18 April 2008

Mix Tape Friday: Left of the Dial (Side B)

Today’s post was mixed together and written by Tenacious S. It’s a great homage to her college radio years — and the songs kick aural ass! Enjoy it. Praise her here and on her blog; she deserves it.

Take it away, Tenacious S!

A Love Song for College Radio: 1984–88

I think all of us are a collage influenced by those we’ve known throughout our lives. Some periods of our lives allow us to be more open to influence, changing us as we interact with others, seeing and hearing the world the way that they do. For me, college was that time and my years in college radio influenced more than just what I listened to. Music to an avid music fan speaks volumes about who they are and what moves them.

WCAL and WUSC presented me with the opportunity to meet some amazing people and for their influence to expand my own musical vocabulary. There was music that I loved that I brought with me to my experience at the stations and music that I learned to love through the passion of my friends. This is a love song to my friends from a time gone by and to the music that has shaped who I am today.

SIDE 1: The WCAL Years (1984–86)

Porl Thompson, Joy, Julianne (WCAL's fearless GM), Lol Tolhurst, and me backstage after The Cure's Head on the Door Tour show in Detroit.

Hüsker Dü :: Hate Paper Doll

Phil and Derek
I started doing college radio because I listened to Phil and Derek’s show, and they invited my roommate, Jeanne, and me down to the station to hang. Best choice of my life.

The Jesus & Mary Chain :: The Hardest Walk

One of the perks of working at the station was reviewing new albums. I remember flopping this one onto the turntable and feeling my brain vibrate in a way I never knew it could. It felt a little dirty, but it felt so good.

Tones on Tail :: Performance

Dwayne was one of my good friends and was responsible for spoon feeding me Bauhaus and its derivatives. If you ever want to know what my brain actually sounds like, well, this is it.

The Cure :: A Night Like This

Julianne was the General Manager of our little station. More than once, we hopped into a car and drove some crazy distance to see a show. We had the very good fortune of scoring backstage passes for The Cure’s Head on the Door tour show in Detroit and got to meet the band. They were really nice guys and liked our trench coats. I swear I have never blown anything up. It was only a fashion statement.

The Smiths :: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Chad loved The Smiths. I loved The Smiths. Lulu loved The Smiths. Coaster Punchman loved The Smiths. Chad almost died of heatstroke at The Aragon Ballroom at their show, but damn, it was amazing. That Morrisey guy is quite a frontman!

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions :: Brand New Friend

Lloyd Cole is everything that was good about college radio in the ‘80s. You could write a good song and people would play it. No corporate pizzazz was needed. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy every time I hear this album.

The Jazz Butcher :: The Devil Is My Friend

Dwayne is double-billed because he was probably the most influential person in the development of my musical taste. I think I still have the notes Dwayne gave me from the cassettes he would make for me. There were smiley faces next to songs he really loved. This was one of them.

The Suburbs :: Love Is the Law

Jeanne was my very best friend at WCAL and at Calvin. She was from Minneapolis, and The Suburbs defined that city for me at the time. She was my partner on my very first show. At first, she did the talking and I was DJ girl spinning the records, but soon I figured it out and was able to do two things at once and we went our separate ways.

Red Hot Chili Peppers :: True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes

Brent was the Music Director my first year at the station. He had just spent a lot of time in LA and came back with this cool record from this cool unknown band. Brent taught me a lot about how to program a station and how to deal with the labels.

Misfits :: Where Eagles Dare

Technically a song reissued in a year that I was in college, Mark loved this and everyone knew he was a huge Misfits fan. Truth be known, I was a huge Mark fan, but I am only 5’1’’ and Mark the last he measured himself was 6’7”. Folks, I’m just saying, there’s not enough love in the world that will fix that problem.

SIDE 2: The WUSC Years (1986–88)

Yes, I changed schools just to work at a better college radio station. I am that smart!

Me in my room during my WUSC years.
What was important to me? I wonder?
[Editor's Note: Check out the blue poster to TenS' right.]

Sisters of Mercy :: Dominion/Mother Russia

Vanessa was a cool chick. We had a lot in common. We were both English majors, we both liked a lot of the same music, we both, uh, liked a lot of the same boys.

Violent Femmes :: Kiss Off

OK, this might seem a little out of order, but Lulu did figure into my college radio career. I listened to what she listened to as well. Lu liked the twangier stuff. I liked the crunchier stuff. The only time I have ever heard Lulu go silent was when I handed her the microphone at the station. Who knew?

The Flaming Lips :: One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning

God bless Seana for turning me onto some of the more psychedelic-type bands. Seana, at the time, loved really garagey-sounding bands. She also has one of the best laughs on the planet.

The The :: Sweet Bird of Truth

Zork, a.k.a Bill, had amazing taste in music and an album collection that I lusted after. Plus, I believe he had military base privileges to buy beer on Sunday, which was a problem in South Carolina.

Hoodoo Gurus :: Hell for Leather

Heather was my best friend at the station and in life in South Carolina. Our house was called the Hoodoo Hut, probably because Heather loved the Hoodoo Gurus — and why not?

XTC :: Grass

Chris worked at the station and because I ended up living in a house with him, I ended up dating his brother (later discussion). Chris’ room was across from mine and I was always glad that Chris loved XTC as much as I did.

Marshall Crenshaw :: The Distance Between Us

Brother of Chris, bass player in a local band named Bedlam Hour, love of my life my last year in college. I almost get a little misty-eyed when I think about this song and I think about Jon. Jon was a smart, gentle guy that graced my life for a year. I often feel bad about how it ended and wish him well in my heart. Although we never really speak anymore, he left his love of Marshall Crenshaw with me. That’s a pretty great gift.

New Model Army :: 51st State of America

Johnny (Fish) was destined for greatness. He was the reason I transferred down there. I heard him on a panel at the convention and he loved college radio the way that I did and was pretty much my guru. He seemed to understand that a band could be cool and make money at the same time, and he was ready to promote that idea. Shocking, I know.

Beastie Boys :: Brass Monkey

Jeannie was and is one of the coolest girls I have ever known. She was one of the first people I knew who had a Mohawk and now she is a roller-derby girl. Now that’s cool!

American Music Club :: At My Mercy

If Johnny was the guru, Janet was the Yoda. She was the graduate student who broke all the rules and worked at the station even when she wasn’t supposed to. Janet was a genius in school and had what I thought to be very sophisticated musical taste.

Ministry :: Everyday Is Halloween

Dragged this with me from Chicago to wherever I landed. Kind of was my credo at the time.

Jason & The Scorchers :: Golden Ball and Chain

Paige was a Chicago girl who embraced the South with all her heart. I think of Paige and I think of alternative country music. Trust me when I tell you, this was an acquired taste for me.

The Replacements :: I Will Dare

Michael and I trained together at WUSC and did our on-air test together. In my mind, at the time, he was the physical manifestation of my inner rock self.

Naked Raygun :: Peacemaker

How could I talk about college radio or me without mentioning Naked Raygun? They were my local heroes and one of my very first interviews. I had to fight with Michael to use them for my on-air test. They are still one of my very favoritest bands of all time. Never bland, full of big crunchy guitar and Chicago swagger. They are my heart and soul.

The Cult :: Wildflower

Vinnie was my roommate and good friends with Chris. He was literally deaf in one ear, but it didn’t ever stop him from playing what he loved at 11.

Take the easy route to the mid-1980s: download the zip file.

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At 4/18/2008 08:51:00 AM, Blogger Mathdude said...

Wow, Tenacious S, this is way better than that crap Beth is always shoving down our throats every Friday! See if you can talk her into handling the music every week!

At 4/18/2008 08:52:00 AM, Blogger Mathdude said...

Just kidding Beth!

At 4/18/2008 09:49:00 AM, Blogger DCup said...

What a fun read. It makes me want to go to my car and listen to the Fred channel on XM Satellite so I don't blow the bandwidth listening to it on my computer.

At 4/18/2008 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Malcolm said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/18/2008 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

This morning I'll play "Wildflower" and "Little Angel" in honor of you.

At 4/18/2008 12:20:00 PM, Blogger SkylersDad said...

Wow, nice work! This is way more effort than I have ever put into a blog entry... or anything else for that matter!

At 4/18/2008 12:46:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

What a great list, and I love the way you dedicated each song to one of your college buddies. It's beautiful how certain songs are inextricably linked to certain people or places in time.

At 4/18/2008 11:09:00 PM, Blogger wapentake said...

Great guest post!

"The Hardest Walk" - possibly the most beautiful feedback ever recorded. Number two on my Top Ten Songs blog post.

Shrewd guest invite, Beth.

At 4/18/2008 11:40:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

What a great playlist and back stories! Anyone whose head melts when they hear the JAMC has got my vote.

At 4/19/2008 03:08:00 AM, Blogger lulu said...

The Zip File isn't working.....

and why does it surprise you that I went silent when you handed me the mike? Everyone one knows what a shy and quiet girl I am.

At 4/19/2008 11:31:00 AM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

"Soldier's Reqiuem" is the best song to ever have "whoah-oh-oh" as 75% of its lyrics.

At 4/19/2008 11:43:00 AM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think you ladies broke mydatabus. It doesn't seem to exist any more. Next, do you take Berlin?

At 4/19/2008 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

Excellent list and I liked the pictures that accompanied it. I hadn't thought of Lloyd Cole for maybe 20 years until today.

At 4/20/2008 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Great choices Tenacious S and I loved the dedications. At least REM appeared in the poster, that'll almost appease Beth.

At 4/20/2008 04:47:00 PM, Anonymous Methdude said...

Well blow dry my mullet, this music is almost as good as Journey

At 4/20/2008 04:48:00 PM, Anonymous Geometrygirl said...

Ouch, Ten. S. is fierce, these songs make my girl parts hurt.

At 4/20/2008 04:49:00 PM, Anonymous BaubleObsessedBimbo said...

Um, Beth, can we return to our regularly scheduled programming?

At 4/20/2008 04:51:00 PM, Anonymous CalculusCliff said...

That Mathdude is sexy. I would like to get all Pythagorean on his ass.

At 4/21/2008 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Just caught up with the FAB Side A, now, on to side B!

Playing Side A at work, numerous ears were drawn to the source -- seems there are secret fans of the early 80s in greater numbers than I suspected.

Thank you again for these mixes!

At 4/21/2008 11:33:00 PM, Blogger Bubs said...

Great tunes! Thanks for another trip down memory lane.


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