Radio Helsinki Listener! Hard to believe we are so far into our time together. I hope you have been digging all the music that’s been coming to you on this show.
Inconsequential factoid: Our second track by the Stooges, T.V. Eye, is from the Stooges second LP, Fun House, which happens to be my favorite album. I like it so much, I don’t play it all that often. It is so full on, I find it difficult to put myself through it more than a few times a year. A few hours ago, I was in the almost permanently snarled traffic of Los Angeles, driving north back into Hollywood and passed by 962 La Cienega Blvd., the building where Fun House was recorded in 1970. It’s one of my favorite LA landmarks. Black Flag’s Damaged album was recorded a few blocks away eleven years later. I always thought that was cool.
Whenever I can, I try to check out places where something interesting happened, old venues, locations where bands made records, etc. Living in New York City was great for that. One time, I was standing outside what used to be the Fillmore East, with Wayne Kramer of the MC5. He showed me the exact spot he stood at some point in the late 1960’s trying to keep a fight from starting. Whenever I walk by that intersection, I stand in that spot for a minute and remember that. A couple of years ago, I was in NYC to see Dinosaur Jr. do a week of shows. We were all staying near CBGB’s on Bowery. I hadn’t been inside the building for years. It’s a clothing store now. I walked in and immediately a security guy started watching me. The place had been pretty much gutted of what was there before but the more I looked around, I was able to get my bearings. At one point, I was standing where I had been sitting with Iggy in there one night in the mid 1990’s and remembering that. I looked over from there and stared at the area where I stood with Joey Ramone and watched the Dictators play. It was the last time I saw Joey. I was taking it all in and noticed that everyone in the place was staring at me. Finally, one of the sales people walked over and asked, “Did you play here?” I could tell that he didn’t know me but perhaps he had grown used to seeing grizzled old men doing what I was doing. There is no way they don’t have people from “back in the day” coming in there now and then. Too many amazing shows happened in that place for that not to happen.
One of the things I like about music the most is that there is almost always more to the story, that experiences related to music can run so deep, they can make an incredibly deep impact on your life. This is what I want. I want things to happen to me that leave a mark, that change the way I think, that stay with me for years. Like you, I have had a lot of things happen to me. As far as I can think, the most impactful events of my life have a connection to music. I think I’m lucky that things went this way. I like being a fan. I like getting excited that a new record is coming out, or when I find out something about a band that I had never known before. It keeps things in perspective. There is always more to know, always more to check out.
That’s one of the main points of these shows I put together for you. I’m not trying to say that I’m the holder of great knowledge or anything but hopefully, some of what you hear will be new to you and inspire you to check out more. That’s one of the best deals ever, finding music you have never heard before that you like. Doesn’t matter if it’s new or old. If you haven’t heard it before, it’s new where it counts, right? Music is the perfect, ceaseless turn on. As the great Jim Wilson once said about music, “There’s always more.”
As one does in life, you sometimes come to the end of things. Jobs, friendships, whatever, almost nothing lasts forever, or maintains the same level of relevance as time goes on. I have come to the end of a lot of things. There are things I just don’t do anymore, people I never see and might never see again but the thing that never causes me to lose interest, is music. I have to qualify that. There was a time in the late 1990’s when I was on a major label, where I became so sick of the music industry that I stopped going to record stores. I didn’t listen to much music and mostly read and wrote. This lasted a few months but then I was back. It was mostly disgust with the people I was around. I was getting sick from their overwhelming cynicism and apathy. Things got better. I don’t think that will ever happen again. I would like to think that the music knew I would be back.
Your life is something you show up for. This is how I think of music. I keep showing up, it keeps showing up to meet me. This is why, when I am not trying to expand my musical appreciation by checking out new records, I go back to the ones I have had for decades. Every time I play them, it’s a reminder and reaffirmation of where I come from and what it’s all about. I am from Washington, DC but really, I am from all the shows I went to and all the records I heard when I was living there.
Everyone’s different and registers information in their own way. For me, music is more than music. It’s code, fidelity, a way of being. That is to say, when in doubt, or in complete certainty, put a record on. I hope you dig the show. As I have been writing this, I have been listening to all the tracks. Our last one for the show, Hawkwind’s mighty Orgone Accumulator from their peerless Space Ritual album, is playing right now. Perfect timing!
Until next week, keep it turning.
01. Radio Pyongyang - Commie Funk? / Radio Pyongyang
02. The Stooges - T.V. Eye / Fun House
03. Olympic Death Squad - Sometimes I Can Breathe / Blue
04. The Fontaine Toups – TFT / TFT
05. The Valves - Tarzan of the King’s Road / single
06. The Sods - R.A.F. / Minutes to Go
07. Exhaustion - Don’t Fly Right / Future Eaters
08. Rebel Yell - Never Perfection / Mother of Millions
09. The Makers of the Dead Travel Fast - The Dumbwaiters / Terrace Industry: M Squared 1980 - 83
10. Trin Tran - Ro-Jo / Dark Radar
11. Frank Zappa + Captain Beefheart - Muffin Man / Bongo Fury
12. David Bowie - Queen Bitch / Hunky Dory
13. Eno, Moebius & Roedelius - Broken Head / After The Heat
14. Silver Apples – Oscillations / Silver Apples
15. ZZ Top - Heaven, Hell Or Houston / El Loco
16. The Models - Man Of The Year / single
17. Traditional Fools - Party At My House / Traditional Fools
18. The Meatbodies - Valley Girl / single
19. The Make Up - I Am Pentagon / Save Yourself
20. The Cramps - Rocket In My Pocket / bootleg
21. The Penetrators - The Break / :30 Over DC
22. The Damned - Ballroom Blitz / Machine Gun Etiquette 25th Anniversary
23. Crystal Castles - Pale Flesh / Crystal Castles III
24. J Mascis – Sameday / More Light
25. Boris – Pink / Pink
26. The Ramones - Life is a Gas / Adios Amigos
27. Blondie - Hanging On The Telephone / single
28. Buzzcocks - No Reply / Another Music in a Different Kitchen
29. Hawkwind - Orgone Accumulator / Space Ritual