed to get his songs stuck in my head from that night. Where so many experimental acts do everything to resist certain kinds of musicality, Bob managed to synthesize heartfelt, earnest performances with extremely experimental performance and structural techniques, and emphasized improvisation over other skill and attributes.
And yet, stumbling out of this music store that night, I was humming Bob’s tunes. He was clearly surrounded by friends and fans at that show, but from that moment on, I was one of them.
Bob’s record label, Personal Archives, has been a supporter of this program since the beginning, and this isn’t the first time he’s graced our airwaves. (We did a ton of tour support for him in 2016, which culminated in a phone interview in October.) What I’ve really enjoyed about getting to know Bob is that he is as much musician as he is philosopher, and he manages to give me both those and more facets of his incredible personality, all in this live radio event.
This one sort of speaks for itself: two friends, hanging out, with music in their hearts. I have a feeling you’re gonna like this one.
Part I: “Between Personal Ineptness and the adage ‘Never Meet Your Heroes.'”
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) When In Home Do As The Homans Do * Conformity Contortion Perception Management * Personal Archives (2017)
03.) Live Performance * Bob Bucko Jr. * 3 April 2015 At Mothership Music * Unreleased (2015)
Part II: Heart
04.) Performance 1 * Bob Bucko Jr. * LIVE 14 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part III: Head
05.) Interview * Bob Bucko Jr. * LIVE 14 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
06.) Live Performance * Bob Bucko Jr. * 4 April 2015 on What’s This Called? * What’s This Called? (2015)
07.) Live Performance * Bob Bucko Jr. * 25 June 2011 at Unforgivable Records * Unreleased (2011)
Part IV: Soul
08.) Performance 2 * Bob Bucko Jr. * LIVE 14 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
09.) Torture Mocks Once At Every Man’s Boredom * Conformity Contortion Perception Management * Personal Archives (2017)
Part V: One More
10.) Performance 2 * Bob Bucko Jr. * LIVE 14 April 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
11.) Shed No Tears * Bob Bucko Jr. * 2017 Spring Tour * Personal Archives (2017)
Part VI: Dimestore Radio Theater Presents
12.) The Little Man Who Wasn’t All There * Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar * 29 October 1949 * CBS Radio (1949)
For the next couple of days, our server will be down. It is being moved to a new location in Portland. Hopefully we won’t be offline for long, and you’ll be the first to know when we’re back up. If there’s any back-episode you’d like to hear until we’re up and running again, please leave a comment.
When I first saw a post on MyFacester+ Twinstablr, I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. “Corvallis Experiments In Noise.” While I knew that there were other undiscovered music scenes throughout every state, there was something about it that seems far to up my alley – and far too aligned with the kinds of stuff I’m already working on – that it seemed like a no-brainer to try and set something up. Immediately, I was greeted by Chris, performer in plenty of groups and the mastermind behind the monthly shows they’ve been putting on for years now.
When I suggested that he should bring in a few acts to play on the show, he hand-picked six groups that he felt would work well in a radio environment. I was floored; I went from not knowing anything about what they were doing out there, to having their scene intersecting with my own. It was a perfect match, in the time since I booked this radio gig and today’s date, we’ve already collaborated twice other live events (both in Corvallis and Salem). It seemed, as excited as I was to find Chris, he was also stoked to find Mid-Valley Mutations; he’s been trying to find connections in Salem ever since he started booking shows. We were meant for each other.
What follows are six live performances by regular participants in the Corvallis Noise scene, plus a live jam for the podcast-only listeners with MKUltramegaphone and all six of these artists.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the schedule lately has gotten crazy, and with good reason. A lot of people want to play on the show, and I LOVE having guests, so the combination of the two has lead to a healthy calendar with a ton of amazing artists making a lot of noise on the radio. I love it, of course. But for some reason, no one was interested in today’s date. What with a bunch of public shows too, this one really snuck up on me. The only solution, as I saw it, was to bust out another Vinyl Solution.
The timing is sort of perfect. Or, at least, worked out anyway. My co-host and bandmate got sick during our last gig on Wednesday, and it was still lingering today. But after I went through my records again and started thinking about what I wanted to play, it all worked out. Humorously enough, I originally intended to mix up the vinyl with all sorts of other stuff, but when I got to the station, something about the vibe of the night left me to only play the records. It figures. That’s just how I am.
Of course, horridus decided to call in anyway, so up front we jam via the phone for a spell, and it actually sounded pretty good. (He sent a photo of his “sick” rick that he put together for this, that you can see above. And, I should mention, I mis-identify this item as the “newest” member of our group, and it is not. But it still sounds good.) Aside from his call, the rest of this show was pure vinyl, and that’s the way I like it.
There’s a whole lot more live music on the show coming up soon, just the way we like it, so consider this a little breather before we dive back into the mosh pit. I, for one, cannot way.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
03.) Cutter Magnolias * Blood Rhythms * Assembly * No Part Of It Records (2015)
04.) Theme From Consonants & Vowels * MKUltramegaphone * 31 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part II: You’re Welcome To Play
05.) Fete De La Patience / You’re Welcome To Play * Derek M Johnson * FKXMS * Aphonia Records (2011)
06.) Walking Through The Upside Down / She’ll Kill You * Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein * Stranger Things Volume One (A Netflix Original Series) * Lakeshore Records (2016)
07.) Abraxis Atticus * ARU * DPV3.5 * Captcha Records (2013)
Part III: Truth In Advertising
08.) Shitfaced Reynolds * Guyve * Delaying The Inevitable * Self-Released (2012)
09.) Don Haugen Lathe
10.) Truth In Advertising * Negativland * Truth In Advertising EP * Eerie Materials (1997)
Part IV: The Smell of Burning Wires (Every Astronaut Fears)
11.) [Various Selections From Both Records Mashed-Up] * Paul Beaver & Bernard L. Krause * The Nonesuch Guide To Electronic Music * Nonsuch Records (1968)
12.) The Smell of Burning Wires Every Astronaut Fears * Men’s Recovery Project * Thank You For Killing Me EP * Paralogy Records (1997)
13.) [Various Selections] * Igor Stravinsky * The Rite of Spring * Nonesuch Records (1966) * Mashed-Up w/
14.) [Various Selections] * Bela Bartók * Divertimento For String Orchestra * Epic Records (1959) * Mashed-Up w/
15.) [Various Selections] * Gustav Holst * The Planets * RCA Records (1976) * Mashed-Up w/
16.) [Various Selections] * George Gershwin * The Gershwin Album * Columbia Recors (1973) * Mashed-Up w/
17.) [Various Selections] * Ornette Coleman * The Best of Ornette Coleman * Atlantic Records (1970)
Part V: Re-Volution (or, “The College Rock Block”)
18.) Revolution Part 1 / Revolution Part 2 * Butthole Surfers * Piouhgd * Rough Trade Records (1991)
19.) Sex Bomb * Flipper * Generic * Subterranean Records (1981)
20.) [Various Selections] * Don L. Hunter * OP&E 19 * Emerald Custom Sound Recording (1970)
21.) Christianity Is Stupid * Negativland * Escape From Noise * SST Records (1987)
22.) Kerosene * Big Black * Atomizer * Homestead Records (1986)
Part VI: Starting Over
23.) [Various Selections] * Don L. Hunter * OP&E 19 * Emerald Custom Sound Recording (1970) Mashed-Up w/
24.) Test And Balance Section * John Hall * Sounds Out Of This World * Omega Disc (1960)
25.) Day One * Enemymine * The Ice In Me * Up Records (2000)
Part VII: Dimestore Radio Theater Pilot
26.) The Orange Dog * The Adventures of Philip Marlowe * 22 January 1949 * NBC Radio (1949)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is something very special happening in Eugene. It is probably the six years that I spent there during first tentative journey’s outside the nest, and the people I met while I lived there exposed me to so much stuff that has shaped me in the years since. In particular, the members of Cathead (which I later joined) made a huge impression on me with the music the forced me to see / listen to, and among the many early impressions that were made on me, a Holy Rodent show (in which Don played) exposed me to noise, percussion-heavy experimentation, power tools on stage, and music that has continued to inform me, right up to this very program you are now hearing.
With that in mind, it feels like a big accomplishment to get this 30 year veteran of music into the studio, to show off what he does best. It’s been great to re-connect with Don, not only because he is a lifer in a world that burns out so many artists before they do their best work, but because he is so supportive of acts new and old, trying to help them find a place where it is often hard to fit in. Don’s work is so personal, so far away from many of the usual guidelines that experimental and noise music offers, and creates textures and tones that are brutal, haunting, delicate, and sublime, all things that continue to be an important part of my musical diet.
This show is very casual, and we talk for longer than I’ve ever chewed the ear of a guest. But we get three live sets during this show: two from Don, and one with MKUltramegaphone leading the way. (Four live sets if you count the recording of Don’s performance from 11 March 2017, but, you know.) What comes through in this show is the sense of community; sharing stories about gigs, bands we used to know, and the life of an artist in a world that can often be indifferent – and at times, actively working against you. Don is an overlooked gem in this world, an honest artist with a family and a regular day job, who had been consistently making incredible work for longer than the lifespan of at least 10 indie rock bands combined.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Side A * Don Haugen * Bass Bones & Cross Tones * L’eclipse Nue Records (2016)
03.) Live Performance * Don Haugen * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part II: First
04.) LIVE 1 * Don Haugen * 24 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part III: Chat
05.) Interview * Don Haugen * 17 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part IV: Second
06.) LIVE 2 * Don Haugen * 24 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part V: Third (w/ MKU)
07.) A Dream, A Nightmare * Don Haugen w/ MKUltramegaphone * 24 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
It is so easy to get bogged down in the joy and value of nostalgia, and to combat that, I have made an earnest effort to keep the content of this program fairly new, as often as possible. I certainly go on a jag where I play all of my favorite weird old records, but I try to balance it by featuring new music as often as possible the rest of the time. Or, in some cases, live music.
But with Red Panda Death March, we’re taking that as far as we can go. While I’ve known Joe for a few years now, and he has always made what one could call “punk” music, this is a new project, in a new “genre,” and at best, is merely months old. There’s something about the newness of it all that is very appealing; capturing a new project in the incubation period of development is very informative, and with this particular group, I think we have something special.
At two hours, we lay down some serious wall-to-wall music, with two sets by RPDM and a collaboration with MKU in the second hour. And, not much
Red Panda Death March, LIVE! (#43)
Part I: Bass Cross Tones
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Side B * Don Haugen * Bass Bones & Cross Tones * L’eclipse Nue Records (2016)
Part II: You’re Riding On The Internet
03.) The Internet * Red Panda Death March * I Wasn’t At That Meeting * Bandcamp.com (2017)
04.) LIVE * Red Panda Death March * 17 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
05.) Sunday Morning Coming Down * Red Panda Death March w/ Austin Rich * I Wasn’t At That Meeting * Bandcamp.com (2017)
Part III: My Gear Runs Flawlessly With No Issues
06.) Interview * Red Panda Death March * 17 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part IV: Happy St. Patrick’s Day, One And All
07.) LIVE AGAIN * Red Panda Death March * 17 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part V: Three (3) w/ MKU
08.) My Ignorance Is Just As Good As Your Knowledge * Red Panda Death March w/ MKUltramegaphone * 17 March 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
09.) That’s The Thanks You Get * Red Panda Death March * I Wasn’t At That Meeting * Bandcamp.com (2017)
One of the incredible things about radio is that you are able to create a community that exists entirely through their relationship to sounds. It’s one of my favorite things, to be honest, and when I can bond with someone over music, I feel a connection that is usually a lot deeper than my usual friendships. Born out of friendships cultivated through sound and music, we are proud to bring you some Thrice-New Clichés, not only keeping with the tone of that series, but revealing the new album by devilsclub, Concentrator, out now via Bandcamp.com, CDBaby.com & Soundcloud.com.
In light of this new record release, we had a bit of a party on the air. Our friend Pat (Uneasy Chairs) was in-studio to help with the celebrations, and MKUltramegaphone was acting as the house band, jamming for the last segment of the show as a full unit. But this show is largely about “new” things. All of the songs were specifically requested (and in many cases recorded) for this broadcast, and all of this music is from 2017. You can enjoy that, and cuts from this new record, all in this program. Not a bad two-hours of radio, if you ask me.
This group of friends that has grown up around this show – and the artists that I play on it – has been incredibly rewarding, and when devilsclub asked me about this, I jumped at this chance. Not only does he insure that there are some great artists being featured on the air, but it feels like we get to say hi to all our audio friends that we don’t get to talk with too often.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) 13127.42km echo * devilsclub * Aleatoria * Soundcloud.com (2017)
03.) Funkymartin * devilsclub * Concentrator * Bandcamp.com (2017)
04.) Last Song afsked med udtryk, det uendelige cover i nye folder * Carla ɟra Helles7ed * Last Song afsked med udtryk, det uendelige cover i nye folder * Soundcloud.com (2017)
05.) memory loss * Chaotic Morphs * memory loss * Soundcloud.com (2017)
06.) The Mysterious Brain * Scifival * The Mysterious Brain * Soundcloud.com (2017)
07.) A Good Time For Coke * Austin Rich * A Good Time For Coke * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part II: Void of Ghosts
08.) Bibblesnsquibb * devilsclub * Concentrator * Bandcamp.com (2017)
09.) Evanesce the Sonic Sand Mandala * David M. Paganin * Evanesce the Sonic Sand Mandala * Soundcloud.com (2017) (2:58) [Note: “David Paginin’s “Pointless Orbits” released on Earsheltering in Dec, 2016.]
10.) Void of Ghosts * Filmy Ghost * Haunted Cave * Cian Orbe Records (2017)
11.) Subliminally * Austin Rich * Subliminally * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
12.) Live Weather * Uneasy Chairs w/ The Weather Computer * Live Weather * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part III: Release
13.) Side A [Excerpt] * Noisepoetnobody * The River * Lens Records (2010)
14.) Space Caravan * Strigoi * Space Caravan * Soundcloud.com (2017)
15.) Re-Energized * Boson Spin * Re-Energized * Soundcloud.com (2017)
16.) Ondas de vida * Mareaboba * Ondas de vida * Soundcloud.com (2017)
17.) White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle * Zach Zena Gibberson * White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle * Soundcloud.com (2017)
18.) Two And Half Minutes To Doomsday * Rumblin_Cynth_Rampo * Two And Half Minutes To Doomsday * Soundcloud.com (2017)
19.) Release * devilsclub * Concentrator * Bandcamp.com (2017)
20.) Money Jitters * Austin Rich * Money Jitters * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part IV: In The Forest
21.) In The Forest * Uneasy Chairs & MKUltramegaphone * The Forest * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
22.) ?? * Austin Rich * ?? * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Breaking format slightly (not much, really), this week we pick the brain of Salem Weekly Musiceditor Julie Eaton, who is a Salem resident, musician, writer, and supporter of the art and culture of this town. While we had been circling around the idea of collaborating on a show together, it was mostly a ploy to get her behind a mic so I could ask her about her connection to the town. It isn’t often that you get to have someone who you can ask about what came before you, and in this case, I get to hear the music, too. This is, obviously, part one of a nearly endless series.
This is pretty much a “locals only” episode, and moreso, less “experimental” than my usual fare. But don’t let that scare you off, or even suggest that this is a “normal” episode. In fact, featuring local music that is not vetted and organized by the mainstream media is an extremely unusual move for radio, and even among community radio stations, the music is often in the classical or bluegrass vein, not too loud, and rarely features garage bands. It’s not that rock and roll is really even that weird in 2017, but there are times when it feels like your artistic voice can be lost in the din of Instagram likes and endless clever web videos. Even presenting this kind of culture as being “on par” with theater is absolutely something our show is all about.
One thing that was great about this show was to see someone haul in so much physical media. Often radio anymore is done on flash drives and through “files,” so when Julie kept handing me actual vinyl and CDs, it was a real joy. (In fact, you can hear our live “cassette mishap,” as we tried to play something that just doesn’t work out.) All part of the live radio experience, and we hope that next time, the tape deck will work.
But, a good chunk of this show is Julie herself, not just with the tunes, but in conversation. It’s her personality, her history, her role in this community, and her sense of humor. It’s all there, and I had a great time unveiling it to radioland.
Here’s to a great slice of the local scene. It’ll be fun to bring you more and more as time goes on.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) counterpoint meridian * devilsclub * Feeding the Mouth of Madness * Soundcloud.com (2017)
03.) Jerry’s Dad’s Wrong Number Voicemail Message * Vortex Remover * Rawkward Phase * Self-Released (2017)
04.) Nicotine * Kylie Burbank * Demos * Bandcamp.com (2015)
05.) In The Station * Kalaloch * Kalaloch * Self-Released (2012)
06.) Not A Cretin * Grand Head * Grand Head *Gorbie International Records (2016)
Part II: Get To Know Julie Eaton
07.) We Got The Beat (Instrumental) * The Go-Go’s * Beatuty And The Beat * I.R.S. Records (1981)
08.) ghost light communications * devilsclub * Feeding the Mouth of Madness * Soundcloud.com (2017)
Part III: Other Corners Of Salem, Past & Present
09.) The Anchor [Excerpt] * M.A.R.C. & T.A.W.N.Y. * Mirrorism * Karamazov Tapes (2015)
10.) The Burning Machine * The Strawberries * Behind The Looking Glass * Self-Released (2005)
11.) Sketchy * Coronation * “Black Blox” b/w “Sketchy” * Self-Released (2016)
12.) The Vulture * Orchards * Orchards * Orchards Music (2017)
13.) I Keep Pressing the Spacebar but Nothing is Happening * Vortex Remover * Rawkward Phase * Self-Released (2017)
The last time Kyle Stant & Jerry Soga were on the program – as part of Fiasco – we received an over 50 minute long live performance that was not only incredible, but bulged to exceed the broadcast before and after. When they suggested that their new combo should come in for a session, I jumped at the chance, especially considering that they are now playing with David Morgan, formerly of Smegma.
The three of them have been making quite a bit of noise already as part of their new combo, Хапчык, but this music is new new new! In keeping with one of the traditions of this show, they have only just begun playing together in the past few months, and that sort of freshness is what we strive for on our program.
In-studio tonight we also have MKUltramegaphone, who will jam with Хапчык in the back half of the show. This is in preparation for our live show tomorrow in Seattle, where we are making our public debut. But in this setting, we’re merely playing with these accomplished improvisers, so is a rare treat that you just can’t find on other shows.
No interview. Very little talk. For this one, it’s all about the music. And in a way, that’s perfect.
This show has been quite a while in the making, and largely due to some serious scheduling conflicts with weather and family. But now, finally, we are able to present a collaboration that has been several months in the making. Prepare yourself, as we introduce you to a character named Ethan, all part of The Jeremy Hight Show.
Jeremy is an author and writer who is one of many people working to make art and culture a lot more interesting in the 21st Century. Most of his work is not published is a “books” proper, but is spread about the Inter-Web-A-Tron in non-traditional forms, and in places you would never expect. (One story of his I read was available inside of a Facebook Event invitation, that was then deleted and erased after a period of time, and already I’ve forgotten what it was about…) There was a part of me that really liked the idea of one of his stories winding up in a podcast somehow, and then knew what I had to do.
For this show we are offering you two short stories that feature the character of Ethan: A Sort of Evolution, and 4532 Oak Drive. Neither have seen print in any convention fashion, and 4532 Oak Drive has been broken up and published in various nooks and crannies of this vast digital world we inhabit, and has only been together in one continuous piece on this program. I’d be quick about getting this one. As the weeks go by, it might be hard to remember what this one sounds like. If you would like more information about Jeremy Hight, you can visit his blog at: mirroredsteps.blogspot.com. He may return an e-mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows?
This is our regular Pledge Drive show, and with that in mind, we urge you to visit kmuz.org and make a donation to keep community radio on the air. Everyone who makes a donation to KMUZ in the name of Mid-Valley Mutations will receive a copy of the new Volume 1 Compilation. It features live music recorded on our program, and is an excellent gift for the person who made a donation to keep our show on the air.
There’s a lot of words in this one, so I’ll just let it do the rest of the talking.
We are currently in the midst of a KMUZ Pledge Drive, and we could really use your help. No one at KMUZ gets paid. The staff and DJs are volunteers. The bills are paid through donations. Even the desks and tables and shelves at the station were lovingly made by hand, and given to us at no cost. We are Community Radio to the core, and in order to stay on the air, we need your donations.
Mid-Valley Mutations has been given a goal that should be easy enough for us to achieve, but I’d like to see if we can blow that goal out of the water. If 100 fans each donate $1 (one dollar), we will have met our goal. (Currently, there are over 200 fans of the show on MyFacester+, which means each of you only have to give Fifty Cents.) I’m sure you see where I’m going with this: we can not only keep our show on the air for a very small cost, but if each of you ups that amount just a little bit, we can make that dollar go even further.
KMUZ is offering a number of perks for donors, but for anyone who mentions Mid-Valley Mutations as part of their donation will receive a copy of our Compilation, Vol 1. Featuring live music recorded on the program, this is an excellent gift for those who show their support, and sounds pretty killer if you ask me. Additionally, anyone who spends money in the WTBC: Wanting To Be Cool store will find that all of their purchases are donated to KMUZ, too. There’s tons of music, and much of it you pay what you like. It’s just another way to help us help KMUZ.
So, please. Donate if you can. Help keep cool shows on the air, and great radio in your community. You can do it today!
I only got to meet Mike Mahaffay a handful of times, and saw him play a few more than that. He was an incredibly performer, and very friendly to me, always. Here is a radio session I did with him and Eric Hausmann and Scott Steele on Ricardo Wang’s program, back in 2013. This includes full video of the performance (sadly, from one unflattering angle), but has some of the best sounds that I was happily able to capture for the future.
RIP, Mike Mahaffay. You played fantastically for me and my friends at my 40th Birthday Party, and if there’s any justice in the world, everyone will always remember you as a friend first and an fantastic performer second. Thanks for sharing a small part of your life with me.
Saturdays were made for radio, and whenever Eric Hausmann is in the house, it can only mean that you must be listening to What’s This Called?Ricardo Wang and I work to bring you a soothing performance by Tres Gone: Mike Mahaffay, Scott Steele and Eric, bringing you improvisational mastery in a way to kick off your weekend.
Following a half-hour pre-game show featuring hand-picked selections by the host himself, I mixed a great back and forth by these improvisational masters. While many young artists love to just make some noise, when you have performers of this caliber, the art of listening seems to be front and center in this show. This is one of those great shows where you can actually feel the energy in…
For those of you who missed Derek Johnson’s great live performance on KPSU the other day, fear not! The wonder of modern technology has enabled us to capture sound recordings in a digital form, for your consumption. This brand new technology will no doubt revolutionize your life soon enough, but today it has allowed for this marvel to bring the past into the present at any future time of your choosing.
Thanks again to KPSU for letting me host, this, Ricardo Wang for being hard up and needing to make real money that day, and of course, Derek Johnson for rushing into the studio at the last second and still pulling off a great performance.
In 2006 I was called by Ricardo Wang, who wanted me to meet (and run sound for) his friend Derek Johnson, a cellist and performer who already had some impressive credits to his name, even then. I love reflecting on experiences like this, because over 10 years later, we’re still collaborating to make excellent live radio, even if there are a few years between hanging out.
But hanging out is so much fun, because his approach to music is equal parts excellent performer, electronic wizardry, improvised musicality, and an excellent ear for what to play next. It’s a treat to see him so often in one weekend. His show last night at the Fifty Pub & Grub was fantastic, but for the radio audience, his performance is much more focused, and in many ways, quite intense.
But that’s not all! As part of a bonus, extended version of the program, MVM hosts MKUltramegaphone collaborate with Derek for a second set of live musical oddities that you can only find on our program. This is what I really hope the program can be more like; while I have always enjoyed the shows I did on my own, having guests to collaborate with really takes the show in unique (and exciting) directions. MKUltramegaphone is about to make some live appearances, so if you live in Oregon and you like Mid-Valley Mutations, you can come and see us do it live, very, very soon.
The KMUZ Pledge Drive starts tomorrow, and with that, you should consider becoming a member of the station supporters who keep us on the air. Mid-Valley Mutations listeners can visit our Bandcamp Page, and make a purchase in the name of KMUZ. All money I earn through that page will be donated to the Pledge Drive, so that KMUZ can keep us on the air and let us keep doing what we enjoy doing so well. If you like our show, and what us to keep it up, please, support the station, any way you can.
This show works best by letting it wash over you, so sit back for an excellent presentation by Derek M. Johnson Love. LIVE!
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Set Two * Derek M. Johnson Love * Live At The Fifty Pub & Grub 9 February 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
03.) Live Set * Derek M. Johnson Love * Live 23 September 2006 * What’s This Called? (2006)
Part II: I’m Under Your Cell Window
04.) Set * Derek M. Johnson Love * Live 6 December 2008 * How’s It Named? (2008)
05.) Live Performance * Derek M. Johnson Love * 10 February 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part III: The Black Arts
06.) The Black Arts (Live Performance) * MKUltramegaphone w/ Derek M. Johnson Love * 10 February 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
07.) Set Two * Derek M. Johnson Love * Live At The Fifty Pub & Grub 9 February 2017 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
I often get a lot of questions about what kind of music is appropriate for my show. “What counts as ‘experimental’?” “Can I play fill-in-the-blank band?” (Where the blank is often replaced with something incredibly straightforward.) It’s not that I’m trying to be intentionally difficult with my show, but there are so many misapprehensions about what is and isn’t experimental that for the layperson – for example, people not active in the scene – what counts can often be a mystery.
Shows like this – where I let someone else drive and I take a back seat – are a lot of fun because it does beg that eternal question: What is experimental? Does it exist in pop music, too? Does it matter? While we are always searching for genre classifications and obtuse reasoning with our own hipster bullshit, some of the music that is squarely in the world of pop is just as strange and eye opening as the weird crap that I usually play and get obsessed with.
To that end, this show is entirely picked and curated by The Tara J. Merritt Foundation. Everything you heard during the program was picked and vetted by our friend and co-host, Tara. Just try and tell us something doesn’t fit into our show. We’ll just play Michael McDonald and do our own thing. It’s how we roll.
I’ve known Tara for quite some time, and when she’s not dancing and finding where the next party is, she is making the people of Portland look fabulous at Enhance Salon. If you’re interested, you can book an appointment at bit.ly/HairByTaraJMerritt. Personally, she’s been keeping me looking good for years now, and if you want everything above the neck and in the pocketbook to look your best, then you’ll want to give her a call.
As for this program, Tara’s selections are certainly a late-night, chill-out set of tunes that are perfect for that post-rock ‘n’ roll late-night, or for thinking about that special someone who is a long ways away, at least for right now. Tara has always been a champion of good things and good taste, and it was a pleasure to let her command the ship this week.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) The Adventures of Hudson Hawk * Michael Lehmann * The Adventures of Hudson Hawk * Tri-Star Pictures (1991)
03.) Popcorn * Hot Butter * “Apache” b/w “Hot Butter” * Musicor Records * 1972
04.) I Keep Forgetting * Michael McDonald * If That’s What It Takes * Warner Bros. Records (1982)
05.) Easy * Faith No More * Songs To Make Love To * Slash Records (1993)
06.) Debra * Beck * Midnight Vultures * DGC Records (1999)
06.) I’m A Lady * Santigold * Santogold * Atlantic Records (2008)
07.) No Man’s Land * Tangerine Dream * Hyperborea * Virgin Records (1983)
Part II: It’s Time To Get Down To Our Shorts And Head To The Beach
08.) Sweet Charity * Mr. Bungle * California * Warner Bros. (1999)
09.) Wave of Mutilation * The Pixies * Doolittle * 4AD (1989)
10.) The Land of Green Ginger * The Orb * Bicycles & Tricycles * Sanctuary Records (2004)
11.) Spiral * Vangelis * Spiral * RCA Records (1977)
Part III: Never Goin’ Back
12.) Genius of Love * The Tom Tom Club * The Tom Tom Club * Sire Records (1981)
13.) Microtronic Wave * Pinback * Offcell * Touch And Go (2003)
14.) Never Goin’ Back * Spiritualized * Amazing Grace * Sanctuary Records (2003)
15.) Big Jim * Ween * Pure Guava * Elektra Records (1992)
16.) To The Unknown Man * Vangelis * Spiral * RCA Records (1977)
Today’s episode of Blasphuphmus Radio asks the question: where have all the Groundhog songs gone?
Well, there’s still six more weeks of winter according to February 2nd lore, so today I’m featuring songs about Ground, Hogs, and Shadows. Who knows how much longer this season will last? Only the Groundhog’s Shadow, knows! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
I was absolutely shocked at how little Groundhog music there was to play for this show. Any musicians out there looking for something to write about, now’s your chance!
About halfway through the show I give a rambling and disjointed history of Groundhog Day. Most of the information was culled from several passes over the Inter-Web-A-Tron, so it’s as reliable as anyone else is these days.
I think I prefer the second half of the show myself.
Lastly: this is my last show during the 3 PM slot on Tuesdays. The…
You can get the entire bundle of all 21 of our releases at a discount for $16.25. Or, you can pick and choose what you’d like to purchase. Either way, there’s plenty of releases new and old that are worth investing in, and you can support both the ACLU and KMUZ, two acronyms that do a lot of good for our community.
We all love music, and we all love supporting good causes. Here’s a way to do both.
Return with me now to the historic year of 1966. Things were simpler then. The post-war world was settling into a suburban hellscape, and as the Cold War continued unabashed, the atomic age brought forth heroes of every stripe and flavor, capitalizing on the patriotism that spread with color TVs and the need for America to go shopping. But as the heroes crept into the media around us, the problems or the world persisted. A determined counterculture had spun out of the ’50’s, terrifying the kind of people in most metropolitan centers. Radio & TV dominated the country in every nook & cranny, and it was clear that the world of tomorrow was to be full the worry and dread of tedium. We once, optimistically, thought the future would provide comfort and time-saving devices. Instead, existentialism set in as we tried desperately to forget these everyday concerns. In those days, we were searching for a new kind of hero, one who understood how the world around us once was, and knew how it could someday be. A certain naive kind of perspective, something fresh and silly like the new Batman show, something we could follow along with in our cars on the way to work.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we were looking for a Chickenman.
There are some who want to work in radio so they can enjoy the rewards of a world in tandem with the music industry, and these people slowly butter up the A&R dudes until a position opens up somewhere in janatorial, and they can jump ship. But there is a larger, unthanked & unpaid world of radio, where there are no promises of music industry ladder climbing, but instead the world of drive-time DJs & commercial production gurus. This is an unglamorous world, where DJs do three-hour shifts without breaks, do on-air reads and wait to have the hot girl who handles the news at the top of the hour break up the monotony. 6 AM to 9 AM, every day, can be a bit tedious as the days and weeks roll on, and only those who have been lucky enough to work a drive-time shift in 1966 know how lonely it can be in hour number three.
Jim Runyon was no slouch when it came to radio, having been involved in some way since he was 13, and after working at a number of stations as a youth, he served in a Marine Unit that handled radio & television during The Korean War, where he partnered with Ed McMahon, among others on broadcasts for the soldiers. He eventually moved to Chicago, where he picked up a treasured drive-time slot on WCFL, which paid handsomely compared to what he had been making. Runyon was initially excited, but after a few weeks of a three-hours daily, he began to get bored, casting around for ways to fill the time.
Dick Orkin was considered by some as the master of the 30 second commercial, and wound up working as an engineer for WCFL the round-about way. While he already had a reputation for being able to wrangle sound effects and recorded tape in ways that were almost alchemical, it was his ability to write commercial scripts so tight and quick that even the slimmest amount of tape from the voice talent was enough for Dick to hit his mark with a gem that would sell. Before Jim had even heard of WCFL, he already knew that Dick was the go-to guy when it came to having good tape for your show.
Dick had come to radio by way of advertising, something for which Dick found he was ultimately not suited. With his combined interest in Psychology and Theater, most of his pitches were comedic and bordered on the absurd. When Orkin demonstrated his vocal talents to his office buddies, the agency immediately put him in charge of their radio commercial division, where his uniquely dry comedic humor became a hit. A major client of this agency was WCFL, where Dick not only helped cut and record the agency’s commercials for the station, but found himself working there more or less full time, getting roped into preparing other taped content for broadcasting in spite of a full paycheck being anywhere in sight.
Jim and Dick hit it off fairly well, discovering that they both loved old radio shows and had slightly left-of-center sense of humor. Jim instantly got Dicks dry wit, and they would spar in the breakroom. Jim wanted to put that like of humor on the show, and asked Dick if he was interested. Dick loved the idea of making something, and Jim had mentioned his love of old adventure radio series. Jim wanted something “sort of campy like the Batman show, but for radio.” Jim envisioned a ten-part series he could run to fill time at the bottom of each hour, never really thinking of anything more than that.
Dick returned to his production studio, pulled out a pencil and a pad of paper, and glanced around. His eyes landed on a rubber chicken he had been given at the last office party, propped up in the corner.
Chicken. Superhero. For radio.
Suddenly, it was all clear.
A few days later, Jim & Jane – the, ahem, top of the hour news girl – were booked to record some voices with a script by Dick. “Chickenman.” Jim was skeptical, but when the recordings were interrupted by everyone laughing over each other’s lines, it became clear that they had something interesting.
By the time Jim aired the second episode, calls were coming in.
During week two, everyone asked Dick to make more episodes.
Before long, Dick opened a production company, dedicated to producing “Chickenman” and other bite-sized radio comedy, in addition to his humorous commercials.
The project was so successful that Jim proposed to, Jane, and they were married for the rest of Runyon’s life, through his return to WKYC (where he had once worked before). Sadly, Runyon was diagnosed with leukemia in 1973, and passed not much later. His wife continued acting and work afterward, and had a very long career working bit parts. Orkin is, in spite of his age, still working, and has produced three different incarnations of Chickenman, in addition to The Tooth Fairy series and commercial work.
While Chickenman lives on fondly as a memory of those who collect this kind of obscuria, the bummer is that the broadcasts are harder to find as the ’60’s become foggier and foggier. Orkin himself used to offer a 14 Disc set of the complete Chickenman, but this fell off the market when they were all added to iTunes shortly before This American Life ran a story on Chickenman, which are now, inexplicably, gone as quickly as they were available. As with any kind of vacuum like this, there are a few disreputable places where you can stream or download low-quality, heavily compressed versions of the episodes, with digital artifacts so bad as to occasionally make them unlistenable on any playback system.
In the same way that radio is fading as a prominent art form, these recordings of the past are soon to be all-but forgotten in the deluge of audio material that is available in this modern age. As if there isn’t too find a point on this particular loss, even if Chickenman is archived in an easy to access way, the beauty of these recordings are lost in .mp3 due to the invisible art that is also largely unknown today: editing audio on tape. In a pre-digital world, all sound was captured on an inconvenient (at best) medium, and editing involved cutting the tape with actual razors, working in editing bays, where adhesive & magnetic tape were manipulated in profound, if subtle ways.
Like the best films, when you listen to a commercial, you can’t hear the edits, at least not with a good editor like Orkin. His work was impressive in that his output was massive, his work was funny, and his edits were so precise as to be inaudible. Listen casually to any number of commercials that were edited on tape and you’ll realize how hard it must have been. Orkin had become so skilled in the Production Room that his coworkers would say he “wrote in tape.”
The Best of Chickenman was rushed to stores late in 1966 to capitalize on the immediate success of the show. Dick, Jane & Jim recorded both sides in one afternoon, with two other WCFL staff engineers helping with the session: J. Michael King (sound effects genius who runs a studio in Chicago) & James P. Loupas (who ran the board). Dick reused a couple of his broadcast recordings, but wrote new scripts for these sessions.
“Spot Records” released the initial batch of LPs, which reads to me as “Jim & Dick pooling their funs to press the record,” but that’s merely speculation. Only this LP was released but Spot, and there weren’t that many made. Still, the release generated the interest of Robert Goldsborough at the Chicago Tribune, who gave Chickenman good press early on. (Goldsborough is notable as the “authorized” author of Nero Wolfe mysteries between 1986 to 1994, among other things.) ATCO Records noticed, and picked up the album, and re-pressed it a year later with a bigger run and national distribution, bringing the character to America. Dick used this opportunity to syndicate Chickenman to stations all over the country, a deal that yielded more LP sales, and thus, even more Chickenman. For a while, anyway.
I like the story of Chickenman because it has, embedded within it, the story of radio at its purest, and when it is working best. The behind-the-scenes people who are only sort-of known, working to fill air time, trying anything and everything to build an audience, by any means necessary. In Chickenman, fame is not an option. He is not looking to become a star. The character began to loose interest with the public by the mid-’70’s, and after a few revival attempts, he doubled down on his commercial work to stay solvent, and trying other properties in an effort to make it big. Dick managed to get a few meetings at CBS, and leveraged this into getting a couple commissions for some TV work, but outside of that, a new career never materialized. Orkin finished his career the way he started it: making excellent funny commercials, and we should be so lucky to have the skill with which Dick can wield a razor blade.
The Best of Chickenman
Part I: The Bird Is Born
01.) The Bird Is Born * Dick Orkin, Jane Roberts & Jim Runyon * The Best of Chickenman * ATCO Records (1966)
02.) Run Chicken Run * Link Wray * Law of The Jungle * Ace Records (2002)
03.) Chicken Little Lied * Tight Bros. From Way Back When * “Take You Higher!” EP * Ten In One Records (1998)
04.) The Universal Telephone Ring * NBC * The Universal Telephone Ring * NBC Television (1970)
05.) No Kolhoznoi Ptitsaferme (On The Kolkhoz Poultry Farm) * Orkestar Vyacheslav Mescherin * Easy USSR * Epic Records (2002)
06.) Chicken Grabber * Nite Hawks * Lost Treasures! Rarities From the Vaults of Del-Fi Records * Del-Fi Records (1995)
07.) Chicken Talk * Yma Súmac * Mambo! * Capitol Records (1954)
08.) Komodo Fried Chicken Blues * Sufian Abdullah * Music To Break Out of Jail By * Bandcamp.com (2013)
09.) Chicken Diction * Negativland * Happy Heroes * Seeland Records (1998)
Part II: Leave The Driving To Us
10.) Leave The Driving To Us * Dick Orkin, Jane Roberts & Jim Runyon * The Best of Chickenman * ATCO Records (1966)
11.) Night Traffic [Excerpts] * BBC Sound Effects Library * Suburbia * BBC Records (1997)
12.) Chicken Keeper * Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 * Porcelain Entertainments * Return To Sender Records (1995)
13.) A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off * The Magnetic Fields * 69 Love Songs * Merge Records (1999)
Part III: A Romantic Flight
14.) A Romantic Flight * Dick Orkin, Jane Roberts & Jim Runyon * The Best of Chickenman * ATCO Records (1966)
15.) The Greasy Chicken * Andre Williams * Four Hairy Policemen (Wavy Gravy) * Beware Records (1989)
16.) Chickens * King Missile III * The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life * Instinct Records (2003)
Part IV: Getting Organized
17.) Getting Organized * Dick Orkin, Jane Roberts & Jim Runyon * The Best of Chickenman * ATCO Records (1966)
18.) Chicken Rock * Fat Daddy Holmes * Rockin’ Bones: 1950s Punk & Rockabilly * Rhino Records (2006)
19.) Chicken Back Part Two * The Curios * Lux & Ivy’s Favorites Volume 12 – The Lux Interior Memorial Edition – Journey Into Outer Space * Kogar The Swinging Ape (2009)
20.) Chicken Don’t Roost Too High (1930) * The Georgia Pot Lickers * The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of * Yazoo Records (2006)
Part V: Just Testing
21.) Just Testing * Dick Orkin, Jane Roberts & Jim Runyon * The Best of Chickenman * ATCO Records (1966)
22.) 5-Piece Chicken Dinner * The Beastie Boys * Paul’s Boutique * Capitol Records (1989)
23.) Do The Funky Chicken * Rufus Thomas * The Complete Stax-Volt Singles (1968 – 1971) * Stax Records (1993)
Born in 1929 to a Shawnee family, Link Wray is an unlikely heir to the Punk Rock throne. Wray had few opportunities growing up, and it was Link’s older brother, Vernon, who was the guitar wizard. Vernon was a clever kid, and lied about his age to get a job with a cab company so he would have access to a car to use for other jobs, including gigging as a Country Swing group. But, keep in mind, in spite of the name on the label, this is also Vernon’s story.
Vernon invited his brothers into the group when they were interested, and it quickly became a family affair, each member of the family performing as well as the others. Link had a great voice, and would often sing for the group, but picked up a few instruments just through performing with his family. Vernon would change the name of the group (and the line-up), and relied on their indian heritage and certain unspoken by prevalent racial prejudices to increase the number of gigs he could book with easily-duped club-managers. The band learned a large number of songs so they could perform as other kinds of groups, as needed. Vernon had a natural aptitude for equipment and management, a skill that he honed over the years of playing and loving the music he was making. It made all the cabbing worth it.
However, for Link, there are few other options available for an 18 year old native american, and as fun as playing hillbilly music for honkys in some bar might have been, Link felt the call of adventure, and the Army offered more opportunities than anything else around him. Link loved the traveling and the camaraderie with his army buddies, and thought he was going to do well for himself in this enviornment. A case of Tuberculosis not only cut short his tour of duty, but cost him a lung while fighting the disease. When he got back home he was weak and poor, and spent a lot of time at home with a radio, just in time to discover rock ‘n’ roll in it’s nascent form in the early ’50’s. Wray suddenly saw his experience with his brother’s group the training ground for something that he could only just now see. Link picked up a guitar and, until 2005, didn’t bother to put it down again.
It took Wray a few years still to become the player he would evolve into, but his lack of formal education and a desire to FEEL the guitar propel itself out of the amplifier led to Link straining equipment and gear to the point of distortion, and was intensified when he used what he called “cheater chords” (barre chords), which caused his guitar to send out massive swaths of reverberation in the middle of a tune. Once he landed a hit single with his first release, “Rumble,” he secured for himself a signature sound and style that was prescient of the impending Garage & Punk movements of the years to come.
For nine years he worked in a three-track studio he build in a chicken shack with Vernon, and together they churned out singles and albums of instrumental rock. Vernon had an intuitive understanding of how to record Link’s unique guitar playing and fit it into a sound and format that would move 45s, with both DJs and kids in record stores. Unfortunately, Link’s singing voice never recovered from his military illness, but this only ignited within him an attempt to express himself with his guitar. While he did try to write new material after his initial “retirement” in the late ’60’s, he was never able to match the fierceness captured in those early records. He performed his entire life, and at age 76, had become an icon in rock music in a way few artists of his age had every achieved previously.
In the ’60’s Link Wray had fallen into a routine: he would write and record music with a permutation of the same band from the country days, and his brother – having moved to the management / production side of things – helped make sure Link’s records got into stores, and Link got to the shows.
It was during this period that he was on Swan Records. He cut quite a few records for them, but in 1964 the band cut a very loose and loud session to tape, with some old favorites and some new tunes, in the hopes that they could work out a couple new songs, and maybe – just maybe – get a single out of some of it.
While there was plenty around that was pointing in this direction, Link was laying on the distortion so thick that they band had an amplifier-rattling attack that synthesized the Link Wray sound he’d been developing since “Rumble,” only louder. Listening to Law of The Jungle, you can almost hear Punk Rock being invented in his riffs.
And then… silence.
For decades these recordings were shelved, and no one is entirely sure why. Hits weren’t a guarantee with this weird and new sound, and it was possible that Link listened back to the sessions and was nervous about releasing the record, which would mean a financial hit for him and his label. Wray was a fairly profitable artist when it came to 45s, and he was able to keep a steady fan base and a string of gigs, built on the foundation of these hot recordings. It would be hard to imagine anyone in the Wray family not seeing the financial side of this equation, and I’m sure you can sense Vernon’s hand in this decision. Shelving those tapes might have made sense. Even when this kind of thing was fashionable, they probably had moved on to other things.
But I like to imagine Vernon & Link, in the chicken-coup studio, listening back to the “Law of The Jungle” recordings. Cigarettes lit, the sound as loud as it can go. Vernon just going mental over the sound he was able to get, Link air-strumming to the tracks.
They each had to know, looking at each other, smiles on their faces. This was… something.
Orkin’s story also mirrors that of our recently passed friend, Don Joyce. Like Dick, Don was a radio artist, and worked in the medium until his death, through thick and thin. And, both Dick and Don had in common the potential to be under-appreciated, and forgotten, in spite of the important work they’ve contributed to radio. I first heard Chickenman on Over The Edge, and with that in mind, I can’t help but go on a bit of a tangent, if every so briefly.
Neu! is, of course, the band from which Negativland borrowed their namesake, and Neu!, in all of their records, painted a new sonic landscape full of drones and guitars and a propulsive beat that informed punk and experimental music of every shape and variety. From Neu!, Don borrowed their sense of spreading out, of allowing things to repeat and continue, uninterrupted, for long periods of time, and to use the cut-up as an over-all philosophy, rather than a tool to depend on sparingly. It makes sense, as this would have been contemporary to Don’s own coming of age in the world of radio, and I can only imagine Neu! being a breath of fresh air to Joyce. I can also imagine, Joyce the iconoclast, coming across Chickenman, and smiling to himself. With the overall boring qualities present in so much of radio, I can only imagine how much he must have enjoyed that period of time when Chickenman made it into the public’s consciousness.
Take some time, and discover what used to be and listen to The Best of Chickenman. This is as much a symbol as it is a sample of the optimism we once had, that this kind of comedy was popular in America.
If you lived in the pacific northwest in the late ’90’s, it seemed as if the music scene was going to be ruled by KARP with an iron fist. So, when they broke up suddenly in 1998, we were all a little heartbroken. Their final record destroyed , and they were a unique band making records that reflected their own sensibility that was unlike a lot of music you heard among the too-cool-for-school indie rock stuff that Washington was popular for in the post-grunge days.
So the sudden announcement of an Olympia super-group – adding Jared and members of Behead The Prophet No Lord Shall Live to form The Tight Bros., seemed incredible. Even more-so was the release of their first 7″, Take You Higher!, with four songs that were not only a mission statement, but a perfect synthesis of the 70’s party metal ideas into a faster, high-energy form, brilliantly cribbing their name from a classic line from The Derek Tape. The genius was in having Jared sing, and Quitty‘s natural inclination to play like a triple-timed AC/DC only cemented their sound. In Eugene, THE record of summer ’98 was this piece of Tight Bros. juvenilia, undoubtedly.
“Chicken Little Lied” seems like a typical answer song, a sort of hopped-up version of a “girl done me wrong” quip. But what “she” lied about is unclear, and his babe is saying it all over town. In the social media drama reality of the modern era, Chicken Little could be our childish friend who likes to stir the pot online. Still, I like to see a sort of “take a chill pill” angle to the way we respond to the world at large. Look, babe, the sky ain’t falling, and don’t freak out over something that isn’t true when there’s plenty of other ways to spend your time. I think that advice scales up in a lot of ways. Don’t tell me the world is going to end unless I repent. I am autonomous, and the sky will not fall, no matter how loud you get.
A song like this so completely relates to Chickenman it is almost too on the nose. Like Hawkeye from M*A*S*H, we’re all tilting at windmills most of the time, watching the world around us go about their day as they scream incoherently about how things aught to be in some sort of parody of a Marx Brothers routine. There are a few of us who are willing to square off in whatever deluded manor we choose to say that the sky, really, truly, is not falling.
For now, anyway. Just shut the fuck up and rock out, okay?
For the majority of my life, I was bothered by the sound design in a scene in Ghostbusters, when Dana answers the phone in her apartment. There is near silence, then a slightly distorted, very loud ring. It sounded so out of place, as if it was obviously artificial. When I heard the film was remastered, I was hoping they would fix this, not at all piecing together that it was the same ring tone in Tootsie, The Sting, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, WarGames, and most tellingly, the intro to every episode of The Rockford Files. You may even recognize it from elsewhere:
I didn’t even realize this sound effect had a name until I found myself going down a Wilhelm Scream wormhole one day online, when I found this to be the runner up in terms of audio sound gags that are inserted in films to the delight (and horror) of sound designers everywhere. Unlike The Wilhelm Scream, the origins of this telephone ring effect seems to have been lost to the ages. It seems to have been first used in early Leave It To Beaver episodes, but most likely was used then only because it was in the Universal Studios sound library at the time.
By the ’70’s, the effect became ubiquitous in Universal’s dramas, and you can hear it all over Six Million Dollar Man,The A-Team andMagnum P.I., along with countless other Universal Productions. In the ’80’s, the tone of television began to shift, and sound designers became much more sophisticated, making custom effects for most projects. A few jokes here and there slipped into the overall body of television and film, creating a sort of intra-designer code through the use of sounds like this one. As with all codes, it was only noticed by other sound-nerds, and much like razor tape editing, is largely unnoticed by the average listener.
Something about the Chickenman universe just screams for this kind of sound effect as part of its landscape, and since there are a number of phone-call conceits to the structure of the show, it seemed like the right move for this presentation. Something about this just feels right.
Vyacheslav was 16 at the onset of WWII, when he immediately joined and fought for the Red Army, and was decorated for his service, twice: the Order of the Red Star and the “For Courage” Medals. Growing up on a soviet farm, he was happy to serve his country, and came out of the war a few years older & wiser, a well respected member of his community.
Using skills he picked up in the military, he became a radio and electronics repairman back home, where he would tinker and futz with the equipment he would pick up in his town, and help everyone make sure they could tune in to the Farm Report. Vyacheslav had an interest in compositional music and modern composers, but western pop and dance music began to catch his interest, in spite of his dedication to his home country. This eventually led to him getting a job as an engineer for the music department of the State Radio in early 1957. He would help with the equipment, record music for broadcast with the gear and performers available, and create the radio ecosystem that the Russian people would experience through his work. Their budget was huge in spite of their non-existent “pay,” but his studio was top of the line, with new electronic keyboards and gear that would put American studios to shame.
Vyacheslav loved his new job, but it wasn’t until 4 October 1957, when he became obsessed with the radio reports about Sputnik (the first satellite launched into space) that inspiration struck. Vyacheslav began to see things in a very new way, understanding that the modern man would live in a world with technology & leisure. Somewhere in all of this, music – Vyacheslav’s music – would have to evolve with the man who was listening.
The Orchestra of Electronic Instruments, largely using MOOG-like keyboard and theremins, was largely Vyacheslav himself, with occasional studio engineers helping out with his compositions. With an ear for turning a well known folk or western hit into a space-age lounge performance that was unlike anything in the USSR, Vyacheslav began to score the radio that was heard around the USSR.
From the onset it was not well regarded. While the state was not apposed to the music he made outright – and more pointedly was never in any danger of being asked to stop performing his “clothes irons” playing classical in public – the reviews were not kind up front. It wasn’t even the idea that Vyacheslav was performing western music; rock & roll had caught on in the USSR as it had anywhere else in the world, and there were already state-sanctioned acts performing all over the country. But on the whole no one believed, in 1958, that electronic music was anything more than a goof, or a novelty, if anything. It worked well for these “space” reports, but not for the average citizen. These synthesizers couldn’t possibly do anything more than a cute parody of what real instruments could provide.
The following year, Vyacheslav recorded the soundtrack for the russian sci-fi classic, Nebo Zovyot. The success of that film led to him recording more electronic music outside of the work he did for radio, and the response was positive to those releases, too.
Over the next 10 years the music began to catch on all over the USSR. Yuri Gagarin was said to have considered him his favorite artist. Vyacheslav’s music went into the national archive, and was used by any number of broadcasters throughout his career. The makers of the Russian Television used many of his songs in their shows, and made his songs favorites of kids and adults everywhere.
Vyacheslav was given the title of “The People’s Artist”, and recorded over 700 songs in the 30+ years of his career. When he retired in 1990, the music of Russian radio and television was of a much lower quality afterward. For many, entertainment in the USSR was very obviously pre and post Vyacheslav. It’s no wonder that the following year the Soviet Union disolved. Vyacheslav’s music was holding it together.
“No Kolhoznoi Ptitsaferme” was the theme music to the very popular series “Rabbit and Wolf,” (“Nu, Pogodi!”) which ran from the late ’60’s through the ’70’s, and it’s likely most Russian citizens could hum the tune if you asked them. This song is fairly emblematic of the sound Vyacheslav mastered in his career. His rendition of “Pop Corn” was a huge hit, and his insistence on using all electronic gear to compose pre-figured the current climate of recording music using GarageBand.
More importantly, it is embarrassing how unknown he is in the west, as he is not only the most well known early pioneer of electronic music in Russia, but is very well known by most artists outside of the US. He was performing and composing in 1958 in ways that our western counterparts didn’t master until the ’70’s, and yet the Cold War has forever relegated his work to the “world music” section of most music fans collection.
There is a fantastic two disc set – Easy USSR – that attempts to rectify this error, but the substantial body of his work is unknown to people outside of Russian Radio nerds, and is almost inaccessible in the US. Hopefully I will live to see the day when we can hear his work mentioned along with Bruce Haack and Silver Apples. Given the Cold War undertones in Chickenman (however muted they might be), I liked the juxtaposition (and perfect complement) these two pieces of art have when played together.
Upon first listen, it is easy to say that this song is only known for its appearance in the 1997 cut of Pink Flamingos, and leave it at that, but the nature of the “rarities” on this collection is that these were songs that fell between the cracks of popular music in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s. Each of the singles featured hear are prized among collectors for their weirdness, the performances, and the incredibly precise recording techniques, something that few studios in LA were able to achieve as bands became more sophisticated. The glue that holds this compilation together is the exotica and surf undertones, and Bob Keane knew that when he assembled the disc.
Getting “Chicken Grabber” in the new cut of a John Waters flic sent that message from the get-go, and while the disc does not contain a single song by any of the artists on Del-Fi that did have hits, that is the genius of the collection. Most of the hits Del-Fi had were over-comped even contemporaneously. But these tunes are rarely heard, not only because the discs retail for $150 on the open market, but because the bands were never popular enough to demand their inclusion on previous compilations. Like Del-Fi records itself, this compilation was trying to bring other bands to the masses, and not just the Ritchie Valens‘ of the world.
Del-Fi Records got its start in 1958, but the man behind Del-Fi – Bob Keane – was an entertainment business figure going back to the late ’30’s, when he put together a big band that he led via the clarinet at the age of 16. In yet another example of radio playing a major roll, when KFWB in Los Angeles broadcast one of his band’s performances, he got an offer from MCA, the first of many deals that would never seem to last for very long. MCA promoted him as “The World’s Youngest Bandleader” for exactly three years, when the dropped him out of fear that he would get drafted for the war.
Bob took this in stride, and decided to beat fate to the punch, and offered his services to the Army Air Force. I like to imagine that, in some obscure way, Bob and Vyacheslav somehow crossed paths, and where completely unaware. Bob was eventually let go from the Air Force due to a lung infection, so he returned to LA to heal. When he was well enough, he returned to music, and worked as a clarinet for hire until 1955. Occasionally he got work in radio, but they asked him to change his last name – Kuhn – out of fear that audiences would think that Bob was black when he was introduced as Bob Coon. From 1950 on, he used the name Bob Keane.
There are several versions of how Bob Keane & John Siamas met, but one thing is absolutely clear: in 1955 they discussed the idea of getting all the talent that they run into on the club circuit, and putting out their records. They would each tell the other that they see people who are 100 times better than the records you could buy in stores. If only the people they played with had a record label where they could come and cut a session, they would be in business. Sometime after these conversations, they shook hands, pooled their resources with Siamas’ brother, Alex, and decided that they would release a record by an artist that mattered. They immediately turned to an artist that Bob had been raving about, in spite of the Siamas brothers having never heard of him: Sam Cooke
The first release on Keen Records was “Summertime” b/w “You Send Me” in 1957, part of Sam’s three-year contract with Keen. It got decent enough airplay, but when DJs discovered the b-side, the single began to really move in stores, and on 25 November 1957, the record hit #1 on The Billboard. Keen Records was raking in the dough.
Like any smart businessman, Bob when to John and asked how he wanted to structure the business of Keen Records. John pretended he had no idea what Bob was talking about. John offered a session musician’s paycheck for finding Sam, and countered with another offer to let Bob buy into Keen Records with a $5K investment, which Bob could not afford. The label was named after him, but Bob walked away, and before John was done laughing with his brother, founded had Del-Fi Records later that same month.
While Bob was litigating the Siamas’ over their assholedness, he turned to the next artist he hand gotten to know on the club circuit, Henri Rose, and rushed a recording of “Caravan” b/w “September Song” on 45 under the Del-Fi label in early 1958. Bob had intentionally picked Henri because they were friends, and gave Henri the most flexible contract he could devise, on purpose. He knew that someone would come calling in an effort to buy-out Henri Rose once anyone with half-a-brain heard what Henri could do, and Bob only had to wait for the call to come in.
By Spring, Warner Brother’s Records waved an $8000 check in front of Bob for Henri, just as a settlement check was already deposited into his account. Bob considered that revenge enough and moved on to his next trick: Making Del-Fi the epicenter of LA cool.
There are two distinct periods in Del-Fi’s catalog: the early rock ‘n’ roll period, and the later surf period, but in the roughly 10 years Del-Fi existed, they alway managed to have a very agreeable policy when it came to checking out new bands. Bob knew from experience that the guys that were best on the club circuit worked hard every day, no matter how little money was on the line, and often those were the best artists. But it would often take a little while to find this out about these incredible artists, and it was better to let everyone have a chance rather than hold out for a guarantee.
Around 1967 things began to fall apart for the music industry. It was clear that 45s were now “singles” off of LPs, which was the real product, and with psychedelic starting to really take over, Bob’s “dinosaur” perspective on the music industry didn’t seem to gel with modern bands. When The Bobby Fuller Four broke up, Bob knew that Del-Fi was over. He banked what he could, and decided to merely manage his own songs as The Keane Brothers, while selling burglar alarms to the people of LA.
The story would probably end there, but curiously enough the time between 1967 and 1987 did wonders for Bob’s status as a legend. Since he couldn’t afford to release any new records, the collectability of Del-Fi releases went through the roof, and artists in his roster began to get relegated to the “classic oldies” status. While this had no way of affecting Bob’s income, when the La Bamba film came out in 1987, it was clear that interest in what Bob had done was back in the public consciousness.
Bob began to assemble collections and compilations of Del-Fi classics, repackaged for public consumption. This was only helped by the success of Pulp Fiction, which not only came at a time when surf was coming back as a genre, but when interest in the original bands of Keane’s era was in high demand. Keane released collections of his records (with a few new bits here and there) for several more years, but in 2003 he realized that he could not sustain the work on his own. Again, Warner Brothers came to his aid, and in a very cool turn of events, they relegated the work of managing Del-Fi’s catalog to Rhino Records, who has the rights to “Lost Treasures,” along with everything else Bob Keane did in his career.
The Night Hawks were also a group that Bob met on the touring circuit, and their story is also fascinating. The group was let by Nesbert Hooper Jr., also known as “Stix” Hooper, and The Night Hawks evolved quite a bit, into the Jazz Crusaders, and the just The Crusaders, taking the exotica / R&B sound of this tune and becoming a very accomplished Jazz group that lasted until 2003. They did not last long as The Night Hawks, but there is something very cool and Del-Fi about this recording.
The thing that Bob Keane was, perhaps, best at was finding artists that complimented the Tiki culture of the late ’50’s, and Del-Fi is, in many ways, a document of that early music scene in LA. in addition to all of that, Bob Keane best represents the kind of producer that they do not make anymore. His openness to artists, desire to be honest in all his business dealings, and his focus on fostering an environment where the music came first was rare in the music industry, and almost everyone he worked with spoke highly of him as a person. As the digital age creates new kinds of hassles that artists and businesses are constantly negotiating, reading about Bob Keane reminds us of an earlier time, where people made records because they, too, loved listening to them.
After a while, all the stories people tell about the music world start to sound the same. This white guy started working at this studio and the artists they found were great. This guy started writing songs with his friends and they became famous. It’s all so formulaic that it starts to get a little boring, and you start to mix all those white guys into one, amorphous nerd who is hunched over some guitar or studio for way too long. So even the existence of Yma Súmac, The Peruvian Princess descended from the last soverign ruler of the Incan Empire, Atahualpa, is a joy to discover in a world of white sameness.
Born in 1922, when she was 20, Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo took the name Yma Súmac, and began performing with her incredible 5 octave range. Recording a grip of songs in Argentina at a radio station in 1942, she parlayed these recordings into a deal with a local label, which garnered her popularity in the area. But Yma had bigger plans: America. She married a composer, and together they set out for NYC in 1946, performing around town in local clubs as a trio, with her cousin rounding out the group. Four years of gigging started to build their reputation, and Yma’s singing had to be seen to be believed. Capitol Records finally came calling and signed her, thinking that she would make a good pair with this other cook they had, Les Baxter. Together they made her first album, Voice of the Xtabay, which not only introduced America to a new form of music, referred to as Exotica.
Her fame was instantaneous. She performed at incredible venues: The Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The Royal Albert Hall, The Roxy Theater, Las Vegas nightclubs, The Mikado Theater in Japan. She landed roles in film and on broadway. She toured South America, Europe and Africa, performed for The Queen of England, and did shows with Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye and Marlene Dietrich, where they opened for her. She was, after all, an Incan Princess, a fact that was supported by the Peruvian government, no less! Her record contract was immediately lengthened, and she continued to belt out records that spoke to the Tiki zeitgeist that was moving through the country at the time. She was the perfect combination of sex and chanteuse, a beautiful and delicate bird that would sing songs that were so fantastic that you couldn’t help but dance.
While her husband was always there for her, initially Capital didn’t want him composing the work Yma released, which was a pity because when he was finally given that chance in 1954, it was clear that the resulting record – Mambo! – was one of the high water marks of her career. It was the perfect balance of traditional music with an US perspective, and embraced the current fads of mambo and exotica. “Chicken Talk,” while not being particularly about chickens, is like much of the music on that album: Yma sings using her incredible range, with incredibly hip and danceable music.
This lifestyle worked perfectly for Yma, and straight through to 1961 she toured extensively and released seven fantastic records. However, the years were not great to her career. As the sixties began to become dominated by rock music, exotica began to loose sway among music fans, and she spent much of the rest of her life in and out of vogue. She would perform here and there, and even put out a couple of albums, but it was clear that The Princess was ready to retire, letting new divas take the stage, for better or for worse.
In a way, she had conquered the world for a brief period of time, and having ruled it as well as she could, it was time for her to retire to her mansion in LA, always a princess, and to this day, the woman with the biggest range in history.
When’s THAT movie coming out?
Komodo Fried Chicken Blues * Sufian Abdullah * Music To Break Out of Jail By
From Peru we move to Ipoh, Malaysia, and the work of instrumentalist Sufian Abdullah. While the location may change, the story of a lone musician honing his craft for years is universal, and Sufian spent his spare time in Ipoh playing guitar, over and over again, practicing riffs endlessly, perfecting chord changes, mastering solos. Sufian’s story could have happening in any city in the world. The only difference is that modern technology allows us to discover artists like this when, even 10 years ago, we would have never heard of someone from Malaysia. And, in a way, he is a voice in a sea of digital albums available across the web. Without having a friend clue me into this record, I probably would never have found it. Fortunately for me, I did.
Music To Break Out of Jail By is a collection of tunes that are all born out of blues-based rock music. Everything is in that Black Sabbath style blues vien, with a trace of eastern musicality. This western influence on the guitar playing of Sufian is clearly his attempt to break out of the expectation that someone from Malaysia would carry in the music work. Stuff like the Nirvana cover, “School,” – a droney, extended jam on the riff that veers into doomy territory – illustrates that Sufian in a connoisiour of guitar, and that includes music from home, too. For western audiences, an album like this embodies a similar kind of transition: I recognize the blues progressions, but the format is helping me see this music in a new way.
As the story goes, Sufian Abdullah practiced guitar for years at home, playing along to all his favorite punk and metal records. This was mostly a hobby to him, and he took to it like some kids take to video games, relentlessly practicing until he had a huge repertoire of songs he could play upon request. However, it wasn’t until home recording was as easy as getting a laptop with GarageBand on it that Sufian even considered making an album. Made almost entirely by himself, this is a fantastic first effort, and even if this is Abdullah’s only release, it’s a great statement about music in general.
I also enjoy the fact that “Komodo Fried Chicken Blues” contains every imaginable rock and roll cliche in a new and intimidating form, and thus, is perfectly suited for Chickenman.
The mid-’90’s was an interesting time for Negativland. With the U2 debacle leaving them financially drained but in the eye of the public, they were now revered underground heroes, and poised to pull a media prank worthy of their previous efforts. The tour they undertook after Free in 1993 was probably their biggest one yet for a band that had largely avoided them in the past. (Some of the members are agoraphobic.)
They had just done a documentary with Craig Baldwin that introduced the public to the creative philosophy of the group, along with other’s who are using music for both activism and artistic expression. Having built their career on manipulating media – and manipulating the way media is used to talk about art – they had already taken a number of pot shots at their favorite targets, from Guns to drunk drivers, suburban sprawl, religion, government, and they were making some noise outside of the art world, too.
Their collective – a group of suburban weirdos with a passion for home-brewed electronic music meets post-modern folk – had accomplished some pretty crazy stuff since they started fooling around with recorded work in 1979. Really, after closing their last album with a deconstruction of the National Anthem, with samples that explain which drinking song the tune was stolen from, where do you go next?
Previous albums has remained somewhat brief with regard to subject, and unless it was an EP, they rarely let a project take over an entire record. But Don had found all of this incredible audio about Pepsi, and the concept for not just an album, but a pop album was born. With all the attention they were generating because of U2, it seemed reasonable that they should try to make a release that is their twisted version of a pop record.
Dispepsi, the album in question, was proceeded by a 7″ with a track from the record, and two new cuts by Negativland. Initially concerned that they couldn’t be so bold with the title, their developed a promotional campaign where the albums were not released with the letters in any particular order, resulting in a “call this number, hear this message” strategy to hear a sample of the album, and The Weatherman telling us the name of the record. The album spun off a single – “Happy Hero” – which was included on a follow-up EP, with even more new Don Joyce edits (some from his radio show), and “The Remedia Megamix” of the single. As if that weren’t enough, they used this creative juice to release a re-mix record with Chumbawamba.
This was largely done to draw attention away from the SST release, Live on Tour, a disc that completed Negativland’s contract with their former label, in spite of the fact that the band members did not get much say in the way the release was packaged and released. Negativland was hoping that if there was enough new material on the market that they actually created, then the SST Release would be convieninetly forgotten, and rightfully so. Fan’s made stickers that explained the travesty of the SST Release, and pretty quickly it was languishing in the cut-out bin.
Negativland’s Seeland Records, on the contrary, faired pretty well for themselves. The album charted at college stations, and Pepsi make it public that they had no intention of any legal action the band. Negativland was hoping they could “cancel a tour” and spend the time documenting a new lawsuit with Pepsi, but instead, they played a few shows here and there as they were able to, and used this creative spurt to push on into several new projects though-out the next 20 years, including released by their heroes Plunderphonics, as well and championing a new generation of oddballs who all grew up on Negativland records, like Wobbly and People Like Us.
For many bands, the kind of punishment they took over the creative use of sampling would destroy any future they may have had. But Negativland’s deft navigation of their own lowest career points has not only led to their status as elder statesmen of the experimental music scene, but as the fathers of audio collage art in a modern form. Many artists owe their careers to their pioneering records, and they are work exploration if for no other reason than to experience audio art that is very unlike the music that you might be familiar with.
In many ways a cornerstone of their career will be the U2 lawsuit, born largely over the use of some Casey Casam blooper tapes in a deconstructed “cover” of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. While the band themselves were very clearly influended by (and fans of) blooper tapes, their own fans got into the habit of sending the band any number of rare and influential tapes that were making the rounds among collectors and afficianados.
Don Joyce was particularly interested in material like this, as his interest in audio splicing and editing had enourmous potential with some of the more famous blooper creations. As Dispepsi was largely about the soft drink, this Happy Heroes EP could be the perfect place to include a track dedicated to a similar institution, Kentucky Friend Chicken. The blooper tape of “The Colonel” not being able to nail his own line had been floating around for years, and even Mr. Bungle had used it on their self-titled debut. But using the same Dispepsi approach to integrating jingles into a sort of musical refrain, “Chicken Diction” illustrates the kind of hypnotic editing that Don was particularly great at.
While it is clear that Negativland will continue without Don, his contribution to the band with tracks like this were completely unique and excellent additions to their aesthetic, and it will absolutely be missed.
Pressing on into new territory, we find ourselves here, cashing in on a noted celebrity to help keep the program “current.” Perhaps the AV Club will profile our show now that we’re dedicating an hour to the work of Leigh Stevens, knowing that they will be able to siphon clickthroughs by stealing my thunder? Who can say? The music will speak for itself, in the end, even if the crumpled suit and Bob Barker microphone I’m using to see the the program isn’t wining over any converts.
Did someone say gimmicks? Because we’ve got ’em. Consider this a debut of sorts for MKUltramegaphone, a new combo of sorts, who added audio commentary and texture to the program throughout the hour. Cut-ups and electro-wizardry layered with studio soundscapes and original musical compositions. As I walk up and down the audience walkway, paying more attention to my microphone cable than anything else, I ask: what more could you want?
Well, cliché, simile, cliché. Because, etc, and so on. As a tribute to all The Waiters out there who are always fashionably ready for anything, we offer them these new opportunities to listen for the name-sake recordings buried deep within within this program, in a way only our ferns at Firesign Theater can deliver. In-jokes within in-jokes! It’s enough to leave anyone puzzled & befuddled.
Special thanks to Leigh Stevens, musician and engineer, for supplying the bulk of the audio material we played on the program today. Leigh has been making music since the early ’80’s, and is one of those rare, undiscovered gems that is lost in the deluge of modernity and digital audio. Tapes, man. It used to be about the tapes! (Shakes head back and forth.) If you dig his stuff, you can contact him at: email@example.com.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.)  * Negativland * Negativland * Seeland Records (1980)
03.) Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him * Firesign Theater * Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him * Columbia Records (1968)
04.) Larry Lambo * Leigh Stevens * Larry Lambo * Self-Released (2006) * [Leigh’s Note: “digitally warped youtube sounds”]
05.) Down On Foster’s Farm * Leigh Stevens w/ James Mereness * Down On Foster’s Farm * Self-Released (1988) * [Leigh’s Note: “James – sound effects CDs, Emulator II sampler, synthesizers, digital manipulation, and 24-track tape.”]
06.) Subway Ambience * Leigh Stevens * Subway Ambience * Self-Released (2000)
07.) Farmer Taxi Dub * Leigh Stevens * Farmer Taxi Dub * Self-Released (1985) * [Leigh’s Note: “¼” audio tape – a normal rehearsal interrupted by random taxi radio interference.”]
Part II: The Rio Surf Tango
08.) Rio Surf * Leigh Stevens * Rio Surf * Self-Released (1996) * [Leigh’s Note: “minidisc recording, 2 pressure-zone microphones placed 50’ apart – the ocean at São Conrado beach on a stormy night in Rio de Janiero”]
09.) Easter 1984 * Leigh Stevens w/ James Mereness & Frank Oswald * Easter 1984 * Self-Released (1989) * [Leigh’s Note: “TV and other found sound, Emulator II sampler, synthesizers, digital manipulation, and 24-track tape.”]
10.) Waterworld Ambience * Leigh Stevens * Waterworld Ambience * Self-Released (2011)
11.) Tel Aviv Tango * Leigh Stevens w/ James Mereness & Frank Oswald * Tel Aviv Tango * Self-Released (1990) * [Leigh’s Note: “TV and other found sound, Emulator II sampler, synthesizers, digital manipulation, and 24-track tape – jamming in the studio with Saddam and Peter Jennings on live TV, also featuring the SFX track from the film “Predator” played in reverse.”]
Part III: Stranded On LSD Island
12.) LSD Island * Leigh Stevens * LSD Island * Self-Released (1996) * [Leigh’s Note: “tape loop, digital sampler and DX-7 synthesizer
13.) Edge Effects * Leigh Stevens * Edge Effects * Self-Released (1970 – 1993) * [Leigh’s Notes: “found sound, ¼” tape, Pro Tools – in the days of audio tape recording, economic pressures forced musicians to use tape stock from wherever it could be obtained, including 1960s State Department Mandarin language training tapes. These tapes were then recorded over multiple times with different projects and experiments, until the spaces between songs became filled with overlapping snippets and remnants of a highly dubious nature. Short samples of these were randomly assembled.”
14.) Sakamoto2 * Leigh Stevens * Sakamoto2 * Self-Released (2012) * [Leigh’s Notes: “thousands of tiny sound effects recombinated”]
15.) Weirder Science * Leigh Stevens * Weirder Science * Self-Released (2012) * [Leigh’s Note: “digital soundfiles of business meetings, processed with iPhone app and Pro Tools.”]
* Throughout the program, horridus & Austin as MKUltramegaphone were mixing samples and other bits to create the final product. The notes for these recordings are:
short granular samples / excerpts / loops :
0. Jack Kerouac Reads from “On The Road” * Jack Kerouac *Jack Kerouac Reads from “On The Road” * youtube.com (September 14, 1999)
1. 1950s Housewife Tries LSD * 1950s Housewife * 1950s Housewife Tries LSD * youtube.com * (2013)
2. Magic Trip * Ken Kesey * Magic Trip * youtube.com (2011)
3. Latcho Drom * Tony Gatlif * Latcho Drom * youtube.com * (1993)
4. live ringing witches bells
In this nearly-all-vinyl presentation, horridus of devilsclub and I raid our respective record collections and present a meditation on the origins of music itself, aided by Thurl Ravenscroft and some of the other talent in from the Disney studios back in their heyday. But that’s not all! We get an exotica re-mix, and three-way jazz throw-down, some gems from archive.org, and a phone call from Uneasy Chairs where Pat plays along live to the records we’re playing! It’s a grab-bag of Mutated Goodness, this week on the program.
We were sad to have to reschedule Derek Johnson Love, who was supposed to play on the show this week, but with the insane weather lately, it was better that he wasn’t on the road. And, when things like that occur, it’s nice to be able throw together something like this, where the usual rules of our program go out the window.
Both Uneasy Chairs and devilsclub are becoming regular fixtures on the program, and for that I am thankful. Not only do they both really get the show, and enjoy what we do, but they add a nice texture and vibe to the program that really fits. They are both welcome on the show any time they are in town, and it is always a pleasure to work with them.
But, that’s not what we’re hear for this week. We’re here to learn! So, sit back, put on your drinking caps, and discover the origins of music itself.
01.) A Child’s Introduction to Melody * Camarata, Bill Lee, Gloria Wood, Thurl Ravenscroft & Joseph S. Dubin * A Child’s Introduction to Melody * Disneyland Records (1964)
02.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
03.) Wire Trace / Epoxy [Excerpt] * Hovercraft * Experiment Below * Blast First / Mute Records (1998)
04.) The Love Nest * Herb Alpert * Herb Alpert’s Ninth * A & M Records (1967)
05.) Katsumi Love Theme * Arthur Lyman * Taboo * Hi Fi Records (1958)
06.) Stone God * Martin Denny * Exotica… the exciting sounds of… Martin Denny * Liberty Records (1957)
07.) Ritual Fire Dance * Edmond de Luca & The Trans World Symphony Orchestra * Safari * Stereo Fidelity / Somerset Records (1958)
08.) 3Byku * Unicode * Kahvi Collective-Poems EP * archive.org (2002) (Notes: Location: Siberia; Quote from artist: “Unicode, another artist from the depths of Siberia, brings us a minimal offering – 2 tracks of quiet, atmospheric sounds, to put you into a calm, reflective mood…”
Part II: Uneasy Calls
09.) Miles Runs The Voodoo Down * Miles Davis * Bitches Brew * Columbia (1970)
10.) Ramblin’ * Ornette Coleman * The Best of Ornette Coleman * Atlantic Records (1970)
11.) Manifestation * John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali & Ray Appleton * The Best of John Coltrane: His Greatest Years, Vol. 2 * Impulse Records (1972)
12.) En la Alhambra / La Dolores / Estudiantina * Orquesta Popular de Madrid de la O.N.C.E. * One Hundred Guitars * Columbia Records (1959)
13.) hardcore * serocell *soft touch operation * archive.org (2002) [Quote from artist: “a series of pieces restricted to 20 seconds in duration.”]
14.) Live Guitar Accompaniment * Uneasy Chairs * Live Guitar Accompaniment * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
15.) yellowsnowflake * devilsclub w/ Uneasy Chairs * transpsychotic-express * Soundcloud.com (2015) [Pat Gundran: computerized verbiage and atmospheric synthesis; horridus: percussion, bass, synthesis and composition]
Part III: Battle of The Planets
14.) Trees * Mahalia Jackson * Great Songs of Love and Faith * Columbia Records (1962)
15.) Battle of The Planets * godheadSilo * The Scientific Supercake L.P. * Kill Rock Stars (1994)
16.) myth universe * devilsclub * myth universe * soundcloud.com (2016)
There’s no better way to start the new year off than with some live music, and for this show, we offer you that in droves… spread out over two hours! horridus of devilsclub curates a set of music by his favorite artists, who submitted tracks (and in some cases, recorded tracks) specifically for this broadcast!
But that’s not all! Not only do we get down and jam out on four different live performances, but The Dead Air Fresheners unveil a new demo of a song that will be performed at Ricardo Wang’s 50th Birthday, a show you do not want to miss, AND Uneasy Chairs calls in to play live and talk about what he’s been up to. (In fact, we discuss his recent outdoor performance, which you can hear on his Bandcamp Page.) This is a stellar set of artists, all working toward delivering New Music as part of the first show of the New Year. We also have New Sponsors! It’s the complete package, and we couldn’t be more proud.
devilsclub was not only the first live band I had on this version of the program, but has been a huge supporter of Mid-Valley Mutationssince the very beginning, so it feels right to start 2017 off with him in the studio. The centerpiece of three of our performances tonight comes from a ’60’s sci-fi program, Theater Five, and is a continuation of the work we did on our previous collaboration. This one is called, “Outside Time,” and I like the story as it seems to reflect some of the ideas and thoughts I’ve been having lately. I love the sounds we have been getting when we work together, and we’ve been talking about other projects and ideas for the future. Consider this the beginning of something to come, and I will leave it at that.
The backbone of the show, however, is the curated playlist of music by some of horridus’ favorite artists, as we had done way back when in episode 10. These are people who get little to no radio exposure as part of their usual creative lives, and yet are taking chances and making art that is both compelling and fascinating, and representative of music that has almost no home in the world of radio. horridus and I could do shows like this every week, for years on end, and still never scratch the surface. Hopefully we can use this opportunity to feature and highlight some of the hidden corners of the musical landscape that are often overlooked. There are links and more information below. Please, take some time to seek out this stuff. You will not be sorry.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Outside Time * Theater Five * 1 September 1964 Broadcast * ABC Radio (1964)
03.) Sonic Evening * Chaotic Morphs & Ann-Helen Schølberg * Live At Izakaya, Oslo (Kristiansund), Norway * Self-Released (2016) * Artist’s Note: “Live recording from my record / cassette Q; from the release party December 11th 2016. RADIO EDIT.”
04.) zzyzx * devilsclub * zzyzx * Soundcloud.com (2016)
05.) Help! My phantom limb is missing * Boson Spin * Help! My phantom limb is missing * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: “Stan Magendanz (aka Boson Spin, Brisbane, Australia) has been creating ambient, dark ambient & experimental electronic music since 2005. After decades of obsessing over the music of electronic artists such as Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Brian Eno, Robert Rich & James Johnson (to name but a few), he decided to give this ‘music making thing’ a go. Much to his wife’s annoyance, Stan now spends a lot of his after work & weekend relaxation time creating music & posting it to his Soundcloud page.”
06.) D2345678901234567890123 * Carla ɟra Helles7ed * D2345678901234567890123 * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: “looking for ideas of politics and its consequences” .. “one or the other, good or bad still the same, trying new ways” .. “transmissions” .. “just feeling, and tooling to make sense, bone structure” .. “a thing that falls mutates along the way” Denmark
10.) Painting The Zebra House (Demo) * Dead Air Fresheners *Painting The Zebra House (Demo) * Performed via Phone for Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
11.) Fog and Steam * XRMX * Fog and Steam * disquiet0254 (2016) * Artist’s Note: “All the sounds in ‘Fog and Steam’ are derived from two short recordings; a railroad engine steam whistle, and a fog horn… manipulated by a lot of cutting, splicing, pitch-shifting, and other effects.”
12.) A Man Who Smokes * Austin Rich * A Man Who Smokes * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
13.) 6 January 2017 Weather Report (Live!) * devilsclub & The Weather Computer * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
14.) New Green Cans! * Austin Rich * New Green Cans! * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
Part IV: Uneasy Chairs / devilsclub, LIVE!
15.) Live Performance * Uneasy Chairs w/ devilsclub * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
16.) Interview * Uneasy Chairs * Interview * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
17.) Tectonic Subduction * Rumblin Cynth Rampo * Tectonic Subduction * Soundcloud.com (2017) * Artist’s Note: “Track created for play on Salem Oregon’s Radio KMUZ Mid Valley Mutation show which will be broadcast Friday 6th Jan 2017 at 10pm Pacific Daylight Time or around 0400 GMT. Track created using Eurorack synth, recordings of bubbles and the mine winding engine at the Big Pit museum in Blaenafon museum.wales/bigpit/.” Wales.
Part IV: Time To Go Into Space
18.) Clown Interrogation * Dan Johnson * Clown Interrogation * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: Derby
19.) Outside Time (Part 1) * devilsclub w/ Austin Rich * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
20.) Spiral Down * STRIGOI * Spiral Down * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: “STRIGOI is a experimental music/drone artist, based in Vienna/ Austria. Strigoi´s music may sound very aggressive sometimes, but all pieces are expressions of pure love. We are living in tough times, and STRIGOI is the reaction of a peaceful mind. Worldwide stupidity must end. No more wars, no more earning money on war, no more exploitation of humans, animals and nature. No more stupid ideologies. That what it´s all about. SPIRAL DOWN was recorded in the wake of the Orlando shooting. The music speaks for itself. Madness must stop. NOW.”
21.) Mrs. Evans * Austin Rich * Mrs. Evans * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
22.) Let’s Go! * Austin Rich * Let’s Go! * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
23.) Late Night Music * Slinky Cee * Late Night Music * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: “I have been djing electronic and esoteric since the early nighties on and off but only started playing with first analog mono synths then modular synths in the last few years but I am hooked. This track “late night music” was recorded straight from my mixing desk after I found a patch I was happy with. It’s based around two AJH minimod vco’s which are having there base frequency modulated by an NLC sloth (a chaotic cv generator) then fed into a Doepfer ring modulator.” Melbourne, Australia
Part V: Live Weather
24.) 6 January 2017 Weather Report Two (Live!) * devilsclub & The Weather Computer * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
25.) Outside Time (Part 2) * devilsclub w/ Austin Rich * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
26.) Burn Your Family Down and Start Over * Zachary Zena Giberson * Light Blooms Upon the Infected Monument * Soundcloud.com (2017) * Artist’s Note: Austin, Texas.
27.) Camino a casa * Mareaboba * Camino a casa * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: ” ‘Camino a casa’ is a song by Mareaboba released Dec 2016. A mixture of psychedelic latin modular frequencies, a story of the road we take home, everyday, and somehow seems to be the same, but actually, is different each time we come back. The track was recorded live in Northwest Mexico and is part of a series of songs recorded on the same session.”
28.) Perfectly Square * Austin Rich * Perfectly Square * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
29.) Babylon the Great has Fallen * David M. Paganin * Babylon the Great has Fallen * Soundcloud.com (2016) * Artist’s Note: “David lives in Melbourne, Australia. He strives for emotive and genuinely innovative experimental sounds. It is important to him to seek his own sound, which respects and mutates his influences without being overwhelmed by their genius. Besides making music, his major interests are physics research, literature, psychology and gardening. This track reflects his long-time fascination with both the ancient city of Babylon, and with ancient languages. The spoken text is a conflation of Revelation 17:5 and 18:2, attempted in the original spoken Greek of two millennia past. It translates as: ‘Babylon the great // It has fallen // Babylon the great, the mother of the prostitutes and the abominations of the earth.’ ”
Part VI: Outro & Outside Time Finale
30.) Outside Time (Part 3) * devilsclub w/ Austin Rich * Live Performance * Mid-Valley Mutations (2017)
This is a 60 Minute audio essay about the Holiday Season, with music, sound effects, voice-overs, and a few commercials. For those of you who have never heard the kind of shows I do, this is an excellent introduction to my radio style, and a wonderful hour of holiday sounds for those New Year’s parties around the corner. (Token mentions of X-Mas were, sadly, unavoidable.) Consider this my holiday gift to the city of Portland, and anyone else I forgot to get a gift for. Sorry.
The Old Acquaintance with Philip Marlowe! (At their yearly meet-up, Detective Dexter Roland and Phillip Marlowe discuss a strange case involving a wedding on New Year’s Eve, and a whole lot more, from The Adventures of Phillip Marlowe, oiginally broadcast 26 December 1948.)
I’d known Phil since pretty early in his career, and we had long ago made it a habit to hunker down each time the year turned over to talk about our work throughout the year. But it wasn’t until he actually showed up this year that I thought I would see him, and even worse, it wasn’t until he began to tell me about the New Year’s Wedding that went wrong that I really began to feel bad.
It’s been a while since my last All Vinyl show.Part of the notion of Mid-Valley Mutations was this aesthetic of the cut-and-paste, and it is VERY hard to do that on a record, if you want the record to survive.And, admittedly, there is a slightly bigger time commitment with LPs and whatnot.I’m often in front of a computer, so it is easy to prepare material throughout the week.But I’m not always in front of my record player, even though I would very much like to be.
There is also the condition of space and time.I don’t have access to a studio where I can have three turntables running all at once, except in the studios at KMUZ.There is a certain amount of “live” energy to a show like this that is not present elsewhere.I’ve been attracted to records for my entire life, because the entire element of the listening experience, from pulling the album from the shelf to tucking it back afterward, has a charm to it that is unparalleled in other listening experiences.While I have used them all, and each have their virtue, I have more records than anything else, and because of that, my biases easily show.
It is a bummer, then, that these All Vinyl shows are not more frequent.But, that makes them all the more special.I try to take my time, play things that are just as mutated as the rest of the program, and still give it a flavor of something that I usually deliver as part of the weekly show.In that area, I believe I delivered.While I’m always shocked at how few records get played during shows like this, I am thankful to have such a wealth of material to draw from.Every time I enter a record show I think about the possibilities of playing my purchases on the radio, and to that end, my collection has only gotten better.Hopefully, the proof is in the pudding.
For those of you who follow the MyFacester+ and the Blog, you may have noticed that this is not the show that was advertised.While I was in the middle of producing the New Year’s Program, I was also in the process of moving my home and my studio to a new location.On Christmas Day, our home was broken into at some point in the evening, and in the process, my studio and my wife’s home office were ran-sacked.They took our computers, my mixer, banjo and guitar (among other things), our bicycles, our lawnmower, a pile of unmoved records, and a whole bunch of other meaningless items, both personal and sentimental.We returned the day after Christmas, having spent the day with family, to find our house trashed and anything of value gone.It was a horrifying experience, not to mention that we had to then clean the place after they overturned our carefully packed boxes.
Suffice it to say, that New Year’s show was never finished, and may never be, depending on the state of our hard drives that they (thankfully) left behind.In the meantime, while I hate to plug something like this in this way, if you are thinking, “this is awful, and I’d like to help,” then I ask that you do either one of the following:
Send a care package to Mid-Valley Mutations, if money is not in your means.To be honest, some of my favorite records were stolen, and while the bulk was moved before the break-in, there are many that I keep re-noticing are gone.And, considering the financial loss, it will be a while before I am able to buy new records.If you can, maybe send a little music my way?I could use the smile, and it will find a way onto the show, certainly. (Check the contact page if you want to send something in.)
Even in light of this, I’m trying to remain optimistic and look to the future.We have some great shows coming up, and 2017 can only get better.Mid-Valley Mutations has had a very good year, and we hope that we can continue that into the next.Transitions are hard, change is scary, and moving on is very hard.I’m hoping that with a little radio diversion, we can all find a way to think about what’s to come without panicking.
Thanks to everyone who supports the show, and listens from home.It is for you I do this, and from you that I draw hope.You are wonderful, you are beautiful, and without you, there would be no show.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) The Story of Mr. World * Lowell Thomas Jr. * The Story of Mr. World: The World’s Only Talking Globe Volume 1 * Replogle Globes, Inc. (1962)
03.) Coarse Land * Blood Rhythms * Assembly * No Part Of It (2015)
04.) Untitled I * L.A. Lungs * Rrest * Debacle Records (2014)
Part II: The Astronaut
05.) The Often Re-Entry Forming An Exit Strategy * Expo ’70 * Expo ’70 / Plankton Wat Split 12” * Debacle Records (2013)
06.) Weissensee * Neu! * Neu! * Billingsgate Records (1972)
07.) Glide * Fennesz * Black Sea * Touch Records (2008)
08.) I Remember Us Naked (blues version) * Post-Materialists * I Remember Us Naked (blues version) * Naked Ragin’ Records (2011)
Part III: The Story of Mr. World
09.) Despite The Water Supply Part 1 * Jim O’Rourke * Despite The Water Supply * Touch (2008)
10.) Texas Cedarwood (beauty hype suite 1) * Zac Nelson * Charbroile * Debacle Records (2012)
11.) Moonchild including The Dream and The Illusion * King Crimson * In The Court of The Crimson King * Atlantic Records (1969)
12.) Moving * Rust Ionics * Moving/Pictures * Colour Sound Recordings / Outer Limits / Quodlibet Recordings (2006)
13.) Side Effects Of Being Tired * Unwound * Challenge For A Civilized Society * Kill Rock Stars (1998)
14.) Jan. 1st * Tit Wrench * Temporarily Committed For Life * Vinyl Communications (1992)
(This episode was originally podcast on 22 December 2015.)
It had been a long day, and Detective Dexter Roland had found himself in strange places, listening to strange stories during the strangest time of the year. So, how in the hell did he find himself on a Sound Stage, with the singing detective himself, Richard Diamond, and his cast of oddballs, Walt & Otis of the local police precent? He’s not entirely sure, but he’s arrived at just the right time to catch their rendition of the Dicken’s classic, “A Christmas Carol.”
Richard Diamond was not on the air long, in either his radio or television incarnation, and yet during the seven total years he was a detective for all three of the big networks (he ran, at various times, on ABC, NBC & CBS), and was portrayed by at least three different actors, though Dick Powell was most well known for playing the sleuth. While the character was “The Singing Detective” on the radio (belting out a tune at the end of each show), by the second season of the TV show, Richard found himself playing a more Noir-like character, and fit in better with the Sam Spade / Phillip Marlowe style detective. While this particular show – where they re-enact a play – is not at all the usual form for this program, it fits perfectly into our Holiday Theme, and gives Dexter someone else he can pal around with.
The radio broadcasts were certainly a “lighter” kind of detective than you found elsewhere, and this could have added to the reasons why he didn’t last as long on the air. But even still, Richard Diamond produced 77 TV episodes, and over 160 radio broadcasts, something impressive by modern standards. And, as this is a Holiday broadcast, it only makes sense to have a “lighter” program close to Christmas.
These detective shows are a lot of fun to put together, and I always enjoy bringing out Dexter when it’s appropriate. There’s only one more in this series, where he meets with Phillip Marlowe for a New Year’s Eve story that you won’t want to miss. Until then:
A Christmas Carol with Richard Diamond!
Side A: At Our Fireplace
01.) Romanian Christmas Carols, Sz. 57 * György Sándor / Béla Bartók * Complete Solo Piano Music
02.) At Our Fireplace * Deek Watson & The Brown Dots * Black Christmas
03.) Worksong * Grails * Red Light
04.) Nonsense * Telepathys * Sui Ken – Japanese Punk and Hardcore
05.) So Long * Tiger High * Catacombs After Party
Side B: Merry Christmas
06.) Hard Times * Danny & The Other Guys * Garage Punk Unknowns – Part 1
07.) Merry Christmas * Blake Xolton * Homework #5
08.) It’s A Secret * Regular Guys * Teenline Vol. 1
09.) God Only Knows * The Beach Boys * Pet Sounds
10.) Romanian Christmas Carols, Sz. 57 * György Sándor / Béla Bartók * Complete Solo Piano Music
While radio was not the first medium to explore the stranger side of things, it was the first place where people at home could all bond together, simultaneously, over a strange piece of culture, where previously you could only hear this stuff gathered around a campfire, late at night. Radio brought everything into our homes – drama, news, sports, and fantasy – and as we turned the dial, we stumbled across things that have managed to spook us in ways we didn’t think were possible. That is, until the radio age.
While it is easy to overlook the cultural impact of this, it bears repeating that radio gave to us a chance to engage in culture along with the rest of the world, live. While time-shifting is just the reality of the modern age, it was simply never possible for nearly 100 years. Live experiences – like tuning into a radio program – was a singular experience that connected your community (and your country) in a way that no other medium was able to do previously. These shared experiences changes the way we experienced the rest of the world, and each other. Suddenly, there was something to talk about that we all heard last night. While the obvious boon was to offer nearly instantaneous forms of communication, it wasn’t long before some clever gents realized that the evocative nature of sound at night meant that radio was uniquely suited for something spooky, and a whole world of sounds to make you shiver began to fill the airwaves.
One of my favorite resources for these odder Old Time Radio selections is Strange Tales, part of the Relic Radio collective. Not only do they offer incredible curated means through which you can listen to almost any genre of radio from the past, but Strange Tales specifically is a fantastic slice of these late night, often supernatural but always very weird audio offerings. Every episode is worth your time and effort, and as the host continues to mine the weird and wild side of radio history, I’m constantly impressed with strange gems that are well worth your time.
Even still, radio didn’t invent the “scary story set at Christmas” genre. The Krampus filled that niche almost from the beginning, and radio merely applied the rules of good audio theater to that same idea, and created the perfect way to deliver some scares to the listeners at hand. I was very excited to find that two of my favorite “weird” programs each had great Holiday Stories that fit exactly this description, but are the perfect ways to cap off the season, and bring you a little something that will fill your heart with something other than Holiday Cheer.
We start off this episode with a story from The Whistler, a crime anthology program that focuses on the stranger parts of the criminal underworld. The host, only known as The Whistler, was played for almost 7 years by William Foreman, who occasionally worked as a radio announcer, and played the character in the short-lived 1954 TV version of the character. The Whistler was an omniscient narrator, who would goad the characters as the stories developed, and seemed to enjoy the misfortune of others. Irony and grim endings were a staple of this program, and seemed to set the stage for the EC Comics style horror hosts of the ’50s. There were eight Whistler films in the noir vein, seven of which starred Richard Dix as different characters, and half of which were William Castle films. Each episode of The Whistler creates a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, and is kick-started by the footsteps and whistling that was copied to comic effect in The Saint. But here, the sounds are not only appropriately creepy, but set the tone for the rest of the broadcast. This is absolutely some of the best radio ever recorded, and we’re happy to have it on the program this week.
Running for almost nine years and acting as an anthology program that was on the air at the same time as The Whistler, or second program is from The Mysterious Traveler. Hosted by Maurice Tarplin, a veteran radio voice over actor, who was heard on The Strange Dr. Weird, Boston Blackie, Valiant Lady,The Shadow, Theater Five, The March of Time,Gangbusters, The Guiding Light, Myrt and Marge and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. But he was limited to the narrator in The Mysterious Traveler, a character that shares a train ride with you, and can’t help but tell you strange stories he’s overheard. Both magazine and comic book versions of this character popped up, but neither managed to become hits, and languished on newsstands until they were canceled, a shame considering people like John Dickson Carr, Dorothy L. Sayers, Brett Halliday, Ray Bradbury, Craig Rice, and Lawrence Blochman, all wrote for the publication, an impressive roster with hindsight. While certainly an eerie program with many of the horror / suspense tropes of the day, there are regrettably few episodes of the program available, with only 70 of the 370 broadcasts existing in the modern era. Still, what does exist is a great sampling of a kind of storytelling that is rapidly disappearing, down the tracks of life.
I love exploring Old Time Radio, and it has been fun to sift through all of these holiday classics during this part of the year. Stay tuned, as we have a New Year’s program that we’re piecing together, and 2017 has a number of great programs already in the works. This is a great time to become a fan of our show, and all you have to do is listen. Seems like a pretty good deal, to me.
Weird Christmas w/ The Whistler & The Mysterious Traveler!
Part I: The Whistler!
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) See How Pretty, See How Smart [Excerpt] * Melvins * The Maggot * Ipecac Records (1999)
03.) Letter From Cynthia * The Whistler * 25 December 1949 Broadcast * CBS Radio (1949)
Part II: The Mysterious Traveler!
04.) Christmas Story * The Mysterious Traveler * 25 December 1951 Broadcast * The Mutual Network (1951)
(This episode was originally podcast on 15 December 2015.)
You’re taking a walk home and you stumble across a group of drunk holiday well-wishers leaving The Blue Note late into the night. You tighten up your coat to quicken up your pace to beat the cold. You automatically assume that you should avoid them at all costs, that they look like trouble, that if you let yourself become in any way associated with these obvious miscreants it could mean disaster for you, and for the rest of the night. Why, just the other day you heard a story about someone who was on the run from the law, because of a Christmas Bonus he received?
Join us, as Detective Dexter Roland – intoxicated with both spirits and those of the season – is off to listen to scary stories told by none other than the legendary Whistler, the very same from radio and film. Along the way we bring you holiday fun and music by a host of artists I’m always itching to listen to, and in the end we have a jolly good time, as we let Dexter guide us this holiday season.
The centerpiece of this show is an episode of The Whistler from 1944, where the very well-know theme kicks our show into high-gear. (Performed by Dorothy Roberts and Wilbur Hatch‘s orchestra, who wrote the piece for the show.) It should be noted that Dorothy Roberts, was really only paid to do the whistling once, and it probably wasn’t for very much. But the show was a hit, and ran for 13 years. Her tune was heard hundreds of times, in hundreds of households, and her name was largely forgotten for years.
It’s funny how so many programs of this era all began with the sounds of someone walking and whistling, which has since become shorthand in radio (and later, film and TV) for “night.” It worked particularly well on radio, as the sterile environment of the radio station meant that you wouldn’t be hearing the sounds of everyday life – of cars, birds, people talking and chattering. Sitting alone, with a radio, and hearing echoey footsteps, and then… well, it is a singular experience, and it sets the tone for what The Whistler was going to bring you.
J. Donald Wilson set the tone for the program, who was a writer and producer for CBS in the early ’40s. He was a hired gun, and the idea of a crime show seemed like an easy win. Crime radio programs were huge in those days, and Wilson rationalized that if you bill the show as an “anthology,” you can save time by not having a recurring cast. Wilson relied on a lot of tried and true storytelling ideas, and decided to connect the episodes by having one recurring character, a narrator, who was rarely a part of the action, but was more like an announcer.
As the stories that were getting churned out got darker and darker, Wilson made The Whistler’s character darker, until he was an almost sinister character. Borrowing heavily from Inner Sanctum, Wilson crafted an eerie crime show with an almost – but not quite – supernatural component. In a tried and true horror motif, he was fond of trick endings where a new bit of information in the last moments of the program can often reverse the entire effect of the show, but he deployed this tactic only when necessary, and only when the effect would really work because of the story.
In 1944, Wilson had to leave the show, and George Allen took over as producer. This wasn’t even strange for this program, as the voice of The Whistler changed from time to time too, the most consist of them being Bill Forman. Bob Anderson was the regular announcer for the show, and with a core group at hand, Allen realized that it was important to stay the course. They had a good thing going with the initial success of the program, and Allen decided he wanted to keep this going by sticking with what worked. To that end, The Whistler formula became very easy to identify, very easy to produce, and was a hit with audiences.
William Castle – yes, that William Castle – soon bought the rights to do a series of Whistler pictures, and in the waning years of the programs success on the radio, The Whistler was on television in 1954. But as anthology shows started to fall out of vogue, and dramatic radio was loosing the edge it had in light of the popularity of Rock and Roll, ratings for The Whistler declined, and the show quietly disappeared, like a whistling stranger in the night, walking further and further away.
There is certainly an old-fashioned-ness to the way these stories develop. Having a narrator like this really evokes a kind of radio that had fallen out of fashion, even in the ’40s, and was then a throw-back to adventure-serial type radio programs, that where heavy on the use of a narrator to catch everyone up from day to day. But the hallmark of The Whistler that was innovative was the way the character was chilling. Inner Sanctum used a host that told horror-jokes, and had a bubbly co-host that reminded him to do the ad-reads. But The Whistler was very, very serious, and could string someone along with a description of an inner monologue that was terrifying. While these might sound a little corny, if you were a kid in 1944, you would have LOVED The Whistler.
Stay tuned, as Detective Dexter Roland has fallen in with yet another group of after after party celebrators, when he takes in a late-late show by Detective Richard Diamond, the singing detective.
A Christmas Bonus with The Whistler!
Side A: By Hook Or By Crook
01.) The Happy Whistler * Raymond Scott * Soothing Sounds For Baby Vol. 2: 6 to 12 Months.
02.) In The Midnight Hour * Gary Wilson * Forgotten Lovers
03.) By Hook Or By Crook * Thee Headcoats * Headcoatitude
04.) Government Money * Bonemen of Barumba * Homework #9
05.) What I Must Do * Devo * Oh No! It’s Devo!
06.) Money Money Money * 9th Life * 9th Life Tape
07.) (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle * Hank Williams * 40 Greatest Hits
Side B: Dark Thoughts
08.) The Greatest Gift * Scratch Acid * The Greatest Gift
09.) Change Of Plan * Steve Treatment * Messthetics Vol. 3
10.) Safe * Ellen Cherry Charles * The Cherry Orchard
11.) Dark Thoughts * New Dawn * Love, Peace & Poetry: American Psychedelic Music
12.) Whistle Down The Wind * Tom Waits * Bone Machine
13.) Whistle * Voltage * Nice Watch Mix Tape
There is one radio character, from the earliest days of broadcasting, who’s reach not only spanned decades as an on-going concern, but has continued to retain a hold on the minds of both kids and adults alike. The Shadow, born out of radio and pulp fiction’s inter-dependence on each other in the earliest days, began as a narrator of Detective Story Hour, a host that introduced crime stories and directed listeners to the Street and Smith’s companion magazines that were available on the racks, where most of these stories came from. For nearly seven years this was the format of the show, but both the radio audience and readers of the magazine agreed that this mysterious “Shadow” was much more interesting than the characters in the other stories. The writer’s had no issue with changing things up, as continuity wasn’t an issue back then, and so very quickly they took the character in a different direction.
A couple of things happened in 1937. Mutual Broadcasting took over distributing The Shadow, and Street and Smith began developing the character of The Shadow, introducing a supporting cast and hopping onto the “costumed adventurer” bandwagon that was popular in those days. It also helped that the lead – a playboy by the name of Lamont Cranston – was being voice by the godfather of radio broadcasting, a maverick who defied while establishing convention and craft, Mr. Orson Welles. While his tenure on The Shadow was only two years, it was enough to solidify the tone and direction of the program from there on out, and Margo Stevenson helped make the character of Margo Lane what it became later, even when veteran actress Agnes Moorehead played her during the later years.
The Shadow worked best in a radio environment, because his key power was to cloud men’s minds, making him hard to see unless The Shadow comes out of the dark, so to speak. Live organ accompaniment was the standard for years on this program, cut for syndication, and while there was certainly foley effects happening too, they largely relied on character voices and good stories to keep the theater of the mind at work. For an all-audio environment, this kind of story is perfect, and sustained over 20 years of shows and broadcasts.
While Orson was certainly the most famous person to play the character on the radio, he was certainly not the only one, nor the one who played The Shadow the longest. Bret Morrison, known for his work on The Adventures of Superman, Suspense and X-Minus One, played the character for 10 years, and William Johnstone played the character for five years, between his Lux Radio Theater appearances, and his work on Escape. In today’s program, we feature a story each portrayed by these veteran radio actors. Paired with Bret Morrison is the incomparable Grace Matthews, portraying Margo Lane, where the highly distinguished Agnes Moorehead played her opposite of William.
Where the detective fiction we brought you last year certainly segues into the kind of story that you will hear on The Shadow, he is certainly more attuned to the adventure / heroic fiction trope, with a much darker angle. This might have been one of the first things in media to scare large groups of people all at once, instead of the way books only acted on individuals. However the character was perceived at the time, he has come to embody all that is dark and foreboding in radio broadcasting, and is a great addition to our strange holiday season.
The Shadow Christmas Special!
Part I: Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Men?
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) See How Pretty, See How Smart [Excerpt] * Melvins * The Maggot * Ipecac Records (1999)
03.) The Stockings Were Hung * The Shadow * 24 December 1939 Broadcast * The Mutual Network (1939)
Part II: The Shadow Knows!
04.) The Gift of Murder * The Shadow * 21 December 1947 Broadcast * The Mutual Network (1947)
(This episode was originally podcast on 8 December 2015.)
After listening to Johnny Dollar’s story in our previous installment, the only thing that made any sense to Detective Dexter Roland was to drop into The Blue Note tavern, where he could take in a few drinks and a few tunes before the end of the night. Little did he know that he was going to run into Flashgun Casey and his partner, Ann Williams. Before he could even get his bearings, Dexter is roped into hearing them recount their holiday shopping trip that went quite a ways off the rails.
Crime Photographer(and later, Casey, Crime Photographer) was a franchise that was born out of the Black Mask crime fiction scene in the ’30s, created by George Harmon Coxe, who was keen to expand Casey into as many mediums as possible. Magazines, novels, and film were all avenues that Casey found himself taking pictures in, and his run on radio lasted almost 12 years with a number of different actors and formats on CBS. The gimmick of the show – that they would drop into The Blue Note tavern, where Casey and Ann would listen to The Archie Bleyer Orchestra, and later the The Teddy Wilson Trio. In this episode, the music in the bar is provided by Herman Chittison, to great effect.
While Casey is not as well known as his Johnny Dollar or Phillip Marlowe (or other detectives of the era), during his time on the air Crime Photographer was incredibly popular, and was as well recognized in his day as the other stars of his era. It’s always a pleasure to drop in on Flashgun Casey, and he seems to have sent me off on drunken adventure that could lead me in just about any direction.
But that’s a story for another day. Until then,
Christmas Shopping with The Crime Photographer!
Side A: How We Remember Them To Be
01.) Brendon’s Camera * Brendon Small * Home Movies Soundtrack
02.) Drink, Drank Drunk * RABBITS * Keep Our Heads
03.) Out Of Our Tree * The Wailers * The Fabulous Wailers
04.) Photograph [Live] * The Human Genome Project * “Live Friday on KPSU” 17 September 2004.
05.) How We Remember Them To Be * The Cherry Orchard * Ellen Cherry Charles
06.) Takin’ A Ride * The Replacements * Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash!
Side B: Decomposing Trees
07.) Talking To You * The Savage Resurrection * The Savage Resurrection.
08.) The ‘We’re All Friends’ Club * Enemy Mine * EP
09.) In A Car * The Meat Puppets * In A Car EP
10.) The Power Of Independent Trucking * Big Black * Songs About Fucking
11.) Decomposing Trees * Galaxie 500 * On Fire
12.) Faded Photograph * The Legendary Pink Dots * Plutonium Blonde
While I was snowed in, I decided to retreat into the Lava Lamp Lounge to indulge in some Snow Day musical treats. This is a selection of my favorite audio that captures the mood I was going for, and I think this makes for a pretty good hour of reflective radio goodness. Arranged in three parts. Special thanks for our Waiter, David Berry, who offers us a great little closing treat he recorded yesterday as part of a dare. It sounds great, David. Well done.
Part I: Lost Snow
01.) Lost Snow [Excerpt] * Mono * Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined
02.) Cold * April Stevens * April Stevens The Weather Girl
03.) Snow Girl * The Billy Nayer Show * BNS
04.) Coldward And Stormward * Bishop of Battle * Prequel Plus 05.) The…
As 2016 rolls to a close, any reasonable assessment of the last 12 months has left all of us a little worse for wear. As I try to re-focus my efforts for 2017, Mid-Valley Mutations is taking a few weeks off for the holidays, to recuperate and prepare for what will be a much better year, no matter how you slice it.
But we don’t want to leave you hanging, as you have come to expect weekly entertainment, and weekly entertainment you shall receive. So we’re still bringing you some good old fashioned holiday programming, just in time for the Christmas Season. We are featuring two Old Time Radio Classics, stories that involve detectives solving Yule Tide mysteries that play themselves out over two half-hour blocks. But that’s not all! We found shows where the leads are played by two stalwart performers of the Golden Age of Radio: Vincent Price and Frank Sinatra!
First, Vincent brings you a tale of The Saint, a character that he portrayed on the radio from 1947 until the end of the radio run in 1951. Vincent is a fantastic actor, and his style and sophistication come through in his portrayal of The Saint, who is as concerned with being a gentleman as much as he is concerned with solving the case. It is worth it to hear Vincent perform the character of Simon Templar, an actual saint in world where crime may strike at any moment. The Saint is often – as he is in this story – accompanied by a cab driver named Louie, expertly played by Lawrence Dobkin, no stranger to Detective Radio Programs. (He played Archie in the radio adaptations of the Nero Wolf stories, and guest starred in The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Jeff Regan and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.) This story is sort of typical of what you would find of The Saint. A little action, a little comedy, and plenty of chances for Vincent and Lawrence to spar, verbally. The recipie continues to work, even 60 years later, and it is a great addition to our Holiday Programming.
Second, Frank Sinatra plays a lesser known character from the world of noir fiction: Rocky Fortune. This makes perfect sense, as Sinatra was experiencing extreme popularity in post-war America, and he was the kind f personality that radio usually enjoyed. To top it off, it seemed to have the right juice behind the show, as the creator was none other that Dimension X series creator George Lefferts. There was also a certain amount of fourth wall breaking that happened on the show; Rocky references Dimension X, in one episode, sings lines from the Sinatra catalog, and would throw in references to From Here To Eternity as often as possible. Perhaps that was the nail in the coffin for the program, or perhaps it was Sinatra, who was never the greatest actor, in spite of his incredible voice. The show only lasted 25 episodes, and strangely, the final broadcast was less than a week after he won the Academy Award for acting, solidifying his career in film, making his radio career merely a footnote. Still, this holiday installment of his program is not only a great way to close this particular episode, but is a perfectly holiday tale, best told on the radio.
It’s just one of the many ways we like to celebrate the holidays, on Mid-Valley Mutations, and we hope you enjoy listening to Old Time Radio the way we do. And, stay tuned! There’s all sorts of podcast-only treats, and further Old Time Radio goodies that will hit the airwaves in the coming weeks. Get into the Yule Tide Spirit, with plenty of radio for your ears.
Detectives For Christmas w/ Vincent Price & Frank Sinatra!
Part I: The Saint!
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) See How Pretty, See How Smart [Excerpt] * Melvins * The Maggot * Ipecac Records (1999)
03.) Nineteen Santa Clauses * The Saint * 24 December 1947 Broadcast * NBC Radio (1947)
Part II: Rocky Fortune!
04.) The Plot To Murder Santa Claus * Rocky Fortune * 22 December 1953 Broadcast * NBC Radio (1953)
(This Program was originally podcast on 1 December 2015.)
Detective Dexter Roland had a pretty eventful November, and was ready to settle down for a quiet December where he could worry about money for a chance. But no sooner had he dismissed his secretary and was about to do some heavy drthinking, when his old friend Johnny Dollar called up, to discuss a holiday case that he can’t stop thinking about. All December, Dexter Roland will be presenting holiday capers the likes of which you’ve never heard before, and he’d doing it all as part of our annual X-Mas Memories Broadcasts.
To kick things off, we are offering, “How I Played Santa Claus And Almost Got Left Holding The Bag,” a Johnny Dollar story from Christmas Eve, 1949. Johnny Dollar had a long and fascinating radio career, and in almost 12 years aired over 800 shows that are still being enjoyed to this day. Not quite a famous as Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe or Dexter Roland, Johnny Dollar seemed to outlast them all by delivering a combination of the best detective characters on radio, and dominated the ’50’s as detectives popped up on every station. When the mid-’60’s rolled around – and Television had very truly dominated radio – Johnny Dollar faded away.
But him memory lives on, with this story about how difficult department stores can be. And until next week:
The Department Store Swindle!
Side A: Camera Shy
01.) Johnny B. Goode * The Remains * A Session With The Remains
02.) Train * Mission of Burma * vs.
03.) Camera Shy * Parts & Labor * Mapmaker
04.) I’ll Cry * The Reigning Sound * Too Much Guitar
05.) Shoplifting * The Slits * Cut
06.) Pictures * Thought Police * Messthetics Vol. 3
07.) There Ain’t No Santa Clause On The Evenin’ Stage * Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band * The Spotlight Kid
Side B: True Detective
08.) Close The Door * The Readymen * Restless
09.) Last Chance * The Wipers * The Herd
10.) White * Ken Nordine * Colors
11.) True Detective * Accidents * A Reference Of Female-Fronted Punk Rock: 1977-89
12.) Mr. Santa Claus * Nathaniel Mayer* Village Of Love
I first met Four Dimensional Nightmare in 2013, when I was tapped to run sound for a live gig he was doing on our sister program, What’s This Called? As was often the case with gigs like that, the music was unlike anything I’d heard before, and when it came time to book a pledge drive guest for my own program in 2014, he was eager to play again. This is something I’ve found with Four Dimensional Nightmare: no matter what the situation, no matter the circumstances, he is down to play a gig. He will drive all through the night for a chance to play a gig in the middle of nowhere, without compensation. The chance to play is everything.
While I usually have a lot of filigree on my shows, Four Dimensional Nightmare is not much of a talker, and I’ve never gotten him to say much in all the times I’ve had him on my program. But that actually leaves us with more time for the music, and you get plenty of that. In this episode, you get a nearly 30 minute performance of LIVE Sci-Fi influence electronic music, and you get samples of his past work, all from the comfort of you living room. This performance is a bit unusual, because this is one of two gigs that are happening at radio stations, because he is playing tomorrow at 12 Noon, on What’s This Called?If you liked what you heard, you have another chance to hear it.
During some behind the scenes conversations, I have been able to get a little bit out of him with regards to how Four Dimensional Nightmare works. Often accompanied with a guitar, this work is a highly personal expression of ideas that continue to evolve, even after the project has established itself. This music is more about vistas than short bursts, and contains exotic explorations in favor of predictable formulas. In the time I’ve know this artist I’ve come to find someone who is constantly exploring sounds that are not only beautiful in and of themselves, but are incredibly meaningful to the artist. With that in mind, what good would an interview do us, anyway?
This year has been incredible, and in the half-year that I’ve been on the air at KMUZ, I’ve already had some stand-out shows that make me very happy. Live guests, interviews, great audio essays, and plenty of new music that really paints a vivid picture of what’s going on, what has gone on, and what lies ahead. I like to consider my show a little bit of this, and little bit of that, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, and I’ve been lucky to have all three on the program, and not even after a full year. Not many shows can say that.
However, with the end of the year setting in, I needed a bit of a break. This is sort of a clean-up show, where I am finally playing some stuff that I’ve been meaning to get to all year. (Sort of the “leftovers,” if you will.) It has been a bit of a tradition, on previous incarnations of the program, that I do a “leftovers” show just after the holiday. While this isn’t exactly like that show, it has some of that vibe to it.
The centerpiece of this broadcast are a few of my favorite Richard Brautigan recordings. I’ve been a huge fan of his for years now, and I’ve been trying to find a good way to incorporate these into the show, at some point. This seemed like the best time and place, and It was certainly a lot of fun to listen to these again.
More importantly this show is a bit of a rocker. I felt like I was getting back to basics with this one, and it had some of the vibe of the first show I did, back when I started at KMUZ, so there was a nice sort of “full circle” quality to this one. I will admit, there are quite a few “older” songs in this episode. But all of this stuff feels relevant to me, and hopefully, to you, too.
A Very Brautigan Thanksgiving
Part I: Into The Upside Down
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Mope * Blood Rhythms * Heuristics * No Part Of It Records (2016)
03.) Mist Cog * OwL-Dent * Brat House Hospice * Bandcamp.com (2015)
04.) A Confederate General From Big Sir * Richard Brautigan * Listening To Richard Brautigan * Harvest Records (1970)
05.) [Track 11] * 200 Yang * 200 Yang * Self-Released (1992)
06.) Upside Down * Bruce Haack * Listen Compute Rock Home: The Best of Dimension 5 Records * Emperor Norton (1999)
07.) Lights Out * MX-80 * “So Clear” b/w “Lights Out” * Family Vineyard (2002)
08.) Ralph Spoilsport’s Going Out of Body Sale / The News Drought Continues * Firesign Theater * Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death * Rhino Records (1998)
Part II: Digging Through The Crates
09.) Mirrored Mold * Christmas Decorations * Communal Rust * Community Library (2007)
10.) The Gun And The Bible * Negativland * Free * Seeland Records (1993)
11.) Barbara The Arsonist * Neutered Prunes * I Was A Two-Headed Baby * Self-Released (2002)
12.) Waiting For The Day * The White Shark * Duck, Duck, Chimp (Rarities 1987 – 2001) * “fishanthropy” (2002)
13.) Diplomat Smile * Porest * Modern Journal of Popular Savagery * Nashazphone (2016)
14.) Franklin Street * Sir Richard Bishop * All Strung Out * Self-Released (2005)
Part III: In Watermelon Sugar
15.) All Bad Ends All * The Books * Thought For Food * Tomlab Records (2002)
16.) In Watermelon Sugar * Richard Brautigan * Listening To Richard Brautigan * Harvest Records (1970)
17.) 49er Stomp * 9th Life * 9th Life * Self-Released (1998)
18.) Kamyki * Ewa Braun * Sea Sea * Antena Krzyku (1998)
19.) Dark Lights The Dark * Bishop Of Battle * Prequel Plus * Know Wave Records * (1997)
20.) Short Stories about California [Excerpt] * Richard Brautigan * Listening To Richard Brautigan * Harvest Records (1970)
The Adventures Of Sam Spade, Detective in “The Terrified Turkey Caper”(November 24, 1950)
Dexter Roland is still Back On The Case, and didn’t have time to really deliver a Thanksgiving Special the way he wanted to. So instead, he contacted his old friend, Sam Spade, to deliver a Holiday Special with music and stories that is just in time for dinner. This show was originally broadcast on Thanksgiving in 1950, and contains more holiday wordplay than any hour of anything else you can find in any medium.
It’s just the way we like to spend Thanksgiving. From our house, to yours.
The character of Sam Spade originates from Dashiell Hammett’s stories and novels, notably as the protagonist of The Maltese Falcon, and a few other stories here and there. Hammett’s other character, merely known as The Continental Op, often became conflated with Spade, and in many forms of media – radio included – The Op’s adventures became those of Spade. Regardless, Hammett only wrote a few stories for Spade, and after the success of Black Mask detective magazine, and the popularity of noir films, Private Eyes of every variety began to make their way to radio. Spade was no exception, who parlayed his few canonical appearances in print into hundreds of radio stories. While there were versions of this character performed by Bogart and others, starting in 1946, Howard Duff played the character, until communist investigations led to both Hammett and Duff being blacklisted. For the remaining radio broadcasts, Steve Dunne played the character, as he did in this episode.
Unlike the character in the novels and films, who was largely seen and clever, sharp-witted, and a dedicated sleuth, the radio version is a much more tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the characters, with puns and wordplay that was less of the noir wisecrack and is much more cheesy.
This episode, “The Terrified Turkey Caper,” was broadcast on Thanksgiving in 1950. Not only had the series been running for four years by this time, but it is clear that with a new actor and every imaginable variation under their belt, this episode is sort of phoned in. The story of a man named Tom Turkey, who was supposed to be killed on Thanksgiving, includes a number in-jokes that tie characters from this story to historic Thanksgiving people and traditions, even if only vaguely (or, in some cases, confusingly). Regardless, it has some entertaining moments, and more to the point, is one of the few radio programs that I could find that even mentions the holiday at all, which gets very little play in the world of narrative radio.
The Terrified Turkey Caper
Part I: A Tasty Chronicle of Fowl Play
01.) Echo Four-Two * Laurie Johnson * Crime Jazz: Music In The First Degree
02.) Design To Kill * James Chance & The Contortions
03.) Where Dead People Live * Sun City Girls * Cameo Demons And Their Manifestations: Carnival Folklore Resurrection Vol. 1
04.) Almost Ready * The Normals * Killed By Death Vol. 10
05.) Maybe * The Fastbacks * The Day That Didn’t Exist
06.) Richard Diamond * Pete Rugolo * Crime Jazz: Music In The First Degree
Part II: If I Didn’t Kill The Man Found In My Room, Who Did?
07.) Heaven Is A Truck * Pavement * Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
08.) To Here Knows When * My Bloody Valentine * Loveless
09.) A Good Man Is Hard To Find * Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys * Tiffany Transcripts Vol. 3
10.) Run Away * The Kids * The Kids
11.) Daddy Long Legs * Leith Stevens * Crime Jazz: Music In The First Degree
In this retrocast from almost 7 years ago, I explore an hour of music that I hadn’t gotten a chance to get to this year. Just after Thanksgiving there are always a number of leftovers lying around; things that you can’t finish in spite of your best efforts. This show covers that ground just as I was starting to think I would have to throw some stuff out.
Food is most definitely on the menu for this one, and for that I would like to thank Isoceles Diego, who not only clued me into a number of the songs played during this show, but has been an inspiration to me for a number of years. He is the only person to have appeared on every incarnation of this show, as a Guest, DJ, and performer. While he was not in the studio with me during this one, much of the music was selected by, on inspired by, him.
All this food is making me sleepy. But one more slice of pie can’t hurt, right?
01.) Twilight In Turkey * Raymond Scott * Reckless Nights And Turkish Twilight’s
02.) Food Food Food * Harry Nilsson * Popeye Original Soundtrack
03.) Everybody Eats When They Come To My House * Cab Calloway & His Orchestra
04.) Wild Bill Hiccup * Spike Jones
05.) Turkey Hop * The Robins
06.) Wild Turkeys
07.) The Origin Of Turkeys [Part I] * Robert Krulwich * NPR News
08.) Serenade For A Jive Turkey * The Nightlighters
09.) Lonesome Electric Turkey * Frank Zappa & The Mother’s Of Invention
10.) A Turkey Named Brotherhood * KARP * “A Turkey Named Brotherhood” b/w “I’d Rather Be Clogging” * Punk In My Vitamins Records
11.) The Turkey Doctor * The Fantomas Melvins Big Band * Millennium Monsterwork
12.) Buzzard Pie (Dig This Boogie) * Rudy Green Orchestra
13.) The Best Thanksgiving Ever / Bitchin’ Camero [Live] * The Dead Milkmen * If I Had A Gun EP * Hollywood Records
14.) The Cafeteria
15.) The Origin Of Turkeys [Part II] * Rubert Krulwich * NPR News
16.) Sweet Potato Gravy * Maurice Simon And The Pie Men
17.) Turkey In The Straw * Billy Golden * Edison Record #4011
18.) Candied Yams * The West Siders
19.) My Sweet Potato * Booker T. & The MG’s
20.) All That Meat And No Potatoes * Fats Waller
21.) Mashed Potatoes (Do The) * James Brown
I love my Zoom recorder, and there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting down with a whole mess of audio to assemble from a recent recording session. Not only is it the perfect tool for capturing audio, but with my recent interest in making field recordings, it has become a tool that I very much depend on.
What is incredible is that I am regularly astounded by the things I hear on recordings that I did not hear at the time, when I was there in the room with the recorder. There is something about the way the microphone records the moment that allows us to take in the nuance and the completeness of the sound in a way that is often lost in the moment. Ever since I discovered the microphone and the tape recorder I’ve been fascinated by what I can create with them, and I have spent my share of time listening to what amounts to hours of rain, or crickets, or a fire, just because it still impresses me, all these years later.
This show draws largely from recordings I’ve made recently, capturing not just the season but my experience as someone who does a lot of walking. It also includes an incredible amount of a Lawrence English essay that I found particularly interesting. It seemed like the perfect stuff to reflect on after a long work week, and was the right kind of headiness for Mid-Valley Mutations.
This is very much a follow up to Episode #8, the last time I tackled an hour or this subject, and in a similiar-ish fashion. While this episode does not include as much recorded work in this area, it does contain some. But I was mostly attempting to create a mood and a tone, and I think I was very successful. For those who enjoy that sort of thing, here is a feed entirely dedicated to these podcasts: The Organization of Sound.
The Organization of Sound: field recordings & musique concrète (Part II)
Part I: From The Front Porch
01.) Rain Settling In (7 November 2016) * Austin Rich * Field Recordings * unreleased (2016)
02.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
03.) A History of Field Recording * Written by Lawrence English / Read by Mac OS 10.12.1 “Voice Control” *A Beginner’s Guide To… Field Recording * factmag.com (2014)
04.) Free Improvised Lunch no.2 (#2) * Uneasy Chairs * Free Improvised Lunch no. 2 * Bandcamp.com (2015)
Part II: A Walkabout
05.) Williamsburg Bridge * Fred Frith * Step Across The Border * RecRec (1990)
06.) Walkabout (17 November 2016) * Austin Rich * Field Recordings * unreleased (2016)
07.) Birds of a Feather (29 August 2016) * Austin Rich * Field Recordings * unreleased (2016)
You could make a case for Uneasy Chairs being a virtual co-host for our program, with the amount of music and collaboration we’ve done since this show got started. The idea of a live show was in the works from the beginning, but it isn’t always easy to coordinate schedules. We all have jobs and lives and it isn’t always easy to jet out of town for a week. But I managed to catch Uneasy Chairs on tour, with a show at The Space, then picking up another Portland gig Saturday Night, booked around an appearance on our program. It was pretty excellent, and we had to take advantage of the opportunity.
In the first hour of our program, catch three distinct sets by Uneasy Chairs, intermixed with a few recordings, interviews, and other free-improvised radio, which includes a jam between The Weather Computer and Uneasy Chairs that is pretty fantastic. I feel like we’ve become good friends through music and art, and it has been incredibly gratifying to not only have him perform on the show, but have such an excellent two days, offering to same a chance to really enjoy some fantastic live music.
And, as they say in the business, THAT’S NOT ALL. Comedian Nathan Pepperoni is on the bill too, not only at The Space, but also on Mid-Valley Mutations. He and his backing band – CEOs Inc. – deliver a very eccentric brand of comedy, and we fill large swaths of the second hour with Nathan’s patented humor that has himself in stitches.
Comedy – even experimental comedy – is not always successful on the radio, but when you play your cards right, something magical happens. Fortunately for the listeners at home, this hour is full of stories, music, and a very different sonic pallet than our first hour. This is not what you expect, in all the ways that phrase can embody, and this is certainly a radio broadcast that you will not forget.
I feel so fortunate that I get to do stuff like this, and when you get shows this good, it really drives the point home. I recommend you kick back with this one, because it will take you places.
05.) Performance 1 * Uneasy Chairs * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
06.) At Freeway Park * Ryosuke Kiyasu / Uneasy Chairs / Wilson Shook / Adam Levitt / Blake DeGraw Chloe Wicks / Jeff Johnson / Garrison Heck / Kalan Sherrard * Recorded live at Freeway Park in Seattle, Washington on August 16th, 2016 * Bandcamp.com (2016)
07.) Interview 2 * Uneasy Chairs * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
08.) Performance 2 * Uneasy Chairs * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
09.) Interview 3 * Uneasy Chairs * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
10.) The End Of The Line Is Also The Beginning Of The Line * Uneasy Chairs * The End Of The Line Is Also The Beginning Of The Line * Bandcamp.com (2016)
11.) Performance 3 * Uneasy Chairs * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
Nathan Pepperoni & CEOs Incorporated, LIVE!
12.) Performance 1 * Nathan Pepperoni & CEOs Inc. * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
13.) Teatro De La Psychomachia 4/25/14 * Adam Levitt * Live * Bandcamp.com (2015)
14.) Interview * Nathan Pepperoni & CEOs Inc. * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
15.) Performance 2 * Nathan Pepperoni & CEOs Inc. * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
16.) Cafe Racer 12/26/14 * Adam Levitt * Live * Bandcamp.com (2015)
17.) Performance 1 * CEOs Inc. * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
18.) Performance 3 * Nathan Pepperoni & CEOs Inc. * Mid-Valley Mutations * This Broadcast (2016)
19.) Gallery 1412 4/4/15 * Adam Levitt * Live * Bandcamp.com (2015)
20.) What Is Going On Here? * CEOs Inc. * CEOs Inc. * Bandcamp.com (2016)
It is a rare treat to get to work with a band that has been at it for over 30 years, and when it comes to The Giant Worm, even their Junior Member has been in the group for at least five. (The most recent line-up solidified in 2011.) It’s very unfortunately, then, that their reputation is not better in the Northwest. Since the ’80’s, few have followed the group on their musical voyages. Rarely interviewed, largely without a record deal for their entire career, and entirely DIY, it is only with the advent of digital technologies that recordings of the group have become widely available. And a pity, too; Xeres – one of “the new guys” with only 23 years in the band – brought along almost 100 discs of Giant Worm performances, just to give me a peak behind the curtain of the way the group works.
In many ways, a mere hour just doesn’t seem fair.
Suffice it to say, we do the best we can to pry some details from these guys, and play cuts from an album that has not yet come out (Paging Dr. Pavlov, a record that may see release next year… we shall see). But to call this a world premiere show hardly encompasses the scope of what we’re doing.
Even among experimental circles, The Giant Worm find it difficult to make a name for themselves in the scene. The narrative improvisational element is certainly unusual, and while there is humor – and the band themselves are funny guys – this is certainly not a novelty band, by any definition. These tracks tell stories in a burbling, Second City sort of fashion, and you can almost hear Del Close whispering into Pete’s ear as the band performs. But event the label “experimental” was something they bristled at, feeling that they play and enjoy music; nothing more. These distinctions have made it difficult for the group to connect with others, as they lack an easy reference point that they can offer when describing what they do. In many ways, the only way to understand The Giant Worm is to experience them.
And that’s what we try to do, with this show that is over a year in the making. While we didn’t really get a performance out of them, this all grew out of an offer to host them for a live gig at some point, on the radio. The details of which may still sort themselves out. In the meantime, it was incredibly cool of them to make the trip to KMUZ, and hang out of the air with me for the show. The studio can get pretty lonely at night, and these guys have plenty of stories to tell.
This is a Headphone Show. Pick up the beverage of your choice, lean back in your Bean Bag Chair, and let Giant Worm Radio guide you for an hour. Get to know some of the lesser known corners of the musical world.
And, of course: Enjoy!
Giant Worm Radio
Part I: Attack of The Perfect Angel
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Attack of the Giant Leeches Trailer * Attack of the Giant Leeches * Attack of the Giant Leeches * American International Pictures (1959)
03.) Free Jazz [Excerpts] * The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet * Free Jazz * Atlantic Records (1961)
04.) Old Red * The Giant Worm * Murky Depths * Self-Released (2016)
05.) Perfect Angel * The Giant Worm * Paging Dr. Pavlov * Self-Released (2017)
Part II: Beware The Tiny Hunter
06.) Performance [Excerpts] * Fiasco * 23 September 2016 * Mid-Valley Mutations (2016)
07.) The Truth Is A Tiny Hunter * The Giant Worm * Paging Dr. Pavlov * Self-Released (2017)
Part III: “All You Behavioral Psychologists Out There, Dig This”
08.) Dr. Pavlov * The Giant Worm * Paging Dr. Pavlov * Self-Released (2017)
09.) Isle Eight [Live] * The Giant Worm * Live, 2016 Olympia Experimental Music Festival * Self-Released (2016)
10.) It’s Okay, It’s Time To Go * Evolutionary Jass Band * What’s Lost * Mississippi Records (2007)
As a kid in the ’80’s, if you had any nerd proclivities, you go through a phase where you tinker with magic. My dad had a book with a section about many of the great magicians of the 19th and early 20th Century, and between pouring over that book, learning a trick from my dad’s friend Lance (who had performed at my school as a magician), and not having many friends in those days, I became very interested in magic. I was never any good at it, could never pull off a trick with any flair, and never attempted to become a magician, but biographies of magicians became my bread and butter.
As Halloween was approaching in 1987, I was – at 12 – feeling self-conscious about going out in a costume again, and since there was candy around the house, I dressed up as a wizard and helped my parents give out candy that night. Which resulted in their letting me handle the treaters while they got some much-needed time to themselves. But there was another, ulterior motive for wanting to stay home: USA was airing a program hosted by William Shatner called The Search For Houdini, and I was gonna watch them perform a séance in an attempt to contact Houdini, dammit!
Houdini’s connection to Halloween predated his death in 1926. As a Supernatural Investigator, he had encountered all manner of spirit mediums, and had proved fairly conclusively that there was no afterlife, no realm of the spirits, and not for a lack of trying. His attempts to contact his mother were legendary, and if anyone wanted to believe, it was Harry. But time and again he had established that every time someone claimed to contact the realm of ghosts, Houdini could recreate their effects through trickery.
His partner in this quest was his own wife “Bess” Houdini, and they had promised to make a show of trying to contact each other when one of them passed. Unfortunately, it was Harry who died as a result of J. Gordon Whitehead punching Houdini in the stomach, a blow that Houdini would regularly endure by clenching his muscles, something he’d picked up as a performer over the years. But Houdini did not have time to prepare for the blow, and aggravated his already enflamed appendix. He passed away at 1:23 PM on Halloween, 1926.
Bess attempted to contact Houdini every year, on Halloween, as per their agreement prior to his death. Bess and Houdini has worked out a code, and she knew that if a spirit could reproduce this code, Houdini was in fact communicating with her from the spirit realm. This became an annual tradition among magicians and other performers, who took the opportunity of Halloween and a legendary performer like Harry to stage an old fashioned séance for paying customers. While many had claimed to make contact, Bess was never convinced, as part of their arrangement was that Houdini would reach out to the one he loved most, and not some other medium from the middle of nowhere. Plus, no one ever managed to crack the code.
In 1936 – ten years to the date – Bess performed the séanceone last time, with Dr. Edward Saint (her manager) leading the ceremony. Engraved invitations were sent out, and luminaries from the world of magic as well as other distinguished guests were invited to join them on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Los Angeles. The event garnered a ton of press, and was THE thing on the lips of everyone in the entertainment industry. Regardless of the turnout, no matter what happened, this moment would be remembered forever.
And, in 1959, a recording of that evening was made available to the public. The Final Houdini Séance is, most likely, not the actual recording of the séance. All accounts of the evening report that it was cold a little windy that night, and that after the ceremony it rained on the guests who were outside, on the roof. Most likely, Bess and Edward “re-recorded” the event, word for word, which might explain some of the stilted ways certain parts of the ceremony. However, there is no proof either way, and the recording was certainly made no later than 1942, when Bess passed away. It is – unmistakably – her voice, near the end of the record.
The LP that was released is absolutely a Halloween record if I ever heard one, and the only weakness is the Narration by George Boston. Not only does he repeat much of what is already said in the ceremony itself, but he infers more than either Edward or Bess suggest in the recording, and like many people, only perpetuated the notion that Houdini’s ghost might still be out there. And perhaps that is ultimately harmless. Houdini’s work is, in many ways, a direct ancestor of the work James Randi has been doing for decades, and the annual tradition of trying to contact Houdini is another fun way to pass the night.
It sure was for me in 1987.
To flesh out this episode, I’ve also included a little-known radio program from 1936: Unsolved Mysteries. This program ran for many years, and was presented as a 15 minute broadcast. They actors would introduce a mystery, then reveal the answer at the end of the show. One episode purported to know how Houdini performed a trick, where he was escaping from a box underwater to a crowd that could not believe what they’d seen. However, Unsolved Mysteries admits that their answer is the only one that the could imagine working, and other magicians close to Houdini have since debunked the validity of their claim. Still, this is an interesting opportunity to hear an actor play Houdini, and makes for a good chance to segue into the second half of the show.
And now, I present to you, a special radio seance, just for this special holiday occasion. Make sure to listen, this Halloween!
The Final Houdini Séance!
01.) Incantation For Tape (1953) * Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky * An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music, Second A-Chronology: 1936 – 2003
02.) The Final Houdini Seance * George L. Boston * 1959
03.) Ghosts: First Variation * Albert Ayler Trio * Spiritual Unity
04.) The Magician * Rhys Chatham * Outdoor Spell
05.) Challenge To Death * Unsolved Mysteries w/ Stanley Peyton (on WLW, the Mutual Network) (1936)
06.) That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate * Mission of Burma * Vs.
07.) Magic Power * Opal * Happy Nightmare Baby
08.) Blackmagic * TSOL * Change Today?
09.) Spook * Galaxie 500 * This Is Our Music
10.) Escape * Levator * Jackson Hwy. Barnes Drive
11.) The Escape Artist * My Dad Is Dead * Let’s Skip The Details
12.) Séance * Metanoia * Metanoia
13.) The Séance * Danny & The Nightmares * Danny & The Nightmares 7”
14.) Swingin’ At The Seance * Glen Miller & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
15.) Y Brawd Houdini * Meic Stevens * Welsh Rare Beat
16.) Edison Machine Rehearsal Cylinder * Harry Houdini * 1914
I have to say, I’ve been doing Halloween Radio for years now, but these Ghost Stories episodes are some of the most fun things I’ve ever done for any radio program. There was something about the idea of people calling in to talk about their own experiences that I knew would go over well, but I had no idea what it would be like until we were live. In a way, that’s the beauty of radio; you never know, until its happening, what you’re going to get.
However, we starting things off this week on a somber note, even for a Halloween Broadcast, as we must tend the horror business of John Zacherle himself passing from this universe on Thursday Evening. While dying at the age of 98 after a long and incredible career such as his is certainly not a tragedy – and The Cool Ghoul himself would probably make some tasteless jokes about his own passing – it does mark the end of an era, for sure. Zacherle was not only the second ever horror host in the late ’50s (of which you can see some samples over here), but a key figure in Halloween Music, almost creating the genre with his novelty record, “Dinner With Drac.” To kick off the show, I bring you a mini-mutation of my favorite Zacherle tracks. While I don’t usually like to get political on this program, I do urge you to vote Zacherle in the coming election, and remember the Cool Ghoul the way we all should: laughing at a crude monster joke he just made on the spot.
But that’s not all! The meat of this program are a pair of phone calls. One, from our good friend horridus of devilsclub, who calls to offer two true stories of experiences he had that must be heard to be believed. horridus is a good friend of the program, and is always welcome, especially if we get stories like this. I would also urge people to see him perform LIVE, in Salem Oregon at The Space, along with Uneasy Chairs, Remy Gnol, Justin Smith, and Nathan Pepperoni w/ CEOs Incorporated. This is a show like no other, and it would be a bummer to miss it.
Our second call is from James Warren, a regional ghost hunter who has been investigating in the area for three years. James started Oregon Paranormal Pack out of interest in what else is out there, and we barely scratched the surface in terms of what he would have talked about, and other true stories of experiences he’s looked into. You can find out more information, and see videos of their work, over here on their page. When it comes to Ghost Stories, and the unexplained, James came to mind almost immediately, and I was very pleased to get him on the program.
All that, and we touch base with Uneasy Chairs again. What a great way to celebrate the season!
We dropped a wide range of retrocasts and other Holiday Programming all throughout the month of October, and we have one more on Monday Night, proper, before we leave the Spook-tacular Season behind us. If you want to catch up on all the programs this month, this handy link allows you to peruse at your leisure, and find one that is best suited to the party you’re having. I guarantee that all of them will work as the perfect soundtrack to any party you might want to attend.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Let It Go To Hell * Uneasy Chairs * EXIT * Bandcamp.com (2016)
Part II: A Tribute To Zacherle, The Cool Ghoul (The People Who Died) (A Mini-Mutation)
03.) Dinner With Drac * John Zacherle * Dinner With Drac * Cameo Records (1958)
04.) Zacherle For President * John Zacherle * Spook Along With Zacherle * Elektra Records (1960)
05.) Happy Halloween * John Zacherle * Scary Tales Featuring John Zacherley * Parkway Records (1962)
Part III: Austin Is Fine
06.) Halloween Sound Collage [Excerpt I] * Arvo Zylo * Halloween Sound Collage * Self-Released (2016)
07.) The Right Shadow * The Giant Worm * 26 June 2015 Olympia Experimental Music Fest, Eagle’s Ballroom * Self-Released (2015)
Part II: horridus of devilsclub
08.) Live At Occult Sciences * devilsclub * 1/3/15 at Josephine, Seattle, WA. * Soundcloud.com (2015)
09.) The horridus Phone Call
Part III: Present At A Hanging
10.) Halloween Ambience (Remix) * Austin Rich * Halloween Ambience (Remix) * Self-Released (2015)
11.) Universal Telephone Ring Sound Effect * Universal Sound Effects Department * Universal Telephone Ring Sound Effect * Universal Studios (1970)
12.) The Weather Computer Phone Call (Again)
13.) Present At A Hanging * Austin Rich * The Ways of Ghosts * WTBC Records (2015)
14.) Halloween Ambience (Remix) * Austin Rich * Halloween Ambience (Remix) * Self-Released (2015)
15.) The James Warren Phone Call
Part IV: This Is Certainly Austin Rich
16.) Ghosts (New York, 1964) [Excerpt] * Albert Ayler * Holy Ghost * Revenant Records (2004)
20.) The Uneasy Chairs Phone Call
21.) To Raise The Dead * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts And Goblins * Caedmon Records (1972)
22.) The Austin Rich Phone Call?
The War Of The Worlds (Retrocast) (#22.2) (Where I rebroadcast the Mutual Network’s classic October 30th, 1938 episode of The Mercury Theater on The Air featuring Orson Welles! Originally available as a podcast for this program on 10 October 2009.)
Halloween is just starting to take off, and stay tuned next week for one of my favorite Halloween Theme Shows: Lost In The Punk-In Patch!
See ya in seven.
01.) War Of The Worlds * The Mercury Theater * 30 October 1938
There are a number of people who have become so associated with horror and the macabre that they become culturally associated with Halloween, a holiday that celebrates not only ghosts, vampires and monsters, but these kinds of celebrities as well. While he was most certainly not the first to achieve this kind of notoriety, Vincent Price managed to use this association to his advantage, building a career that spanned stage, screen, radio, television and LP. His singular looks, commanding voice, and overall sense of theater and drama made him perfectly suited to wear capes and speak knowingly about the undead and the midnight hour. While his dedication to the craft was always apparent in everything he produced, his sense of humor was always lurking just beneath, and one need only look at his appearance on The Muppet Show for proof of that. It is with no small amount of fanfare that we bring you an entire hour dedicated to the man himself, presenting his own voice reading stories and poems about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all things creepy as part of our annual Halloween Spook-tacular!
Beginning his career in the late 1930’s, Vincent Price’s horror film debut was with Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone in 1939 in The Tower Of London, but the role that really established his career was 1944’s Laura, a film noir by Otto Preminger, and adapted from the novel of the same name. In 1947 he took on the role of Simon Templar in the radio program The Saint, a heroic adventure program where he solved crimes in much the same manner of The Green Hornet, The Avenger, or The Whistler (a program that shared a similar introduction). He appeared in horror, film noir, and radio programs, and a comedy here and there, throughout the ’40’s and ’50’s. By the 1960’s he was known to many as the character of Egghead in the television adaptation of Batman. However, his work with Roger Corman not only made him permanently associated with horror films (and in particular, screen adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe short stories), but made him a go-to actor when filmmakers wanted to use his incredible voice, or lend a moody atmosphere to the production. Throughout the remainder of his career he worked for a number of director’s, lent his voice to animated films, and hosted endless programs, including PBS’s Mystery!from ’81 – ’89. He passed from this dimension in 1993, but his long career and spectacular command of drama has made him a Halloween icon, and one who I enjoy every year around this time.
One aspect of his career that is often overlooked is his work for Caedmon Records (now Caedmon Audio). Founded in 1952 by Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney, Caedmon focused on all manner of spoken word albums, which included authors and poets reading their own work, presentations of speeches or stage performances, poetry collections, children’s stories, and any number of literary works on LP (their slogan: “A Third Dimension for the Printed Page”). They managed to amass an impressive roster of artists, featuring albums by Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, Richard Burton, Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave and Basil Rathbone just to name a few. These LPs were particularly popular among the hip college crowd in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and offered a new means for listeners to experience well known literary works, often read by the original writers, or at least, consummate performers. Caedmon still releases audio books and literary recordings to this day, though now on CD and in other digital forms, leaving behind the excellent LPs that made their work unique and popular, and today they are thought of as a merely an audiobook production company. It is with this organization that Vincent Price recorded several albums, reading a number of stories totally appropriate for the Halloween season. These albums contained stories about ghosts, goblins, monsters of all variety, and on one record, a series of spells for witches, with their ingredients described in detail. While he recited his share of Edgar Allen Poe stories too, today’s program features stories from his other recordings.
Ghost stories have a long and wonderful tradition that goes back to an time when people primarily heard them around the campfire, and there is something about hearing someone tell you a story that is absolutely mesmerizing. I have fond memories listening to a few scary stories on records when I was a kid, and when I hear recordings like this, I am easily transported to a time when a four minute ghost story would leave me in awe. Putting one of these records on is a fantastic showcase of the different kinds of literary thrills and chills that Vincent Price was so good at delivering, and it seemed appropriate to offer a sort of mix-tape of some well-known moments. I intentionally left out his renditions of Poe works, not only because we featured The Tell-Tale Heart last week, but I wanted to offer some of the other kinds of narratives heard on records like this. Accompanying these stories are the sounds of one of my favorite scary sounds LPs, Haunted House, an Italian record from 1985 with some hilarious typos on the back cover, and an excellent presentation on Side A.
It is sad that, now, both Vincent Price and stories like this are no longer popular, and have been replaced instead with the Horror Movie format as people loose their interest in primary source of Halloween scares like these. Ghost Stories seem permanently lodged in the past, somehow, and while I can easily become excited by work like this, it is very clearly a relic now. This show is a sort of snapshot of the way this holiday used to be celebrated, and one that I wish would come back. The real focus of today’s program are tales read by the immortal Vincent Price, and that should be something that is timeless.
So: light some candles, curl up in a blanket with your loved ones, and enjoy an hour of fantastic tales guaranteed to set the mood for any party. Let’s just hope that you live through the entire show!
An Evening With Vincent Price!
Part I: “Listen, Won’t You?”
01.) Take A Trip Through The Haunted House If You Dare! * Haunted House * Haunted House Music Co.
02.) All-Saints’ Eve * Vincent Price * A Hornbook For Witches * Caedmon Records
Published in 1950 by Leah Bodine Drake in a collection of poems entitled A Hornbook for Witches: Poems of Fantasy, this is perhaps one of the rarest collections of poetry published by a fairly large publisher, Arkham House Press. According to one story, Leah Drake had to shoulder the cost of printing the book, and just over 500 were pressed. 300 were given to the poet for her troubles, and the remainder were sent to distributors. While it is unclear if the book sold well at all when it was published, copies now go for over $500, mostly because of the spooky content and eerie quality to the verse. Most people know these poems from Price’s LP, A Hornbook of Witches, containing a few of the gems from this rare book.
03.) The Lone Grave * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records
This story appeared in a 1956 collection of stories by Carl Carmer entitled The Screaming Ghost And Other Stories. Published as a collection for young adults and illustrated by “Irv Docktor” (a pseudonym if I’ve ever seen one), this is one of the many American folktales and stories Carmer collected and remade for kids. These stories have taken on a number of forms and versions over the years, and made its way into similar collections by other authors, but Vincent Price (and Caedmon Records) seemed to have a fondness for Carmer’s version. This particular story originates from Kentucky, and probably has some basis of fact buried within this frightening tale.
04.) The Phantom Merry-Go-Round * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records
Another story from Carmer’s The Screaming Ghost And Other Stories collection, this one tells the story of the deadly hurricane of 1856, and how it destroyed the resort town of Isle Dernière, near New Orleans.
Part II: “Welcome To Gobbleknoll.”
05.) The Smoker * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records
A story from A Book ofGoblins, published in 1969 and edited by Alan Garner for young adult readers.On the Caedmon LP, this story is listed as “freely adapted from an Iroquois legend.” This is entirely possible, and Garner was merely the editor of this collection of stories. I have yet to track down a copy of this book, so tracing the origins of these stories is entirely dependent on the data available via the Inter-Web-A-Tron.
06.) Don’t * Vincent Price * A Hornbook For Witches * Caedmon Records
This piece was written by Maria Leach, author of the story collection The Thing At The Foot Of The Bed And Other Scary Stories. Originally published in 1959, it saw a number of young adult editions over the years, but is now out of print. Maria Leach, in this collection, took a number of classic folktales and campfire stories and re-told them (similar to the style of Carl Carmer). This was a popular tactic in the ’50’s, ’60’s and ’70’s, as people were less concerned with copyright and the origins of stories like this were never entirely clear anyway. Other stories from this book were often used for Halloween Records, but Vincent’s delivery usually sells the story.
07.) The Leg of Gold * Vincent Price * A Graveyard of Ghost Tales * Caedmon Records
Vincent Price liked his authors British, and Ruth Manning-Sanders was a popular fairy tale collector in the UK. Mostly known for her collections of children’s stories, Ruth would travel the world and collect a variety of stories from different countries, then retell them in her own style for English audiences. One collection in particular – A Book of Ghosts & Goblins – became rather popular in 1969 when it was published, an stories from it have been entertaining people this time of year ever since. This particular tale is of French origin, but the book is worth tracking down due to the wide variety of stories from all over the world.
08.) Gobbleknoll * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records
Also known by the title “Gobble Knowll,” this story is also taken from A Book of Goblins, edited by Alan Garner (also known as The Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins in the UK). On the Caedmon LP, this story is listed as being “Transposed from a Sioux legend,” which could very well be the case, but most sources agree that Garner’s writing draws from English folktales and stories near where he grew up in the English countryside. Part of the Gobbleknowll story seems to have been used in Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamenbook that he became famous for, and this fame most likely led to him getting the editing job, too.
Part III: “The Calamander Chest”
09.) The Calamander Chest * Vincent Price * Goblins at the Bath House and the Calamander Chest * Caedmon Records
Originally published in Weird Talesmagazine in January of 1954, this story by Joseph Payne Brennan became one of his more popular stories, and might be one of the few included in this presentation that was not originally written for young adults. (Though the audience for Weird Tales definitely skewed young.) Brennan’s work is largely out of print in the modern age, but his stories are considered classic pieces of horror among many authors, including Stephen King. Brennan often used strange and disturbed loners as characters in his work, and was a proponent of the paranormal detective character, which dominated much of his work in the ’60’s. This story is an excellent example of his work, and a great way to close today’s program.
10.) The Broomstick Train * Vincent Price * Tales Of Witches, Ghosts, And Goblins * Caedmon Records
This is a small excerpt from a longer poem by none other than Oliver Wendell Holmes, taken from his collection The One Hoss Shay, illustrated by Howard Pyle. Holmes was a physician and lecturer, and kept company with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among other well known luminaries and poets. This collection was originally produced in 1858, though it was revised a number of times during his life. While the poem is actually about the introduction of electrified street cars in US cities, Holmes strength was in his ability to draw comparisons and connections between the world around him and the supernatural world of the past.
There’s some choice experimental artists among the 53 who contributed to this collection, including friend of the show Uneasy Chairs, who kicks off this comp, and Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, who are incredible. I’m very pleased that they used my submission and I’m very proud to be included with so many other great artists.
The album is free, and if you like experimental music, this is a must have.
And there are 12 other volumes available, too. Collect them all.
We have been doing our best to provide as much quality entertainment as possible on the shoe-string budget that is best suited to these modern times, and with that in mind, we have completely updated our Bandcamp.com Store with new and exciting releases that are of interest to you.
In the period before I began at KMUZ, I was doing a show on an Internet station, Wanting To Be Cool In Beautiful Anywhere, Anywhen. While they became a very comforting home to me and my work when I was not on broadcast radio, in the time since they have become dedicated to documenting the work we’re doing, and capturing some of the performances that happen on our program.
To that end, there are now downloadable versions of the live performances and interviews we have had on Mid-Valley Mutations, where you can enjoy bespoke digital albums of each…
This week we pull out all the stops for a Halloween broadcast the likes of which you have never heard before! It is one thing to play Halloween Music on the radio, and I’ve been doing that since 2003. But this week I decided that it would make more sense to tell ghost stories, the true essence of Halloween.
Fortunately for me, a number of friends and fans of the show called in to help contribute to the show. Both Ricardo Wang & Uneasy Chairs call in, marking both of their second appearances on the program. (Stay tuned for a live Uneasy Chairs performance on the program on November 11th!) And, Geekly-Update host Jason Ramey calls with a particularly scary story about the very radio station I was broadcasting from! (I hope he’s okay.) The problem is, if the station is haunted, will I even survive the show? There’s only one way to find out…
The centerpiece of this show is an interview with Bob Bucko Jr., not only a friend of the show, but the man behind Personal Archives Records, a label that has been very kind to Mid-Valley Mutations, and kind to music in general. Bob in a wonderful person who makes deeply personal music, and it a sight to see on stage. I met him a while back when we got to play a show together, and I have been a die-hard fan every since. Since I’ve been plugging the tours and playing his records on the show, it made sense to have a chat, and pal around with a guy I haven’t seen in a while. Plus: he has a great ghost story about staying at the Chelsea Hotel!
We had so much fun with this program that we may well do more Ghost stories next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, what is up with this ghost that keeps popping into the KMUZ studio?
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Interview [Excerpts] * Bob Bucko Jr. & Ricardo Wang * What’s This Called? * KPSU Radio (4 April 2015)
03.) Excerpt I * Alfred Hitchcock * Ghost Stories For Boys & Girls * Golden Records (1962)
04.) Side A [Excerpt] * Sex Funeral * Eradicator * Personal Archives (2016)
05.) Machine In The Ghost * Thollem * Machine In The Ghost * Personal Archives (2016)
Part II: The Phantom DJ
06.) Halloween Sound Collage [Excerpt I] * Arvo Zylo * Halloween Sound Collage * Self-Released (2016)
07.) The Jason Ramey Phone Call
Part II: The Phantom Roommate
08.) Excerpt II * Alfred Hitchcock * Ghost Stories For Boys & Girls * Golden Records (1962)
09.) Ten [Excerpt I] * Arvo Zylo * Heavenly Sounds in Lo-Fidelity: Arvo Plays Ferrante & Teicher * Personal Archives (2016)
10.) The Ricardo Wang Phone Call
11.) Halloween Sound Collage [Excerpt II] * Arvo Zylo * Halloween Sound Collage * Self-Released (2016)
Part III: The Bob Bucko Jr. Interview
12.) Ten [Excerpt II] * Arvo Zylo * Heavenly Sounds in Lo-Fidelity: Arvo Plays Ferrante & Teicher * Personal Archives (2016)
13.) Excerpt III * Alfred Hitchcock * Ghost Stories For Boys & Girls * Golden Records (1962)
14.) How To See Ghosts (Or Surely Bring Them To You) * Vincent Price * A Hornbook For Witches * Caedmon Records (1976)
15.) Improv [Excerpts] * Bob Bucko Jr. * Crank Spirit * Personal Archives (2015)
16.) The Bob Bucko Jr. Phone Call
19.) The Weather Computer Phone Call
20.) A Wireless Message * Austin Rich * The Ways of Ghosts * WTBC Records (2015)
21.) Excerpt IV * Alfred Hitchcock * Ghost Stories For Boys & Girls * Golden Records (1962)
Pulling material from two classic Halloween Novelty records (namely the Spike Jones album in question, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By), this show focuses records and musical oddities that are on the fringes of niche music in the first place. Seasonal music of any kind is already a subset of the larger world Pop Music inhabits, and Halloween Music in particular contains a kind of specificity that excludes it from any kind of large audience. Fortunately this does not diminish the entertainment value of these oddities. This is merely a small sampling of the kinds of things that turn me on this time of year.
I have to say, this particular show had me a little giddy, in the same way that Christmas Music must affect people who love that holiday more. Perhaps it was a residual effect from Asian Women On The Telephone playing live during the 12 Noon hour? Hard to say. I would also venture a guess that these kinds of records evoke in me a sense of a collective musical experience, that of putting on a record at night when you should be in bed, and suspending your disbelief just enough to let something like this give you a prurient chuckle. There is something wonderfully perverse about Hitchcock describing how you will murder your wife, or listening to a litany of monster puns told in bad Transylvanian accents. You know you shouldn’t enjoy it, but you do. Or, maybe it’s just me.
My original obsession with Halloween Music dates back to when I first moved in with Dr. Science back in 2002 (I hope that’s the right year.) Shortly after he explained he was throwing a big party for Halloween. I immediately started pulling together what became an 8 hour playlist. In the years since I’ve continued to add to it, but doing Halloween Shows on the radio every year has caused me to exhaust much of the material I collected. I was wary of doing more shows this year, until I stumbled upon this Spike Jones album, plus a huge cache of other material, too. Not only does this secure my ability to keep doing shows like this in the coming weeks (and years), but also renewed my interest in collecting Halloween Music again. The upshot is that you can enjoy the fruits of these labors.
Special thanks go out to my assistant this week, Closetphotography, who not only recommended music for this episode, but kept me entertained during the show. (You can hear the debut episode of Closet Radio here, and stay tuned, as she’ll be joining the Saturday lineup starting next week.) DJ JustanotherDJ also helped flesh out the playlist, and Suzanne Falk for introducing me to the joys of Lenny & The Squigtones. (How did I go this long without knowing this existed? Shame on me.) This show was that much better with ya’ll helping out.
Next Week: the Novelties continue with our very own Mad Monster Party! Focusing on the excerpts from that classic film, we’ll deliver even more Halloween treats that range from the funny to the punny.
See you in seven.
A Spike Jones Spooktacular!
# Title * Artist * Album * Label
01.) Music To Be Murdered By (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
02.) I Only Have Eyes For You * Dracula and Vampira * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound *
03.) Innersanctum * Jim Wolfe And The T-Towners * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Twelve: The Lux Interior Memorial Edition – Journey into Outer Space
04.) The Haunted House * New Mayfair Dance Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
05.) Poisen To Poisen * Spike Jones * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
06.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 1) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
07.) Zombie Stomp * The Del-Airs * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume 13
08.) The Creep (Twist) * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Monster Sounds And Dance Music * Power Records
09.) I’ll Never Smile Again (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
10.) The Headless Horseman * Kay Starr & Billy Butterfield Quintet * Halloween Stomp
11.) Teenage Brain Surgeon * The Mad Doctor * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
12.) The Blob * Five Blobs * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume 02
13.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 2) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
14.) I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
15.) (All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings * Dracula and Vampira * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
16.) The Goblin Band * Glen Gray & Casa Loma Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
17.) After You’ve Gone (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
18.) Green Slime Theme * Richard Delvy * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume 13
19.) Everything Happens To Me * Spike Jones * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
20.) Frankie And Igor At A Rock And Roll Party * Bob McFadden & Dor * Songs Our Mummy Taught Us
21.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 3) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
22.) Creature Without A Head * Lenny & The Squigtones
23.) Monster Movie Ball * The Feindager * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
24.) Alfred Hitchcock Television Theme * Alfred Hitchcock & The Jeff Alexander Orchestra * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
25.) Tammy * Dracula and Vampira * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
26.) Little Demon * Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
27.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 4) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
28.) The Purple People Eater * Sheb Wooley * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Eight
29.) Swingin’ At The Seance * Glen Miller & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
30.) Suspicion (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
31.) My Old Flame * I. M. Arson * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
32.) I Come To Demolish Cleveland * Stacy Bengal & His Six Outfielders * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Eight
33.) Body And Soul (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
34.) The Vampire Speaks * Al Zanino * The Vampire Speaks
35.) This Is Your Death * Dr. Jekyll and Other Ghouls * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
36.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 5) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
37.) Amongst My Souvenirs * Sheldon Allman * Sing Along with Drac
38.) I’ll Walk Alone (Excerpt) * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
39.) Voodoo Dreams * Martin Denny * Hypnotique
40.) Lover Come Back To Me (Excerpt) * Jeff Alexander Orchestra * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
41.) She Lived As A Zombie In Life (Excerpt 6) * Ed Wood Jr. * Orgy Of The Dead
42.) Two Heads Are Better Than One * Beatnik Duet * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
43.) Frankenstein’s Den * Hollywood Flames * Doo Wop Halloween
44.) Frankenstein Meets The Beetles * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
45.) Campo de Vampiros * Holy * Mas Rock and Roll – 26 Rare 60’s Teen-Punk Artyfacts
46.) Spooktacular Finale * The Entire Ghastly Cast * Spike Jones in Hi-Fi, a Spooktacular in Screaming Sound
47.) The Hour Of Parting * Alfred Hitchcock * Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By * Imperial Records
In our final Halloween Spook-tacular this season, we pull out all the stops and bring you a story straight out of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. As an experienced Private Dick, Dexter Roland has been involved in a number of cases that have often put him in contact with a number of surprising and unusual situations. He’s worked with Humphrey Bogart, presenting the story of The Maltese Falcon, and Peter Lorre, during this Holiday tale Back For Christmas. But this may well be his strangest case yet, as he discovers the horrific events surrounding the disappearance of his friends over at The Broderick Detective Agency. Tune in for an incredible Hard Boiled, Sci-Fi epic as we bring you the tale of The Embassy, where professional PI Broderick is hired to locate the secret base of operations for… a Martian Invasion!
Dexter Roland has been kicking around since the early ‘90’s, trading slugs and shots with the criminal underworld in an effort to right the wrongs that police are unable to involve themselves. Bridging the gap between Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Johnny Dollar, Dirk Gently & Mike Hammer, Detective Roland’s adventures have appeared in a number of quick-and-dirty publications, and most recently in a novel entitled Noir Time Like The Present. But his meta-textual nature, magical realist perception of the universe, and penchant for getting into situations he has no business getting into has made him the perfect radio personality, and his work on this show is always a treat. When he told me about this story, I knew we had to bring it to the air.
I’ve been a fan of X-Minus One since just after High School, when I first came across a collection of cassettes that contained a selection of Sci-Fi programs from the golden age of radio. Of course, it hasn’t been until the last several years that this material has been easily accessible. While there are a number of website that offer a number of old time radio programs for download, I recommend The Twilight Zone Network who offer regular podcasts containing these classic shows as they were heard by audiences in the ‘50’s. It’s nice to be listening to your regular selection of Radiolabs and Planet Moneys, and then have one of these vintage programs pop up in the mix. It offers a good counterpoint to the kinds of radio that exist now, and makes me long for the days when radio brought you narrative programs.
This particular episode – The Embassy – was originally broadcast on Dimension X radio on 3 June 1950. Dimension X was the program that preceded X Minus One, and a number of the same staff, writers and voice actors worked on the program. The story was originally penned by Donald Wollheim for Astounding Science Fiction Magazine, which has sustained a few name changes over the years, and is now known as the well-read Analog. Wollheim was one of the founding Futurians, a group of left-wing science fiction fans (as well editors and writers like Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl), and is probably best known the organizer of the first Sci-Fi convention. The Embassy was originally published in March of 1942, and while it was not his most famous story, it is a well-known one among Sci-Fi Radio nerds like me.
The story was “adapted for radio” by George Lefferts, one of the staff writers for both Dimension X and X Minus One. Lefferts had a fascinating and unusual career, that spanned from the ‘40’s into the ‘80’s. He worked for television, film, radio, newspapers, magazines, and documentaries, primarily as a writer, but also as a producer and behind-the-scenes staffer. I know him primarily from the credits of these programs, but his work is so diverse that it makes sense that he would be attracted to a strange story like this. It contains all the usual trappings of a Hard Boiled detective story – a murdered partner, beautiful girls, a client who turns on him, getting drugged and trying to find out why, a run-in with the police – and yet all these elements are completely turned upside down, and the scary, Sci-Fi tinges really sell this episode in a big way. Like a lot of great media, there are parts when you think this could very well just be an exaggerated detective program that will have a sort-of Scooby Doo ending. However, it makes a good hard turn into X Minus One territory in the second act, and as a show that pretends to be one thing and is, actually, another, it seems perfect for Halloween.
I’ve had an incredible holiday season this year, and produced some really excellent shows of which I am proud. Halloween means a lot to me, and shows like this really allow me to indulge in my own interests, tell a story that I find unique, and present radio that is both fun and seasonally appropriate, all at the same time. Thanks again for bringing me to your ears, and supporting something as strange and unusual as I can possibly manage. You guys are amazing, really.
See ya real soon!
01.) The Embassy Part I * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
02.) High Terror * Eddie Warner * Cops Crooks and Spies * L’Illustration Musicale Records
03.) The Embassy Part II * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
04.) Divide And Conquer * Hüsker Dü * Flip Your Wig * SST Records
05.) The Embassy Part III * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
06.) Shot by Both Sides * Magazine * Real Life * Virgin Records
07.) The Embassy Part IV * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
08.) Find A Hidden Door * The Misunderstood * Before The Dream Faded * Cherry Red
09.) The Embassy Part V * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
10.) The Sky Is Falling, And I Want My Mommy (Falling Space Junk) * Jello Biafra With Nomeansno * The Sky Is Falling And I Want My Mommy * Alternative Tentacles Records
11.) The Embassy Part VI * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
12.) Body Twist * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Monster Sounds And Dance Music * Power Records
13.) Postludio Alla Terza Moglie (from Barbalu) * Ennio Morricone * Crime And Dissonance
14.) The Embassy Part VII * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
15.) The Call * Straitjacket * Modern Thieves * Jonny Cat Records
16.) The Embassy Part VIII * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
17.) Little Drop Of Poison * Tom Waits * Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards * ANTI- Records
18.) The Embassy Part IX * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
19.) I Walk Among Them * MX-80 Sound * Out Of The Tunnel * Ralph Records
20.) The Embassy Part X * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
21.) Fascist Cops * The Kids * The Kids * Philips Records
22.) The Embassy Part XI * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
23.) Grave Mistake * David And Jad Fair * Halloween Songs * Thick Syrup Records
24.) Diabolo’s Theme * The Ghastly Ones * A-Haunting We Will Go-Go * Zombie-A-Go-Go Records
25.) The Embassy Part XII * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
26.) Keep Talking * The Love Me Nots * In Black & White * Atomic A Go Go Records
27.) The Embassy Part XIII * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
28.) Human Cattail * Last Of The Juanitas * In The Dirt * Wäntage Records
29.) The Embassy Part XIV * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
30.) The Plan * Richard Hell And The Voidoids * Blank Generation * Sire Records
31.) The Embassy Part XV * X Minus 1 Radio * 28 July 1955
32.) Detective Theme * Eddie Warner * Cops Crooks and Spies * L’Illustration Musicale Records
33.) The Invasion is Coming * The Invasion * Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Volume Fourteen * http://kogarsjunglejuice.blogspot.com/
I will by honest: Arvo Zylo and I have never met. And, furthermore, I was unfamiliar with his work – or the releases on his label, No Part Of It – until I heard it on Ricardo Wang’s What’s This Called?But a good thing is hard to resist, and soon enough I received an excellent package of material from his label. As it turns out, Mr. Zylo also used to host a radio program, and one thing led to another, and then… well, you’re hearing the results, right now.
These kinds of collaborations not only come easy, but are the backbone of good radio. Collectors are always putting together their own collections of incredible music, and it would be pretty ridiculous to claim that only I could ever understand what listeners want. Arvo’s label is not only entirely unique it the releases they put out, but his personal taste in music is also incredibly fantastic. It didn’t take many e-mails before we had sorted out what we wanted to do, and the added bonus was that this all lined up in October, so we could present it as part of our annual “Halloween Spook-tacular!”
For this show, we’re doing something a little different. Podcast listeners will get to hear a special, two-hour show that the broadcast listeners did not get to hear. If you tuned in on the radio, you heard Arvo’s Halloween music selections, culled from his personal collection, and perfect for this time of year. Podcast listeners will be treated to an extra hour of Halloween Music, all from No Part Of It Records releases, also perfect for the holiday season. There’s just so much good music coming from him, that it was silly to not take advantage of this. In the end, dear listener, you always come out ahead. In fact, you can hear the hour-long broadcast version here, if there’s a demand for that.
I really enjoy doing radio like this, where it is not only my voice that winds up on the show. No Part Of It is a wonderful label that not only presents music that is often overlooked, but has a vision and mission statement that is incredibly personal, and a pleasure in this era of cookie-cutter music. We hare proud to have them be supporters of our program, and we look forward to having their music on the program.
01.) Satan Takes A Holiday * Hans Grusel * Delirious Music For Delirious People * No Part Of It (2016)
02.) Sweet Breeze * Diatric Puds & The Blobettes * Delirious Music For Delirious People * No Part Of It (2016)
03.) Night of The Vampire * Istvan & His Imaginary Band * Delirious Music For Delirious People * No Part Of It (2016)
04.) Never Fuck In The Woods * Blood Rhythms * Heuristics * No Part Of It (2016)
05.) Maggot’s Drag * Blood Rhythms * Heuristics * No Part Of It (2016)
Part II: A Wandering Echo
06.) A Wandering Echo * Wilt * Nocturnal Requiem * No Part Of It (2015)
07.) Skin Walker * Architeuthis Dux * Submergence * No Part Of It (2016)
Part III: Machine Listener
08.) Suite III from 0RT0 (excerpt) * Somnoroase Păsărele * 0RT0 (I-IV) * No Part Of It (2016)
09.) Primeval Forest Sentinel * Machine Listener * Sentient System * No Part Of It (2014)
Part IV: Ghostly Sounds
10.) Ghostly Sounds [Excerpt] * Gershon Kingsley & Peter Waldron * Ghostly Sounds * Peter Pan Records (1975)
11.) One, Two, Three * Groovie Goolies * Groovie Goolies * RCA / Victor (1970)
12.) I Wish Everyone Was Born This Way * Bob Mosher & Jack Marshall * At Home With The Munsters * Golden Records (1964)
13.) Hurry, Bury, Baby * Zacherley * “Hurry, Bury, Baby” b/w “Dinner With Drac” * Parkway Records (1962)
14.) She’s Fallen In Love (With The Monster Man) * Screamin’ Lord Sutch And The Savages * Til The Following Night * EMI (1991)
15.) The Voodoo Walk * Sonny Richard’s “Panics” w/ Cindy & Misty * “The Voodoo Walk” b/w “Skinnie Minnie Olive Oil” * Chancellor Records (1962)
16.) Witch Woman * Nightmare * “Great Balls of Fire” b/w “Witch Woman” * RCA (1979)
Part V: The House Is Haunted
17.) The Witch * The Rattles * The Witch * Philips Records (1971)
09.) Children’s Day At The Morgue * Sheldon Allman * Sing Along With Drac * Del-Fi Records (1961)
18.) Drac The Knife * Gene Moss * Dracula’s Greatest Hits * RCA / Victor (1964)
19.) Grave In The Desert * Sebastian Peabody * Wavy Gravy * Beware Records (1988)
20.) The House Is Haunted * Glen Grey & His Casa Loma Orchestra * 30’s & 40’s Era Halloween * Red Devil Records (2012)
21.) There’s A Ghost In My House * R. Dean Taylor * “There’s A Ghost In My House” b/w “Let’s Go Somewhere” * Rare Earth Records (1974)
22.) It’s Your Voodoo Working * Charles Sheffield * “It’s Your Voodoo Working” b/w “Rock And Roll Train” * Excello Records (1961)
Part VI: A Wicked Thought
23.) Soul Dracula * Hot Blood * “Soul Dracula” b/w “Sans Dracula” * ERA Records (1975)
24.) Spooky Scary Skeletons * Andrew Gold * Andrew Gold’s Halloween Howls * Music For Little People (1996)
25.) Boris The Spider * The Who * A Quick One * Decca Records (1966)
26.) Big Fat Spider * Heinz And The Wild Boys * That’s The Way It Was * Rock Machine Records (1986)
27.) Night Of The Vampire * Roky Erickson & The Aliens * Roky Erickson & The Aliens * CBS Records (1980)
28.) A Wicked Thought * Zacherley * Spook Along With Zacherley * Elektra Records (1960)
29.) Halloween Spooks * Lambert, Hendricks & Ross * High Flying * Columbia Records (1961)
Dr. Victor Frankenstein was a scientist of some renown during the early 1800’s, and was not only responsible for the study of a number of fascinating aspects of medicine and biology, but also developed an extremely crude form of sound recording nearly 40 years before the technology was even conceived of by other inventors. Probably his most famous – and dangerous – creation is the Modern Prometheus, the monster that terrorized the world until it was presumedly destroyed in a mysterious fire.
What was not known until the early 1960’s is that Dr. Frankenstein’s monster used this primitive recording technology to document his side of the story. These recordings have been circulated over the last 50 years not only as a document of one of the oldest known recordings to exist, but offer a fascinating look into the life of this creature that terrified people until its tragic demise. (Or so we have been told.)
Now, as part of our annual Halloween Spook-tacular, we present these recordings without any alteration or editing, to give you a chance to decide for yourself the intentions of this often misunderstood creature. Dr. Frankenstein, for many years, has offered his version of these events in prose (as told to an unlucky sailor whom he met just prior to his demise). Now, it’s is the Monster’s turn to talk. To accompany these recordings, we’ve included music in tribute to The Monster, and the time of year associated with him. Brace yourself for a tale too chilling for broadcast radio, entitled “Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!”
As I’ve said numerous times in the past, there is something about Halloween Records that strike a chord and fills me with a certain kind of joy that is hard to explain. Perhaps it is because they embody novelty, a D.I.Y. spirit, childish glee and sense of nostalgia that is fully concerned with the kinds of stories you tell around a campfire, late at night, at the end of summer when you’re trying to build the courage to face the impending winter. There’s probably more to it, too, that any number of psychologists could elucidate I have a few fond memories of listening to Halloween Records as a kid, but to be honest, I never owned any until I was in my early 20’s, and didn’t start collecting with a serious fervency for a few years more.
The golden age of Halloween Records began in the 1950’s and ran through the 1970’s. There were a number of scary and spooky novelty records before that, and they were certainly popular. But in the post-war era the US had a number of things working for it: Television, the LP as a format for music and a burgeoning youth culture with an interest in things esoteric and unique. With the introduction of Shock Theaterin 1957 (and Son Of Shock a year later), TV stations had access to over 70 classic horror movies they could package and use to fill air time in the evenings, where Horror Hosts of every variety dressed up in kooky costumes and waxed poetic about Edgar Allen Poe and Universal Studios.
This was also a period of social change in a number of ways. Culture was homogenizing as the family unit began to solidify and suburbia began to develop. The holiday of Halloween began to morph, and instead of carrying regional variety for reckless, drunken, and sometimes violent adults, became a candy-centric children’s romp with neighbors and at parties, the kind of holiday that middle America craved. The stage was set for Halloween merchandise of every variety to become the seasonal backbone of any company that wanted to manufacture costumes, candy, and of course, novelty records.
The correlation between rock music and Halloween Records seems to be almost too good to be true. Their origins stem from the same post-war realities, their audiences seem to be more or less the same, and when they work in concert with each other, the results are incredible. While the Misfits are an amazing modern example of what can be done when you blend rock music and horror themes, almost as soon as there was rock and roll, there were musicians singing about monsters, graveyards, and prowling the streets at night. It is no wonder that it is a trope that people return to again and again, and one of which I can’t seem to get enough. I have hours and hours (and hours) of Halloween music and scary sounds albums, and every time I think I’ve plumbed the depths, each year I uncover a new batch of things that get me excited about doing Halloween shows like this one.
This particular record, Famous Monsters Speak!, has been reprinted a number of times since its original release in 1963, and is now available in iTunes (and on CD). The production on it is actually quite good for the time, and is above average for Halloween Records in general. Hal Johnson created all the sound effects, about whom it is hard to find any biographical information. (It is safe to assume that he probably worked at A.A. Records, who released the album for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, through which you could order the LP when it first came out.) All of the voices, however, were performed by Gabriel Dell, a member of the Dead End Kids, a group of New York actors who appeared in a series of plays in the mid-to-late 30’s, and then movies through Universal Studios. His career included a number of films, a stint on Broadway, and quite a few TV shows until until the late ’70’s. He died of leukemia in 1988, and while my Grandmother still waxes poetic about how great the Dead End Kids movies were, I will always remember him fondly from this recording. I was convinced that the other voices were done by different actors, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he’s just that good.
The writer of this particular story is Cherney Berg, someone with a level of fame between that of Hal Johnson and Gabriel Dell. Cherney wrote story adaptations for records, including two other Halloween Records, and two other story records (according to his “discogs.com” page linked above). While I can’t say that the writing stands out here (the great parts of this story are still owed to Mary Shelly), there is a certain style to adapting stories to an audio format that Mr. Berg certainly has dialed in. The B-Side of this record, “Dracula Returns!” is like this too, and sounds more like a one-person radio play making it particularly suited to this program.
Sadly, as the ’70’s wore on, Halloween Records began to decline quite drastically. Scary Stories appeared less frequently on albums, and Scary Soundscapes began to dominate before disappearing entirely. Fewer Monster Songs were recorded by artists to the point where they became actual novelties worse than “The Monster Mash,” performed only by novelty acts who specialized in z-level quality. As companies like K-Tel and Pickwick began to move into the market, re-issues and re-makes began to become the standard for this genre and fewer new compositions were entering into the market. By the ’80’s all you had left were bands like The Misfits and The Cramps keeping the spirit of Halloween Records alive.
The occasional band in the ’90’s and 2000’s (Satan’s Pilgrims, The Bomboras, The Ghastly Ones) worked to right this wrong, and no less an artist than Rob Zombie produced a fabulous Halloween Record featuring one of the most important figures in this genre, Zacherle himself (perviously known as Roland in his Horror Host days in the ’50’s). Now, with bloggers and websites working overtime to help gather material both new and old for modern consumers, the mode and media have changed dramatically, but the genre is sort of back on track. It seems that you can easily find any number of quality songs, new and old, that pay reverential homage to this by-gone era. It’s my dream that, in the not so distant future, the spirit of this Golden Age will return, and spooky compilations and audio oddities will return to the marketplace with the same creepy attitude these records used to embody.
In the meantime: Blasphuphmus Radio will bring you their Halloween Spook-taculars to help fill the void.
See you in seven!
Frankenstein’s Monster Talks!
Part I: Crude Recordings
01.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part I) * Famous Monsters Speak!
02.) Doom At Midnight * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Shock! Terror! Fear!
03.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part II) * Famous Monsters Speak!
04.) Over At The Frankenstein Place * The Rocky Horror Picture Show
05.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part III) * Famous Monsters Speak!
06.) Monster Swim * Bobby “Boris” Picket & The Crypt-Kickers * “Monster Swim” b/w “Werewolf Watusi”
07.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part IV) * Famous Monsters Speak!
08.) Graveyard * Leroy Bowman * Monster Bop
09.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part V) * Famous Monsters Speak!
Part II: From Which Graves Did I Come?
10.) Frankenstein * Jad And David Fair * Sing Your Little Babies To Sleep
11.) Frankenstein * Edgar Winter Group * They Only Come Out At Night
12.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part VI) * Famous Monsters Speak!
13.) Frankenstein Walk * Gene “Bowlegs” Miller * “Frankenstein Walk” b/w “Everybody Got Soul”
14.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part VII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
15.) Midnight Monsters Hop * Jack And Jim * Midnight Monster Hop
16.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part VIII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
17.) Frankenstein’s Den * Hollywood Flames * Doo Wop Halloween
18.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part IX) * Famous Monsters Speak!
Part III: Frankenstein Conquers The World!
19.) Frankenstein Conquers The World * Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston * It’s Spooky
20.) The Black Cat * Ozzie Nelson & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
21.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part X) * Famous Monsters Speak!
22.) Frankenstein Meets The Beetles * Goodman and Ramal * The Monster Album
23.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part XI) * Famous Monsters Speak!
24.) The Boogy Man Is Here * Tom Gerun & Orchestra * Halloween Stomp
25.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part XII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
26.) Main Title (Theme From “Young Frankenstein”) * John Morris * “Young Frankenstein” Original Soundtrack
27.) Frankenstein’s Monster Talks! (Part XIII) * Famous Monsters Speak!
Here’s everything you need to know about this movie from 1964: there is no documented evidence that the film was ever shown to anyone – anywhere – until it first appeared on Television some time in 1976. Even then, 12 years later, the film was mocked and panned relentlessly, as anyone who came into contact with the film could only speak of its shortcomings. Something that bad begins to attract a certain kind of reputation with a certain kind of movie fan, and in spite of the terrible reviews, the inexcusable acting, the cheapness of the monster(s), and the spareness and near-incoherence of the plot (even without the long musical interludes where nothing happens, the film clocks in at 75 minutes), it would not die! Rather, The Creeping Terror– miraculously! – accrued a reputation that could not be forgotten, canonized as being so bad it must be seen to be believed. As tapes of The Creeping Terror circulated to TV stations running Shock Theater! type fare, this piece of cinematic trash not only found an audience among those dedicated to the rejects of film culture, but eventually found its way to the hallowed halls of Mystery Science Theater 3000, not only keeping it forever in the public’s mind, but forever preserving it for future generations to look at and puzzle through.
Just what did they have in mind when they made this thing?
You can thank the twisted mind of Vic Savage for that. “Director” does fully cover Vic’s role in this film, who also starred in, produced, edited, paid for, scammed other’s to participate in, and – essentially – made the movie what it is, in every sense of the word, at the age of 28. As the story goes, Vic paid Allan Silliphant to be the writer for the film, but it was clear once production began that Vic was in over his head, and had a “unique” vision for the film that was not what Allan was prepared for. Vic had a number of excuses time and again: the location “fell through” at the last minute, most likely something that was never secure in the first place. An impressive monster had been made for the production, so Vic claimed, but “disappeared” before filming could take place, so Vic and a few others created the “carpet remnants” monster you see in the picture. Supposedly the film was going to be a well-funded horror film, as Vic had sold it to everyone, but as the filming date got closer, more and more of the cast were made up of people who paid to be in the film, “funding” the production from within. Vic’s sound crew “never showed up,” so the majority of the audio was to be recorded in post-production. As the production went on, more and more people backed out, delaying time it was taking Vic to put the thing together.
The stories about this film don’t end there. Vic had to use another name (for “Union Purposes,”) and “Directed” (among other things) under the name “A.J. Nelson,” which led to some confusion moments on set when a financial backer was trying to figure out who had just ripped him off. (A mystique that Vic was hoping to maintain.) Vic had secured a location for the film eventually – a pond that a friend of his by the name of Randy Starr – yes, THE Randy Starr that provided Charles Manson with the gun used in the Tate-LaBianca murders – had found, which stood in for Lake Tahoe in the film, and was near where the Manson Family lived at the time. When all the footage was shot, Vic rented a motel room, “borrowed” a 30 year old movola to cut the film. As the movola was from the silent era, the soundtrack was essentially destroyed by this move, something that Vic had not anticipated. Some of it could be made out, but large chunks were gone now, and the edits were noticeable. To help cover for this, Vic turned to his friend Frederick Kopp, a teacher at Los Angeles State College, who taught music composition and worked occasionally in television, though not in a “credited” capacity. Kopp scored the entire film, his first and only composition where he was credited, and was even conned into dropping a few dollars to help the production, on the promise that his son, Pierre, could get a role in the picture. Vic then asked Larry Burrell, then working as voice talent in radio, to narrate the film. (Larry might be the most famous person associated with the film outside of Randy Starr, who worked on Batman, Columbo and the amazing TV movie, They Saved Hitler’s Brain.) When Vic mixed these with what remained of the original audio bits that were worth saving, and added a few stock sound effects to pad out the sound of the monster and other bits here and there. (Sound effects that also appeared in in Battle Beyond the Sun and Jack the Giant Killer, as well as Rosemary’s Baby, though it should be added, not intentionally.)
Vic “completed” (or, as some would say, “stopped adding to”) the film in 1964, but before he could try do anything with The Creeping Terror, everything began to fall apart. True, Vic had a working “print” to try and sell, but actors began to demand compensation for the money they had put into the picture. Allan Siilliphant, angry over the changes Vic made to the story, sued Vic successfully, over clear breach of contract. Vic actually disappeared completely rather than face the financial consequences of the lawsuit, and Allan was awarded the rights to do with the film as he wished. Allan washed his hands of it, giving it to his agent, and through a series of hand-offs that have yet to be tracked down, was eventually shelved by a TV exec who pawned the problem off on the future. Vic spent the rest of his live in a drunken stupor, and died of liver failure in 1975. He never attempted to return to film in the time since the disaster that was The Creeping Terror, and he died knowing that he was the only person who had seen it, and thus, know the vision he had for the film.
In this rare instance, time was a friend to Vic Savage. Even when you fail at something so spectacularly, that failure can open up a whole world of possibility in the future. Sure, the camp value of it is the only thing recommending The Creeping Terror to modern audiences, and even on MST3K, the film is hard to get through. But I think that people see an artist trying to make their voice heard when they see a failure like this. They see themselves, barely an adult at age 28, wanting to express themselves in film the way so many others have before. Vic was willing to go out on a limb, and pay the price of that taken chance, to see his vision completed. Sure, it was a dumb vision, but who hasn’t put all their eggs in a basket, if only to learn that lesson up close and personal?
To accompany the film, I’ve selected a sort of stream-of-consciousness set of tunes to complement this narrative mess. The Creeping Terror barely makes any sense, so really, just absorb the ambience and the musical accompaniment, and try to imagine yourself watching late night TV in the mid-70’s, and then, suddenly, this comes on.
The Creeping Terror!
The Glowing Rocket / “Must Be An Accident Or Something.” / “Get In, Honey.” / At The Location Of The Crash / They Looked At The Rocket In Utter Amazement / “It’s No Airplane” / The Monster Attacks / “Car One, Calling In.” / A Temporary Military Headquarters / When, As, And If They Were Contacted / The First In A Series Of Tragedies / Maintaining Secrecy / If The Truth Were Known / “I’ve Heard A Lot About You.” “Nothing Bad, I Hope?” / A Magnificent Opportunity For Mankind / In Advance Of Anything On Earth / Bachelor Buddies For Years / Dating All The Girls In Town / Married Life / Life Has It’s Way of Making Boys Grow Up / “Poor Baby.” / Come From Beyond Our Solar System
01.) Crash! Crash! * The Agenda * Start The Panic
02.) Drug Fueled Accident * The Punks * The Punks
03.) Rocketship * The Dead Milkmen * Bucky Fellini
04.) Creeping Crawling * Guyve * Delaying The Inevitable
05.) Negative Creep * Nirvana * Bleach
06.) Truth * The Dead C * Vain, Erudite And Stupid
07.) Experiment In Terror * Fantômas * The Director’s Cut
08.) Creep In The Cellar * The Butthole Surfers * Rembrandt Pussyhorse
09.) 102 Creep [Excerpt I] * Eric Hausmann * Invisible Films
The Trials Of Re-Entry & Impact / Failing To Establish Communication / A Frightening Theory / A Product Of Engineering / Humanity Might Be In Grave Danger / “You Stay There. Stay Calm.” / The Remains Of A Guitar / There Must Be Another Monster / The Monster Was Moving Toward The Community Dance Hall / The Monster Next Appeared In Lover’s Lane / Enough Lives Were Being Endangered / Highly Specialized Test Animals / “Get Out Of My Way.” / The Transmitter Stopped / What Was In Store For Humanity / The Vastness of The Universe Was Incredible / Only God Knows For Sure
10.) 102 Creep [Excerpt II] * Eric Hausmann * Invisible Films
11.) Communication Breakdown * The Dickies * Stukas Over Disneyland
12.) The Creep (Twist) * Frankie Stein And His Ghouls * Monster Sounds And Dance Music
13.) The Creep * Bob Luman * Lux And Ivy’s Favorites Volume 15
14.) Exploration In Terror * The Ventures * The Ventures In Space
15.) A Fistful Of Terror * The Bomboras * Head Shrinkin’ Fun
16.) Terror * Les Baxter * RE/Search: Incredibly Strange Music Vol II
17.) Go To Hell * Railbirds * Killed By Dead Vol. 14
18.) Gotta Get Away * The Blues Magoos * Kaleidoscopic Compendium: The Best Of The Blues Magoos
19.) The Creeper * Quintron * “These Hands Of Mine”
When you do enough radio, you meet some incredible people who stick with you over the years. I met Monty O’Blivion, Nick Feratu and NickDave when they toured through Closet Radio in 2012. (Those three also play in an incredibly psychobilly group, The Limit Club.) For a long time I thought it was going to be a one-off thing, and this happens a lot in radio. You have a great afternoon, you share some drinks and maybe talk shop, then you’re MyFacester+ or Twinstablr friends for the rest of your lives. I had heard tale of the other group they play in – Manual Sex Drive – and hoped that they would hit the road eventually so I could see Monty’s brainchild. And this time, I also got to meet their other band members, Jhef Zurx & Aaron Hjalmarson.
As it so often happens, time passed. Then I got a ring from Monty: we’re on tour in the Fall, and passing through Salem on a Friday. He asked if I was interested in trying to set something up.
Was I interested?
What we have for you in this episode is a radio free-for-all, two hours long, where you get to experience the glory that is Manual Sex Drive. In this 120 minutes, you get two live sets by the group, get to hear a number of tracks from their forthcoming new record – Music Is Dead – that is not available anywhere by on THIS PROGRAM (and from the band itself) until October 14th, when it finally hits stores. We also chat with the group about making music, touring, and what it is all about.
The after-party, unfortunately, is not included.
Shows like this are always special to me, because getting to spend time with artists is a rare treat. Not only that, but this group of friends are very similar to the kinds of people I spent a lot of time with when I was in bands. Not only that, but any night you get to stay up late and talk about the secret true history of rock and roll, you know you are in for a good time.
This one is raw and un-edited, live and loud, and a good representation of what this band is like.
This is also our Pledge Drive Special, and KMUZ did an incredibly job or raising money to keep community radio on the air. I like to think that I helped in some way, by getting a great band and throwing a good “bash” at the end of the drive. The fact that we blew away our goal and raised over $10,000 is nothing to sneeze at. I like to think that having these guys on the show was definitely a part of it.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Seven Figures * Manual Sex Drive * Music Is Dead * Self-Released (2016)
03.) Too Much Hate * Manual Sex Drive * Shindig Shakedown * WTBC Records (2014)
04.) Cutthroat Business * The Limit Club * This Is Cutthroat Business * Phantom Cat Records (2011)
05.) 21 Yr. Blues * Manual Sex Drive * Illumiphobia * Phantom Cat Records (2012)
06.) I’m Generic * Manual Sex Drive * Music Is Dead * Self-Released (2016)
07.) Breath In * Sex Funeral * Your Heaven Sucks * Personal Archives Records (2016)
Part II: Manual Sex Drive, LIVE!
06.) Manual Sex Drive, Live Set 1
07.) Your Heaven Sucks * Sex Funeral * Your Heaven Sucks * Personal Archives Records (2016)
08.) Manual Sex Drive Interview
09.) Serf Rock * Manual Sex Drive * Music Is Dead * Self-Released (2016)
10.) Manual Sex Drive, Live Set 2
Part III: To Hell With Poverty
11.) To Hell With Poverty * Gang Of Four * Another Day / Another Dollar * Warner Bros. Records (1982)
12.) The Muse Is Dead * Manual Sex Drive * Music Is Dead * Self-Released (2016)
I have to admit, I am not cool enough to have known about Ghoulardi until only a few years ago. As a Cramps fan, this may seem unusual, but with so much on my radar when I first discovered The Cramps, it just wasn’t possible to keep abreast of all the ins and outs of where they came from. (My introduction to The Mad Daddy is even more recent than that.) However, when I discovered who this amazing personality was, I instantly became obsessed. I’ve been wanting to do a Ghoulardi show every since, but other projects and things got in the way. This is the result of that obsession.
The show is culled from three primary sources: a recreation of the Shock Theater episode, The Hypnotic Eye, done by the good people at The Weirdness Really Bad Movie. This recreation uses all the existing footage of Ghoulardi in action, mixed with an audio recording made from when he hosted The Hypnotic Eye. Computer animation, and authentic commercials from the period, help sell this recreation, and it really works. Watching it is as close to what it must have been like to watch Shock Theater in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, and while the film is a bomb, the few gems you get from holding on for the Ghoulardi clips are totally worth it. For those of you familiar with watching Horror Hosts, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
The second source for this episode is the great compilation called Ghoulardi Music, which was assembled ages ago by Kogar The Swingin’ Ape! (Also responsible for the Lux & Ivy comps.) I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, and a song or two has appeared on previous shows for a variety of reasons. But all the music from this show is either from that comp, or were songs I tracked down that should have been on this comp. Ghoulardi was a very unique Horror Host, in that he used a lot of music in his clips on the show. There are a number of listings of “songs from Ghoulardi’s show” on the Inter-Web-A-Tron, and they vary from site to site. As very few clips of Ghoulardi exist to compare, these lists are as good as they get. Still, the tracks are all great, and this gives you a feel for what Ghoulardi’s record collection must have been like.
We have more Halloween Spook-tacular’s on the way this month, continuing next week with another legend from the past, Spike Jones! We are your source for Halloween Musical Shenanigans, and we now have a special Halloween Podcast that you can subscribe to, featuring our classic Halloween Shows. Just paste into your listening device of choice, and you can enjoy a number of Spooky Shows, all free. That’s how we like to celebrate the season.
01.) Light Up An Old Ghould * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye * http://reallybadmovie.weebly.com/
02.) Pygmy * Baby Sticks and The Kingtones * Ghoulardi Music * http://kogarsjunglejuice.blogspot.com/
03.) Goulardi Is Sick Tonight * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
04.) Space Rock Part One * The Baskerville Hounds * Ghoulardi Music
05.) A Ghoulardi Doll * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
06.) Birth of The Beat * Sandy Nelson * Ghoulardi Music
07.) Saturday Letters * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
08.) Blues Theme * Davie Allan and The Arrows * Ghoulardi Music
09.) Eddie’s Blues * Eddie Cochran * Ghoulardi Music
10.) My Ghoul-friend * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
11.) Time Bomb * Johnny and The Hurricanes * Ghoulardi Music
12.) Real Close * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
13.) The Swingin’ Shepherd Blues * Moe Koffman Quartette * Ghoulardi Music
14.) Poker * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
15.) Little Eefin Annie * Joe Perkins * Ghoulardi Music
16.) Stay Wood, Kid * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
17.) Wiggle Wobble * Les Cooper and The Soul Rockers * Ghoulardi Music
18.) Rumble * Link Wray * Ghoulardi Music
19.) Shocker Box * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
20.) Little Boxes * Pete Seegar * Ghoulardi Music
21.) Beat Poem * King of the Beatniks * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
22.) The Rat * The Ventures * Ghoulardi Music
23.) More Ghoul-friend * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
24.) Surfin’ Bird * The Trashmen * Ghoulardi Music
25.) Cool It With The Boom Booms * Ghoulardi * Ghoulardi Music
26.) Wham! * Lonnie Mack * Ghoulardi Music
27.) Ghoulardi Is A Coward * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
28.) Stronger Than Dirt * Tom King and The Starfighters * Ghoulardi Music
29.) Pedal Pusher * The Ventures * Ghoulardi Music
30.) Ghoulardi’s Life Story * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
31.) Papa Oo Mow Mow * The Rivingtons * Ghoulardi Music
32.) Cake * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
33.) Bird Dance Beat * The Trashmen * Ghoulardi Music
34.) Next Week’s Movie * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
35.) Dartell Stomp * The Mustangs * Ghoulardi Music
36.) Hey Group! * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
37.) The Desert Rat * Duane Eddy * Ghoulardi Music
38.) Green Onions * Booker T. and The MG’s * Ghoulardi Music
39.) Stay Sick * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
40.) Sugar Shack * Jimmy Gilmer * Ghoulardi Music
41.) You’re A Lot of Fun To Be With * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
42.) Constipation Blues * Screaming Jay Hawkins * Ghoulardi Music
43.) Wake Up * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
44.) Mumbles * The Oscar Peterson Trio * Ghoulardi Music
45.) Written By The Adults * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
46.) Buzzsaw * The Turtles * Ghoulardi Music
47.) Beachcomber * Bobby Darin * Ghoulardi Music
48.) Less Obtrusive * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
49.) Turn Blue * Jimmy McGriff * Ghoulardi Music
50.) The Laugh * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
51.) Bolo Blues * Jimmy Forrest * Ghoulardi Music
52.) Oxnard * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
53.) Mama Oo Mow Mow * The Rivingtons * Ghoulardi Music
54.) You Can’t See This When You’re Way Out There * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
55.) Space Rock Part Two * The Baskerville Hounds * Ghoulardi Music
56.) Hypnosis Word Of Warning * Narrator * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
57.) Peach Fuzz * The Ventures * Ghoulardi Music
58.) Stay Sick * Ghoulardi * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
59.) CBS Logo * CBS Studios * Shock Theater: The Hypnotic Eye
In the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, the citizens of Cleveland would tune in late at night to hear the rhyming ravings of a real radio genius, The Mad Daddy! Using sound effects on record, a reverb machine, various tape effects, and a stack of records from groups that were not getting regular airplay, he would get on the air and present two and a half hours of some of the most inventive radio you’ve every heard. And, in an instant, he was gone. This show is a small gesture toward recreating what a real Mad Daddy show must have been like, using a variety of materials and sources that I dig up just for this broadcast.
These are actual recordings of The Mad Daddy himself, in action. Half of this show is culled from an hour-long air-check tape from 1958, and various bits from from the great compilation, Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964, which make up the bulk of the material for the show. There are also a few period songs from when his show was on the air, and also includes both sides of the 45 Mad Daddy cut in the early 60’s, “I Love A Good Practical Joke” b/w “What Is A Pfisteris?”
Special thanks go out to the excellent archivist and blogger, Kogar The Swinging Ape (the one responsible for the Lux & Ivy compilation series), and the “Salad Days” radio program, which did an excellent tribute show at the beginning of 2010. Both websites helped lead me in the right direction when I was trying to assemble this broadcast, and both led me to recordings and songs that I was unaware of before I had this idea for a show. In particular, Kogar posted on his blog a recording of an acetate that contained recordings of the sound effects that Mad Daddy used when he was on the air. Those are sprinkled liberally throughout this show.
There is something wonderful about listening to The Mad Daddy in action, that I have never heard on any kind of radio before or since. His rhyming weirdness, his theatrical enthusiasm, and the creepy undertones of his weirdness, have all the hallmarks of a good Horror Host, and in many ways he invented the form. This isn’t exactly “creepy” or “spooky,” but definitely has a retro feel that fits the nostalgia that is common around this time of year. Plus: his raps are fantastic. All improvised, and well worth the time and energy.
Stay tuned, as next week we’ll feature his apprentice, Ghoulardi! Enjoy!
The Mad Daddy Rides Again!
01.) The Mad Daddy * Show Opening * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records * Norton Records
02.) The Mad Daddy * 1958 Air-Check Excerpt 1 * The Mad Daddy * WHK Radio
03.) The Mad Daddy * News Break * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records * Norton Records
04.) The Mad Daddy * Gillette Razor * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records * Norton Records
05.) Rene Hall * Twitchy * “Twitchy” b/w” Flippin'”
06.) The Mad Daddy * 1958 Air-Check Excerpt 2 * The Mad Daddy WHK Radio
07.) The Joker (The Mad Daddy) * I Love A Good Practical Joke * “I Love A Good Practical Joke” b/w “What Is A Pfisteris?” *
08.) The Mad Daddy * 1958 Air-Check Excerpt 3 * The Mad Daddy * WHK Radio
09.) The Mad Daddy * RCA Dehumid-d-d-d-difier * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records * Norton Records
10.) The Five Stars * Pickin’ On The Wrong Chicken * “Pickin’ On The Wrong Chicken” b/w “Dreaming”
11.) The Mad Daddy * 1958 Air-Check Excerpt 4 * The Mad Daddy * WHK Radio
12.) The Mad Daddy * Record Rendezvous * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records * Norton Records
13.) The Mad Daddy * WHK Jingle * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records
14.) The Tune Rockers * Green Mosquito * “The Green Mosquito” b/w “Warm Up”
15.) The Mad Daddy * 1958 Air-Check Excerpt 5 * The Mad Daddy
16.) The Valiants * Good Golly Miss Molly * “Good Golly Miss Molly” b/w “This Is The Nite”
17.) The Mad Daddy * Random Air-Check Excerpt * The Mad Daddy
18.) The Mad Daddy * Gillette Razor 2 * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records
19.) The Joker * What Is A Pfisteris? * “I Love A Good Practical Joke?” b/w “What Is A Pfisteris?”
20.) The Puddle Jumpers * Snake Charmer * “Snake Charmer” b/w “Mud Puddle”
21.) The Mad Daddy * Big Bad Train * “Snake Charmer” b/w “Mud Puddle”
22.) Muddy Waters * (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man * Complete Chess Masters
23.) The Mad Daddy * Martian Shave * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records
24.) The Nite Riders * Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Socks) * “Pretty Plaid Skirt” b/w “I’ll Never Change”
25.) The Mad Daddy * Moldy Basement * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records
26.) The Eternals * Rockin’ In The Jungle * “Rockin’ In The Jungle” b/w “Rock ‘N Roll Cha Cha”
27.) The Mad Daddy * Record Rendezvous 2 * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records
28.) Dwight Pullen * Sunglasses After Dark * “Teenage Bug” b/w “Sunglasses After Dark”
29.) The Mad Daddy * Record Acid Test * Wavy Gravy! Atom Smashin’ Zoomeratin’ Mello Jello Radio Broadcasts 1958 – 1964 * Norton Records
30.) Dale Hawkins * Tornado * “Tornado” b/w “Little Pig”
While not the production it was last year, I wanted to quickly mention that we are celebrating Halloween the old fashioned way, and yes, that involves your podcast feed.
Mid-Valley Mutations is offering bonus episodes on Mondays and Wednesdays of October, for a total of 13 Holiday podcasts. Four of these shows will air on KMUZ, as the shows do normally. (10 PM, Friday nights.) But there are nine gems, hand picked from our 13 years of producing Halloween Radio. This is a chance to hear the many permutations our program has perpetrated, and gives you ample bonus material for that impending holiday party.
In many ways, DJ Victrola is my radio sister, who was not only my guide when I came to KPSU, but a kindred spirit who was dedicated to music and exploring great stuff as she was dedicated to radio. In fact, she’s made a life out of it, getting started in the late ’70’s in Philadelphia, and chasing that dream across the country to its most recent incarnation, The Guitar Shop, a 20-year odyssey where she has explored virtuoso guitar players and artists what do not get as much radio play as they perhaps once did. She and I both love exploring – on broadcast radio – music that gets shorted in most radio landscapes, and because of that we have become great friends in the last 12 years.
An hour is just too short for hanging out with Victrola, and while I did get a short overview of her career out of her during the interview, this does not even begin to scratch the surface of what an incredible personality she is. (We didn’t even get to her Les Paul story.) But what we do get is a nice selection of some of her favorite music, an interview, and a chance to meet someone who continues to impress me with her dedication to the craft, and her interest in music that, in many ways, is just not “cool” in the here-and-now.
For those of you who enjoy what you are hearing, you should certainly check out her program, which has been around now for over 20 years. Her blog contains almost 10 years of archives, with interviews, live guests, theme shows, and her famous “Christmas In July” programming. You can also follow her on The Social Medias, which I also recommend. So few people are on the air for as long as she has, and the accumulation of that kind of experience is worth tuning in for every week. I mentioned that you should also check out the time that Eric Skye & Tim Connell were on Victrola’s show. If you like what you hear here, I think you’ll like what you hear there.
Now, some of you might be saying that this is a bit off the mark for an “experimental” show when you take a look at the playlist. And I admit, when I said that she and I do a show, I was thinking we’d do a Noise Shop. (She and I are both huge fans of improvisational guitarists and noise artists that use the instrument to incredible effect.) But as we discuss on the show, the music she loves is often relegated to similar areas of the musical spectrum as experimental music, and there’s much cross-over between the music we both love. Experimental radio is about presenting things that you cannot hear elsewhere, and if that is the case, then Victrola and are I doing basically the same thing.
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) In The Wake of Poseidon (Instrumental Edit) * King Crimson * The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson, Vol. 1: In The Studio 1969-1971 * Discipline Global Mobile (2004)
03.) No Fate * Travis Larson Band * Burn Season * Precision Records (2004)
04.) Walking Blues * Joanna Connor * Fight * Blind Pig Records (1992)
05.) Night of The Living Dregs * The Dixie Dregs * Night of The Living Dregs * Capricorn Records (1979)
Part II: The Interview
06.) Tone of Bark / Water Lilly / Shown of Dark * Sun City Girls * Famous Asthma * Cloaven Cassettes (1987)
Part III: Serendipity
07.) Serendipity * Tal Wilkenfeld * Transformation * Self-Released (2007)
08.) Fearless * Jennifer Batten * Whatever * Lion Music (2008)
09.) Snowflake Reel * Eric Skye & Tim Connell * June Apple * Half-Diminished Records (2016)
10.) Goodbye Pork Pie Hat * Charles Mingus * Mingus Ah Um * Columbia Records (1959)
KMUZ, like many radio stations depends on listener contributions to continue generate excellent programming. When you make a donation to our station, you are showing how #thankful4KMUZ you actually are, by contributing to a cause that is now been on the air for five years. You can make a donation by going to kmuz.org and following the PayPal links, or by calling 503-990-6601 starting tomorrow – October 1st – and pledging your support to our station – all the way to October 7th.
As part of our usual Pledge Drive, anyone who donates $50 will receive a black KMUZ Mug. Drink coffee in style, and show your support for your favorite community radio station.
For listeners of Mid-Valley Mutations, we like to sweeten the deal. For anyone who makes a donation of any amount to KMUZ, we will give them a digital copy…
When I first brought this show to KMUZ, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get live music to work. Salem is off the beaten path, the show is late at night on a Friday, and our station isn’t known for cutting edge, experimental acts. I mean, I’m trying to change, that, but the reputation certain didn’t proceed me. So, I’ve been very excited to see how many bands have responded positively to the show, not just because I play their music and talk about how great they are, but actually wanted to do something live on the show.
Live radio is one of the few special things left in this world that seems to carry with it something that has a little magic left in it, and it thrills me every single time. There’s something about having a band in the studio, gear turned up full blast, that makes the FM airwaves seem to rock that much harder, no matter how good the music might be. I’ve been hooked every since I started in the ’90’s – and before that, as a fan going back to the ’80’s – and it’s nice to see that, even in light of there being a million other alternatives that are vying for your time and attention, there are still some people who get a kick out of those live moments.
I was astonished when I made the off-hand suggestion that they should come and play on my show, and got such an emphatic, “Yes!” from the group. I had pitched that we should do something via Periscope, or some other digital service, giving them the chance to have as much comfort that it would increase their chances of doing the show. When they actually wanted to show up, I may have tipped my hand as to how excited I was. As a younger man, I took in several of their shows, and they are an incredible act that makes me excited to be an artist. Having them on the show is not on a dream come true, but a real pleasure that I will never forget.
Format-wise, this show is a little different than many of the shows I’ve done in the past. There are no audio overlays, I’m not mixing and matching a story overtop the performance, and there is no interview as part of this show. We agreed that, to really take in what Fiasco does, it should just be live. Their performance runs almost 50 minutes of the program, and this is a solid, stellar performance. It would have been inappropriate to do anything other than present the music, so that’s what you’re getting. Pure, un-cut Fiasco.
If you are not already doing so, I would recommend that you check out their Bandcamp Page, which is being constantly updated (and added to) with tons of incredible stuff. I would also check out their MyFacester+ Twinstablr Page, where you can find out about their shows (and occasional tours). Fiasco is something that needs to be seen, live, and if you have the chance, I urge you to do it.
Don’t forget to tune in next week, because we have DJ Victrola of The Guitar Shop coming in to spin records and tell stories about what it is like to be both a radio and music nerd in the 21st Century. (It’s also an excuse for us to hang out, as we just don’t get to see each other that often.)
I’ll say this up front: I’m pre-disposed to enjoy things from Eugene OR, as someone who spent a number of formative years there. There’s something about being 20 in a town where you see your first shows and have your first relationships that really sticks with you, no matter where you go afterward. There’s a fondness that I can’t shake, and when I hear new music and find out the artist is from Eugene, I listen a little closer.
My friends in /root_DIR mentioned that they had toured with Entresol a while back, and after checking out the stuff, I immediately reached out to try and set something up for our show, especially in light of their playing live in Salem on September 21st. Before long we had roped Entrail into hopping onto the gig, and pretty soon this hour of radio had turned into an FM split cassette, complete with phone interviews and everything. It sort of feels like an audio ‘zine, and I’m totally cool with that.
Usually when we have live guests on the show, it is about as live as it can get: the band sets up, we turn on the mics, and music happens on the radio. It’s pretty cool, the next best thing to being there. But in this case, we are using some radio magic to present this show. These sets were recorded last month by Entresol, and the phone calls were recorded a couple weeks ago by me. But you don’t really need to know that to enjoy the show. However, I did have to cut A LOT of material from the broadcast. There’s almost 10 minutes cut from the Entresol Performance, and five minutes cut from Entrail. And both of the interviews were three times longer than what you hear on the show. Don’t worry. That bonus material will surface real soon. I just couldn’t fit everything into an hour. Keep your ears aimed squarely over here, and you’ll find it soon enough.
I would urge you to check out Entresol live here in Salem Oregon on September 21st at The Space, performing with Orchards. It’s rare that cool shows like this happen anywhere, and this one has the MId-Valley Mutations seal of approval. You can also catch Entresol on tour if you live in selected places throughout Oregon & Washington, touring with Dalembert.
There’s some incredible shows coming in the next few weeks, and this is just a taste of things to come. Next week: are you ready, for Fiasco?
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) Olga (The Dog) * Entresol * Then Short Songs About People I Know (EP) * Bandcamp.com (2016)
03.) Live Performance * Entresol * Live Performance * Recorded For This Broadcast (2016)
Part II: Hanging On The Telephone
04.) The Unappreciator (Two Ruminations) * Entresol * Syntaxes/The Unappreciator (EP) * Bandcamp.com (2016)
05.) Phone Call * Entresol & Austin * Phone Call * Recorded For This Broadcast (2016)
06.) machine+beautiful friend+mass [Excerpt I] * Entrail * Ursula * Bandcamp.com (2015)
07.) Phone Call * Entrail & Austin * Phone Call * Recorded For This Broadcast (2016)
Part III: Entrail
08.) Live Performance * Entrail * Live Performance * Recorded For This Broadcast (2016)
09.) machine+beautiful friend+mass [Excerpt II] * Entrail * Ursula * Bandcamp.com (2015)
Back in June I got back to my pulpy, radio roots with a foray into a genuine classic, The Martian Chronicles. What can I say? Those Bradbury tales seem every more relevant and timely, all these years later. I had made a promise to myself that I would continue to pursue this story as often as possible. And, then, of course, so much other stuff demanded that it get attention, too.
So, it took a while, but here we are. Another installment, with a story and music that should keep you entertained for another hour. In addition to samples from the show we aired last time (from 18 August 1950), we are also including bits from a show from later that same year, 29 September 1950, which included the voices of Alexander Scourby, Dan Ocko and Joseph Julian, and a script adapted from Bradbury’s story, again by Ernest Kinoy. This story particular story was given only a few moments from the show in August, but the September show presented And The Moon Be Still As Bright in a full 30 minute story. So this will continue into another future episode, coming soon.
This episode reminds me of one I did in 2012, just after the Curiosity Rover landed on Mars, and I probably cribbed some of the songs from that show, too. Still, I think the mix is pretty excellent for this week, and I’m quite fond of the show as a whole.
I should mention that the recording that is the basis for the narrative is very poor indeed. I tried to find a better version, but this seems to be as good as this one got. The same script was re-done a few times on other shows, but if I get into the habit of comparing versions of the same script, I could drive myself inside. I have done my best to EQ the sound here, and make it a little more understandable. But it is a bit of a challenge, for sure. Radio back then wasn’t always very great, and this is probably representative of what it might have sounded like to listen live back then.
This should be the end of the vacation episodes. Stay tuned next week, where we will have two live bands from Eugene, taking over our program.
And The Moon Be Still As Bright Part I
(The Martian Chronicles Part II)
Part One: The Floating Red Disc Of Mars
01.) Austin FM Theme * Paco Jones * Austin FM Theme * Self-Released (2016)
02.) The Martian Chronicles [Excerpt] * Dimension X * 18 August 1950 * NBC Broadcast (1950)
03.) And The Moon Be Still As Bright [Excerpt] * Dimension X * 29 September 1950 NBC Broadcast
04.) Welcome To Tomorrow (No Vox) * Attilio ‘Art’ Mineo * Man In Space With Sounds (1962)
05.) Blues For Planet Mars * Last Of The Juanitas * “The Jay” b/w “Blues For Planet Mars” 45 * Wäntage USA (2000)
06.) Lost In The Stars * Evolutionary Jass Band * What’s Lost * Mississippi Records (2007)
07.) Unfinished [Excerpt I] * CAN * Landed * Mute Records (1975)
Part Two: The Edge Of A Vast City
05.) Lost In The City * Eleventh Dream Day * Zeroes And Ones * Thrill Jockey (2006)
06.) Big City After Dark * Link Wray & His Wray-Men * Rumble!: The Best Of Link Wray & His Wray-Men * Rhino Records (1993)
07.) Drab City * The Features * Once Upon A Time Vol. #8: U.K. November ‘77 * Self-Released (2010)
08.) San Antonio Desert * The Memphis Goons * While Elvis Slept EP * Shangri-La Records (1971)
09.) Red Planet * The Com-Sat Angels * Red Planet * Junta Records (1979)
Part Three: We’ve Got To Celebrate
10.) Your Party Will Be A Success * Coachwhips * Peanut Butter and Jelly Live At The Ginger Ming Lounge * Narnack Records (2005)
11.) Maybe Partying Will Help * Minutmen * Double Nickels On The Dime * SST Records (1984)
12.) I Talk To The Wind * King Crimson * In The Court Of The Crimson King * Atlantic Records (1969)
13.) Unfinished [Excerpt II] * CAN * Landed * Mute Records (1975)
14.) Take Me To The Other Side * Spaceman 3 * Translucent Flashbacks * Fire Records (1995)