Saturday, March 31, 2018


March 1, 2018
"Time" performed by Pink Floyd
"Song To A Seagull" performed by Joni Mitchell
'Things" performed by Joe Walsh
"Tell Me Why" performed by Neil Young
"Over And Over And Over" performed by Jack White-WSPC PREMIERE

March 2, 2018
"Pray For Me" performed by The Weeknd with Kendrick Lamar-WSPC PREMIERE
"Zen Archer" performed by Todd Rundgren

"The Everlasting Gaze" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Discipline" (live rehearsals 2008) performed by Nine Inch Nails
"Judith" performed by A Perfect Circle
"All My Life" performed by Foo Fighters
"Little Sister" performed by Queens Of The Stone Age

March 5, 2018
'Telluride Speed" performed by Ryley Walker-WSPC PREMIERE

"Wally" (unreleased) performed by Prince
"Right On" performed by The Roots with Joanna Newsom
"She Works Out Too Much" performed by MGMT-WSPC PREMIERE
"Influenza" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Loving You" performed by Jonathan Wilson-WSPC PREMIERE

March 6, 2018
"Highway To Hell" performed by AC/DC
"The Last DJ" performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

"Shook Ones Part II" performed by Mobb Deep
"Rattle That Lock" performed by David Gilmour
"Red Flag Day" performed by U2
"The Alien" performed by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow-WSPC PREMIERE

March 7, 2018
"Let's Go" performed by Ernie Isley
"Young Americans" performed by David Bowie
"Rewind" performed by The Amazing-WSPC PREMIERE
"Always See Your Face" performed by Love

March 8, 2018
"Body And Soul" performed by Billie Holiday
"Black Is The Color Of My true Love's  Hair" performed by Nina Simone
"I Get Out" performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
"Song For Sharon" performed by Joni Mitchell
"Flower Of The  Universe" performed by Sade-WSPC PREMIERE

March 9, 2018
"More Than This" performed by Roxy Music
"Holding On" performed by The War On Drugs

"What's Good" performed by Son! featuring Emily Massey-WSPC PREMIERE
"At All" performed by Kaytranada
"Sway Daisy" performed by Little Dragon
"Backstage Girl" performed by DJ Shadow

March 12, 2018
"Baba O'Reilly" performed by The Who
"Brand New  Cadillac" performed by The Clash
"Regatta De Blanc" performed by The Police

"You're Gonna Miss Me" performed by The 13th Floor Elevators
"The Passenger" performed by Iggy Pop
"Secrets" performed by Van Halen
"No Time To Lose" performed by The Tarney/Spencer Band
"Skateaway" performed by Dire Straits

March 13, 2018
"Skylab" performed by Steve Dahl & Teenage Radiation
"Crew Cut Hero" performed by Steve Dahl & Teenage Radiation
"Oh Wally" performed by Steve Dahl

March 14, 2018
"Hawking" performed by Todd Rundgren
"N.E.O." performed by Thomas Dolby
"Rocket Man" performed by Elton John
"The Galaxy Song" performed by Monty Python's Flying Circus

March 16, 2018
"Come To Your Rescue" performed by Thinkman
"White Flags Of Winter Chimneys" performed by Wendy and Lisa
"Keep Talking" performed by Pink Floyd
"Broken Things" performed by Ryan Adams
"Days That Got Away" performed by MGMT-WSPC PREMIERE

March 17, 2018

all songs performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"7 Shades Of Black"
"Thirty Three"
"The End Is The Beginning Is The End"

March 18, 2018
"Rise And Shine" performed by Robert Glasper Experiment with the Metropole Orchestra
"Let Go" performed by August Greene-WSPC PREMIERE
"Waterfalls" performed by Meshell Ndegeocello-WSPC PREMIERE
"Days Of Wild" performed by Prince
"Hold Out Your Hand/You By My Side" performed by Chris Squire

March 19, 2018
"Over The Canyon" performed by FDeluxe

"Sunburst Finish" performed by Utopia
"Madonna Of The Wasps" performed by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
"One Of The Millions" performed by XTC
"Folds Like Origami" performed by Kainalu-WSPC PREMIERE
"Beginners" performed by Sjowgren

March 20, 2018
"Jump In The Air And Stay There" performed by Erykah Badu

"Sweatin' The Jonses" performed by Wilder Deitz Group-WSPC PREMIERE
"Good God Damn" performed by Arcade Fire
"Touch" performed by Daft Punk with Paul Williams
"Walk With You" performed by Ringo Starr with Paul McCartney

March 21, 2018
"Bone Machine" performed by Pixies
"Ya Slippin'" performed by  Boogie Down Productions
"Mountain Song" performed by Jane's Addiction
"Mine All Mine" performed by Van Halen
"Traitor" performed by The Sugarcubes

March 22, 2018
"Ghost World" performed by Aimee Mann
"What Did I Do With My Life?" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"How?" performed by  John Lennon
"Goin' On" performed by The Flaming Lips
"Teaching Little Fingers To Play" performed by Garbage

"Crystal Ball" performed by Prince

March 23, 2018
"Bachelor Kisses" performed by The Go-Betweens
"Time (Clock Of The Heart)" performed by Culture Club
"It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back)" performed by Eurythmics
"It's A Mistake" performed by Men At Work
"Distant Early Warning" performed by Rush

March 24, 2018
"Reach Out" performed by Cheap Trick
"Move!" performed by Public Enemy
"The Hand That Feeds" performed by Nine Inch Nails
"The Call Up" performed by The Clash
"You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks" performed by Funkadelic
"The Kids Are Alright" performed by The Who

"Line Of Sight" performed by Elise Trouw-WSPC PREMIERE

March 25, 2018
"We're Not Gonna Take It" performed by The Who
"Trapped" performed by Utopia
"Sheep" performed by Pink Floyd

"Every Little Thing" performed by Yes
"I Won't Pay To Buy It" (demo) performed by Imperial Drag\
"Jackie Blue" performed by Ozark Mountain Daredevils
"Forever Live And Die" performed by Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark
"Lay Your Hands On Me" performed by The Thompson Twins
"High Flying Bird" performed by Elton John

March 26, 2018
"Beauty" performed by James Iha

"Didn't Hurt A Bit" performed by XTC
"Wolf Eats Wolf" performed by Tony Allen
"The Democratic Circus" performed by Talking Heads
"Lone Rhinoceros" performed by Adrian Belew

March 27, 2018
"Journal Of Ardency" performed by Class Actress
"Pitch The Baby" performed by Cocteau Twins
"Modernaire" performed by Dez Dickerson
"Miss Understood" (unreleased) performed by The Family
"Killer" performed by Seal

March 28, 2018
"Maybe I'm Amazed" performed by Paul McCartney
"The Rain Song" performed by Led Zeppelin
"Humoresque" performed by Jack White-WSPC PREMIERE

March 29, 2018
"Right On Brotha" performed by Miles Davis & Robert Glasper with Stevie Wonder
"The Space Program" performed by A Tribe Called Quest
"Calypso Frelimo" performed by Miles Davis
D'Angelo and Questlove live footage from 2013

March 30, 2018
"Overture" from "Jesus Christ Superstar" original 1970
"Heaven On Their Minds" performed by Carl Anderson from "Jesus Christ Superstar" 1973 film version
"Bell Bottom Blues" performed by Derek and the Dominoes
"Beyond The 7th Sky" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"Spirit's Lullaby (For Ikal)" performed by Wilder Deitz-WSPC PREMIERE

March 31, 2018
"Corporation" (live) performed by  Jack White-WSPC PREMIERE
"Atomic Dog 2017" performed by Meshell Ndegeocello-WSPC PREMIERE
"Trafalgar Square" performed by Jonathan Wilson-WSPC PREMIERE
"James" performed by MGMT-WSPC PREMIERE
"Gethsemane" performed by Ted Neeley from "Jesus Christ Superstar" 1973 film version


1. "Matter Of Time" performed by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
2. "Unraveling" performed by Elise Trouw
3. "Pull Me Out Alive" performed by Kaki King
4. "Big Tall Man" performed by Liz Phair
5. "Malibu" performed by Hole
6. "Seeds" performed by Georgia Anne Muldrow
7. "You Don't Know My Name" performed by Alicia Keys
8. "Bruised But Not Broken" performed by Joss Stone
9. "Bad" performed by Kirsty MacColl
10."Calling It Quits" performed by Aimee Mann
11."Heartless" performed by Heart

1. "Shine A Little Love" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
2. "I Wanna Prove To You" performed by The Lemon Twigs
3. "Joining A Fan Club' performed by Jellyfish
4. "Condition Of The Heart" performed by Prince and the Revolution
5. "Pi" performed by Kate Bush
6. "Circle" performed by Anna Wang
7. "The Bed's Too Big Without You" performed by The Police
8. "Kiss All The Stars" performed by The Cold and Lovely
9. "Rattle That Lock" performed by David Gilmour
10."The Spirit Of Radio" performed by Rush

1. "Zodiac Sign" performed by Imperial Drag
2. "How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us" performed by R.E.M.
3. "Prepare Your Coffin" performed by Tortoise
4. "Sunburst Finish" performed by Utopia
5. "Save The Whales" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
6. "Rollercoaster" performed by Everything But The Girl
7. "Little Dark Age" performed by MGMT
8. "Anondah" performed by Jason Falkner
9. "The English Roses" performed by Pretenders
10."Music To Walk Home By" performed by Tame Impala

1. "Maybe I'm Amazed" performed by Paul McCartney
2. "Love Will Find A Way" performed by Yes
3. "Whenever You're On My Mind" performed by Marshall Crenshaw
4. "Easter Theater" performed by XTC
5. "Duke's Travels/Duke's End" performed by Genesis
6. "You're The Best Thing About Me" performed by U2
7. "She's The One" performed by World Party
8. "Bachelor Kisses" performed by The Go-Betweens
9. "Beauty Of A Dream" performed by Thomas Dolby

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Released August 26, 2016
Released May 7, 2017
SYNESTHESIA THOUGHTS: By now, I am more than certain that you have seen these incredible music videos on social media, all filmed in one take and starring a young woman practically gliding from one instrument to the next, multi-tracking herself in real time via live looping and performing sensational "mash ups" featuring Foo Fighters merged with Bobby Caldwell or Radiohead mixed with The Police. Her timing and performances are as impeccable as her musical taste...and to think, this young woman is all of 18 years old.

Elise Trouw is her name and I was as gobsmacked by her videos as I know m any of you have also been. For me, I was so impressed, I needed to discover if she happened to have any music of her own and excitedly, I discovered her album "Unraveling," which was released just last year around her 18th birthday and as impressed as I already was with her videos,  her album show cases  without question that she is the real deal!

Over 10 tracks, all of which Trouw either wrote or co-wrote and on which she sings every note and performs every single instrument herself, "Unraveling" is a lovely slice of expertly produced pop songs which straddle the divide between alternative rock of the title track, funk ("She Talking," "Target"), light jazz ("X Marks The Spot," "Illuminate," "Your Way") , thumping club jams ("Burn"), dreamy bedroom pop ("Awake") and two gentle piano ballads ("Catch My Breath," "Random Thoughts") which almost feel like very early Todd Rundgren selections. Yes, the lyrical content explores the eternal pop song themes of love and loss, but Trouw, through her superior musicianship, her smoky vocals and stunning gifts with melody, makes everything feel as fresh as a new day's sunrise.

Just one album in and I am ready for more!
Released October 7, 2017
SYNESTHESIA THOUGHTS: It was music that I never really thought that I would ever hear.

It is difficult being a fan of the band XTC as people like myself are never able to reconcile the fact that despite that this band created, produced and released some of the exceedingly finest music of the 1980's and 1990's, the band remains in considerable and increasing obscurity due to their aging fan base and nearly invisible presence upon radio stations. Certainly the band's lack of touring for much of their career and their official disbandment in 2006, even then after six years of inactivity, did not hing to keep their collective name in the forefront of music listeners' minds. But still...

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a new release from late 2017 that features the talents of former XTC bandmates, singer/songwriter/bassist Colin Moulding and drummer Terry Chambers, reunited for the first time in 35 years (!) for a delightful four song EP that superbly serves up an exquisitely idiosyncratic slice of literate English pop.

While as a member of XTC, Moulding signified the reality that it is not always about quantity but about quality as former bandmate Andy Partridge wrote the lion's share of XTC's music yet, song for song, Moulding was unquestionably his songwriting equal. For this new musical collective moniker of TC&I (clearly a play upon the name "XTC" while also cheekily referring to their own names) and their splendid "Great Aspirations," Moulding's songwriting and wonderful voice and musicianship take center stage with four glorious songs that made me simultaneously long for the their XTC past while also giving me hope that even more new music will follow in the near future.

Opening with "Scatter Me," easily the jauntiest tune I have heard about one's mortality and being reduced to ashes ready to be spread into the world, and continuing with the..ahem...aspirational "Greatness," the melancholic tale of gentrification entitled "Kenny," and finally, concluding with "Comrades Of Pop," the playfully stern warning to new, upstart bands wanting to get through the doors of the music industry, TC&I have deftly and artfully taken up the mantle that XTC placed downwards years ago.

Wry, classy, and elegant, TC&I's "Great Aspirations" is a more than warmly welcome addition into the music collections of not only longtime XTC fans, but simple anyone who thrills with the sounds of that distinctively British perspective that fully charms and intoxicates. Welcome back, dear fellows. I do hope that you choose to stay a while this time.
Released February 9, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC: I am not typically one that utilizes the term "return to form," as I think it would be presumptuous (and a tad insulting) for me, a listener, to suggest that the artists in question had somehow "lost their way" artistically. Yet, in the case of songwriters/singers/multi-instrumentalists Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, the duo collectively known as MGMT, there was indeed something almost dangerously elusive about their self titled third album (released September 17, 2013) that felt to be more defiantly "art for art's sake," making for an experience that I have not returned to. With "Little Dark Age," their first release in almost five years, MGMT have not dialed down the weirdness by any stretch but what they have accomplished, a greatly so, is to weave in the eccentricities with their striking gift with melodics and pop hooks, so evident within their 2007 debut.

Opening the album with what is easily the best pop tune of the year so far, the deliriously clever "She Works Out Too Much," complete with alluring additional vocals from Cellars' Allene Norton (who performs double duty with singing and supplying the voice of the excessively chirpy workout girl) and an instrumental track that sounds like the percolating lost incidental music from a Super Mario Bros. game starring out of tune keyboards and synthesizers left over from early '80s Todd Rundgren albums, briskly and brilliantly sets the stage for a work that delves into the dark corners of our 21st century solipsism while existing as a work that is remarkably playful given the subject matter.

From the secretive title track to the warmly synthetic dreams of "Me & Michael" and "James" and hypnotic haze of the appropriately entitled "Days That Got Away," and the stoned soul jam "Hand It Over" all sit more than comfortably with the up to the millisecond "TSLAMP (Time Spent Looking At My Phone)" and the disturbingly poppy sounding self-lacerating teenage suicide note "When You Die" (which reminded me of Elton John's strikingly nasty "I Think I'm Going To Kill Myself" from 1972)  plus its more intensely desperate sounding twin "One Thing Left To Try" and the interior "When You're Small," all of which congeals into a woozy, sinister slab of 21st century psychedelia that houses the band's most contagious melodies in years.
Released March 9, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC: As with Chris Dave and the Drumhedz, it is still very early in the musical year of 2018 and we have yet another entry that is easily one of the very best albums of the year.

August Greene, the new collective that is the trio of drummer Karriem Riggins, pianist/keyboardist Robert Glasper and rapper/lyricist Common, have arrived with a brilliant,  beautifully pensive, soulfully meditative debut release that explores, motivates and celebrates the notion of Black American excellence and exceptionalism, especially in the post-Obama through-the-looking-glass arrival in the current Trump landscape.

Working alongside bassist Burniss Travis, vocalist Samora Pinderhughes and even a lush guest appearance from Brandy on a cover of the Sounds Of Blackness' "Optimistic," August Greene weaves a sublime yet consistently head bobbing spell fueled with Riggins' J Dilla inspired jaggedness, and Glasper's almost mournful Vince Guaraldi stylings as Common performs less as a rapper and more as an orator, stepping into the role of leader with silken ease.

Tracks from "Black Kennedy," "Practice," "Let Go" and more follow a gracefully subdued path while "No Apologies" and the 12 minute finale "Swisha Suite" grow considerably more propulsive and experimental, the entire proceedings flow as effortlessly as liquid, showcasing and therefore,  elevating 21st century hip-hop far past its current status of superficial, mumble trappings. August Greene's self titled debut is as elegant as it is streetwise and the path for all who listen leads to a higher and higher plane. 
Released March 16, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC:  The return of bassist/singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, four years after her gorgeous "Comet, Come To Me" (released June 2, 2014), is equal parts most welcome as well as superbly audacious.

With "Ventriloquism," Ndegeocello and her ace band do not perform a set of newly written originals, but rather a collection of 11 cover songs of selections originally performed and released in the 1980's and 1990's. The result is a stunning, atmospheric album where the traces of the original songs, once performed by the likes of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force, TLC, Janet Jackson, Ralph Tresvant and others, are obviously apparent even as Ndegeocello somehow, someway makes these songs, so particularly idiosyncratic, all her own...and that even includes her BOLD re-workings of no less than George Clinton's "Atomic Dog," Sade's "Smooth Operator," and good gracious, Prince's elegiac, devastating "Sometimes It Snows In April." 

Succulent and oozing with invention and innovation, this also may be one of the year's very best albums.
Released March 23, 2018
NEW 2018 MUSIC: You know, I had just about had had it up to here with Jack White--at least, with the releases of his previous two official albums both solo "Lazaretto" (released June 10, 2014) and with the third album from The Dead Weather entitled "Dodge And Burn" (released September 25, 2015).

To my ears, those albums were two disappointing works that felt as if White had run out of ideas completely as they were each by turns, squeaky, squawky, shrill, sadly recycled and armed with a level of entitled cultural appropriation that was borderline offensive (honestly, Jack Black is blacker than Jack White) and down right pouty as his feud, such as it is, with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach was one that he was definitely losing as Auerbach was making exceedingly better albums by this point.

Perhaps the four years away have been a great time for Jack White to re-group and re-think his approaches, especially with those silly boundaries he places upon himself from color schemes and strict adherence to archaic recording technology which does smack of arrogance rather than preference. With "Boarding House Reach," his third solo release, White has thrown out the rule book altogether and clearly sounds like he is having fun being lost in the unpredictable throes of creation Because of that kid-in-a-candy-store exuberance, the album works incredibly well, making this the first White related release I have thoroughly enjoyed since his first solo album "Blunderbuss" (released April 23, 2012).

Opening with the power ballad/gospel tinged utopian plea of "Connected By Love" and closing with "Humoresque," allegedly based upon an original tune composed by none other than Al Capone and filled end to end with all manner of spoken word segments, funk workouts, conga lines, deranged hip-hop beats, vocoder weirdness, bizarre synthesized advertisements as if Jim Morrison created television infomercials from a backwoods revival tent and of course, White's trademark guitar hero slashings. If it sounds like a mess, maybe it is. But for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the "anything goes" aesthetic as I had no idea of what would be arriving next, making the entirety of the album one surprise after another as it felt to be a work of full artistic rejuvenation.

And if he brings back The Raconteurs, we'll definitely be solid again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


"Invisible airwaves
Crackle with life
Bright antennae bristle
With the energy
Emotional feedback
On a timeless wavelength
Baring a gift beyond priceless
Almost free..."
-"The Spirit Of Radio"
lyrics by Neil Peart  
music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
performed by Rush

Yes, I know. Things change. Hell, everything changes and nothing lasts forever. But still...ever still, I am stunned and tremendously saddened with this latest farewell.

Chicago's premier classic rock radio station WLUP 97.9 FM, eternally known as "The Loop," has now ceased to be. As of the stroke of midnight, as Friday, March 9, 2018 became Saturday, March 10, 2018, legendary Chicago DJ, and one of the original rock radio bad boys, Steve Dahl sailed The Loop on its final journey as the station, now owned by the Educational Media Foundation, made its inexplicable transformation into a new contemporary Christian music network. And with the defiant, goin' down swingin' hard rock middle finger, which arrived in the three song set of Motley Crue's "Shout At The Devil," Iron Maiden's "Number Of The Beast" and the final song, most fittingly AC/DC's "Highway To Hell," The Loop said goodbye to Chicago after 41 years of service in the name of radio and rock and roll.

While I probably hadn't listened to the station since some time during my college years, it did not matter at all because The Loop was an essential piece in the complex puzzle that made up the city of Chicago. It was so much more than a station that directly influenced me, my love of radio and rock and roll at the absolute best time of my life, it was a station that served to represent Chicago triumphantly and with irreverence, grit, guitars and glory. The Loop is as much "Chicago" as the metallic sonic onslaught of the 'L trains, the majestic architecture that surrounds the city, the funky salt-of-the-Earth backbone of its neighborhoods and citizens, and a city landmark for all times, much like Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower (I will NEVER call it "Willis"!). The Loop IS Chicago. The Loop IS rock and roll. And while its identity is forever cemented within generations of Chicago listeners, it doesn't make it any less sad that it is now gone.
While I am unable to remember the exact day and date, I will NEVER forget how the experience made me feel. In my life during my childhood leading up to my year in 5th grade in the 1979-1980 school year, the radio was an essential piece of my upbringing as it was ALWAYS part of the fabric of my family. WBBM-AM for constant news and sports. WJPC and WVON for soul, gospel and most specifically for my Mother, Rev. Jesse Jackson's weekly Operation P.U.S.H. broadcasts each and every Saturday morning.

Again, I do not remember how or when, but the radio truly came alive for me when I discovered WLS-AM and its rotating cavalcade of DJs with the late, great Larry Lujack existing as my first radio hero and the terrific radio ready music of pop, rock, R&B and yes, even disco serving as the soundtrack with the likes of Peter Frampton, Boston, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, KISS, the Eagles, Electric Light Orchestra, Cheap Trick and others of their ilk becoming personal favorites. Yet, by the time I was 10 going on 11, I distinctly remember growing a tad fatigued with WLS and just desiring something new. I do not remember how, when or why I made that very first switch to the FM dial, but I do remember precisely what I heard.
The song was "The Spirit Of Radio" by Rush and it was a piece of music that could not have been more prophetic and more of a fanfare if it had even wanted. The sound of the song and the fidelity of FM radio made me hear music and the radio in an entirely new way, so much so, it was as if a brand new set of ears had been placed upon my head! Whatever I had been looking for was immediately found and very quickly, my AM radio days were over in favor of the exceedingly wider horizons of FM, and most specifically, The Loop!
With all due respect to the great hard rockin' WMET-FM of which I was a passionate listener, WLUP-FM became my go-to radio station for this next and crucial wave in my musical/radio education as well as my building worldview. Starring the first rate presence of radio personalities that sort of felt like the characters from television's "WKRP In Cincinnati," yet they had either just crashed through the bars well beyond closing time or had otherwise been released from jail for all manner of belligerent behavior, WLUP-FM truly felt like a band of gleefully unapologetic anarchists of the airwaves. The playfully flippant Jonathan Brandmeier. The smoky, sexy late night voice of Patti Haze. And most of all, there was no one more revolutionary and dangerous than Steve Dahl and Garry Meier (sorry Howard Stern, as far as I am concerned, you are still chasing Dahl).

Hearing this cast of radio characters, it was easy to hear how bullshit detectors were on high alert and they did not suffer fools whatsoever with that trademark Chicagoan resolve. But, what they did offer, and happily so, was an allegiance to rock and roll so steadfast that for me, the station functioned sort of like what I would have imagined a street gang to have been like. The Loop harbored a "take no prisoners" attitude and aesthetic that made you feel as if the radio airwaves were their turf that was fought over and had to be defended. The Loop presented themselves as the toughest by far with rock and roll as its armor and the now iconic back in black T-shirt as the uniform known citywide.

Steve Dahl and Lorelei the Loop Girl, Comiskey Park 1979 

Now when I first listened to The Loop, Steve Dahl and Garry Meier were the morning shock jocks and I never heard him in action due to my parents' listening habits (plus the fact that they would never tolerate that level of insanity so early in the day). But man, I certainly knew of him and his controversial, newsworthy antics, of which the still infamous "Disco Demolition Night," held July 12, 1979 at Comiskey Park (no, I will NEVER call it the U.S. Cellular Field or the even more impersonal and blue blooded Guaranteed Rate Field), where Dahl exploded stacks of disco records to the riotous delight of rock fans and therefore the second game of the White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers double-header was forced to be cancelled due to the damage made to the playing field. reverberates powerfully.

Since I was 10 years old at the time and really had no concept of the possible subversive cultural, racial and homophobic politics that may or may not have been weaved into the event, for me, that night, as I witnessed it on the news and of course, heard about it on the radio, felt like the anarchy I adored in John Landis' "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978) was brought to vividly, vibrant life.
Garry Meier and Steve Dahl

All of that being said, I never really heard Dahl and Meier until they were jettisoned from WLUP and joined the then new WLS-FM, when I listened to them religiously during my middle school years in the afternoons before switching right back over to The Loop each and every night. Even during periods when I was under punishment from my parents for poor grades, I still found ways to to listen to The Loop, for this was my safe way to join the rebellion, such as it was, with my own act of rebellious behavior. The Loop was precisely what I needed for so many years of my younger life and I am unable to imagine what my life woud have been without it and what it gave to me.

Yes, The Loop was the home of those aforementioned radio rebel DJs and high adrenaline advertisements ("Sunday!!! Sunday!!! SUNDAY!!!!") but my musical horizons were blasted wide open, expanding the rock and roll universe for me rapturously. While my favorites from my AM radio years were still present and accounted for, I was graced with so much more than hit singles. The Loop was the station to play those deep cuts, the longer tracks, the full versions and even entire albums in full. It was the station that introduced me to Rush, Genesis, Yes, The Who, The Police and so, so many more bands that I will cherish forever and ever.

In fact, my eternal love for Led Zeppelin began with The Loop as I distinctly remember one full weekend entitled "Led Zeppelin A to Z," during which every Zeppelin track was played in alphabetical order. I listened to as much as I was able that weekend and I was enraptured and transported.

In another instance, The Loop was the station that helped to re-acquaint me with Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (released November 30, 1979), an album that I received on Christmas Day 1979, listened to in its entirety on that day and was so terrified by it that I actually felt it to being "evil," that I shelved it into the vinyl stacks in my house. Out of sight. Out of mind. But on The Loop, I soon heard one song from the album on one day and then, another and another, and soon, I decided to dig the album out from its hiding place and give it a listen again. I was still frightened but I began to very slowly realize that I was hearing a superlative work of art that was challenging absolutely everything I thought that I knew about rock and roll, lyricism, poetry, albums that served as storytelling as well as psychoanalysis. Again, The Loop was instrumental in changing the way I heard music and to this day, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" remains one of the best albums I have ever heard in my lifetime. Without The Loop, that album still may have been hidden among my parents' record collection.

Dr. Demento

The Loop was also the home to a series of syndicated radio programming that served to deepen and expand my musical horizons. How I adored "Rockline," a weekly interview series hosted by Bob Coburn who engaged one musical hero after another in conversation, along with call in questions from fans just like me (I can still hear the theme son in my brain). "The Dr. Demento Radio Show," two full hours of comedic tunes, novelty songs and bizarre sonic ditties (Barnes & Barnes' "Fish Heads," anyone?), solidified the subversive, anarchistic vibe of the station. 

But, first and foremost, it was the music. ALWAYS the rock and roll music that made me constantly wish for more, to be inspired to race to my drums and bash away, to house rock star dreams and visions, and mostly, to just float away on roaring symphonies of guitars, carrying my teenage heart to wherever it wished to take me.

As my musical horizons and listening habits expanded even further by the end of high school and especially, upon heading off for college, I stepped aside from The Loop and gave my attention and devotion to WXRT-FM, which for me will eternally e the greatest radio station I will ever hear. That being said, I never turned my back upon The Loop and even after years of being away from Chicago and not listening to that station, I have NEVER forgotten it and all that it gave to me at the very span of time when I needed it most. Even with the advent of the internet, streaming, satellite radio stations and the avarice driven corporate take over of radio stations coast-to-coast, the kind of which that has bled any sense of originality, region and location, individuality and integrity completely dry, The Loop continued onwards, waving that rock and roll flag for Chicago as proudly and as defiantly as it was able.

That is, until now...

Steve Dahl, the final Loop broadcast March 9, 2018

Upon hearing the news that The Loop was sold and purchased, and with a complete format alteration to Christian music, I felt as if I had been sucker punched. I was in utter disbelief without question as The Loop was just one of those Chicago staples that seemed would outlive me and generations after me for it felt to be so entrenched into Chicago's identity. It still doesn't feel real that when I return to my home city and spin that dial to 97.9 FM, The Loop, after 41 years, will simply not be there.

So, I feel the need to hope that for all of the people who listened and loved and were fiercely loyal to The Loop, whatever spirit of radio it instilled into all of us remains...just as proudly and as defiantly as it did when we were kids, passionately listening to and debating rock and roll just as the adults conversed and debated about sports teams. Yet still, Chicago has lost a crucial piece of its overall soundtrack and in some fashion, I have lost a piece of my childhood with The Loop's sudden absence. I have my memories. I have my music. I just wish that it could still be there for the next wave of kids who need that space for rebellion and anarchy, irreverence and audacity, all of which wrapped up in the heftiest serving of classic rock, so imaginatively presented as it was for my generation.

All I can do right now is to say, THANK YOU" to WLUP-FM as this station truly threaded an entire city together, and so wondrously graced my life. In fact, I think one particular tribute saidit all for me and it was one as delivered by WXRT-FM...
"We grew up together." Indeed.

And the both of them raised me...

WLUP-FM 97.9 THE LOOP 1977-2018

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Released November 17, 2017
523 pages

How did he do it??? Even after reading this extraordinary book, I am still shaking my head. Just how did he do it???

For those of you who have or still know me in the real world or for those of you who have been regular visitors to this blogsite, all of you will know emphatically that the artist forever known as Prince will eternally hold a crucial place as one-third of my musical Holy Trinity (with The Beatles and Todd Rundgren as the other two essential pieces of this specific triumvirate).

Ever since that summer's day, at the age of fifteen during the opening weekend of his debut feature film "Purple Rain" (1984) as I walked into that movie theater as a complete skeptic and emerged afterwards as a complete convert, I have passionately followed every inch of His Royal Badness' career and supreme artistry from album to album, from B-side to side project to unreleased bootlegs, from one pseudonym to the next, to every confounding musical stylistic change and finally, to his shocking passing nearly two years ago on April 21, 2016, and throughout all of the years and music, I have consistently wondered just how did he ever accomplish all that he did indeed achieve...and powerfully so.

Yes, there are all of the legends of his prolific nature, creating new songs tirelessly and endlessly filling up the mythical Vault with an amount of material that it would take a lifetime to hear it all, and to top it all off with the epic performances, the music videos, the films, etc...Without question, we know that everything that happened did indeed happen but it still seems impossible for there are only so many hours in one day and for Prince, it seemed as if he was able to manipulate time itself in order to amass his musical legacy.

Every so often over the years, I would come across a book that would help to give me a window into this magical, musical world, most notably, books and material compiled and written by Per Nilsen, all of which are now either difficult to find and/or enormously expensive due to their rarity. But now, I believe that I have read a work that has exceeded all of my expectations for what a volume of Prince "behind-the scenes" could possibly be, so much so that I think it has also transcended its core subject matter to make a grand statement about the nature of art, inspiration and creativity itself.

Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Session 1983 and 1984 from Author Duane Tudahl (once an associate of the aforementioned Per Nilsen) is indispensable, for fans of Prince and frankly, of music itself. This meticulous, exhaustively researched tome, complete with prologue, epilogue and an introduction written by like minded and self described "Prince scholar" Ahmir "Questlove' Thompson, Tudahl takes one specific period in Prince's musical history from January 1983 through December 1984 and details it extensively in almost diary format, all the while chronicling the end of the era of "1999" (released October 27, 1982), the beginnings and recordings of the songs that would constitute "Purple Rain" (released June 25, 1984) plus The Time's "Ice Cream Castle" (released July 2, 1984), "Apollonia 6" (released October 1, 1984), Shelia E.'s "The Glamorous Life" (released June 5, 1984) and even the bulk of what would become Prince and the Revolution's "Around The World In A Day" (released April 22, 1985) and even the one and only release from "The Family" (released August 19, 1985). 

Add to even that, there are the details of the concerts performed and rehearsed, the writing, filming and release of Director Albert Magnoli's "Purple Rain" film plus the preparations and frustrations of the "Purple Rain" tour, the disillusion of The Time and the rise of The Family, Prince's struggles with post "Purple Rain" superstardom after having existed as a cult hero, his constant need to find inspiration to create and his astonishing dedication to his craft throughout.

In addition to Tudahl's clean, elegant prose, he includes copious interview segments, both archived and newly granted, from a variety of the principal cast of characters of this specific era. Memories from The Revolution, The Time, The Family, Vanity/Apollonia 6 and more are all here plus those from exceedingly crucial players, most notably Engineer Susan Rogers, who shared an intensely close working relationship with Prince over the duration of the period when his most celebrated material was created.

What I loved so terribly much about this book was how Tudahl brilliantly weaved a narrative that succeeded on a variety of levels. First, he cuts past the notions of Prince's place as a celebrity and enigmatic public figure to focus directly upon what tends to be somewhat lost when people write or possibly even think of him, and that is his extraordinary work ethic. At the outset of this posting, I questioned just how did Prince ever accomplish all that he did and even after reading, I still question it because of his excessive determination and inner drive to play, to create, and to release his gifts to the world.

With the book's chronological, month-by-month, day-by-day structure, we are witness to how Prince would record for hours on end without sleep and therefore, requiring and daring his associates, from bandmates to engineers, to keeping up with his seemingly impossible pace, as well as some eccentric recording habits, like recording his vocals with little to no one present as he desired privacy in this area as well as having beds delivered to studios as he liked feeling "at home" as he wrote lyrics.

Beyond that, I was astounded to regard the man's crystal clear clarity as he was able to focus with laser like efficiency on whatever project he was recording for, especially as he was working on several albums at the same time. He had an uncanny ability to know precisely which song would work best for whichever project, even if it confounded those closest to him. Furthermore, Tudahl also demonstrates that what was new to us as listeners, was already old and in the distant past to him, making Prince an artistic figure that was forever restless with his own creativity. To regard that "Around The World In A Day" was essentially completed and in the can as the "Purple Rain" tour was beginning was astonishing to me, plus the fact that so much material that still remains unreleased was created during this period as well, which Tudahl also details.

From this aspect of the book, I think Tudahl has delivered a powerful service, especially in our era of severe instant gratification and entitlement. Nothing worth doing arrives without the work that one puts into it and Tudahl illustrates over and again that Prince was not a genius because he snapped his fingers and magic happened. He was a genius because he took it to the woodshed, so to speak, every single time, demanding nothing but the best of himself plus whomever happened to be working with him at the time, performing what felt to be impossible and discovering newfound abilities and talents along the way.

And to that end, Duane Tudahl's book speaks to the nature of art and creativity itself as he presents just exactly how Prince found himself inspired in the first place, and how he feverishly tried to keep tapping into that specific spirit for every new song that emerged in his brain. Certainly not an easy process but one that Prince was demonstrably in service towards. The search never ceased just as the pursuit for excellence, and if anything has been captured to such a towering degree is that very pursuit for the work was never truly finished--and in that regard, that sentiment works just as equally for Duane Tudahl as it did for Prince.

I can only imagine just what Tudahl endured creatively to make a work like this one come to life. From the interviews, of course, but just think of the archived studio logs and information that is now over 30 years old and having to sift through all of it in order to make this narrative function to its very best. Knowing that he is planning further installments, therefore making this book the very first of a series, I am already salivating at the opportunity to dive in again to read about what reportedly will cover the years 1985 and 1986, especially and creatively productive and turbulent times for Prince.

For now, we have this initial volume, a work that proves without question that it is an essential document of two years in the life of one of the most idiosyncratic artists we have been fortunate enough to experience. Duane Tudahl has created a work that not only demands and deserves its own reverence, it is equal to the artistic nature and commitment of its subject.

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Once again, I send my apologies to all of you for giving this blogsite short shrift last month due to  quite a bit of increased activity at my sister blogsite Savage Cinema as well as copious amounts of real world responsibilities which made it impossible to fully devote any considerable time to writing about music.

That being said, I am ready, dear readers and listeners. I am ready. Yes, living in Wisconsin, we are fooled over and again with the potential for the full arrival of Spring but the upcoming season is unquestionably something that one can just feel. With that, I am just itching for the new of everything, most especially the new 2018 music that will supply the soundtrack of the year.

The outstanding debut album from Chris Dave and the Drumhedz released in January has thrown down a certain gauntlet, I would say. And presently, I am listening to new releases from MGMT as well as the third album from Jonathan Wilson (I am five songs in and this too is already one of the finest albums of the year). And yet, more is just about ready to be revealed with more posthumous music from Jimi Hendrix in addition to new albums from Sloan, Jack White, Meshelle Ndegecello, A Perfect Circle (their first in fourteen years!) and I am especially excited to hear the debut release from August Greene, a new supergroup featuring Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. 

On the local scene here in Madison, WI, I do know that my musical friends have been using the winter months for creation as I know that new works from Post Social and Kainalu are being crafted, as well as new music is slowly being written by the members of Squarewave and Dash, hopefully, 2018 will bring new material on the home front.

And what of the reunions?
I have been absolutely STUNNED to see the return of singer/songwriter/keyboardist/ trombonist Christopher Dowd to the fold of Fishbone, after nearly 25 years away, now bringing the band (minus original member Kendall Jones) right back to their (nearly) original member glories. Currently on tour (please, please, please return to Madison), Dowd has already let fly that the band will be recording together again for not one but potentially two new releases!!!
And then, there was the further surprise that my beloved Utopia has re-formed for a short tour this year, something I felt that Todd Rundgren would never return to  as he is so musically forward thinking, rarely ever looking back. Perhaps 2018 is one of those rare times. Now certainly, he and bassist/singer/songwriter Kasim Sulton have continued to play together consistently over these past 40 years, including the 32 years since Utopia's final album. But to see Rundgren with drummer/singer/songwriter/producer Willie Wilcox again was indeed a shock as the two reportedly had quite the bit of friction during the band's final years.

Yet, what of keyboardist/singer/songwriter Roger Powell? Due to his real world work schedule as well as some physical pains in his hands, he is unable to take part in the reunion tour. But, to have keyboardist Ralph Shuckett, one of the very first members of Utopia taking part, keeps every int he family so to speak.

Yet, of the reunions that I know of, none make me more excited than this...
In the above photo, you see that inside of a California recording studio sit three of the original members of The Smashing Pumpkins, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, guitarist James Iha and the Pumpkin King himself, singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist William Corgan, as they plot their future. 

Ever since Iha's jaw dropping and unannounced arrival on-stage during a Pumpkins concert in 2016, the rumors and hopes have been swirling for a full fledged Pumpkins reunion tour and is indeed happening. But of course, not without a bit of classic Pumpkins drama. 

So, the tour and subsequent new music being recorded will feature Corgan, Iha, Chamberlin and guitarist Jeff Schroeder, who joined the band in the first resurrection in 2007 and has more than earned his Pumpkin stripes, so I am thrilled to see that he remains in the fold and will now merge his superlative six string heroics with Corgan and Iha's. So, what of original bassist D'arcy Wretsky, who will be conspicuously absent from the proceedings? Depends upon whom you ask as she and Corgan have been feuding once again with Wretsky claiming that the offered her a place to return only to rescind it while Corgan proclaimed that she never fully committed to the idea in the first place.  

As for me, this is all but a distraction from the music itself as I have been thrilled to check out  Corgan's Instagram postings on the studio/tour goings on and updates, happily witnessing his and Iha's collaboration once again--also something I thought that I woud truly NEVER see. Frankly, all of the outcry, while understandable to a degree from the fan community and the music press concerning Wretsky's absence, again and sadly continues the narrative of "Billy Corgan Is A Ego-Maniacal Svengali Tyrant," while being fully dismissive of any music he has written since 1993 yet while also holding him up to a higher standard than anyone else in rock and roll who has ever re-formed a band without all of the original members, something that is as commonplace as the sun rising every day.

For me, I am feeling that this version of the band, bridging the previous two eras of the Pumpkins, has more than enough potential to honor the past while blazing into the future and for that, I am ferociously excited.
But whatever occurs, it is coming. It is all coming and I am ready for every single note, so much so that I wish that I possessed another set of ears so that I could hear it all at once. For every piece of it...always remember to...

PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!