Date: Tue 28 Feb, 2006 at 16:23
Greetings & Salutations!
And now an example, as Dirk Gently would say, of "the interconnectedness of all things."
My first true Rock'N'Roll awakening came in the summer of 1986, when I discovered Van Halen through some older friends and pseudo-bandmates (the "band" part was pseudo, not the "mate", but I digress.) I had always been aware of pop music generally, and was a big fan of novelty music such as the tunes provided weekly by the Dr Demento Show. But this fandom, this devotion, this obsession and inspiration and the spark that it ignited in me was an entirely new thing.
Flash forward about ten years. My second Rock'N'Roll awakening came in the form of a local Salt Lake talk radio station, Supertalk 1320AM KCNR. I was working in a government cubicle farm at the time, and my friend Jon suggested that KCNR might be a fun diversion from the mind-numbing boredom of my daily routine. That it was...and so much more. The talent, both on-air and behind the scenes, was largely made up of folks in my age range. They were all energetic and intelligent and passionate and funny and full of anarchic bravado. With one or two syndicated exceptions, the programming was local. The hosts interacted with the community. Politics were largely eschewed for pop culture. There were no fake laughs, no canned morning zoo wackiness. Viewpoints and topics which mattered to me but which I had never before heard on the radio were there in abundance, and no cliche was left un-skewered. For a year I listened faithfully, with my whole life attached. I also participated, getting a chance to hang out with some of the hosts both on and off the air. And another spark was ignited -- not overtly about music, but everything to do with Rock'N'Roll. It was an amazing time.
Supertalk 1320AM eventually migrated to Hot Talk 860AM, then was sold and replaced with Radio Disney one chill November morn. The talent went their separate ways, and the fans mourned. Radio, and indeed pop culture, has never been the same for me since, and I continue to be influenced by that time and those people. I eulogized the station with a reference or two in "The Big Truth" from the first SoN CD, and our upcoming album will contain the song "Mr Serious," which is inspired by and dedicated to the great Clyde Lewis and his phenomenal show Ground Zero.
Anyway, the reason that I bring all of this up is that I recently got a chance to check out Bigger Than Jesus: The Diary Of A Rock'N'Roll Fan. The brainchild of former KCNR host Rick Emerson (who has been referenced on this site many times), it is a film of his one-man stage show that, as the press materials put it, "celebrates Rock'N'Roll and its power to transform a young man's life."
I've always found Rick entertaining and shared a lot of his views on pop culture, so I knew I'd like the show. I just didn't expect to love it. So well done, so funny, so dead-on, so identifiable, and so unexpectedly moving, both in a personal and musical context. I've already been blazing down my list of people who have to know about this thing right now, and evangelizing for all I'm worth.
So, to Rick: thank you.
To the mighty VH and the multitudes of musical heroes who followed: thank you.
To my assorted friends and colleagues, I apologize in advance for shoving this thing down your throats over the next few months, but as it was with Porcupine Tree or the Whedonverse, I'm sure you will come to understand for yourselves and forgive me in time.