This Thursday, April 7th at 4:00 PM, I will be appearing for my first interview related to ‘The Zen Of Losing’ on WPKN 89.5 on the dial (from Long Island to near Hartford) or at wpkn.org. for the online version or podcast. As fortune would have it, the man on the mike will be Dave Hogan, old friend, and player of some guitar and singing on ‘TZoL’. We talk record, play some record, I play something live. Then I think I get to hang with Dave and pick some music, which is a thrill for me.
WPKN has always loomed over me a simple reason: My Mom worked at UB and I don’t think we ever had babysitters. I remember going to work with Mom a lot. The 70’s, right?
This aside, when I was a kid, my only desire was to be a DJ. The idea of being a DJ was because I was such a deep music geek that I needed to share my knowledge of Rock and Roll, and share the work of artists I admired long and wide. It wasn’t the concept of a career as much as being an Apostle and bringing the good Word to the people.
I remember one Sunday morning, my Mom arranged to have me learn and practice proper DJ’Ing in the extra broadcast booth. I was in my glory, headphones on, talking up records and sharing rare and piquant facts about the music, cause I was overflowing with that stuff.
It was here that I discovered another element of what WPKN was: a true Library Of Congress style record collection. I marveled at the records I found, records that I had only seen refereed to in old Creem Magazines I was able to find at all the local tag sales.
It was a real Indiana Jones moment when I found a mint condition ‘Mad Shadows’ by Mott The Hoople. I just held it to my chest, with the expectation of knowledge, direction, bliss or whatever other reason people seek out Holy objects.
Alas, my career in radio never panned out as I found out DJs don’t play what they want too (outside of WPKN, in Commercial radio land) and I took my zealotry elsewhere.
My next association with WPKN was 17 and driving a floral delivery van in Shelton, CT. I was horrifying in those days, truly looked like Cannibal Hick #2 in any recent slasher flick. Deeper into music and developed my tastes, and maybe too stringently. The way my music taste works is first through research, second through discovery. I tend to follow certain artists and explore what they listen to, where they come from and see what I like.
So an obsession with Deep Purple can lead to Rainbow, Whitesnake, Jesus Christ Superstar, Gillan, Tommy Bolin, etc. And within the line up’s of at least two bands here is keyboardist Don Airey… who also played with Michael Schenker, which connects to UFO, another obsession. Oh, and Don Airey also worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yahtzee.
So driving a crappy van (with decent speakers) around Shelton and the strongest signal was The Mighty ‘PKN. Four hour blocks of free from radio, and …Wow. European folk and experimental electronic and Doo Wop and there is not enough electric ink to truly describe.
It was presented unapologetic, deliciously zealous within those 240 minute blocks of music. Some of the music was terrible to my ears. Styles and sounds the opposite spin from my preferred noises. I heard styles that offended my sensibilities so deeply, I had to research deeper. Got turned onto to so much Rockabilly and Bluegrass. Daytime shows filled with free form trippy personalities that were part of the experience. A true cool.
I learned a lot from listening to WPKN.
Part 2 due tomorrow. Listen tomorrow at 4:00pm @ wpkn.org