Saturday, August 04, 2012

Preface To Subways: The First Time I Ever Rode In A Subway

I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, which didn't have much of a mass transit system during my childhood.  It probably had a trolley system early in the twentieth century, but (I just discovered reading this article) it had only something called the Dallas Transit System until the creation of DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) in the early 80s.  I was in high school when the yellow DART buses appeared around town, but it was widely scorned among my family & friends, with stories of empty buses parked outside of routes for the drivers to nap.  (There was probably also some racism & class insecurity involved - as minorities too the bus - a sign perhaps that you were poor to afford your own means of transportation.)  I had no previous experience in riding buses - my mother did not even want us to ride the school bus - & DART made it hard to do, since their bus stop signs did not (until the 1990s) tell you which bus stopped there.

I was very surprised to find out a girl I was sweet on took the bus to her after-school job.  I asked her how she knew which bus to take, & she produced pamphlets.  I remember asking, "How did you get those?"  At the supermarket, it turned out.  Who know?  Besides her, I mean.

I had of course read about subways, & seen them in movies, but not being terribly well-travelled & especially not ever visiting the American north-east, there would be no chance to ride a real subway until after college.

When was my first subway experience?  Technically, I rode a train that went underground in May of 1992 when I was in Germany, but it wasn't a proper subway.  The first real subway I rode was later that summer in Mexico City.  It was especially charmed by the color coding - it made everything so easy!

I have loved subways ever since & would require every medium-to-large-sized city build one if I were in charge.

Interestingly, I didn't ride in the New York subway until 2004.  So my first experience with subways - & trains as mass transit - happened in two countries outside my own.  & my first American subway experience happened eight years after that.

Friday, August 03, 2012

I was going to say something about Boomslang...

You know, Boomslang, the annual music festival WRFL puts on in September.  This year's headliners are the Jesus & Mary Chain.

You heard me!

I saw them almost exactly twenty-five years ago in Austin, Texas.  November 1987.  It was amazing.  I can't imagine it will be any different.

Do you think they'll remember me?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Summer Music Deals

Says an email I just got.  What sort of deals are they?  Do they mean more money for people who don't have a lot?  Because it seems most indie bands don't make much money at all.

One way they might make money is through "performing rights organizations" like BMI.  I don't pretend to understand how BMI works (this article isn't entirely helpful) but at WRFL recently I volunteered to tally playlists for three days to report to BMI.  The understanding is that this "random sampling" would enable the company to fairly distribute royalties.

Except RFL isn't a playlisted radio station (that would've made my job easier).  Each deejay picks more or less what he or she wants to play (there are requirements to play new material but the deejay can pick from hundreds of new releases) so even if we might play one particular band or artist, we might not have played them on those three days.  (That does explain how crappy bands like the Eagles keep making money from radio, though - on commercial "classic rock" stations, they're played two dozen times a day - & that's just "Hotel California.")

More interesting to me is that some of the deejays at RFL chose to play bands during that period who didn't need any of the money we pay in fees to BMI.  Among the folks to whom we sent money were commercial rap superstars like Kanye West & T-Pain, filthy rich rock & roll dinosaurs like Fleetwood Mac & Pink Floyd, any group Jack White's been involved with, & (even though I appreciate them, I would have avoided playing them during this time) great but super rich artists like Bowie & Ray Davies.

I used to say, back in my KVRX days, that every time someone plays a band or a record that they can hear virtually anywhere else, it takes time from a band or performer that no one's ever heard - which, let's be honest, has a fifty-fifty chance of being better than the commercial radio mainstay.

To be fair, I am not entirely sure the deejays at RFL understood what BMI was or what it meant to them personally, but the fact that they play the stuff they were playing regardless might make me a little worried about non-commercial radio...

Except the vast majority of what was played was by great, deserving, mostly unknown artists.  It's nice to know that some BMI money - if they have accounts - is going to them.  So I can grumble about some of my colleagues playing commercial radio crap - knowing full well more than most of them don't.  & won't.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

No More Tears!

Don't cry!  I've finally gotten around to putting this week's show, which is about weeping, on the Self Help Radio website.  It's not anything to be upset about.  So no more tears, soldier - let the show weep for you.

The show is at but it's in two parts so if you would like to listen to a specific part (& what songs I played during each part are listed below) you can do so by either clicking part one or part two, depending on which one you want to listen to.

Dry your eyes & listen!

(part one)

"Weeping Blues" Rosco Gordon _The Complete Sun Singles, Vol. 1_
"Weepin' & Cryin'" The Griffin Brothers' Orchestra _Blowing The Fuse_
"Now I Lay Me Down To Weep" Skeeter Davis _Let Me Get Close To You_

"The Weeping Song" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds _The Good Son_
"Weeping Eyes" Justin Hinds & The Dominoes _Travel With Love_
"Weep, Weep, Weep" The Parrotts (with the Red Saunders Orchestra) _Sun Ra: The Eternal Myth Revealed_
"Willie The Weeper" Dave Van Ronk _The Folkway Years 1959-61_
"Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers" Elvis Presley _Elvis For Everyone!_

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" The Beatles _Anthology 3_
"Weeping Mary" Alabama Sacred Harp Singers _Southern Journey, Vol. 9: Harp Of A Thousand Strings_
"Weeping Wine" Lloyd Cole _Don't Get Weird On Me, Babe_

(part two)

"I'll Weep No More" Betty Everett _Birth Of Soul: Special Chicago Edition_
"Weeping Willow Blues" Odetta _Odetta & The Blues_
"Weep Day" They Might Be Giants _Then: The Earlier Years_

"Willow Weep For Me" June Christy (with Stan Kenton & His Orchestra) _Tampico_
"Weep & Mourn" Israel Vibration _The Same Song_
"This Man, He Weeps Tonight" The Kinks _Arthur_
"Now I Lay Me Down To Weep" Simone Dina _Cool '60s Girls - Felines Of Northern Soul_
"Losers Weepers (Part One)" Etta James _Heart & Soul: A Retrospective_

"Weep No More My Baby" Brenda Lee _Rocks_
"Baby Don't You Weep" Garnet Mimms _Cry Baby/Warm & Soulful_
"Weepy Doesn't Know" Utah Phillips _The Telling Takes Me Home_
"Weeping Like A Willow" Paul Chandler _Teenage Time, Vol. 10_
"Weeping Wall" David Bowie _Low_

Monday, July 30, 2012

So This Is Really The 1400th Post

As I explained in this post, I have been miscalculating my number of posts.  This is really the 1400th post on this blog.  I'm going to have to go through & figure out how wrong I've been for my last few hundred posts.  Sigh.

It's not really worth celebrating.  So I won't.  Oh, & I'll put today's show up tomorrow.  The day just escaped my grasp.  Forgive me.  I might weep.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Whither Weeping?

It just seemed more important than plain old crying.

Don't weep!  You can listen to Self Help Radio's show about weeping tomorrow - if you're in Lexington, it's on 88.1 on your FM dial.  If you're not in Lexington - or if your FM dial is a computer - you can listen online at the WRFL web page.

If you're not awake - if you procrastinate - if you're afraid of live radio - I'll archive the show tomorrow (or maybe Tuesday - it depends) at the Self Help Radio website.

Also, I'll be on the radio from 10 am to noon, too.  In case you still want to hear my stupid voice after Democracy Now!.