Saturday, August 23, 2014

Radio Misfits Or Where Are They Now

I make no secret how much I hate Corporate Radio and the same 200 songs played day after day after day after day etc etc etc.  The love of such overplayed classic like Centerfold or Sweet Home Alabama or Dream On or Boston's first album have long gone, especially suffering in a department that the radio can only pick up classic rot (The Fox) shitty top forty (Z102.9) bro country (98.1 K Hack) or shitty 'real rock' (KRNA) for music.  I rather have my ears picked out with a stick than have to deal with Back In Black selections or the three Guns and Roses numbers off their first which can be very annoying when dealing with a machine that breaks down while W Axl Rose screams over and over again.  The nadir of classic rock radio or "real" rock shows a lack of variety that there is much more to Nirvana or Pearl Jam of music 20 years ago.  Figure that Dookie and Smash are 20 years old now, nobody has any loving for the 16 million selling album Cracked Rear View from Hootie and The Blowfish which REAL ROCK KRNA used to have in their playlist before somebody watching Beavis and Butthead decided that KRNA needed to add death metal or grunge to the equation.  Too bad you can't fire bomb Cumulus or Clear Channel radio, which dominates the FM field.  If you want country classics you have to sort through five watt 1360 but knowing you can't that up, you're stuck with the latest horse hockey from Rascal Flatts on K Hack or bad heavy metal disguised as country radio.

In the age of the internet, time flies as faster than ever since we're on the computer 20 hours at a time it seems and 15 years ago, life got this fast as I got my first used computer and fought with that for about a year before getting a Gateway and fighting that for another two years.  Past ten years I've had the same computer but it's pretium 4, it hangs up more often than not  (like it is now) and researching the oldies and archives take much longer than it used to.  The future seems to be on smart phones where you can down load apps to get lesser known radio pod casts and net stations to hear what Cumulus/Clear Channel won't play.  Didn't used to be that way till Newt Gingrich sneaked past Bill Clinton doing Monica no doubt, the Telecommunications Act Of 1996 which gave us the Corporate CSers that is Cumulus/CC.  And the same shit music and now much loathed rock classics that we're sick of hearing three times in one 8 hour setting picking cotton at our employment.    Funny how KRNA used to play Nickleback  but now since that band is uncool, they haven't.  In the era of 1994, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots still live on but you don't hear Circus Of Power, Helmet and Killing Joke.  Think of ten years ago, Good Charlotte you couldn't escape hearing on the radio but now you don't anymore.  Los Lonely Boys came out with a debut that got played to death but 8 years later, they're forgotten in radio land.  Or Sister Hazel.  All For You makes them a one hit wonder, never mind they had a few more albums out after that.

Punk music of the 1990s has not aged very well. I really wasn't much into Rancid although Green Day is my choice of punk music, but KRNA considers them to rock and roll, so you can hear the usual Dookie hits.  Or Offspring's  Smash which somewhat holds up but every album after that they got to be a novelty act.  A lot like Smash Mouth.  Walking On The Sun is retro cool, Astro Lounge broke them with All Star, which made them a novelty act and after the third album nobody cared.  So they're playing county fairs and package deals with other washed up 90s acts.  Even Eve 6, which 15 years ago gave us Inside Out  is now a oldies act.  Like the rest, play for 15 minutes, just the hits and then hit the road to another town in the night. MXPX, basically Green Day light but speed metal due to a drummer with a sugar buzz and Torette's disease. Chick Magnet, they duplicated Green Day's Longview beat and got a minor hit for their trouble though you're more inclined to hear it on net radio.  They never did top Green Day, they came close with the Everpassing  Moment with Dave Grohl helping out but they blew their collective cool by then going for a Good Charlotte sound, with an eye on better sales.  That didn't work. But they're still around playing whenever they get a moment free from families and life situations.

Perhaps Blink 182 was the more serious contender to Green Day but the Blinkers seem to have a fixation with poo poo jokes and worse ones.  Dude Ranch is a poo poo joke itself, but Enema Of The State was a much better effort, a mature one at times although this year's event the boys couldn't help but change a few lines of their hits in a typical Animal House fashion.  The Mike Portnoy of punk drummers Travis Barker helped their sound a lot after he replaced the original drummer.  It's been said that Cheshire Cat, the album before Dude Ranch is one of the classic punk albums of the 1990s but once they enlisted the late Jerry Finn (Green Day/MXPX/Suicide Machines) to help guide them, they found their stride.  I'll give them this, the 2011 Neighborhoods album was a nice comeback album.  But even though they're in their 40s, they still can't stop telling poo poo jokes or playing the Cussing Song live (which can be found on Short Music For Short People on Fat Wreck Chords).  But at least they're still playing live, unlike Good Charlotte who has become a footnote to punk rock history despite rumors of a new album this year.

The lack of variety on Corporate Radio is a very sore subject and although this blog attempts to seek out the ones that did get some airplay, for some reason they don't now.   Make no mistake AC DC is good and their albums are classic, I just don't want to hear Back In Black on regular rotation the past 30 years.  And in the meantime Cumulus/Clear Channel overlook such bands like their counterparts The Angels (although Marsalies gets played once a month) or the even harder rocking Kings Of The Sun (the new Clifford Hoad led Rock Till You Die is better than anything KRNA plays new).  While Green Day gets the corporate love, none is shared for MXPX or Less Than Jake.  The Seattle Superbands of the 90s are on regular rotation but King's X, Atomic Opera, Ministry  and Helmet are on the outside looking in.  And don't get me started on Pink Floyd, since Porcupine Tree has been the best prog rock band in this era and KRNA still manages to pull out The Wall or Wish You Were Here (and of course Dark Side) instead.  And no King Crimson either.

Every day we have more new music to go with the past, there's never been so much out there and never has there's been so few ways to hear it, certainly not Corporate Radio.  Public Radio tries their best, but their format is about 4 hours before The World Cafe comes on.  And what the DJs play for new music isn't any better than the classic crap but at least it's a different torture.  Streaming is the way of the future for some but for me, it's never going to change me not buying anything and if there was a way we can hear it on the radio rather than a Smart phone at work I'm open to suggestion.

But there's a always a place for Radio Misfits and you can find them at the thrift store and the dollar section. You're better off just to take a bunch of CDs to work and listen to them.  But make sure you have a few to get through the night and have enough variety not to generate burnout like we do listening to the fucking FOX or KRNA at night.

Better yet, just give me silence.  It's better than four hours of earworms like Foolin' by Def Leppard in your head all night. 


  1. I can think of two 90's bands that I still think are as good or better than every band that came out back then that I still listen to all the time. The Toadies and Harvey Danger. Both bands only ever got one song played and when those songs ran their course, that was all radio was interested in. I suppose they needed to squeeze in another playing of some dreck by Eric Clapton or some other classic rock mainstay that was trying to stay relevant. That's too bad. There's a lot of great things that we could have all been enjoying. I hate radio, too. It sucks that I hate it because it's my original gateway into why I like music so much, and it's just awful. Sirius sounds like ass and their playlists haven't changed in five years (if the last time I checked them out is any example). I can't do the streaming thing. It just doesn't interest me. If I'm at home I'll play my music, and if I'm out I've got my own music these days. I'll never pay for it, that's for sure!

  2. I can go two further on the lesser known of the 90s, Mach Five and Big Back Forty a great record and then disappeared. The biggest problem is how FM format radio plays the same 200 songs over and over, Eric Clapton never gets played anymore outside of you know who.

    I doubt if I'll renew the Sirius radio when it expires in November. The playlist is different than regular radio but at the same time it gets redundant. Too much Bruce Springsteen and Pink Floyd especially Deep Tracks which hasn't been so deep lately. Since we're the last of the walking dinosaurs in searching for the elusive 45 or LP, I still enjoy spinning the black circle. I cannot get into the streaming either, it's overhyped and another way to chain the person to the smart phone or computer. We pay for buying the record or CD but I don't care to spring throw more money out the window for streaming something I already have in here.

    And Spotify I can guarantee you, doesn't have half the music that I would rather hear in the first place, despite their suggestions of crappy music that I don't want to hear. ;-)