Saturday, January 21, 2012

Preface To Everything Is...: Is What?

Oh criminy crackers Self Help Radio's doing it again. Why couldn't Self Help Radio have a normal theme, something that's a noun. Not another phrase! "Everything is..." What could that possibly mean?

Do you know the number of perfectly good themes that Self Help Radio hasn't covered yet? It's gotta be a bazillion plus! What about "cars" or "rain" or some other simple type theme? People can get behind that shit! They might even like a show about "shit"! Well, the FCC probably wouldn't. What if it was "fecal matter"? There's sure a lot of shitty music out there!

That was a terrible joke but it was only as terrible as a theme that's a phrase. Remember when Self Help Radio did as a theme "Here he/she/it/you/they come(s)"? What a mess that was! People turned their radios off in disgust! Or turned to the new hip hop station. That's a good station. They don't even do "themes" there. They just play the hits!

Not Self Help Radio, no. Remember when Neil Young did that "It's Time For Themes! Radio Show"? He had themes like "work" & "famous people" & "Christmas." That's how radio shows with themes ought to be. It's too bad that guy stopped making those shows. Did he get fired? Can someone fire Self Help Radio?

Maybe Self Help Radio should do a show about getting fired! & quitting! Maybe it can air instead of "everything is..." They can play that song "Take This Job & Shove It." & other songs! What a great idea! Someone make Self Help Radio do that! Before everything is ruined!

Wait a second...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today I am 44! Jesus Christ that's old! I never imagined I'd live to be forty-four. Do you want to know who else didn't make it past their forty-fourth year?

Robert Louis Stevenson.

F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Billie Holiday.

Anton Chekhov.

D.H. Lawrence.

Jackson Pollock.

Stephen Vincent Benét.

Henry David Thoreau.

& Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Terrible losses, all. Still, if I don't make it through this year, I can at least know it's probably not because of tuberculosis, which took the lives of at least three of the folks up there. (Alcohol did most of the rest.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blackout Drunk Blog

Just in case you were wondering why this blog (or wasn't blacked out yesterday during the day without internet, it's not that Self Help Radio supports the ridiculous SOPA & PIPA bills. It opposes them. Adamantly. Fervently.

It's just that the Self Help Radio website gets less than ten hits a day. This blog is lucky to get ten hits a week. It would have been an empty gesture to go black for a day when there's a better than average chance that no one would notice. It would've been far more powerful if Google had gone down for the day. Or reference sites for music lovers, like the All Music Guide. As usual, Wikipedia held the moral high ground.

As with most things in American politics, the greedheads are too obvious, & their stooges too willing to do anything for all that money. Some people choose to believe such corporate lackeys & their labored explanations for taking away the freedom built into the internet. Self Help Radio doesn't need those sorts of people to listen to its shows. The people who might enjoy this clumsy, stumbling radio program have almost certainly already helped out & let their representatives know how they felt. There's a link if you haven't yet.

Self Help Radio feels guilty it didn't stand in solidarity with the internet yesterday. It just really didn't think anyone would notice or care if it did.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Spirit Of '76

As you know, it's my birthday week, & every year on my birthday week, I use Self Help Radio as an excuse to go back in time & explore my favorite music from a particular year. I started in 1968, the year I was born, & have found my way now in 1976, America's bicentennial, when punk was saving rock & roll & scaring the bejebbus out of British people. Looking over the year I also managed to find some early new wave, some funky stuff, & even my favorite disco song of all time. I asked to have an extra thirty minutes for the show because so many songs were so damn long. I had to play the entire title track of Bowie's "Station To Station" because it's awesome.

The show is of course at the Self Help Radio web site where it sits in two lengthy parts, the contents of which are listed below. Part one is here. & then: Part two is here.

I was told by a caller that on this day in 1976 Peter Frampton released "Frampton Comes Alive." Alas, he did not make the list of my favorite music of the year. I did not feel like he felt.

Yes! A Peter Frampton joke! You heard me!

My apologies.

(part one)

"Station To Station" David Bowie _Station To Station_

"Amelia" Joni Mitchell _Hejira_
"Isis" Bob Dylan _Desire_

"Chrome Sitar" T.Rex _Futuristic Dragon_
"Let's Stick Together" Bryan Ferry _Let's Stick Together_
"I Like Girls" Sparks _Big Beat_
"X Offender" Blondie _Blondie_
"Heat Treatment" Graham Parker _Heat Treatment_

"Roadrunner" The Modern Lovers _The Modern Lovers_

(part two)

"Final Solution" Pere Ubu _Final Solution_
"Blitzkrieg Bop" The Ramones _The Ramones_
"(I'm) Stranded" The Saints _(I'm) Stranded_
"New Rose" The Damned _New Rose_
"Anarchy In The UK" The Sex Pistols _Anarchy In The UK_

"Pastime Paradise" Stevie Wonder _Songs In The Key Of Life_
"Everything Is On The One" Parliament _The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein_
"Get Up Offa That Thing (Release The Pressure)" James Brown _Get Up Offa That Thing_
"The Rubberband Man" The Spinners _Happiness Is The Spinners_
"More, More, More (Pt. 1)" Andrea True Connection _The Disco Years, Vol 1: Turn The Beat Around (1974-1978)_

"Important In Your Life" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers _Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers_
"I Want More" Can _Flow Motion_
"La Düsseldorf" La Düsseldorf _La Düsseldorf_

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Whither 1976?

This week I will turn 44 years old, & since the beginning of Self Help Radio, on the show that happens on or before my birthday, I have gone back in time to explore my favorite music from a bygone year. I started at 1968, the year I was born, & have progressed one year with each year of the show. I have now reached - or will reach tomorrow - 1976.

In 1976 I had my first real contact with a disc jockey. I had already become obsessed with music. Certain songs, especially the ones with stories, intrigued me. At Christmas this year, I would receive my first album: Elton John's Greatest Hit, primarily for the song "Rocket Man."

But when I made contact with an actual radio station, it was this song I wanted to hear: Rhinestone Cowboy by Glenn Campbell. I remember asking my mother, while she was doing things as I sat on the floor listening to the radio, if I could call the radio station to request that song. The deejay had, after all, said the number several times. She said I could!

I called & requested the song. I remember being very surprised that the deejay himself answered. Even now, I get calls from people asking to speak to "the guy who was just on the radio." As if there's someone between the deejay & the listener. But not in 1976. He said he'd play it. I was ecstatic.

I waited for over forty minutes for the song. At one point, my mother yelled at me for turning the radio up too loud, but I had to go to the bathroom & had to keep listening. It seemed to me that the station played one or two songs more than once in that little span of time, but no "Rhinestone Cowboy." I don't recall whether I asked my mother for permission, but I called the deejay back.

I told him I had requested the song, & he had said that he'd play it, & that that had happened nearly an hour ago. Now, I obviously sounded like a little kid. I had a high voice & was all of eight years old. But the deejay lied to me. He said, "I just played it. You must have missed it."

I don't know if I already knew that adults could just lie to you like that - I come from a family of bullshitters, ones that are terrible at lying but do not let that stop them. But I was astonished that the man on the other end of the line could be so brazen. I had been listening faithfully for an hour, & he dismissed me.

What life lessons I took from this immediately, I don't know, but over time I became suspicious of fm radio. I remember - this is much later, when I was in my teens - even casually marking down, while I was doing homework, the songs that one station played over & over. Perhaps I was learning that it was a scam, & perhaps it made me appreciate non-commercial radio all the more when I finally discovered it.

Which reminds me: Self Help Radio is on one fine non-commerical radio station, WRFL, for two whole hours tomorrow. That's 88.1 fm on the dial, online at I know it's a holiday, so you can wait until it's archived at self help radio dot net if you want. But it's going to be all my favorite music from 1976, so why wait?