Sitting At The Metroplex…

Holy shit, it lives!!!

I drive by the site of the second (Marietta Street) Metroplex virtually every day going to and from work and while I don’t miss it as much as 688, it’s still one of those holes in my life I can never refill. At some point I’ll regurgitate a few more stories about the place but I’ll whet your appetite with two.

The first is late November of 1985, the second (and less impressive) Atlanta Dead Kennedys show. I parked down the street outside an African-American club called, I think, the Phoenix. I’ve always thought that was the only time I ever parked there but today decided I must have done it before that show because I felt ok about doing it. And the reason why I did it? To save the three bucks or so the guy charged for parking in the lot next to the ‘Plex. Needless to say, I rued my decision when I came back after the show to find it hade been towed. Save $3? Cost me probably about $100 to get it out. Plus, I had to find a ride home. My friend Todd couldn’t take me because he was going with Jello to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers show that was at 688 that night. (aside – the only words Jello Biafra probably ever heard me say was “They towed my fucking car”. That heartens me in some way.) Anyway, I drive by that place evryday as well. When I first started commuting to Centennial Tower I noticed the place had changed names to something Dance Club and had various country flags painted on it, leftover, I’m sure, from its proximity to Olympic festivities in 1996. Anyway, last night I looked over and they’d knocked the building down. One more old Atlanta structure gone to be replaced, probably, by a highrise of some sort.

The other Metrplex story I’ll regale you with today dates from 1986 or so, the first time Skinny Puppy played Atlanta (and the only time for several more years.) The end of their show seemed rather hokey at the time, with an “audience member” (aka band associate) pretending to shoot the lead singer (Ogre?) to death. It was actually sort of funny. Some guys from the band Flatbush were videotaping the show upstairs. As we knew the band would get a copy, we said loud enough to be on mic “At least Alice hung himself”. When some moron pulled this stunt for real on Dimebag Darrell, I could see why initially some audience members thought it might be part of the show. Bad life imitating bad art.

In the future I’ll bring up Arthur Davis getting clocked by a full beer can outside the club and other shenanigans that’ll make you think “damn…….”


Well they’ve inducted the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame again and I’ll (anon) have a non-timely piece on it. Figures. Anyway, my mom had a stretch in the hospital with pneumonia so I haven’t had any earth-shaking posts for you to salivate over. Until this one.

This post is dedicated to the Hall of Fame. But not that one. Vince McMahon’s WWE has a wrestling Hall of Fame that they have been inducting folks into for a few years, even letting the ordinary hoi polloi vote to determine a spot. So far this year they’ve announced the upcoming inductions of the American Dream, the son of a plumber, Mister Dusty Rhodes as well as one of a number of Kings to call Memphis home (not the Superstar Bill Dundee you oafs), Jerry The King Lawler. Both good selections. Rhodes was so over with kids of my generation he merits the spot and Lawler was always pretty ace in Memphis including his legendary angle with Andy Kaufman. But there’s a gaping hole in the WWE Hall of Fame. It can only belong to one man. The Dean of wrestling announcers, the unsurpassable Gordon Solie. Solie made you interested in what was going on whether it was a boring squash match or an in-depth interview. Gordon lent an intelligent, serious attitude to the announcing that allowed you an insight into what was purportedly going on. Hell, I learned what the carotid artery was well before my heart troubles courtesy of Gordon’s play by play. And the funny thing is, I’ve talked to a number of folks who aren’t exactly wrestling afficionados and even with their limited exposure to Solie they’ve said they realized what a talent he was. My personal fave was his description as Ted Dibiase was finally being helped after receiving multiple piledrivers from the Freebirds : “Don’t move him! He’s hemorrhaging!” So come on Vince, put Gordon Solie in your WWE Hall of Fame.  To paraphrase the late Freddie Miller, Gordon should “be therrrrrrrrre!” Below are some samples from Youtube of his Solieness :

(By the way, don’t bother with the book Gordon wrote back in the 1980s. Possibly the most boring wrestling associated book ever that features as much on his family’s holiday pool tournaments as it does in ring stories…..)

Here’s Gordon with JYD (nice angle with the Freebirds)

Announcing Bruiser Brody vs Wahoo McDaniel

The best, Ric Flair, vs Barry Windham

Calling Dusty Rhodes vs the Russian Bear, Ivan Koloff

with the immortal Harley Race analyzing his match with Dirty Dick Murdoch

trying to control the Fullers & Jimmy Golden as they narrate a Bob Armstrong beatdown

and trying to honestly put over  Tracy Smothers taking on a bear !


I’m Just A Heart & Soul Rock N Roll Junkie

(the above references Herman Brood, a Dutch musician I once saw open for the Kinks in Atlanta. One of the highlights of his band’s set was when one of the members screamed “Hello Alabama!” Brood did an interview with a local Atlanta TV station where he said that the one thing he wanted to do while in America was “sleep with Little Richard.” He may be best known in some circles for being the ex-husband of Nina Hagen as well as a 1979 US chart placement for his single “Saturday Night”. He passed away, I believe, in 2001.)

Another Valentine’s Day without a Valentine for me. Too many years like that for me. Sad to say my most vivid Valentine’s memory is from 25 years ago today when I saw a somewhat dodgy Atlanta band called Baby & The Pacifiers at their West Peachtree Club, the Bistro. Apparently the Bistro was owned/run by several different folks over the years and at one point in the 70s featured Jimmy Buffet’s band as the houseband. The Pacifiers had a college radio hit in Atlanta with their single “After You Jump” b/w “Planet Rangers”. I always had this feeling they thought themselves more important to the scene than they were (maybe that’s just me.) Though the Bistro was open for several years after I became “of drinking age”, I never again ventured in after that 1982 “teen” night show. (To be truthful, the only other show there that I was ever interested in seeing there was X’s Atlanta debut in 1981, but I weren’t old enough.) The major problem with the Bistro (other than always having the Pacifiers play) was it seemed that most bands that played there were a step down from the ones who played 688. Those type of bands later found a gigging home at Margaritaville, which I’ve just recently noted has been torn down.

Anyway, to any ladies viewing this site, tonight you are my Valentine. Hey, a generic message has gotta be better than a dreary Sunday night at the Bistro in 1982……..

Come On Mammy, Gimme That Grammy!

First, I want to take out my name from consideration of being the father of Anna Nicole’s baby. That cuts the list under 300,000 I think.

As for Ms. Smith, most people didn’t seem surprised by her demise but it did surprise me. Though she was a mess who was an actress (who couldn’t act), a model (who few had hired in fifteen years) and a reality show star (who wasn’t in the least bit real), she was famous for being…. Gets me. But those types of folks who people expect to die because of their lifestyle (glaring example being Courtney Love) tend to stick around and, honestly, she didn’t live THAT wild a life. Compare that to River Phoenix who much of Hollywood seemed stunned at his passing. That one didn’t stun me a bit. The one time I met the guy (he was in town travelling around with T-Bone Burnette during a Burnette promo tour) he seemed completely out of his gourd. So no shock there.

As to the Grammys, why bother giving the things out. I really find it difficult to believe that Grammy voters really thought the Dixie Chicks released the best record of the year without giving more creedence because of the situation they found themselves in because of Natalie Maines’ comments in England a few years ago. The Dixie Chicks pretty much admitted as much in one of their acceptance speeches. Grammy voters have set the precedent by rewarding political heroes of recent with Grammys (Hillary, Bill and this year Jimmy Carter). Can you imagine releasing a spoken word project that you’ve worked your ass off on and the exultation felt at being told you’ve been nominated for a Grammy only to have the letdown on finding out that Hillary Clinton has also been nominated? Understand, I’m not coming down on anybody’s political affiliation here. I honestly don’t care what somebody’s politics are when I listen to their music (or spoken word or whatever) but it is dishonest for voters to allow sensibilities to play into their selection. Out of the final choices, I probably would have opted for Gnarls Barkley, myself.

As for musicians making political statements on stage, the hoi polloi came to hear music, not a dissertation. You’d be disappointed if you attended a John Edwards rally and, rather than hear his ideas for running the country, were forced instead to hear his a cappella rendition of ELP’s Tarkus album. So why is it different for Dan Fogleberg (just popped into my head) to be able to interrupt a concert to opine on saving the “squonking lizard” (or whatever). REM used to make a statement on stage that there was a Green Peace booth in the arena and to check out their info. That seems a fair way. Or incorporate your statement into a song or into interviews you give. That’s what the those who mock fans who shout “shut up and sing” don’t understand. An artist’s fans may agree with them (most do) or may not. The stage just is not the right place for a lecture. Got it.

I’ve actually got a kid named Curtis who’s the student helper guy that WREK requires for alum show hosts. Anyway, he’s going to fill in from time to time with him doing the 2/25/07 show solo. Advanced notice and give him props.

Also my friend Kevn Kinney sent me this :

“hey everyone…
i know you’ve all (yall) have been concerned with what’s been goin on with
my voice…
i thought maybe  i was just turning into howlin wolf…..
i took a month off thinking it was just stress on my vocal chords but it was
just getting worse…
so i saw a specialist in atlanta yesterday and i finally have a diagnosis
that makes sense…
(i couldn’t take any more honey and lemon)
i have a cyst on my larynx and am scheduled for outpatient surgery on
February 15
shayni and myself are very excited about this….and want to thank yall for
concerns,remedies,suggestions and well wishes….
i should be up and talking within a few weeks if not earlier
i truely do miss ranting and pontificating at yall…….

we will update you on what’s going on following the fifteenth
till then keep on rockin in the free world…..
kevn and shayni rae kinney”

Good luck brother….

Days I’ll Remember All My Life

A bit late on the first one but the recent “inclement weather” (thanks Paul McC) warnings this past week spurred my memories of Snow Jam which happened on January 12, 1982 (25 years ago, wow.) Not 1981 like the jackasses on WSB were spewing the other evening. I was working as a custodian at an elementary school as my after school job and always took longer to clean my side than my buddy Don Bobeng did his. That day I finished before he did. It began snowing hard after I got to work and when we both finished we sat and worked on a Playboy jigsaw puzzle he had gotten as a gag gift at the recent Christmas (this is known as getting your hours in.) That day, many Atlantans left their cars parked wherever as they had no hopes of getting home in what turned into about 6 inches of the white stuff. I only had to drive about a mile and a half so I was lucky. What sucked most was that 1/12/82 was the day we were finally scheduled to get cable and had to wait another week before I could begin wasting my time watching OMD videos on MTV…….

Three years ago today (1/21/04) I had quintuple bypass surgery. So good, so far and continued thanks to all who supported me through donations, prayers, and anything else anyone did to help me out. If you need to go to the hospital, Saint Joseph’s in Atlanta is our hospital of recommendation.

Right now Atlantans (and music lovers) can send out positive vibes (to get into new agey shit) to Chris Swartz, a local musician and former Perimeter Records leader who was hurt rather severely in an automobile accident this past Wednesday. Chris is in ICU in Gwinnett Medical Center with multiple broken ribs, a broken pelvis and other nasty type stuff. He should be able to see visitors in a few days and I’ll update his condition around then.

I’ve listened to the first two Pretenders albums this week in their posh revamped versions (3rd Sunday of the month hint) and was again reminded how amazing they were at one point. Pretenders II was panned in many circles but I’m now thinking I like it better than the debut. Songs like “English Roses” and the Kinks’ cover “I Go To Sleep” were not my favorites at the time but there’s a certain beauty that outshines the raw attitude of the first album. And I’m still not sure why “Day After Day” didn’t become a hit single. Hard to believe that less than a year after the release of Pretenders II that the band would be no more because of drug usage (Pete Farndon’s firing and James Honeyman Scott’s OD). The two albums hold other significance for me as my dad bought me the debut (at Zayre’s on Buford Highway, kids) for my 16th birthday just before his body started undergoing the ravages of cancer that would take his life 14 months later. I remember buying the EP with the two UK only singles when the Norcross Chapter III opened (March 1981) along with the DEV-O Live EP but I was more often concerned with his health and wasn’t as ardently listening to stuff at that time. Pretenders II came out after his passing but was one of the albums (along with Ian Hunter’s “Short Back N Sides” and David Johansen’s “Here Comes The Night”) that help me get on with my life in that fall of 1981. Listen tonight and see why.

By the way, James Honeyman Scott could have only been the name of either a) a British rock star or b) a pro wrestler.

One other thing (besides the old Atlanta Chiefs indoor soccer games on Channel 17) that I tried to get my mind off my dad’s illness at the time was episodes of the Tush show on TBS. Clips from those shows (which featured musical guests like the Vapors, Dobie Gray, Roseanne Cash and the Brains, amongst others) are on Bill’s site at . There are several clips on the main clips site as well as three in a blog of his from last December. The show featured the talents of Jan Hooks (future SNL’er and Designing Women) who I had a massive crush on as well as Bonnie & Terry Turner (who later wrote/developed Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Wayne’s World, Third Rock From The Sun, That 70’s Show and, of course, That 80’s Show). Jan did a particularly skewed imitation of Tammy Faye Bakker which you can see a bit of in the Testimony clip in the December 7th 2006 Man About Town blog. There’s also bits from the mid-70s when Bill did news programming in the overnight hours at TBS, with a “News Chicken” ad satirizing WXIA’s Dave Michaels’ “News Hawk” ad campaign. And I think one of the Tush show clips even has a Lou Evans homage (the undertakers’ “Bye Friends” seems enough like “Bye Folks” to make me think such.) On the site, Bill says he’s going to try to eventually get the old shows released so maybe if enough folks contact him……. 

Taking THE RNR Hall Of Fame To The Extreme

So we’ve got new RNR Hall of Fame honorees, Whoop-de-doo. An odd sentiment because I actually like all of the inductees this year (and it’s a weird kick to know Kid Creole is getting inducted with Flash.) But come on, there are some worthy folks not getting a fair shake who should be. Number one in my book is Kraftwerk. Much of what became hip hop and what is modern dance music owes its existence to these Deutsche Robotmen. With Flash getting in (and the sure to be soon inductions of Run DMC and Public Enemy in the next few years), Klaus, Florian and company deserve to be acknowledged. Another act that deserves the honor  is Chic. Don’t believe the disco hype, these guys were a rock band. Certainly more so than Madonna (who I fully expect to see voted in in two or three years. Hey, she’s a critics’ darling and all…)

Other eligible  folks that deserve more to be in than Jackson Browne (heaven knows that’s not limiting it much, but off the top of my head) : Gram Parsons, X, T. Rex, Roxy Music, Moody Blues, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Kiss, Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd., The Cure, ELO, Free, Bad Company, XTC, Dire Straits, Motorhead, Kate Bush, Donna Summer, Eno, Giorgio Moroder, Richard Thompson, Robert Wyatt, Ted Nugent.

Some of these may eventually get consideration. Most won’t. But that’s a few to start with.

Speaking of the classic rock, I was pushed into going to see Styx the other night at Wild Bill’s in Duluth. Bill’s is a country music nightclub in the space that used to be occupied by Service Merchandise. Inside (from the dance floor) it was reminiscient of any mall USA, with the dance area being the food court and the upper portions resembling stores and movie theatres. Bill Gentry (Wild Bill hisself) and his band 35 cent Rodeo (or something like that) opened the show and were  what’s wrong with country music as he tried to connect with the rock audience (Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi covers amongst others) while pushing his own bland neo-country. It was most pleasurable when they stopped. As for Styx. They sounded like Styx and Chuck Panozzo was with them this time around. I fully suspect my sister will pull me to the Kansas show there in February. How long?

As for the Extreme portion of the title, I’m perplexed why the RNR Hall Of Fame have excluded Gary Cherone from the line-ups of Van Halen to be inducted, Now, it’s true that Gary sang on their worst selling album and was only in the band for a short period of time, but he DID sing on a major release by the band. The RNR Hall DID induct Sid Vicious with the Sex Pistols and that guy wasn’t on Bollocks and was often unplugged on stage. So if Sid’s in, Gary should be as well…..


A Ford Not A Lincoln

I’d opine on the death of the great James Brown here, but I said it much better on my radio program on 12/31. If you want to hear that, hit that seven day archive at .

They bury Gerald Ford tomorrow. I always kind of liked ol’ Jerry as a politician (what little my young, at that time, mind could understand) who kind of straddled a middleground and tried to get things right. Still, the only President I have seen in person (he spoke at Peachtree High School  in the spring of 1976, a year and a half before I started 8th grade there) and I was always a little envious that in our seventh grade mock election Andrew Nunns got to portray Ford while I was roped into being Jimmy Carter. The guy actually taped a segment for NBC’s Saturday Night when that crew were ripping the piss out of him on a weekly basis, was a football star at Michigan, survived the Warren Commission and invented the WIN button! OK, those Whip Inflation Now buttons kinda sucked. But he did have a darn catchy re-election theme song that, thirty years later, I remember most of and he almost made it possible for the vice-president’s wife to be someone my dad dated in high school (my dad dated Elizabeth Hanford later Dole, FYI) and the vice-president he did have (Nelson Rockefeller) flipped off some hecklers. So he was an interesting guy, Gerald Ford, and I’ll have a decent memory of him.

Another reason to check out the seven day archive of the 12/31 Personality Crisis is to hear my new promo which makes a “light-hearted (?)” statement about what might happen to the station.

And though you should always check out WREK 24/7, you could also figure out a way to listen to some of the excellent music programming the BBC provides. Huw Stephens’ indie show on BBC One has introduced me to a band called Tall Pony who have a song called “I’m Your Boyfriend Now” that’s sort of silly lyric-wise, but musically reminds a bit of the icy synth stylings of early Ultravox/Human League. (the only other song I’ve heard by them really sucked, so I’m wary of pushing you to investigate them further.) I’ll play “Boyfriend” this week and let you guys decide what you think. There’s also a couple of live concert programs of worth (one recently featured the Stones’ 1971 Leeds show) which will soon air live performances from Hawkwind (from 1972 or 1973) and Guided By Voices and all these shows are also on seven day archive, imagine that.

So remember President Ford, listen to WREK/the BBC and, having seen “The Mayor Of Sunset Strip”, I hope your existence is of a happier one than what Rodney Bingenheimer seems to have.

I’m so damn lost, where in the hell is Innsbruck, Austria?

If any of my royal listeners wondered where I was on Sunday (instead of doing my radio show) I was busy at work because the Student Center is apparently locking up at 7 PM over break (as opposed to 10 PM in previous years) and, barring breaking some glass, I had no way of getting in the building. (I did try most of the outside doors.) Next Sunday I’m gonna work weird hours and try to get in before lockdown but I can’t guarantee anything as the school may close access earlier because of it being Christmas Eve. Same goes for New Year’s Eve as well…..

My resourceful bit of the day was fixing my belt with a clasp paper clip until I could get to Wal-Mart and buy a new one. (It took me approximately 7 minutes to park my car, find a belt, pay self-checkout and get back to my car. Holiday shopping is hectic, huh.)

I’m A Hooligan, Never Going Back To School Again

Today in History :

December 15, 1990

Georgia Tech hands me a degree. Maynard Jackson gives commencement and trashes Andrew Young’s administration as mayor. I believe both Dave Slusher and Chris Campbell (old WREK types) also get degrees this day meaning that Tech bestows an honor on three of the more cynical bastards to ever set foot on campus. I still carry my miniature degree in my wallet, FYI.

I was going to talk about Gordon Solie but that’ll have to wait…

A Quick One While I’m Awake

Never did give my opinion on the New York Dolls show. Thought it “ok” but still not sure why guys looking like Poison were there thinking they were punk rock or something. Johansen looked the cross between Jagger & Tyler they used to compare him with. Better than that show was my watching the documentary “New York Doll” about Arthur Kane. Highly recommended (and I don’t do that often!)

Also just got the DVD set of Saturday Night’s first season (before it became Saturday Night Live) and though I’m sure as I watch it there’s gonna be some wincing stuff (bad drug humor), there’s still enough Gilda plus to bring it all home.

And why isn’t Friday’s out on DVD? That show came on the air during one of the lower lows in SNL’s existence (Piscopo and Rocket-era) and was easily as good in that span with better musical guests (the Jam, the Clash, Devo 3 times). Maybe some day. And where the hell’s seasons 4 and 5 of Taxi, for that matter….

Not going to see Zappa Plays Zappa Tuesday night. Saw the man himself his last show in Atlanta (November 1984) and was kind of bored by that. Now ol’ Dweez is back in town without Lisa Loeb in tow (good for you leaving him LL, now search me out) and cranking out a period of Frank (mid to late 70s) that I never much cared for. So I’ll just stay and work on Tuesday, thank you.

Will try to post again in next few days since I know your life probably revolves around me. Mine does.

The Radio’s In The Hands Of Such A Lot Of Fools Trying To Anesthetize The Way That You Feel….

Here’s a link to a Technique article regarding how outside forces are trying to alter WREK :

Quick stuff on some recently attended shows :

Saw Regina Spektor the other Friday and while I was impressed with how many attractive girls were at the show, the music was about as dull as it gets. Had heard Soviet Kitsch a bit back and thought it sounded ok, but this was boredom personified, with my main entertainment being watching two drunk (?) girls dancing madly somehow in a fairly confined space. At one one point Regina sang about how “two people next door to her were fucking to her music” (in so many words). Must have been because Regina was blasting her stero at their walls because the only bed activity I could imagine with her music involves snoring. If you start with Elton John and think watered down is Billy Joel and watered down of that is Bruce Hornsby, apply that process to Kate Bush -> Tori Amos -> Regina Spektor.

Saw Joan Jett the next night and that did nothing for me either. Have been going to see her for going on twenty-five years now and while I don’t mind her plugging her new album (though that version of the Replacements’ “Androgynous” she was doing at Music Midtown something like four years ago isn’t new anymore), I wish she’d diversify up the back catalog she plays. As is, you start realizing that for a decent songwriter (my opinion), most of her set is covers. I was also reeling a bit from having watched the movie “Edgeplay – A Film About The Runaways”, knowing how she (and her manager) had Vicki Blue pull any songs she had written from the film as well as whatever interview segments were done. So, anyone unfamiliar with the Runaways watching the movie would have little clue as to what they sounded like (outside of the Runaways’ covers of “Wild Thing” and “Rock N Roll”), but might mistake them with the Suzi Quatro (remakes even!) and Lita Ford solo selections that comprise much of the soundtrack. Would like to have found out more about what (Cherie/Sandy/Jackie/Vicki) did after leaving the band, especially given Sandy’s comments about how she learned something in prison, once broke someone’s arm and once put a gun down someone’s throat until they shit themselves. Whatever occurred, Sandy lived a hard life and you wished she could have seen a little bit better day before she passed away.

Saw Drivin N Cryin for the 237th time this past Friday. Kevn announced on-stage that this was the last time they’d do their annual Thanksgiving concert but he privately told me the same thing about last year’s show, so we’ll see. Thought they played a good deal better than the last few times I’ve seen them so that was fun.

In town this week is the first Atlanta appearance in over thirty years of the New York Dolls. Though Syl lives in Atlanta and has played out occasionally, it will be David Johansen’s first concert here since his band opened for Pat Benatar at the Omni in the fall of 1981. (David did film a movie here in the early 1990s. I think it may have been “Car 54, Where Are You?”) Haven’t heard the new Dolls album yet (Why should Roadrunner bother servicing a college station? They send us their metal, but not this?), but the live reunion stuff from a few years ago was pretty darn good. Just watched “All Dolled Up”, Bob Gruen’s DVD of archival Dolls live/off-stage footage and was quite impressed. Amazing how lucid Johnny Thunders was considering what he became. If you are in Atlanta, you should definitely go see the Dolls at the Variety Playhouse on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

They killed off 96 Rock this week. Sure, the classic rock it had been of recent was nowhere near as much fun as when it seemed the jocks had input into what they played (pre-Burkhart/Abrams), but it was an identifiable brand most folks my age grew up with. Funny how their corporate folks say they are catering to males 18 – 44 (yeah, most 44 year-olds like to listen to angry music with the jocks cutting in thanking the listeners for coming out to “party” with them, a promo of which the station is using to advertise moving the format down the dial.) 18 – 25, more likely. Still, 96 Rock is the station where I first heard the Sex Pistols (they played “God Save The Queen” the afternoon that the Pistols played at the Great Southeast Music Hall in January of 1978) and heard many a great concert broadcast (King Biscuit/Live At The Agora) including occasional simulcasts (Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, Peter Tosh) that sort of stood out at the time. But they did them. Time to guess the over/under on the lifetime of the Project 96.1 format? I guess under 5 years….

If you haven’t read my rant on what they are trying to do to WREK, skip to the post previous to this one and do something about it……..


Got HD Radio?

Well I could tell you how I went and saw a great (Wreckless Eric) and decent (Cheap Trick) show this week, but this post is all about WREK. The radio show Personality Crisis airs on WREK but WREK programming could soon be undergoing a radical (tragic) shift.

First, let me clarify that all opinions to be noted are mine, not WREK’s, that I host a show only there and have no position of authority. That said, “Let’s rumble…”

I graduated from Georgia Tech in 1990. At some point during my (what seemed like endless) tenure as a student there, I came to the realization that Tech was not a very student friendly school. At times, it seemed that if GT could subsist on grants and completely blow students off, then GT would be in a dream situation. Unfortunately, there are students. But, luckily for Tech, most of the student population is generally apathetic. So when some genii designs a parking deck to sit at the lowest point on campus, the students accept it, not realizing the brilliance until a flood or two damages their cars. (this happened circa 1984.) I’ve got an idea! Let’s feature a dining hall that stops serving dinner at 6:30! Who eats after that? (Not sure when this was implemented at the student center. I think they have an area there that stays open a little later there but the snack area used to stay open until at least 10 when I was a froshperson.) Anyway, they may be counting on that apathy again. This time the target is WREK.

You might have read about the WREK situation in Creative Loafing or the Technique, but it hasn’t subsided. It’s picked up speed. Right now, plans are afoot for Public Broadcasting to lease a certain amount of time (over 10 hours) and for WREK to go “digital” and be dumped into the unknown world of HD Radio. Do you have HD radio? Do you know anyone that does? I know there’s a big push on HD TV since that’s going to replace terrestrial TV but there doesn’t seem to be that same urgency (aka advertising blitz) regarding radio. So right now, I’m regarding it with the same regard I paid minidiscs. And DATS. I’d say CB radios, but more people own those than HD radios. Also, WREK’s tower would move to Stone Mountain. Yippee! It’s just fine where it is for the signal and we’ve turned down moving the tower to the Peachtree Plaza in the past. So…. Let’s look at the winners and losers here…..


GPB – I’m not exactly sure what they want to put on WREK, to be honest. I’m guessing NPR stuff that they don’t air while they air their original programs of “highbrow” music from the 1700s-1800s that was originally the pop music of the day. In fact, I think Mozart may actually have an “Oops, I Did It Again” sonata. But that stuff brings in those listener contributions ($$$$$$$) so that they can continue to operate. I’m sure they have multiple radio personalities (they may not be Steve and Vikki, but they are personalities) that make salaries that are multiples of WREK’s $40 K budget (virtually unchanged since the mid-70s), but if people want to give it to them… Anyway, this would get the monkey off their back of having to field complaints from folks who want more NPR, less Johann Sebastian. And I’m sure GPB would pay a “fair” rate to lease the time, aka they’ll make more back in listener contributions than they’ll pay out. So less hassle with NPR fans, more airtime at a “fair” rate, more money coming in, GPB ARE WINNERS!

Georgia Tech – Tech win in several ways. First of all, and most obvious, is via income revenue. You’ve got to try to get up in that Harvard range for bringing in dough and we all know GPB’s “fair” rate is gonna push ’em toward that top. Then there’s the prestige of having that award-winning NPR programming associated with Georgia Tech. Excuse me, but will anyone actually listen to GT’s new version of WREK and associate what’s coming out with GT? If they don’t do it with an actually innovative station (which WREK currently is), how will they when the programming will be exactly the same as if the person was listening to public radio in some place like Omaha or Santa Clara? What was all that shit about “we don’t fit the mold, we break it” ? GT students and alums can say that proudly but in this case it rings just as hollow as “I’m not gonna pay a lot for this muffler.” Just another marketing catchphrase, obviously. Tech seems to be  stuck on trying to position itself as some sort of “cultural leader” and I’m not sure why. It could be, again, the pursuit of $$$$$. Look at how the Ferst Center is booked. Cheesy acrobats that would have been mildly amusing on the TV show Real People (the Umbilical Brothers), once decent artists trying to keep their careers afloat (Chick Corea and Bela Fleck), lame as get all new age (George Winston), lame-o smooth jazz (Earl Klugh) and the Hamburg Symphony, noted for its “innovative programming”, performing the works of those radicals Tchaikovsky and Brahms! Safe, non-threatening stuff that’ll bring in the $$$$. Not unlike the programming of music you’ll more likely hear on public radio! Meanwhile, Georgia State’s Rialto Theatre series features Bo Diddley, the Royal Drummers of Burundi and a Steve Reich Festival! Still, NPR programming is sure to spur some alum to give mucho dinero and besides, it’ll keep them from having to hear those pesky “Hour Of Slack” promos during ISP GT night game broadcasts. So, GEORGIA TECH ARE WINNERS!


Georgia Tech Students – Not just looking at WREK staff here, but the student population as a whole. Understand that WREK has always been funded by student activity funds with additional fees (electricity, location space) picked up by the school. The station is still “owned and operated” by GT students, and that’s gonna change. An outside entity is now going to do that. WREK has always had problems with student listenership and if a group of students had banded together with the goal of taking over the station to play Creed, I would have been sad but at least understanding. The current situation is sad, but not understandable. And the students may raise an uproar if (when?) it occurs, but after a couple of weeks the apathy will kick back in and “ Hey why did Paul Hewitt play for the tie?” will be a more likely subject of conversation. And, thus, there’ll be one less extracurricular activity to participate in. I gotta go to Diff-EQs…… So, in this situation, GEORGIA TECH STUDENTS LOSE.

The Arts Scene In Atlanta – Considering more than just listeners here, since those guys will still be able to listen to WREK on their spiffy HD Radios sitting atop their Betamaxes. Smirk. Not that those with an NPR jones probably couldn’t find said programming on the internet, it’s just not on Sirius yet and I wanna hear it on the radio in my Lexus as I head in from Douglasville. WREK programming is UNLIKE any other radio station out there. Terrestrial/satellite/podcast, WREK is totally unique. Yes, there are elements that are common with other stations’ programming (both good and bad), but in the 23 years I’ve been affiliated with WREK it has always attempted to be the best radio station featuring the best programming available for Atlanta (and now the world via the internet.) Sometimes we’ve been successful, sometimes not so. But the success ratio has always seemed to be better than the failure. This unique vision which has been the first to bring Atlanta the music of rock acts like the Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming Lips and Mastodon (to name just a few), has also exposed many Atlantans for the first time to many jazz acts, world musicians, hip hop artists, experimental artists and, ahem, modern classical artists like Harry Partch and Steve Reich that the existing public radio station  in Atlanta has generally stayed away from like a ten foot pole. It has educated the listening audience as well as the student staff about types of music and art that they never would have discovered on their own. It certainly did me. Now the only teaching will be the power of the almighty dollar. WREK also provided a stage for internationally known acts such as the Indigo Girls. Red House Painters and Black Crowes, who all performed at the station in the formative stages of their careers. And, though I’ve never heard them mention it, I’d imagine the multi-million selling act Outkast have been a little influenced by some of WREK’s hip hop/rock programming in developing their unique sound. Plus, WREK has been allowed the artists to be heard via interview. Since 1968, WREK has featured interviews with individuals as diverse as David Bowie to Sun Ra, from civil rights pioneer Hosea Williams to punk rock pioneer Joey Ramone. Frank Zappa called in, Captain Beefheart came by and pro wrestlers amazed WREK listeners with their knowledge of Einstein’s theories! (Ok, maybe not the last part.)  But Van Hammer and Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash) did stop by. Nonetheless, WREK has filled in a lot of cracks the rest of Atlanta’s media hasn’t been able to. That soon will change. ATLANTA (and INTERNET) RADIO LISTENERS as well as ATLANTA (and WORLD) ARTISTS LOSE.


As I see it, there’s two ways of fighting this war :

1) Since the overwhelming factor seems to be money, make a difference there. If this situation distresses you, and you are an alumnus of Georgia Tech, tell them you will no longer donate money to the school if they go through with this action. Tell other alums and ask them to do the same. If you know an influential ($$$$) alum like John Portman, or the Day family, or anyone (or the relatives) who has a building named after them on campus, advise them of the situation. Above all, be nice and civil when talking about this. Harrassment won’t accomplish anything and hurts the WREK cause in the long term.

2) Tell folks about it. Websites, blogs, media, artists, bands, politicians, anyone. Again, be prudent. But get the word out.

3) If you are an artist performing in Atlanta, mention it on-stage. Mention it to other artists and alert them to what is happening. WREK may need some of you artists to perform for us at some sort of benefit/event in the future. Contact Jeremy Varner at  . This applies to everyone. If you know Elton John, or R.E.M. or the Indigo Girls,  or Outkast or Jermaine Dupri, let them know. They are local-related acts who may/should know about WREK and could possibly help. If you know anyone of fame that GT bigwigs would know, be it Willie Nelson or U2 or Philip Glass or Neil Young or whoever, tell them about the situation. Ask them to lend a word to the administration or a performance for the cause. Money can help. but positive publicity for WREK (which would make the whole deal appear more seedy) would also be a big help. WREK has certainly helped out a lot of you artists, now we need your help.

4) Above all, keep the faith. It’s not a done deal. To quote a favorite saying of Joe Strummer, “The Future Is Unwritten.” If you’ve enjoyed/appreciated what WREK does and has done, it’s time for you to write it….

Night Of The Living Lazy

So I plug new stuff on the blog on the show last night and then I done forget to put it up. Oops….

My comment on Night Of The Lving Dead. (Talking about the original here, not some crap remake…) It is called NIGHT of the Living Dead, so how come every time the folks in the house see news about the “murderers” on the TV, the guys out hunting them are in daylight. Just hit me that that makes no sense.

There’s a 19 (NINETEEN!) CD set of Clash singles coming out soon. I read there was supposed to be unreleased stuff there, but what track listing I saw didn’t mention any. Still waiting for an official CD release of the version of Hammersmith Palais that was on the British RAR charity LP.

Would write more but one of those DOT barrels was blown into the road and did damage to my mom’s car today so I have to get up earlier and go deal with that. Enjoy your Halloween and I hope you get more treats than tricks (unless you’re a hooker, I guess…)



We Were Pretty Much Near Corndogs….

A couple o’ things here :

1) The movie American Hardcore is out and though I haven’t seen it, I will via Netflix at some point (it’s showing for one night only here. Heck, movies like the Decline of Western Civilization, Urgh! & Rude Boy all at least showed for a week in Atlanta. Repertory film theatres must not have as much leeway as the early 80s, but we digress.) Anyway, I’ve seen two reviews in local rags (Creative Loafing, Gwinnett Post) and had problems with both. The Loaf reviewer has a big problem with Husker Du not being in the film, but I really didn’t think they were hardcore at the time. Bob Mould even corrected me as such because, my not having heard the first two Huskers 45s, I was first aware of the band via Land Speed Record, which IS a hardcore record. I did a phone interview with Bob in 1985 where I asked him about their progression from Land Speed to the more melodious New Day Rising (their most recent release at that point) and he stated that they had begun pop and sped up so that records like Zen Arcade and New Day were actually moving back to their starting sound. The Loaf also has a picture of Corrosion Of Conformity to accompany the interview and I always figured them (along with D.R.I.) to be more of a crossover (aka speed metal) act. The band that spawned COC, No Lables were more of a punk band and opened the Dead Kennedys show at 688 in May of 1983.

The Gwinnett Post review notes, inaccurately, that the bulk of hardcore fans “didn’t drink or do drugs”. Sure, whatever. Their review also laments an over focus on Bad Brains and Black Flag, called “the only two relatively successful hardcore punk bands”, when the Dead Kennedys probably outsold both of them. (and the DKs, as the Loaf review notes, aren’t in this thing.) You could probably throw X in the mix as a successful hardcore band as well. I’m sure there’s other hardcore bands (Bad Religion anyone?) that easily outsold Bad Brains as well.

By the way, the title of the post refers the the censored version of History Lesson, Part II as sung by Minutemen on WREK broadcast of 11/30/85.

Second thing : Linda Perry last week called Courtney Love a great American songwriter who should be ranked with Bob Dylan in greatness. I guess when you’re a hack like Linda Perry and songwriters like Kenny G look good compared to you, maybe CLove does deserve the compliment…….

It was 20 years ago…..

CBGBs has closed. Big deal. It was one of the breeding grounds of the early American punk scene but other scenes since have had as big, if not bigger impacts on modern music. They’ve built this big shrine making CBGBs a Mount Olympus, but I seem to remember reading of the impact of places like the Mercer Street Center and Max’s Kansas City on that same scene (and later the Mudd Club and the Knitting Factory. Hell, it could be argued that whatever early hip hop clubs sprang from NY had a much more earth shaking effect, but I digress.) Which leads to me to two topics:

1) One of the groups that put CBGBs on the map was the Ramones. I’ve recently read where they are thinking about making a movie about the band based on a soon-to-be-published book by Joey’s brother. The biggest question is why? If you’ve ever watched most of the movies based on bands (I’m thinking Beatles, the Doors, the Monkees & Def Leppard right off the top of my head), they usually are the worst, most clumsily acted things you’d ever want to see. And super cheesy. (oddly enough, the ones based on individuals (Buddy Holly, Tina Turner, Kurt Russell as Elvis) are not bad.) Plus this one has the added factor that you know who it’s probably gonna be heavily biased in favor of (Joey) and against (Johnny). I’ve never heard much good about Joey’s bro. The records he used to make were certainly not any good.

But the Ramones industry (ala Jimi, Tupac & Jeff Buckley) must have new product. Too bad this money couldn’t have been pushed the band’s way when most of them were alive and could enjoy it. This goes the same way with commercial radio airplay. That band beat their heads against the wall from the late 70s to the early 90s trying to get a hit. Now DJs that were probably cranking out Molly Hatchet and Journey and Pearl Jam on the radio (at that point in time) have featured segments where they play the bruddas. Whatever. I once got to drive Joey around trying to get his penicillin prescription refilled (he got sick at an outdoor show in Florida) and had to tell Dee Dee when wrestling was on. Those moments are in my Ramones movie…..

2) Once again, CBGBs is kaput. Don’t care that much because I never went there. Had I gone there any time after that initial 1975-1978 burst I doubt I’d think any differently. There really wasn’t much of CB’s scene after that point (the NYC hardcore bands just weren’t very good.) Where I did go was an Atlanta club called 688. 688 closed 20 years ago this month. I once figured out that I went to something like 360 + performances at the venue, most of those in about a 3 1/2 year span (May 1983 – October 1986). Because of the dumb concept of drinking age admission (I never cared anything about alcohol, I’ve never been drunk in my life), I missed a number of great shows at the club before I turned 19 in April of 1983. Siouxsie. Gang Of Four. Richard Hell. The Professionals. The Method Actors. The Stranglers. Echo & The Bunnymen. REM. 999. Johnny Thunders. Wall Of Voodoo. Billy Idol. The Fans. Vietnam. Jim Carroll. Anti-Nowhere League. Psychedelic Furs. But I got to see some amazing ones as well. Iggy Pop with Chrissie Hynde joining him on-stage (at a “teen” show.) The Brains, The Basics. The Heathen Girls. The Go Gos (all of these also at “teen” shows.) Dead Kennedys. Circle Jerks. Pylon. The Bongos. Guadalcanal Diary. Marianne Faithfull. Black Flag. Meat Puppets. The Gun Club. Violent Femmes. Hoodoo Gurus. Red Hot Chilli Peppers (who sucked both times I saw them there.) Lords Of The New Church. Eurogliders. Minutemen. Drivin N Cryin. Nightporters. NRBQ. Mutabaruka. Afrika Bambata. Flipper. Jesus & Mary Chain. 86. Husker Du. Soul Asylum. Peter Tork. The Bluebells. Jason & The Nashville Scorchers. Specimen. Chris Stamey. The dB’s. Let’s Active. The Residents. Glen Branca. The Three O’Clock. Green On Red. The Rain Parade. The Blasters, The Dream Syndicate. Nick Cave. Sheer Thursday. The Church. Subhumans. The Exploited. Scream. UK Subs. The Restraints. The Bangles. The Suburbs. The Replacements. plus more I can’t think of right now. 688 was a place to go when nothing was going on because you knew some one you knew would be there. You might fall in love there (this may have happened to the author with not so great results). You might see Phreddy Vomit fall through the roof there. You might have one of the Nightporters tell you how he hoped he’d soon hit it big so that he could quit selling drugs. You might run into members of the Clash (they stopped by in 1982). Or Marco Pirroni (early Banshee and member of Adam Ant’s band. later with Sinead O’Connor as well.) You might nearly physically run over Susanna Hoffs (she was at a True West show and I nearly plowed right over her short self.) You might see skinheads attacking a pick-up truck on Spring Street. You probably weren’t going to be bored. (unless it was that one Meat Puppets show.) So I do understand the feelings people like Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Richard Hell had about CBGB’s closing because I can empathise. My CBGBs closed 20 years ago.

Dynamic Duos (and why the critics lavish praise on the wrong ones..)

First, a quick addendum to the Police DVD review. Watched it with Andy & Stewart’s commentary and there are actually two shots of the Atlanta skyline, both of which Stewart recognizes. The first seems to show that apartment building that’s on the corner of North Avenue and Peachtree. The other shot looks to be entering the city on 75/85 from the south. Sting is looking at a map and mutters that “the Agora is over there.” On the commentary, Stewart says “this is Atlanta again”, to which Andy quips “We only ever played Atlanta. All the rest was just driving around to get back there.” (or something to that effect.)

A real quick treatise on the similarities between the Beatles and the Clash. Both heavily lauded and influential, both with a main band member dying young, both with that band member subsequently lionized….. Not I don’t mean to demean either John Lennon or Joe Strummer. I enjoy heavily much of their recorded work. But those two weren’t my favorites in their respective bands.

First, I was always a Paul fan most in the Beatles. Paul McCartney is probably the main reason I actually started listening to pop music at age 12. In those few years between when I began following the music scene and when Kim Turner’s old camp counselor killed John Lennon, I always bristled when the critics would go gaga over John and trash Paul. As I said, I LIKED John’s contributions. I just like Paul’s more. Then John died and it seemed as if criticism was beyond reproach. And this was especially true regarding John’s Beatles work. Remember, JOHN was the REVOLUTIONARY one. Ok, maybe in thought, but musically? “Yer Blues”? “Come Together”? Paul was the one listening to Cage and other 2oth century composers (and also funding underground UK newspapers for that matter.) I always got the feeling John would have been happy regurgitating Chuck Berry licks for the entirety of the Beatles if Paul hadn’t pushed him otherwise. And then the most abrasive punk rock thing the Beatles ever did was a Paul tune, “Helter Skelter.” So Paul, alien that he is, ranks as my fave. Go listen to “For No One” now.

Now, regarding the Clash, a similar thing happened when Joe had his heart attack and passed, You’d have thought that Mick/Paul/Topper/Terry were mere sidemen along for the ride as Joe was mad out to be THE Clash. Funny how Mick was trying to expand the band to new ideas and Joe, when Mick left, reverted back to sub-ramalama punk shouting. “We are the Clash”? No, you weren’t. In case you’ve missed the bit, Mick Jones was my fave Clashman. I always preferred his voice (if not his songs). One of Joe’s better songs, “Lost In The Supermarket”, is one of his most personal and he wrote it about what he thought Mick’s life was like growing up, with the intention of Mick singing it. Again, I love much of Joe Strummer’s music, I just prefer Mick Jones’ more. Go listen to “Gates Of The West” now.

So no more downplaying the music of Paul McCartney & Mick Jones, ok?

Coming soon, why Courtney Love would be better suited to share vocals in a band rather than howling them all and why Lynyrd Skynyrd were more daring songwriters than the “voice of a generation”, Kurt Cobain…..

Rent To Not Own

Last night I watched the Stewart Copeland documentary on the Police, Everyone Stares. Now old Stew shot this over the band’s entire history (not just 1978 like the 99x DJ kept saying last week when giving them away) and there’s some interesting stuff. Though I saw neither show it would have been odd if footage had shown up from either their first NY shows (where Atlanta’s legendary the Fans reportedly blew them off the stage) or their first Atlanta show at Rosa’s Cantina (which later became 688.) The whole thing is kind of short (73 minutes) and I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve watched it with Stewart and Andy’s running commentary. You would think a guy actually IN the band wouldn’t have made two big factual errors. Number one, he shows footage HE SAYS is from July 16, 1981, but the band are in the recording studio working on a Zenyatta Mondatta track that would have been released in 1980. Secondly, footage from the US Festival is shown with a credited date of 1982. US Fest was in 1983.

Quickly, a couple of my Police experiences. First saw them on 12/6/80 at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on the Zenyatta tour. We had bought tickets that were the last three seats on the far part of the front row. Great sounding, but not very good tix. My friend Mike and his girlfriend moved down to the front center section during the opening band. “Big deal,” I remember saying. “Front row center for R.E.M.” Have always held a bit of a grudge against the REMs in that everywhere else on that tour seemed to get XTC as an opening act and I never got to see them live. Anyway, we traded places with some other folks who wanted their friends to come down and thus ended up on the far left (facing stage) but on the aisle. Still front row, I still couldn’t see Stewart the whole show (they still left the orchestra pit empty at the Fox then meaning angles were not as good up close) but a better experience than where we were supposed to be. When the Police came out for the encore, Sting announced “All I Wanna Be Is..” and I muttered under my breath “Next To You” as the audience, apparently not knowing that one, stayed fairly unresponsive. So Sting again says “All I Wanna Be Is Next ..” and I yelled out “To You” at which point Gordo pointed in my direction. My conversation with Sting.

The next time the Police came through, January of 1982, the hot young GoGos were the opening band for their Omni show. A rumor went around my high school that day that Belinda Carlisle had OD’d. I didn’t believe the rumor but, hey, I’d already seen the GoGos at 688 in August of 1981 before they became the phenomenon.

Anyway, the DVD does remind one of what a fine band the Police were (and how dull Sting’s solo career has been), but you’d be better served to get the DVD with all the promo videos.

Thank you. Drive Thru…


2 things : My last post mentioned how I was in a weird way and it’s not because of my health. The tests are back and I’m not pregnant! Actually, my mom was being sent to see her surgeon again by her cancer doctor but it looks like this may just be a precaution thing and everything may be relatively ok.

Also, I forgot the former Turtle’s Rhythm & Views (later Blockbuster & Wherehouse) on Peachtree just above Benihana’s. The building is now a Whole Foods but actually once hosted a ridiculous in-store featuring Prince (on the last tour before he changed his name to either Lenny or Squiggy. or Squiggly. or something.) I drove by the place that day and the line stretched what seemed to be halfway to Chamblee. and this was in worsening weather as one of the bigger snowstorms in recent memory (for those who remember, we’re talking March of 1993) hit that night. This store was also the scene of two of the craziest tent sales I’ve ever bought too much stuff at……

Sometime I’ll get into talking about other odd defunct record stores around town but I’ll leave with an anecdote about when Rich’s used to be a SEATS ticket outlet. Now, most stores today that sell tickets have the booth up near the front of the store. At this point, in 1977, Rich’s sold tickets but had their booth in the middle of the store near customer service. Rich’s opened at 10 AM at Lenox. Tickets went on sale at 10 AM. Uh-oh! My sister’s friend went to purchase Led Zeppelin tickets and said that when the doors to Rich’s opened, kids were knocking things every which way scrambling to get to the SEATS booth. I can proudly say I bought my tickets to see Iggy Pop at 688 at the Perimeter Mall Rich’s. Didn’t have to knock anything over but we probably should have just for the spirit of the Ig…….

If You Have Ghosts…

We all face life and death everyday (I’ve already had two times in my life where I was only given a 50/50 shot at survival) so a store closing shouldn’t be a big deal. Tower Records is going belly up and it bothers me in a way. Not that there’s not gonna be other places available for me to purchase whatever (though there is one magazine they stock that I know of only one other store in town that carries it), it’s just there’ll be one place less. Being able to go back into Tower Records after being in the hospital for two weeks meant a lot to me just because it felt like a sense of normalcy returning. But now they’re going and there’s one less place to go shopping 365 days a year (Tower livened up some boring Thanksgiving days!) But you want internet shopping/burning CDs/downloads, you got it. Just one more memory soon to be. I drive by ’em everyday. Let’s take my commute from Duluth to work near the Brookwood Station. If I come up Peachtree Parkway, I first go by what used to be Murmur Music (open from I think 2003-2006). A mile or so up, I pass the building that once housed Musicdrome (the former Norcross Chapter 3. This opened up sometime in the late 80s and stayed until around fall 2001. The store moved to Lawrenceville where it died an ignoble death around six months later.) My next former haunt that I pass is on Pecahtree Industrial Boulevard and is the former Turtle’s/Blockbuster Music/Wherehouse Music in Chamblee Plaza. This store opened in 1983 and lasted through various incarnations until 2003, methinks. A former employer of both Jeff Clark and Thomas Peake, it also hosted a memorable Wall Of Voodoo in-store that I attended. Next on our gruesome tour is Atlanta CD in Brookhaven (opened in 1986, closed about 1992 or so.) Kevn Kinney & Peter Buck did an in-store there that I missed because I totally fouled up my textiles lab. On our left, as we head up the road a piece, is the former site of Oz (roughly where Borders stands now.) (opened in 1975 or 1976. Closed in 1982 or so.) Didn’t see the PiL 1980 in-store but did see the Ramones that same year there. I think I bought my third and fourth albums ever there (vaguely recalling the Eagles’ Greatest Hits and Beach Boys’ Endless Summer.) Definitely bought my first concert ticket there (Eagles at the Omni, June 1977.) Oz was a former employer of both David T. Lindsay and Brad Syna. Next on our graveyard visit is Lenox Square, former home of Frankin Music/Record Bar/Camelot/HMV. Yes, Sam Goody/FYE/whatever is a descendent of some of these, but the current store there has about the selection of Best Buy, so…  Attended memorable in-stores from both Drivin N Cryin and the Plasmatics at Record Bar and paid too much money for the Gun Club’s  Fire Of Love album there as well. Also, at Around Lenox is the first site of Atlanta’s Tower Records (1989-2002). It was here that I won the local version of the Rhino Music Trivia contest back in 2001. If I had won for the whole world (and the ultimate winner was on-line where he could cheat and look things up), I would have received every CD Rhino released for the life of the label. As it is, I think I figured out I finished about 5th in the world and I got bunches of box sets. As we continue up Peachtree, we hit the current Tower Records, where the 10-30 % wake is in progress (and I’m gonna miss most of the checkout girls there too!). This is also, basically, the former site of a Media Play, one of the first to close in the late 90s. Then, on our left, we hit the former site of Coconuts Records (1984? -?). Not much memories here, but Arthur Davis’ grandmother used to own a house behind it. Arthur had a roommate he hated and one day I arrived just as he had finished spray-painting the bushes. He also sprayed “Agnostic Front Skinhead Army” across the top of his kitchen hoping the guy would move out. Just up from here, on the left, is a strip mall that once housed a used CD store when those were in vogue back in the late 80s. Can’t remember the name. A little further up Peachtree Road in Buckhead and we hit the site of the first Atlanta Chapter Three. I only went in there once and I remember looking at an import Elvis Costello single which I thought was too pricey. Sort of across Peachtree is the former Jim Salle’s. They had tons of old records and sheet music back in the late 70s that would probably bring a fortune now on EBAY. Moseying up past Fantasyland (still reasonable healthy since either 1976 or 1977. I first shopped there in early 1978), we next come upon what was the flagship store of Peaches Records. Bought Who tickets here in 1980, camped out for Clash tickets in 1982, but didn’t buy much vinyl here. Too expensive, though I seem to remember getting a couple of Boomtown Rats singles here. They used to have their version of “Graumann’s Chinese Theatre” out front where folks like Patti Smith left their handprints. Tony Paris used to work here. Also in this same shopping center there used to sit a CD Warehouse store. Across the street from this stripmall, there resided a used CD store whose name I can’t remember. This was early to mid-90s. Our last ghastly visit is on the right and is the former home of American CD. Can’t think of ever buying anything here.

So, if you read through that, God bless you. That’s my commute, pretty much. Hell, I miss non-music stores that have gone under, too. I miss the Frito-Lay plant and the Buddy’s next to it that’s just closed. There was a Dairy Queen on Buford Highway near Pleasantdale that I’ll always associate with going to Little League when I was a kid. It finally closed shop a few years ago.

But cherish what you’ve got while it’s there. Be thankful we still have stores like Fantasyland, Wax N Facts, Wuxtry, Low Yo Yo Stuff, Ella Guru, Criminal, Decatur CD and Full Moon. Patronize them.

Sorry for the ominous missive. I have other stuff going on that’s bothering me right now. Hopefully it’s worry over nothing. More happy-go-lucky stuff later in the week.


In The City

Coming into work this AM I noticed water gushing on Peachtree causing a back-up going north. Funny how the city supposedly fixed that problem the other week.

Listened to several re-issues this week. One was the newfangled double disc of the Cure’s “The Top”. I always liked a couple of songs of this one but listening to it I realized it was better than I remembered. The demo of “Give Me It” ranks with anything Robert did (I use the past tense as I don’t expect much out of new Cure releases.)

Also listened to Cheap Trick’s “Dream Police” and “All Shook Up” re-issues. At one point, Cheap Trick were probably my favorites. The show at the Fox on 4/16/79 supporting the Budokan album was as hot as it gets. But the Budokan phenomenon delayed the release of “Dream Police” and may have hurt it a bit (and it still did quite well, don’t get me wrong.) I was pondering the alternate universe where that live album wasn’t released and superstardom didn’t delay another fine studio album. Maybe that would have prevented “All Shook Up”. I figured it out back then, mind you, as I immediately didn’t much care for it. Funny, because the last new material before that, a song for the Roadie soundtrack called “Everything Works If You Let It” is absolutely one of their best. And George Martin was producing. But… No good. “Who D’King” was dreadful then and reeks now. I later found out that “Baby Loves To Rock” was pretty much a straight cop of the Yardbirds’ “Psycho Daisies”, which I’m not sure the band have ever acknowledged and they certainly don’t in the new liner notes. Still, Cheap Trick are a national treasure, what I’ve heard of their new album “Rockford” seems ok, and they really should be in the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame (along with Kraftwerk/Roxy Music/Iggy & the Stooges/Patti Smith/ELO/The Nuge/etc…) Instead, that institution honors Jackson Browne and any recording/act tormenting the earth that features Eric Clapton.

Which at least reminds me of Dave Slusher’s great variation of Layla that honored the late great African musician Fela Kuti :

Fela, You got me on my knees

Fela, You’re in The A.N.C.

(It loses some with the passage of time but I still like it.)

Must go now, sleep beckons. Maybe it’s time to listen to one of those riveting Clapton solos to get me there faster……