Fall 2006 Monday 9am; Winter 2007 to Fall 2008 Thur 1pm
WCBN 88.3fm / wcbn.org / podcast
The show was pretty much The Very Best Mixtape from Esay Mwamwaya and Radioclit plus a few other songs. You can get it here, or many other places around the internet.
Hey, can you believe that 50+ shows later, I’m still finding hours of music I really want to play? Some of it isn’t even repeats.
Or, “Please Put Out Her Grace’s Hair”
, a sentence not actually included in this week’s show, but which I enjoyed despite of myself in “The Duchess”, which is no longer playing at the Michigan, sorry.
Or, “Huh!”, a la Neil Diamond in “Cherry Cherry”, which was indeed included in this week’s show. Except that Huh! doesn’t quite capture the glottal drop at the end of syllable as Diamond performs it, and “Hugh!” is a misrepresentation in the context of this website.
This week’s set break music courtesy of the OC Remix community and Super Street Fighter II Tubo HD. Now that’s a video game title.
Here’s Neil Young live at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, 1968, via NPR.
I didn’t get around to this. Next week:
A couple of weeks ago John Hodgman was in town, and as engineer for T. Hetzel’s Living Writers show, I got to meet the man and watch him through a glass partition for an hour. JKH may only score as a minor celebrity on the vertigously logarithmic US celebritometer scale, but he’s one of the few that I might actually be giddy about meeting, and I was giddy.
The interview was great, and John is by any metric of sober non-giddiness a real pleasure to interact with. He’s (surprise!) funny and interesting and affable. Which may actually be surprising if you’ve read Kurt Vonnegut’s description of the social lives of writers; roughly paraphrased: people expect writers to be articulate and sparkling, since they may write articulate and sparkling things. But the truth is they require two years locked in a room to get just a few basic thoughts out of themselves, and when forced to relate to humans in real time (here I’m quoting) “drag themselves through society like a gut-shot bear”.
Hodgman’s books are about being funny and interesting and affable, and yet that is what he is, so there you go.
The interview is great, T. did a lovely job as she usually does and John needed little prodding. They do in fact engage in a thumb war at one point.
Which brings me to my involvement. Since I first listened to this audio, I have been gradually forgiving myself, but it still pains me to say this: I screwed up the levels. John initially asked for more volume in the headphones, and I chose a very stupid way of bringing those levels up. Consequently there is clipping and distortion, to a degree that significantly detract from the experience. No, I couldn’t hear it when it was happening, but there were three different meters that I failed to absorb visually. Oh man, it still hurts. It does start getting better around minute 8, but it never gets good.
Anyhow, I’m putting the audio up because despite my ineptitude, it’s still worth listening to.
After borrowing the jumper cables from Tom, wandered through southern rock, hip hop, groove, pop and inevitably ended up flailing around in the mash-up end of the kiddy pool. Fresh trax from Lucinda Williams and Vampire Weekend. It was good for me.
How great is that new station ID that was playing before my show started?
And does anybody have more ideas for dj names that start with the “hyu” sound?
Colour me cathartized.
After I announced that the Ann Arbor Dub Project was playing at the Michigan Medical Marijuana Benefit, I got a call.
“Did you say the Ann Arbor Dub Project was playing?”
“Yes, I did.”
“That’s weird, we broke up a while ago. Nobody told me.”
Ouch. Somebody else having a bad day.
“Jean jacket reeks in the warm rain.” — Midwest Main Street, Great Lake Myth Society, 2nd best lyric of the week
“I went down hard, got up like a champ.” — Humdinger, Old Crow Medicine Show, 1st best lyric of the week
In which Reverend Andrew [First Church of the Atlantic (De-Hydrated) Eternal Pope of the Western Lands] and I finally spring a plan we’ve been hatching for a long time: a tribute to Neil Young and Devo’s 1982 apocalyptic-art-comedy film Human Highway. Starring Mark Mothersbaugh (who never takes off his rubber mask), Dean Stockwell, Dennis Hopper and Neil himself as bumbling gas jockey. Needless to say, this is one of the odder films I’ve seen, and we made no effort to build a less-odd musical sequence around it. We just plugged a vcr into the board, popped in a VHS tape, and let it go. Then played a bunch of related music over top of that, since just listening to movie dialog is mostly pretty boring.
If that sounds like something you’d like to experience, experience it now:
And here’s the rough list of songs we played:
Bit flustered today, as I arrived in the station to find that I had left my musical selections on my bed. Still, the show went on. There was one really terrible transition (can you spot it?) and a bunch of good old music. Solo Johnny.
A mix of candy-fun pop, angry political choices, and segues between them. I got to say “I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master” twice and play requests dedicated to the economic crisis. Also spent some time in the west and specifically California.
|Show||Time Played||Artist||Title||Album||Record Label|
|Freeform , with DJ Hugonaut.||
|2:54 PM||Iggy Pop||China Girl||The Idiot|
|2:49 PM||The Kills||Cheap and Cheerful||Midnight Boom|
|2:44 PM||The Tragically Hip||Put it Off||Trouble at the Henhouse|
|2:40 PM||Steely Dan||The Last Mall||Everything Must Go|
|2:38 PM||Midnight Juggernauts||Shadows||Dystopia|
|2:34 PM||Electric Six||Kukuxumusu||I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master|
|2:25 PM||Steve Miller Band||Wild Mountain Honey|
|2:22 PM||David Byrne and Brian Eno||Strange Overtones||Everything that Happens Will Happen Today|
|2:16 PM||John Prine||Sam Stone||Great Days|
|2:10 PM||Rooster||Alice in Chains||Dirt|
|2:02 PM||k-os||Emcee Murdah||Joyful Rebellion|
|1:56 PM||Camille and Alexander McGregor||Government Brand||Ponies in the Surf|
|1:50 PM||Youth Brigade||Sink With California||Sink With Kalifonija|
|1:48 PM||Dead Kennedys||California Uber Alles|
|1:41 PM||Wall of Voodoo||Call of the Wild||Call of the Wild|
|1:37 PM||Gillian Welch||Look at Miss Ohio||Soul Journey|
|1:33 PM||Steve Earle||Red is the Color||Washington Square Serenada|
|1:32 PM||J.J. Cale||Low Rider||Number 10|
|1:23 PM||Q And Not U||Wonderful People||Power|
|1:23 PM||Lykke Li||I’m Good, I’m Gone||Youth Novels|
|1:19 PM||Freezepop||Do You Like Boys||Future Future Future Perfect|
|1:13 PM||Stick Mcghee||Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee||Atlantic Rythm and Blues|
|1:10 PM||Charlie Feathers||That Certain Female||Uh Huh Honey|
|1:07 PM||Roy Buchanan||Peter Gunn||Deluxe Edition|
|1:04 PM||Blanche||Garbage Pickers||If We Can’t Trust the Doctors|
|From Belle Isle to 8 Mile, with Rob Linn.||1:02 PM||Braille||Main Squeeze|
|1:01 PM||Naughty By Nature||Clap Yo Hands|
|1:01 PM||Nas||You Can’t Stop Us Now|
|1:01 PM||Freeway||What We Do Is Wrong|
Sam is exactly as chill and interesting in person as he sounds in the interview. It felt like meeting a celebrity, except celebrities are supposed to be dicks, and I’d never actually heard of him before.
(I’m not sure if the audio above will work, as I’m linking to it from the wcbn server. Let me know if it doesn’t play or download for you.)
Who’s been playing records in his bedroom?
Who rocks out?
Who’s spaced out?
Who brings you?
Who sings you?
Who’s still workin’ on his masterpiece?
The great intoxication
The mental generation
Sound effects & laughter
Stupid ever after
Hopin’ it was cranked up
Loud enough for you to hear
He’s drunk and he’s insistent
Shy but he’s persistent
Boisterous & jumpy
Disorganized & funky
Every day he wonders
What the hell she sees in me?
— David Byrne, The Great Intoxication
When I write the post for each radio episode, I usually say how great/fun the show was. Then sometimes I delete that and write something less adjectivey, or leave it without comment. The thing is, for me every show is great and fun. I love doing radio. When I started (just over a year ago now, oh my) I usually sat in the chair. Partially because back then I was doing the 6am slot and I was tired, but mostly because that was the body language of most of the other djs I had trained with. Nowadays I’m driven to stand through the whole show. Or, yes, dance. I love doing this stuff.
Doing radio is probably an anachronism. Having one clique of the technically anointed choosing the playlist for a region may not make sense in a long-tail world of customized content. Everybody has the technological power to access the zeitgeist, or the many mini-zeitgeists of genre and locale, and shape their own experiences of them. Why would you count on radio djs to pick the music, when their only real credential is that they were willing to jump through some training hoops and caffeinate themselves through a first-term early morning shift? If you have internet and a willingness to deploy peer-to-peer software, you effectively have access to a larger music library than any physical radio station can house. And if you can read some audio blogs and music interzines, or just go to some local shows, you can get just as solid a finger on the pulse of the scene as anybody else, including the wannabegentsia with the clever names on the radio.
Apparently I don’t believe in the relevance of the college dj. So why do it? For one, ego, obviously. It’s fun to think of yourself as a radio disc jockey. But wait, there’s more. It’s true that having a real live person doing the work of putting songs together into a musical comment thread is different than having the intercloud dump a bunch of generally great music on you. Knowing that there is some one person doing it is does enhance the focus somehow. And for some reason, it helps if you know they are within a few miles of you. There is a bit of drama there. The real possibility of failure makes it more interesting. (And that’s one thing I know I can provide to an audience.)
But these are reasons why I like listening to radio, not why I like doing it. I should point out: I don’t just like listening to campus radio. I love it. College djs didn’t know they were getting me through my first two years of undergrad. They didn’t know they made my computer-staring existence in Virginia a degree of exciting. They don’t know they chivvied me through a good portion of this new degree thing I’ve been doing. They don’t know I miss them now that I’m in an office and can’t crank the radio when other folks are in there.
I recently had an email exchange with the wcbn programming director in which we both admitted that we kept cassette tapes of campus radio during undergrad. That’s right, when I got home from class I used to sit down at my desk, turn on the radio on my early 90’s stereo and press record on the tape deck. If the song wasn’t good, I would back it up, then press record again, in case the next one was. And those tapes got played again and again, and I regret not knowing where they are today.
So I definitely like listening to campus/community radio, but again: why do I like doing it? I could play the same music at home. And I sure do. Well, the ego, as mentioned. And the sense of power. Driving the transmitter tower, coating the whole town in radio frequency electromagnetic waves of my own choosing! And I really think I have some music to play that someone in town might like, as so many djs have played music which was a big deal to me. When you’re in the booth it’s hard to conceptualize the audience, but they must be out there. Sometimes they even call to tell you so. If there’s a slim chance I’m replicating the role of the djs who have shown me so much great and unexpected music, that’s an exciting chance.
Anywho, this week’s show was great and fun. I think it started out strong and dissipated towards the end, but it hardly matters does it? Because I had fun. A whole hell of a lot of fun.
The first 20 minutes didn’t get recorded. To duplicate the original experience, play The Israelites by Desmond Dekker, talk a bit, then play Reasons to Be Cheerful, Pt 3 by Ian Dury, talk some more, then Lay It in the Cut by Sharon Jones and Whole Lot of Walking to Do by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Then play the recording. Should be good.
OK, so I haven’t been posting the radio episodes. I have been broadcasting! But CIDO is a home-grown affair, and arranging the recording and distribution of the show has turned out to be trickier than I had thought.
Eventually all the episodes may yet be podcast. Except today’s, which isn’t happening because of an inconveniently locked door. If I was a real rock and roll dj I would smash a window. I’ll think about it.
update: thanks to Emory (?), CIDO’s senior youth computer tech, I’ve got podcasts up now.
Some bad musical puns inspired by the land we’ve been working, a set of tunes from the parties we’ve been holding, and some other stuff. Mostly upbeat. Go figure.
CIDO steamrolled my show application through an emergency meeting of the programming committee. Their words. So Mountain Pine Beats went on the air. Yes, it’s music from the clearcuts, produced during the treeplanting season. If anyone else has done a (loosely) treeplanting-themed radio show, I’m not aware of it, and if anyone has done it while actually on a treeplanting contract, I’m especially not aware of it. What it lacks in soul it makes up for in novelty.
The first 20 minutes or so were a complete technical disaster. But hey. The last part was mostly audible. I’ve cut out the meltdown at the start, so the podcast starts midshow. I’ve left in a few of the later glitches for authenticity. Minor variations in the colour of your garment are natural and add to it’s character. Do not use your Mountain Pine Beats to break rocks or pry roots. Do not overuse your Mountain Pine Beats. Your Mountain Pine Beats is a specialized tool and if treated with care will function well for you.
This week I finally figure out what my dj name is, and dedicate the show mostly to treeplanting, which I will now leave to go do. So this is the last show of the term. I’ll be back in town later in summer, and I’m already looking forward to doing random time slots then.
Our music server has been acting up lately, and towards the end the left audio channel drops out. Sorry about that.
All of the explicitly planting-related songs can be had for free at the Peppermill Records website.
This week was mostly long material left over from last week, which was a blessing because I had even leass time to prep this week.
One thing I regret: playing Rock n’ Roll with Me. It was a good goodbye to the temporary studio. But it would have made an even better goodbye, played out of the freshly unboxed vinyl collection, to the semester. Which will happen next week.
I’m sure I’ll find something to else play.
With end of term comes panic, sleep deprivation and anxiety, and this term is no exception. I’ll be taking advantage of my limited prep time to play some longer musical selections today.
On the menu is a Vaughn Williams piece which may be cheesy by classical standards but has long been favourite of mine. Also a complete run through Metropolis Suite 1: The Chase, by Janelle Monae. I can’t believe I’ve only once before played all of The Chase, and I think that was just during a substitute slot. And an Allman Brothers guitar vehicle that kept me on my porch with my ipod for 2 extra cigarettes. In February.
post-show analysis: I didn’t get to the either the Williams or the Allman Brothers. One of these days.
A subtheme on ice cream. Inspired by: Satan’s Ice Cream Truck
I’m committed to playing whoever the current leader is in the officially sanctioned Radiohead Remix Project. Which currently is this:
I tried to play the Radiohead remix, but the player wouldn’t load. One of these days.
I’ll be using this video as setbreak music:
It’s decent music I suppose, but the video is the hot business. By all means, set it to full screen.
Apparently that video comes from Kanye West’s Vimeo account. This seems like a good time to pause and reflect on the video for You Can’t Tell Me Nothing Zach Galifiniakis shot on his farm. I know it got a lot of play when it was at least half fresh (including right here), but it was one of the best mass media products of 2007, and worth a revisit. Well, sort of mass media. Mass media in the new sense of media. Unfortunately, since 2007 Kanye’s site has deteriorated into a partial flash blob, so I can’t link to the video. But go here and look for Can’t Tell Me Nothing – Alternate Version. And set your browser to allow pop ups. Oh fuck it, just try and remember it in your mind. Oh yeah.
OK, I just watched it again and it’s still magic.
A special mix tape presentation this week. I’ve been promising a mix to a friend for many months, but have failed to deliver. In part because said friend has been bouncing around in a foreign country. But still apparently catches the podcast occasionally. So here it is.
This answers the question “why do you like country?”. Over an hour of sweet rural tunes. So ease out the throttle, drop another quarter mile of furrow into the fertile earth, and turn up the speakers you duct taped to the tractor cab. Afterwards, a non-country chaser.
This week’s technical issues were intially cd-related, and then deviated into weird left/right channel drops. Word is we’ll be back into the real station in a couple weeks, so we can get back to the old familiar screw ups.
We’ve been having a debate on the internal wcbn mailing list about the artistic merits of playing unedited selections from movie audio tracks. Hence the Waking Life clip. I was going to do more, but didn’t have enough time to scrub around in the video trying to find appropriate scenes. Also, I was pretty satisfied with the one that got played, and how it tied into the following track, and quitting while ahead seemed reasonable.
That clip spawned a call identifying the video ranter as being someone called Alex Jones. Here’s a youtube version of Alex Jones in Waking Life:
(And if that isn’t enough Richard Linklater-animated amplified Alex Jones for your, here’s a clip from A Scanner Darkly)
Another exciting call was a producer from the CBC’s A Current Affair. I assumed at first she was calling about my weekly repurposing of the How To Think About Science clips. I recognize that the CBC is not likely to take notice of my choice of material, but what else would it be calling about? It was not about that.
Other than that, it was a bunch of music. A lot of which I really enjoyed. Where was Lee Dorsey all my life?
It’s the new, ultra-condensed version! From now on noon till 1pm will be dedicated to It’s Hot in Here, but don’t worry. I’ll still be doing two hours of music radio, and it will always be secretly close to my inner heart.
This week’s show featured a nostalgia-laden tribute to my former theme song, and some Reasonably Good spoken-word/music layering.
The poem was Allen Ginsberg’s A Supermarket in California.
Today’s show is a bit of a strange beast. In addition to the usual tunes, about half of it was dedicated to a pilot episode of what might become a regular environmental-themed current events/talky talk show. I asked a couple of friends if they wanted to come on the air, and a few days later they announced that they had worked out a whole show. They’re calling it “It’s Hot in Here”. I kind of like the idea of “producing” a talk show, and it gives me a chance to make unhelpful quips while they try to do something useful and interesting. So we’ll pitch it to the station execs and see. If it flys, I’ll still be doing the regular show, just an hour shorter.
I feel like we managed to fit a tonne of good music in there anyhow. The stretch from Fred Eaglesmith to John Vanderslice felt downright blessed. (Not bad, given that our chief engineer was ripping and tearing at the patch cords trying to figure out why one of the CD decks was failing at the time.) And Jen, or Gina, or whatever the hell she’s calling herself (what’s up with these dj’s with ambiguous names?) has pretty ace taste in music to play in between the talky talk, so it all adds up pretty well. I had never heard that Rahsaan Roland Kirk song. Good stuff.
Today was great. At first, I was sitting there wondering why I’ve been having a harder time making visceral contact with the music since we moved to the temporary studio (feeling it bodily as Dean Bavington would say). I had a sudden intuition. I rose, and approaching the main overhead light switch for the studio, I turned them off. After the vibe was good.
Here’s where to get the amazing alternate version of Joni Mitchell’s “The Hissing of Summer Lawns”. Note there’s some hints to some other incredible musical oddities sprinkled in there too. Hopefully I’ll be playing more of those in weeks to come.
Here’s Bert demonstrating a far-out super hep drum solo:
Oh groove with him baby.
Turns out wcbn’s digital archive stretches all the way back to 2005! Apparently, it went live at 7pm on the 3rd of July, ’05. Unlike these heady days of fat pipes and hi-fi, back in 2005 radio was stored in 19kbps .ogg format. Here it is, as a vaguely historical curiosity.
It sounds as though the DJ was not aware of his involvement in that historic moment. Probably nobody told him.
Chances are your player can’t play .ogg. Because chances are you use wonderful itunes. It’s not that it would cost money for Apple to license .ogg and build it into itunes. Ogg is free. It’s not that .ogg is inferior to .mp3 or .mp4 or whatever. In fact, it’s probably better. Apple just doesn’t like things which are open and thus can’t be artificially constricted as a business model. Or maybe it’s just the Apple personality. As Steven Levy famously lied in his 1984 book Hackers, the hacker ethic of openness and sharing has always been central to the Apple Computer corporation.
Anyhow, I would put an online player in to play it for you right from the post, except my player doesn’t play .ogg. Because it’s flash-based, and flash is made by Adobe. It’s not that it it would cost Adobe anything to build .ogg in….
“Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational battle station.”
I think I’ve finally got the podcast running for my radio show. It should have been easy–wordpress actually makes podcasting painless–but of course I had to make it work with itunes, and itunes is stupid stupid stupid. Making it work with standards-compliant, normal software: easy. Making it work with tyrannical, we-know-better-than-you, we-know-better-than-the-whole-world itunes: hard.
But I digress. Here’s how to subscribe in (yay!) itunes:
Once that’s set up, I assume it’s easy enough to make it automatically download new episodes, automatically send them to your ipod, and so on. Using that fabled Apple user-interface easiness.
Note that I’ve had to combine the three hours into a single file (thanks again, Steve Jobs Design Nazi), so it will probably take a while to download an entire episode. Older shows should show up in the list of available episodes, but if you try to download those, you’ll only get the first hour.
This is still mostly experimental, and I’m looking for “feedback” from my “user base”. So if you run into any issues let me know.
If you would like to try accessing the older episodes in their entirety (all three hours), and you aren’t using itunes, you could try using the atom-format feed. This is even more experimental. If it does work at all, the names of the files may be unhelpful, and the episodes may show up out of order. The atom feed is at: http://hughstimson.org/category/radio/feed/atom
Apologies for the long delay. I promised myself this would be the week I figured out the podcasting thing, and that has inevitably taken longer than expected.
But here it all is.
Here’s the Jammin’ the Blues video. I highly recommend watching this.
This week was the first week in the temporary studio. I like it in there, it’s like a diorama of the actual wcbn station. There’s something under-seigey about it. It feels (incredibly) even more like being in a basement. Or a kid’s mock-up of a pirate radio station. Plus if any other radio denizens show up to do radio-related stuff you are all hanging out together, since it’s only the one room. On the other hand, I found it harder to focus on listening to the music, because I was thinking more about the equipment and levels and such. Also, not having acess to the music library is a clear and present bummer.
And levels still got screwed up–got a call from Toledo that the mic was way too low. And there seems to be heavy distortion in the right channel for the first 40-odd minutes, and then it just mysteriously heals itself.
The day I was born I made my first mistake
and by that path
have I sought wisdom ever since — The Mahabharata
I’m noticing that as I do more and more shows, that I’m shifting away from music I really like to listen to, and towards “interesting” music that I figure people might be “interested” in. I suspect this is a common college-radio thing. For one, it’s safer to play interesting music. There is lots of really neat, unexpected material out there, and we can mostly all agree that it is neat and unexpected. On the other hand, picking a really good song is a) more subjective, so I don’t know if it will work for other people and b) kind of personal. What if I play something that I love and really moves me, but upon hearing it on the studio monitors I realize it’s kind of superficial and derivative? That would be embarrassing. So playing the amatuer musicologist seems less risky.
Not that I’m heavily influenced by these fears. I can just feel the joint forces of ease and safety gradually trending me away from playing my favourites. And then of course, there’s the fact that you can’t play 40 favourites a week for 30 odd weeks without, you know, running out of favourites. And there’s nothing wrong with playing interesting music. In fact, I think that’s a great aspect of college radio. But I will continue to try and play stuff that I just balls out love, because I think that’s the best aspect of college radio. I hope someone out there also likes them, but even if they don’t, frankly it’s fun pumping stuff I have affection for out over the gajillion watt broadcast tower.
And the audio:
|hugonaut feb14 12pm||[audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-02-14-120001-EST.mp3]|
|hugonaut feb14 1pm||[audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-02-14-130001-EST.mp3]|
|hugonaut feb14 2pm||[audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2008-02-14-140001-EST.mp3]|
So yeah, that was my not-valentines, station-move-day show. I feel good about it. I’m amazed how freaked out I was about fundraising last week, I had frequent sensations of relief today, which I traced each time to not having to think about money. I am, absolutely, useless with money. I may well be useless with music too, but I have a lot more fun with that uselessness.
Here’s the master list of TV station sign-offs.
Thanks to Carl Sagan for calling in from wherever pop-sci cosmologists go when they die. I guess he beat out Pascal’s wager. I asked him if there was actually a god, and he told me (very quick on the draw I thought), billions and billions. Damn. Turns out Dr. Sagan isn’t exactly a Hot Butter fan, more just concerned about them.
Was it just me or did the audio sound kind of funny today?
Dj name suggestions so far: Hugo-not. Stimsong (ouch, jesus). And this formidable list:
dj Voltaire the bastard
dj gas station oj
dj without a porpoise
dj free lunch
I think we’re making progress here.
Here’s today’s playlist
And the audio:
(yes, I think I played the same King Curtis song twice at the start. I was focusing too hard on making the rest of the show awesome.)
My favourite calls were the guy who didn’t know the name of the band or the song or even really the genre, but cleared it up by singing the chorus to “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot, and the the gentlemen who self identified as older and wanted to hear the one that goes “Don’t, push, me, cause I’m on the edge…”.
Okay but seriously, what should my dj name be? The one that got the best response was dj Cellular Automata but that’s a bit complicated.
If this is thursday afternoon then sign me up. I’m still getting used to being awake during my shows, and it’s starting to really work for me. The radio listening public seems to be every bit as awake as I am, and I spent more time making banter on the blower with callers-in than yakking on the mic. Some great requests. And some folks just called up to say they liked it. Thanks. So did I.
Things started out well for me, and then somewhere around Danko Jones just got really good. The fact that tubular bells went over well (I had a dj email to say he had stopped doing what he was doing just to listen, and another burst into the booth with thumbs up) put a final coat of gloss on the whole experience. Maybe sitting in a room pressing play on songs doesn’t warrant this much satisfaction, but I get it anyway.
In retrospect, maybe it was destined to go well from the moment I got free hot chocolate on the diag on the way to the station.
Who knew Bob Seeger was from Ann Arbor? At least three people called up and started with “you’re a young guy so I guess you don’t know this but…” on that and other subjects. Hell yes, I am a young guy. I should play some Utah Phillips next week. The best call (blasting the 8-track from the van with the carpeting all the way up to the ceiling) was of course in response to Quadda Gadda De Vida. Now that I’ve heard it, I’m amazed nobody has thought to play 4 copies of Inna Gadda De Vida at the same time before.
Still haven’t figured out the best way to do the podcast. Maybe next week.
update: here’s Rev. Andrew’s Quadda Gadda Da Vida track on it’s own:[audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/quadda-gadda-da-vida.mp3]
The Reverend also provides this report of the event:
The idea started when I was organizing my records and discovered that I had 2 LPs as well as the CD version.
I had to do something creative or face up to being the kind of geek who would have four copies of the same obscure psychedelic rock album.
The Dwyer’s had introduced me to the idea of playing two of the same record at once with their “two way larry” feature (saturdays at 6:00, optional Lawrence Welk video on public television) so I was thinking of playing multiple copies. As soon as I thought of the “Quadda Gadda Da Vida” name I knew I had to be four copies at once.
I could have bought a third LP copy at Encore for $6 but that seemed silly what with already having two LP copies so I went with my old cassette copy (ca 1978), a CD copy and the two LPs. Besides I had just bought the David Van Tiegham cover….
I began with the tape cued, the CD cued and the two LPs cued.
Turntable one received an additional turn backwards and turntable two got two additional turns backwards.
I started the cassette like normal, counted to thirty and started the CD and the turntables.
I had intended to have the CD and turntable levels down but you can hear one of the other copies in the beginning before I faded it down.
After about 5 minutes I faded the CD into the mix, after another 4 minutes or so you can hear turntable one come is (with prominent record noise) then in another 4 minutes the second turntable comes in.
Setting the levels was problematic, the meters only give you the totals so it was hard to know which device to turn up or down.
I should have set the levels beforehand and noted the settings so I could have all the copies playing the same level.
So it wasn’t perfect but I suppose that wasn’t really the goal.
It was fun and I sincerely hope I befuddled a sports fan or two.
First Church of the Atlantic (de-hydrated)
Eternal Pope of the Western Lands
My first show in the new time slot. What a luxury. Wide eyed and fully alert, no coffee spilling on the turntables, no worries about staying awake through the day’s classes. All the fun of morning radio, plus more fun.
I was surprised to find myself nervous on my first Thursday. Which is ridiculous of course, sitting down to do some college radio isn’t like getting scrubbed for brain surgery. But still, there it was. And there I was, blustering and sputtering through stage nerves. Good grief. Good thing I’m not a brain surgeon doing my first Thursday operation.
I ended up with 4 1/2 hours of material to play in a 3 hour slot. All those 7 and 12 minute Fillmore East jams didn’t hurt. Next week: part 2 of this week. Plus some other stuff.
Oh yeah, somehow I managed to never actually say that the Fillmore East Auditorium was a club in the East Village of New York that was open from 1968 to 1971, and in those short years racked up one of the most amazing list of players the world has ever known.
Ah shoot, I just remembered I forgot to play the live Hendrix. Next week.
Here’s the playlist for the songs I remembered to play this week.
And here’s the audio:
Jan 17 noon: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-01-17-120001-EST.mp3]
Jan 17 1pm: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-01-17-130001-EST.mp3]
Jan 17 2pm: [audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2008-01-17-140001-EST.mp3]
(Incidentally, I’ve been playing around with different options for setting up a real podcast for the show and have so far succeeded in completely breaking all the feeds for the website, including some I didn’t even know existed. And yes, some people do subscribe to the site, although I have no idea why. So check back in a week or two and with any luck I will have erased the entire website and started a fire in the server room at my web host.)
I’ve just signed my name on my new slot on the big schedule in the lobby, and it’s every Thursday noon till 3pm. Solid. Moving into the world of radio in my right mind. I instantly feel less edgy than an off-hours dj but that loss is more than made up for by the addition of a full day of functional mental space every week (I never ever slept Sunday nights, and that cascaded through the rest of the work week). Also I think it means a bigger audience. (I’ll miss my Monday morning people.) And I know the phone is a lot more active in the afternoon. Request requests. Bring ’em.
So keep it locked and we’ll keep it rocked.
The weekly chart for wcbn just came out (entitled “humongous infant on American Bandstand”, for reasons which aren’t imeadiately obvious but I’ve learned it’s best just to accept and enjoy these things). Unfortunately for the state of modern music, “Sexual Healing” by the Hot 8 Brass Band did not make the top 50. You have to play a song more than 3 times a week to get it on the charts around here? What is this, like, top 40?
The Hot 8 were somehow surpassed by konono no. 1 “live at couleur café” (#1), peter brotzmann “the complete machine gun sessions” (#24), and talibam! “ordination of the globetrotting conscripts” (#49), among others.
The folks who fix things at WCBN have fixed them, and the audio archives for the full week are available. I’ve added audio to Monday and Wednesday’s radio posts.
I may actually be beginning to satiate my brass band fetish (not that I’m going to stop listening to or playing them, just not over and over and over), and thanks to Kristin for driving that to it’s logical extreme with the Fanfare Savale track. And dj BC for driving it to its illogical extreme with the Wu Orleans remixes. Sometimes you have to go over the top first before you can settle down a little.
I was struck once again by how good so many of Vampire Weekend’s (as yet limited number of) songs are. That’s the first time I’ve gotten around to playing A-Punk, and it was as amazing as the rest. Also, I’m glad I screwed up and played the live Born To Be Wild track. I don’t have to hope I wasn’t the only white guy frantically air guitaring through that one because I know I wasn’t.
The .mp3 archive is working again!
Jan 11 10pm: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-01-10-220001-EST.mp3]
Jan 11 11pm: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-01-10-230001-EST.mp3]
Jan 12 midnight: [audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2008-01-11-000001-EST.mp3]
I was stupidly assuming that I was only on till midnight, and hadn’t really planned anything for the third hour, so it’s pretty random.
Kleptones website for downloads: www.kleptones.com
Daniel Kitson’s (abandoned) podcast: web.mac.com/dk27/Site/l/l.html
dj BC’s Wu Orleans album: www.djbc.net/mashes/wu/
Hard n’ Phirm’s website, and here’s where you can get Rodeohead from them.
(That’s just a track listing, no longer a download site. The album is still floating around as a torrent)
I’ll find out next Monday night when my new time slot will be.
conflict of interest disclosure: dj Local is my lab manager and occasionally sells me organic greens from his hoop house.
Here’s the audio:
3pm: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-01-07-150001-EST.mp3] (download)
4pm: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2008-01-07-160001-EST.mp3] (download)
5am: [audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2008-01-07-170001-EST.mp3] (download)
Shannon started around 3:30
Well, the .mp3 archive is still busted so I can’t link to the audio from today’s fill-in show, but it doesn’t really matter because I’m pretty much going to play every song again soon. Here’s the playlist, for my future reference.
I really enjoyed the Ian Dury request (sex+drugs+rock+roll). I also liked that someone called in to double check the name of the Kleptones song, which they were very appropriately looking up on their phone internets. And of course, the Hot 8 cover of Sexual Healing is smoking smoking smoking. That one got everyone in the station excited. Maybe I’ll play that twice tomorrow and see if I can get it into the station’s weekly chart. I suspect it doesn’t take a lot of plays to get a song into the charts around here.
As of right now I’m duping some Dirty Dozen Brass Band cd’s which were recommended to me. More of that tomorrow night too I bet.
The WCBN line-up is all screwy until next week when the schedule for the new term will be finalized, but if anyone is looking for something to listen to, I’m on and off intermittently. I’m on tomorrow (Wednesday) noon to 2 and Thursday 10 to midnight. The .mp3 archive is busted so I wont be posting the results here. The rest of the time I’ll be off, but don’t let that stop you, there’s been some great radio going on down there lately. Frankly my shows are poor compared to some of the amazing material that gets generated by the larger CBN crew. Tune in 24 hours a day, every day. Stay awake just so you can listen.
An extendo radio spectacular today. The sun is barely up and I’ve already got 4 hours of music out of me. This is how to live a longer life: start early every day.
5am: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-12-17-050001-EST.mp3] (download)
(Mom, skip the 5am part)
6am: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-12-17-060001-EST.mp3] (download)
7am: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-12-17-070001-EST.mp3] (download)
8am: [audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2007-12-17-080001-EST.mp3] (download)
Here’s the link to the Santastic site, including downloads of DJ John’s The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown and dj BC’s The Nutbreaker. While you’re there, click around to find this year’s Santastic comp (Clausome!) and “Challaback Girl”, which I should have thought to play before the 6am swear curfew came around.
Special Ed Xmas 2006 (The Story of the Naivete) can be had at the WFMU blog among other places, just in time to get jazzed up for whatever Ed has in store for this christmas. While you’re at it, why not check out the full blown versions of Special’s shows from 2005 and 2006, all of which are here for the taking. That’s like 14 hours of mind pummeling festive themed radio.
Thanks to everyone who listened and called in, or just listened and lurked, all semester long. It has been 56 hours of my dream coming true. That’s a long dream.
Next week it’s Ross until 7 and then the Revered Andrew is covering the show, the week after that Ross till 7 and then Alex.
This was supposed to be a lazy show full of very long songs to accommodate my lack of time to prepare. It mostly was. But some fast short stuff somehow got worked in there too. Gorilla Stomp from Tijuana Bibles got played for the first time, and sounded pretty fine on my end. Likewise Shout Out Out Out with Chicken Soup for the Fuck You, but I think I’ve played that before.
The Daniel Kitson/Explosions in the Sky combo hung together pretty well I thought, with the exception of the remarkably jarring effect of the cd skipping. Damn it’s cdy little soul. But there was Tom Waits to settle it all out. Sort of. You know, when the devil gets wedged in, you have to blast him out with a hydraulic system. True words Tom, true words.
Here’s the playlist.
And here’s the audio.
6am: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-12-10-060001-EST.mp3] (download)
7am: [audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-12-10-070001-EST.mp3] (download)
8am: [audio:http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2007-12-10-080001-EST.mp3] (download)
Next week may or may not be my last show in the monday morning slot. I have a hunch I’ll still be kicking off the weeks come next semester, and that would still be okay by this dj. In any case, next week will be my last show for a couple of weeks. Some other kind dj will be covering for me while I wander around the world for a while. Or there will just be horrible dead air and the angry sound of the FCC’s too-loud heartbeat. Won’t somebody cover my shows?
Playlist for the show.
Bubblyfish’s homepage, where you can download some music, and curse bands for using clumpy interactivity-breaking flash interfaces that make it nigh impossible to say, download some music to play on the radio. (But never completely impossible, so what’s the point?). While we’re at it, check out the Protomen website, which wins the award for most effort spent to obscure the content from the user. And, for example, the Gillian Welch website, which demonstrates why music websites don’t have to be so preciously clever (although even that site feels the need to have a gratuitous “intro” screen. Yes yes, very nice.)
The Daniel Kitson website including podcast. In addition to his standup-ish bits, Kitson also has some great fictional and nonfictional story-ish bits.
Had a call asking about music played on last week’s show, during which the playlist database was broken, which stymied the listener’s efforts to look up what she had heard. Apparently she sat in her car in the parking lot listening through to the end, then memorized the time she heard it so she could look up the name later. I’ve done that. I was at first confused because she said she normally doesn’t like Christmas music. Christmas music, on my show? But we iteratively sorted out that it was Iron and Wine, “Freedom Hangs Like Heaven”. Which, now that I think about it, probably is Christmas music.
Playing Mexican Radio on the radio from vinyl was so much fun that I’m going to have to do it again. My DJ colleagues have now and then made it clear that playing the same song twice is just not done. But hey, it’s experimental radio right? I think I’ve played the same song twice on the same show more than once now. “I Hate Music” by the K-Tels is going on the short list of candidate theme songs for when it’s time to retire Crazy. Fantastic.
Even more random than usual this week, and I suppose that’s saying something. The playlist machine is broken so I can’t offer the textual blow-by-blow, but the audio is still good to go.
A couple of people have mentioned the Flanders and Swann. Here’s some more info on those wild and crazy guys. The only other background I can offer is that in Peter Ustinov’s autobiography (or maybe it was Alec Guinness’) he mentioned that of all his Oxford buddies , Flanders and Swann stayed the most like themselves over the years. Whatever that means. In retrospect I don’t actually know them from my dad’s vinyl copy of At the Drop of Another Hat. Rather, I grew up listening to a cassette tape copy I suppose he made to keep me away from the record player. When we were packing up to move houses I was surprised to come across the original vinyl copy, but I don’t know if I ever heard it played. I wonder where it is now. The tracks I’ve been playing came from the internet.[audio:http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-11-26-060001-EST.mp3,http://hughstimson.org/files/wcbn-2007-11-26-070001-EST.mp3,http://archive.org/download/djhugonaut/wcbn-2007-11-26-080001-EST.mp3]
Leave a comment damn you.
Yet more thanksgiving weekend radio. My only goal was to babble less than the end of yesterday’s session. Mission accomplished.
I was also excited to play the entire Metropolis Suite 1 from Janelle Monae and it sounded great. Also fun was ending off with a “Tight Pants In Canada” set, given that Kristin wasn’t going to be there for her usual fantastic 3-5 show. Rob Linn who was covering for Kristin then followed that up with “Tight Pants in Detroit (and Japan)”.
A guy called in to check the spelling of Ted Leo. Yesterday someone made the same call for Jean Leloup. I’ve made that call myself a few times, I love being on the receiving end. Campus radio has been so central to my experience of music for so many years, it feels right to be giving back.
True fact: on the way to the radio station I remembered I was out of rum. So I went into the Beer Depot and asked for a pint. It’s taken a long time to get out of the habit of asking for a mickey. That may be the first time I remembered without stumbling over it.
So yeah, doing that show was incredibly indulgent. I was genuinely confused about being in my right mind, and doing radio. Normally I get into the studio after a few hours sleep and I start at six. Today I started clear headed and it felt distinctly strange, like I should go out into the parking lot and smoke a bunch of cigarettes and bang my head against a rock for a while to get into the right headspace. But it was fun. As a side benefit, I may, for the first time, be sick of talking about Canada.
Here’s the playlist.
And here’s the audio:
Two hours really wasn’t enough. I’ve got a bunch of stuff to play tomorrow, but I’ll be mixing it up with some more general open format.
errata: Winnipeg is not the “City of Champions”. That dubious claim belongs to Edmonton. Wrong city, wrong damn province even.
In a few hours I’m gonna do that Canadian music show. I’ll be playing Log Driver’s Waltz (of course), straight from Youtube, so I’m posting it here so I can find it. And now, so can you!
Bonus action: the NFB’s version of the Blackfly Song with Wade Hemsworth. Ahhhhhhhh….. NFB……. what ever happened to that?
And here’s a song that I couldn’t find a playable-quality version of, so I’m gonna have to play a cover:
It’s Monday morning, post-show, and I’m already putting together next week’s show. Requests for the Protomen and the Akira soundtrack are now getting sorted out. Not to mention a tonne of suggestions that have come in for the end of the week. Indeed, in case you somehow missed the announcement,
This Thursday and Friday
TWO SHOWS* ONE SHOW ONLY
It’s the Resurrection of 2-4s and Mickeys
wcbn’s own Canadian music and culture show
1-3pm both days, with DJ Hugonaut, Native of the North
*I’m cutting it down to one show, it was getting out of hand preparing for it and hey, this is a school week. But it’s cool that my show was getting out of hand (always escalate).
So get ready for that. I was just going to do Thursday but I’ve got music ideas flooding in from the US, Canada, Korea, you name it. The Reverend Andrew has threatened to drop in with some of his own favourite Canadiana. It’s the Special Relationship, made even Specialer.
OK, today’s music:
ps. I’m really digging this compilation of international surf/mexicali sounding instrumental rock numbers, that I played a couple of tunes from. I know nothing about it, except it rulez.
Today’s radio playlist here.
Although the actual material was perhaps more disco-related than purist uncut disco in the traditional vein, that was probably the most disco-ish show I will ever play. And yes, it was fun.
Also fun was giving away tickets. Another DJ first for me. I think that guy must have employed the finger-hovering-over-the-last-number while waiting for the DJ to stop talking method. Which worked, and I wish I had a car and free tickets to the Dap-Kings.
Here’s DJ Hugonaut’s tip of the week for the aspiring college disc jockey: if you’ve got something playing in the background while you talk through a set break, turn that down at the end of the break, but don’t turn it off yet. That way, when you cue up the next track and it turns out to be the wrong one, you can just turn the background music back up, which will cover the dead air while you hunt desperately for the track you actually wanted to play. This I learned today. Twice.
Also, don’t be afraid of theme sets. They induce requests. Also, play that Tarwater song that sounds like David Slyvian doing his best to do electro. That’s kind of cool. Also, play every single song on the Nighthawks at the Diner album from Tom Waits.
Started off strong, drifted into randomness and powered in to a big half hour finale of uptempo beats and poignant dead air. Right on. A lot of phone action (and I’ve even got some requests on the hook for next week). I only wish the speakers went even louder. We need an ’11’ setting, truly.
Steve Miller > Ella Fitzgerald > Avalanches > Mills Brothers > Lucinda Williams > Bo Diddley > Cherry Poppin Daddies. Yes. I was a little unsure about the Lucinda Williams, but then I got a call from someone who really wanted to know where to get the track. Yes.
And yeah, lots of dead air and unplanned overdubs in towards the end but all genius is flawed.
I think I’m serious about getting Crazy by Neu! on as the theme track for the show. I heard it for the first time last week and I’ve barely been able to stop listening to it.
From Luis Vasquez, a pair of training and recruitment videos for WCBN, circa 1989. I guess we sloughed off the commercial carrier-current station (the thinly veiled derision of the narrators for their “popular music format” is pretty funny). Other than that, not much has changed I think.
I’m every bit as brainfried now as I was 7 hours ago when I started doing radio, so I’ll keep this to the basic points:
The highlight for me was without a doubt “Open All Night” from the Bruce. Maybe braindeath is a good place to be in for music immersion. I found it immersive. I was also singing along pretty loud to “One Monkey” by Gillian Welch. And the Boards of Canada sounded great. And so did everything. I love this music stuff.
I haven’t had a chance to double check the back-audio, somebody let me know if any of those are broken.
And thanks to the guy who called in asking if that was my regular slot. It is and I am here to serve.
Which implies they once were I suppose. Cole Porter era I guess.
A Very Special Episode this week, starring out-of-towner Megan at the board. No visit to Ann Arbor is complete without DJing at WCBN. I should hire touts to bring tourists down, charge admission and make some money off the deal. Megan reports the week’s highlight was “Kiss the Girl” into “Let’s Talk about Sex”. I have to admit, that was pretty good. Clearly Megan understands the whole campus radio gestalt.
I actually felt like the show went pretty well this week. No major screwups. Lots of music got turned up to 11 in the booth. I was particulary grooving on the Mike Doughty (who knew it was meant to be played so loud?), the Nina Simone, and playing the Mojo Nixon track off the Don Henley cover. Take that Don Henley. You’re out of the band. Sting too.
I think I succeeded in talking less this week. Which is good, since I woke up even less than usually cogent. And not hard, since I sure as hell talk a lot.
Fun times layering the Utah Phillips and instrumental tracks, should be straightforward enough of course but the first time I’ve tried it much live on air. The trick is getting the levels right so the vocals come through without straining, and it’s somehow tricky to gauge that from the board monitor. Utah Phillips has emerged as the number one thing I play, I don’t mean to do that but there’s so much good Utah material that it’s hard not to. And it’s so good. Utah is one of my heroes, he’s had such a rich life, done so much, seen so much, known so much, worked so hard to give it all back. Feels good to help draw him into the flow in some small way, like he works to bring his elders into the flow.
The station is down one CD deck and that adds enough busy work moving CDs around to cut into the time I can sit back and listen, so maybe the reason Fur Immer was the standout for me today was just that’s it’s better than 10 minutes long, so I had to a chance to hear it. Good song though. Up the Wolves from the Mountain Goats also sounded particularly good on my end, but I understand that may just be me. I love that the song catalog at themountaingoats.net runs to 497 tracks. How do we do it? Volume!
Next week I think I’ve got a guest DJ coming in to assist with revolutionary hiphop and show tunes, but we’ll see about the latter.
Oh yeah, and I always wondered if sometimes, when people call in requests to radio shows and the station doesn’t have the song, if DJs just go ahead and p2p it. Yep.
Yeah I know some people love the guy but seriously, I mean come on. Moonshadow?
Next week’s special feature: less talking, more music.
I’m getting more moments where I run down the mental checklist of necessities (at least one fresh track cued, playlist updated, not too long since last back-announce, requests found, PSAs/promos/announcements made) and find I don’t need to do anything but sit back and listen.
My favourite moment this week was playing Hobo Train by Rube Waddell, which I haven’t listened to in a long long time, and remembering why I used to love it so much. There are some great lines in that track.
Of course I also liked it when someone called in just to say I was playing a good show. They picked off a bunch of the folk/blues acts as reasons why — I hope that isn’t a sign the Monday morning audience isn’t in to, say, Junior Boys. But the caller didn’t have any such complaints so I’m just gonna feel good about the whole damn thing.
Manseed Ferank’s homepage. I think Mssr. Ferank is responsible for “The Revolution Will Be Televised” rant in the Kleptone’s Revolverlution track. He has dreads in any case.
My favourite 10 minutes was Gillian Welch > Mountain Goats > CSS > Gordon Lightfoot. That was awesome. Or maybe it was the entire tube of coffee really kicking in. Almost as good and much longer was the whole hiphop thing. Hopefully I won’t get the feds up in my mouth like forks and spoons for that one. Whatever, it sounded good on my end. Ahem.
I wonder how many people listen to this stuff? From the streaming audio server stats on the wall and guessing wildly at the actual radio transmission audience I figure it’s probably in the low hundreds. I think or something.
The first show in my new time went pretty well. I was expecting it to be rocky, that early in the morning, but soon enough the vibe found me and it was a good time. Some quick thinking the night before took me out to the bar instead of sleeping in: you don’t do good early morning college radio on a clear head all well rested.
Not that it was all smooth. The first 30 minutes or so featured some classic screwup action. But that cleared up and I think I am now once and forever after past any chance of ever screwing up anything else on the radio ever again. The audio highlight was playing Sweet Flavour on a tracker live on air. Also good was playing a Royskopp remix of a Beck track, which I had only ever heard for a few seconds while queuing it up, thinking “hell this is great, I bet people are liking this” when it went on and then getting a call from a guy who thought it was great and was wondering what it was.
I still haven’t picked a name, but I’m considering “Hangover Cure” now. I do seem to be acquiring signature tracks: Yo Yo Ma doing Morricone’s Ecstacy of Gold for set breaks, Steve Martin’s drop-thumb medley for no reason that I can think of, and if I go with Hangover Cure, That’s The Bag I’m In can be my theme music.
Apologies for not getting the audio posted up until the end of the week, and my ego thanks those who complained about it. And apologizes to those who aren’t going to find their requests in there. The internet was broken last weekend so I couldn’t download and pre-screen certain FCC-questionable acts. And thanks again to those who listened, called, visited and texted. And finally, thanks to Kristin and Dan for unexpectedly being in the dimly lit studio at 6 in the goddamn morning, with noise makers, nuts, nut cluster treats, the turntables set on the wrong rpm and a gleam of desperate horrible fun in their baggy eyes.
And what a post it is, I have been assigned the 6am to 9am Monday morning slot as my first official yeah that’s mine radio time. I am thrilled more than it is generally considered cool to be thrilled. I am also deeply relieved not to have taken one of the traditional first-timer 3am to 6am slots.
That time means:
It doesn’t seem to be the custom at WCBN to have a name for your show, not as much as at other stations. But I like that bit of schtick. After all, different DJs have very different vibes and it’s good as a listener to be able to differentiate and predict. So I should pick a name. What’s good?
Maybe Hugonaut in the Morning (remember “Chris in the Morning”?).
Maybe Hangover Alley, or something else celebrating the start of the non-weekend.
Maybe Gunfire And A Little Music, after that Edward Abbey funeral quote I came across on my show last week. Don’t know yet. Suggestions appreciated. And requests. Oh yeah.
There’s no question about it. With the announcement pending of my actual radio slot some morning between 3am and 6am, I am currently filling the best radio times I will ever have. This is the peak of my radio career, at least until I undergo the one semester hazing and commit more time than I possibly have to being a station executive. And the results are decidedly mixed.
But that gives it that tension, you know. Will he succeed in playing the song? No? Get through a set break without sounding pretentious and just too much like I he cares too much? No? People care when there is a real chance of failure. So I figure it’s good radio.
By the way, Andrew who always seems to be on ahead of me, despite our completely random schedules plays fantastic stuff and is a really chill guy. It’s too bad “community members” who cover it all summer seem to get the general boot come school time.
I covered an empty slot on Tuesday, the first day of classes. It was fun. I played radio- and non-radio-rock, plus some other flotsam.
My francophone crewboss from 2006 turned me on to Danko Jones. Danko doesn’t get nearly enough play. He’s the real deal, man, and if his music doesn’t kick your ass, fuck you. I keep expecting to turn around and discover he’s been blessed as authentic by the mainstream and bands are being labeled as ‘Danko-esque’ by hip periodicals. Maybe they are and I don’t read them. Joel Plaskett does what Canadian pop rock does best, and he does it well. Canada really does throw a lot of good bands out there.
I’ll be covering tomorrow, Thursday, from 12:30pm till 3pm, then I have a prime slot Saturday evening 7 till 9, if no senior DJs call me up and kick me off. I’m thinking lots more rock and roll for both of those. But basically I will play whatever I want, and whatever you want. Requests (734) 763-3500, live stream on wcbn.org.
Then yesterday there was yet another emergency request for DJs, and we covered that too. That went really well, I was deeply satisfied with my first set, and made sure everybody in radioland knew it, too.
Someone called in just to say they were glad we played the opening Uncle Tupelo song, which was cool, since I love that song. My experience with DJing so far is that you’re concentrating so hard on getting the next song or two lined up and the PSAs played at the appropriate times that you often don’t focus on the songs, so you forget people might actually be enjoying them. The other thing I’ve learned: I speak way fast when I’m on the mic.
Then yesterday evening I went in for my last apprenticeship, with local radio personality Arwulf. Arwulf’s MO is bringing in spliced up remixes of movie soundtracks he keeps on cassette, and live layering them with found audio and fringe musical events. He has CDs and records and most of all cassette tapes stacked up around on every surface. Maybe this is fun to listen to at home, it may well be, I don’t know. But it was unspeakably wonderful to be there to watch it. Halfway through his opening montage of William S Burroughs and synthesizer Vagner he got up and killed all but the christmas lights and novelty lamps in the studio. Then throughout the show he would jump up to conduct the boards, waving his arms and grinning. I just sat there with my feet up on the turntable board and shook my head and laughed out loud. Except for the parts with Jim Jones. That was really creepy. On the whole, an experience I wouldn’t expect or forget. Just for interest, here’s that show’s audio. There is no playlist.
Wednesday night’s audio:
Playlist is here.
At the last minute, my chain-smoking vinyl-spinning deadpan Parisian ex-flatmate (not actually Parisian or chain-smoking) arrived from his 20 hour multi-connection trans-atlantic flight, and being a chain-smoking vinyl-spinning deadpan Parisian decided that the best thing to do was come along to the station to spin some records. So it was a joint Bert and Hugonaut show.
Just got back from the radio station, where I went to fill in my “can I have regular show please?” form. The forms were in the studio, where there was a couple of guys who really wanted to leave, but the next DJ hadn’t shown up. So I took an hour of radio just because I could. I had to put out a request for someone to call in the request number so I could request that people make requests, and somebody called right away. I played a lot of weird music, and gabbled most of the set breaks, but that’s all within expected tolerances. And I am mighty self satisfied that I opened my first solo show with Losing My Edge from LCD Soundsystem.
And tonight, I actually am officially covering an absent DJs slot. 11pm to 1am, today, wednesday. Streaming on wcbn.org. It may or may not be less of a gong show.
1:55 PM – David Bowie – Blackout – –
1:49 PM – Joe Strummer – Gamma Ray – Global A Go Go –
1:42 PM – Brightblack Morning Light – Star Blanket River Child –
1:31 PM – Talking Heads – New Feeling –
1:29 PM – Talking Heads – Uh oh, Love Comes to town –
1:28 PM – Electralane – One Two Three Lots –
1:21 PM – Blue Rodeo – Lost Together –
1:18 PM – Frank Zappa – Peaches in Regalia –
1:15 PM – Silver Jews – Punks in the Beerlight –
1:14 PM – The Gourds – Ziggy Stardust –
1:04 PM – LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge –
Got to apprentice DJ with Sue Dise on Monday morning.
Here’s the mp3 archive:
Depending on your browser configuration, it may or may not stream. I start talking/playing tracks/having tracks played for me around minute 14.
Here’s the track list for my segment:
11:44 AM – Elvis Costello – The Other Side of Summer
11:40 AM – Bill Hilly Band – Begin the Beguine
11:38 AM – Sloan – Deeper Than Beauty
11:35 AM – Willie Nelson – Bue Eyes Crying in the Rain
11:29 AM – Beck – Shake Shake Tambourine – Guerolito
11:28 AM – Joni Mitchell – A Case of You
11:28 AM – Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon – Lets Go Burn Old Nashville Down
And I started with the Mountain Goats, ‘The Pigs that Ran Straightaway Into the Water’. But I forgot to type that into the playlist system. But that’s because I’m just a starting DJ.
Almost done the training now. I’ve written my dumb broadcast test, made my demo tape done a bunch of apprencticeships, etc. I think I can apply for a show now. And start subbing for other DJs anytime. Maybe I’ll go do that now.
As predicted, hanging out with Kristin on her radio show was a blast. There’s a certain meditative abandon to wandering the record stacks, half-dancing to the music, trying to think what would be good next? Of course, I don’t know a damn thing about the WCBN record library and came up almost totally cold, but Kristin reliably spins a mean set with no encouragement so I was loving it regardless. My own favourite pick was ‘Every Day’ from Count Basie and Joe Williams. That came to me on a mix tape long ago and I hadn’t thought of it in years.
Somebody requested “some fast Zeppelin”. Tight Pants isn’t the kind of show where you ask for classic rock hits (I got busted just for laying Revolver on the record pile) and so sorry to that guy, but Living Loving actually does sound pretty good at 45rpm.
Monday morning I’m taking my “level 2 training” (knife fighting, hostage negotiation and cake piping) with Sue, who is my other favourite WCBN dj. Looking forward to that too.
5:31 PM – The Great Gaylord – Monkey
5:24 PM – Blind Willie Johnson – Dark Was the Night – Cold Was the Ground
5:20 PM – Silver Jews – Smith and Jones Forever
5:18 PM – Count Basie and Joe Williams – Every Day
5:14 PM – Uncle Tupelo – Now I Want to Be Your Dog
5:10 PM – Led Zeppelin – Living Loving
5:09 PM – Morphine – Top Floor Bottom Buzzer
4:57 PM – James Brown – I Want you so bad
4:55 PM – George McCrae – I Get Lifted
4:51 PM – Hank Ballard & the Midnighters – I’m Gonna Miss You
4:49 PM – Bobby and the Heabyweights – Soul Train
4:46 PM – The Anything People – Goin’ for a Ride
4:44 PM – Hasil Adkins – Banana Boat Song
4:42 PM – Baldhead Growler – The Sausage
4:40 PM – Sam Cooke – The Coffee Song
4:36 PM – Wicked Pickett – Sin Was the Blame
4:36 PM – Tom Waits – Step Right Up
4:24 PM – The Fuzztones – Green Slime
4:21 PM – Adam Ant – Beat my Guest
4:18 PM – Jim Nabors – *Hot Dog Heart
4:15 PM – Gwar – Meat Sandwich
4:15 PM – Queers – This Place Sucks
4:09 PM – Stooges – I’m Sick of You
4:09 PM – Flipper – Ever
4:01 PM – Ruins – Macalon Iyaike Catastrophe
3:57 PM – Dead Kennedys – *Trust Your Mechanic
3:53 PM – Boredoms – Special Punk Knig
3:51 PM – Chrome – ST3
3:48 PM – DEVO – 37
3:43 PM – Captain Beefheart – When I See Mommy I Feel Like a Mummy
3:38 PM – Lee Hazlewood & Ann Margret – Walk on Out of my Mind
3:35 PM – Old 97s – *Victoria
3:32 PM – Johnny Cash – *Get Rhythm
3:31 PM – Elvis – I’ll be back
3:28 PM – Spuddnicks – Tom Cat Boogie
3:26 PM – Stray Cats – *Stray Cat Strut
3:19 PM – The Supremes – Get Ready
3:15 PM – Stones – Bitch
3:12 PM – Tina & Ike – Chopper
3:09 PM – Lord Creator – Big Bamboo
3:07 PM – The Coasters – Hog Baby
3:04 PM – Eddie Harris – That is why you are overweight
I’m going to be hanging out in the studio tomorrow for the Tight Pants show (“if it’s too lound, your pants aren’t tight enough”) with Kristin, one of my favourite WCBN djs. This is nominally a mandated part of my journey towards my own dj-ship (my second “apprenticeship”) but mostly if it’s anything like my first, it will be just good fun. Don’t know how much music I’ll be playing myself, I may mostly just lurk, but you will somehow be able to sense my presence should you listen in by radio or webcast, I promise. I’m on an alt-country kick, so if any of that gets played, it may be my fault.
Tomorrow i.e. Friday 16th at 3:00pm till the next lazy drunken dj decides to show up. Yee hah.
So that was a dream come true.
Here’s our official playlist as reported to the CMJ. You can mostly tell which ones were my picks and which were Bertrand’s because he’s the kind of old school vinyl scavenger who cares about what label you need to special order from, but is a lazy french cur who can’t be bothered to type in the album name.
Time > Track > Artist > Album > Label
11:09 PM > Cinematic Orchestra > Flite > Every Day >
11:15 PM > Hastings Street Experience > Yes Lord > > Midnite
11:21 PM > Gordon Lightfoot > Sundown > >
11:24 PM > Keith Hudson > I Shall be Released > > Atra
11:28 PM > Jean LeLoup > Balade a Toronto > >
11:31 PM > The Congos > Don’t Blame it on I > > Trojan
11:35 PM > C.R. Avery > Big in Japan > Just Passing Through >
11:41 PM > Morphine > Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer > >
11:46 PM > Gary McFarland > If I’m Elected > >
11:57 PM > Frank Zappa > Willie the Pimp > > Ryko
12:11 AM > Frank Zappa > Peaches en Regalia > >
12:11 AM > Paul McCartney > Temporary Secretary > McCartney II >
12:17 AM > Ben Allison > Across the Universe > Buzz >
12:20 AM > Pink Floyd > The Gnome > > EMI
12:20 AM > Gary McFarland > Satisfaction > > Verve
12:25 AM > Blockhead > Insomniac Olympics > >
12:31 AM > Tim Maia > Padre Cicero > >
12:33 AM > Charlie Slick > futuredemo > his myspace site or something >
12:41 AM > Cecil McBee > Tulsa Black > >
12:43 AM > Drop Thumb Medley > Steve Martin > Comedy is Not Pretty >
12:46 AM > MC Paul Barman > Anarchist Bookstore Part 1 > >
12:48 AM > Loretta Lynn > Portland Oregon > Van Lear Rose >
12:54 AM > Bruce Springsteen > Open All Night > Nebraska >
12:55 AM > Crickhead > radio monkey > >
Making my debut behind the mic tonight 11 to 2. It’s going to flat out rock. No compromises, no capitulations, no nods to decency or moderation. My vinylspinning cigarette chain smoking depressive parisian flatmate will also be at the console (it’s his show).