Sunday, December 4, 2016



Regarding the outcome of the year 2016, John Oliver was 100% correct in his passionately, profusely profane assessment. Honestly, it has just felt like 2016 was the year that music died.

Just a mere 10 days into the new year of 2016, we all faced our first surprising and seismic loss within our collective music community as we were forced to say goodbye to David Bowie, who passed away from liver cancer just two days after his 69th birthday. Seven days later, we said goodbye to Dale "Buffin" Griffin, drummer /co-founder of Mott The Hoople and then, the very next day, Glenn Frey, singer/songwriter/guitarist/co-founder and leader of the Eagles passed away.

And the deaths just kept coming, which included but were in no way limited to the following....

Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane/Starship)
Signe Anderson (Jefferson Airplane)
Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire)
Denise Matthews a.k.a. Vanity (Vanity 6)
Sir George Martin
Keith Emerson
Malik Taylor a.k.a. Phife Dawg (A Tribe Called Quest)
Merle Haggard
Lonnie Mack
Billy Paul
Henry McCullough (Paul McCartney and Wings)
Attrel Cordes a.k.a. Prince Be (P.M. Dawn)
Bernie Worrell (George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic)
Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley)
Alan Vega (Suicide)
Toots Thielemans
Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr. (Buckwheat Zydeco)
Leonard Cohen
Leon Russell
Sharon Jones

and of course, beloved, beautiful, iconic Prince.

It is almost as if these people knew something that the rest of us did not...and of course, the election happened and while there's no need to go into that all over again, I can say that I am still in disbelief that we, in our collective history, have essentially returned to this dark place--a place that should have been long relegated to the history books with actions never to be repeated.

I sit here writing to you feeling more than disillusioned and confused and filled with more genuine fear than I ever have felt before regarding the state of the world. I am somehow able to keep the dark feelings at bay. Sometimes through the business of work. Other times through all manner of distractions. But, of course, reality sets in again and I am unable to help but to keep hoping for an escape hatch from our impending future, a hatch that will never be opened because it just doesn't exist.

So, what now? Yes, the world will keep turning and the sun shall rise again but honestly, what now? I have no answers. I just do not. But all I am able to offer to myself and to you is that however we do choose to love each other, to hold each other up and to keep some sense of solidarity, we should continued to love and hold and attain solidarity even harder than ever. And wherever we find that solace, treasure it even more deeply than before.

For me, solace is found through my family and the comfort and solitude found at home. Solace is found through having a sense of purpose through my career in the real world as a preschool teacher. Solace is found through the connections I have made with the people I see and know throughout Madison, WI on a daily basis as well as through the people I have forged connections with within the internet community, friends near and far, friends from throughout life to those I have never met face-to-face.

And of course, there is music. Music sweet music.

To think of all of the connections created just through music, I am humbled, even moreso that I am now a tad more aware of the small place I find myself within the Madison music community, which consists of musicians and recording artists to local DJs and radio stations as well as concert venues and most definitely, the record stores and their owners and customers. With music, for all of its losses this year, there were some wondrous grace notes I experienced as well.

I am endlessly thankful to Steve Manley, owner/proprietor of B-Side Records as well as Dave Zero of Mad City Music Exchange, for all of the music that I purchased, discovered and was exposed to solely through them and their gorgeous stores.

I am thankful to Kevin Peckham, Kevin Ruppert, Dave Black and the entire student crew of WSUM -FM, not only for again hosting the WLHA Resurrection Reunion weekend event this past summer, but for being the finest radio station in the city of Madison bar none as they consistently expose me to new, vibrant music and possess the programming and exciting voices that make radio such an incredible environment to be a part of just as a listener. And rewinding back to that WLHA weekend, I am forever grateful to Kelly Klaschus, Sue Grass and Lisa Grunenberg, all beautiful people I met during my college years within student radio--connections that mean even more with each passing year, the warmth of which I am certain is heard over the airwaves when we have gotten together these past few years.

I thank my friend Randy Ballwahn, WSUM DJ/host of "Freak Scene Radio" as well as drummer of Madison's German Art Students, for inviting me to take part at his birthday party earlier this year as one of a host of DJs. I am thankful to DJ Nightway, WSUM host of "The Mixtape," truly one of the finest shows I have had the pleasure to hear, as her luxurious voice and impeccable taste continues to push me to be a better radio host myself--and as we have connected on-line, her kindness and humor is endlessly appreciated and welcomed.

And of course, I am more than compelled to thank Tom Teuber and Lindsay Wood Davis for allowing me to become a part of WVMO and give birth to "Savage Radio," which saw its one year anniversary last month. As I announced on-air, as much as I treasured my time as a college radio DJ at WLHA, I know that for now, I appreciate the privilege even more because there are no guarantees and who knew that I would ever have a second chance at radio again. Each week is a highlight and my gratitude to them, to my fellow DJs like Jeff Perry, David Cobb, and Jim Gunderson and once again to Mr. Davis, who has elicited such unexpected praise towards me, is bottomless. And for those people who have chosen to listen to my show, even with the demands of their lives, I am speechless.

I have to thank the young musicians within the Madison music community from Post Social, Modern Mod, Dash Hounds, Trophy Dad, Slow Pulp, Wilder Deitz Group, Pollinators, Gloss Coats, the New York based gobbinjr and just recently, Madison's very own Disq and Thompson Springs, for all of their creativity as well as time, energy and friendship given to me through print and radio interviews, correspondence, sent demos and the like, and for just allowing me to gather a window into their respective artistic processes. You inspire me to no end...all of you!

And I have to thank Lara Mondae, overnight DJ/host on my all time favorite radio station WXRT-FM Chicago's Finest Rock, whom I heard for the very first time while in Chicago this past October and have struck up a correspondence with on-line. Her alluring voice is supremely inviting and as her time on-air encompasses epic 8 hour shifts, I am continuously stunned and amazed that she is able to keep her wits about herself. Her energy, enthusiasm and overall on-air warmth after such lengthy spells on-air to this peerless radio station is unquestionable as she moves brilliantly throughout the night for the city of Chicago and for anyone who chooses to listen outside of my home city. I sincerely hope that the "XRT powers-that-be appreciate her indisputable gifts for doing what she does, and for how damn well she does it, is no small feat. And yes, anytime that she is able to send me a line in response is appreciated more than I could ever tell her myself.

Looking at this listing, I realize that this is all possible solely because of music and for that, 2016 was not all bad and additionally, this is precisely what I need to hold onto even tighter in these turbulent times. So let us hold onto each other and onto all things wonderful as this year ends--and let the music be our guides.

What has music given to you this year? Why not make a list? You may be surprised at what you discover. And in doing so, listen to your favorite music...and as always...PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!

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