October 10, 2018
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How old were you when you fell in love with music? Do you remember your first love? Who was it? The Beatles? Sinatra? Led Zeppelin? Patsy Cline? Who spoke to you? What did they say? Why did it resonate so deeply?
When I was eight years old in 1978, my aunt bought me four KISS LPs: Rock and Roll Over, Love Gun, Alive 2, and Double Platinum. I was hooked from the first grunt. I couldn’t get enough of the imagery and the riffs. And yes, I fantasized that I was Peter Criss singing “Beth” to my imaginary girlfriend. I joined the KISS Army, dressed as either Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley for consecutive Halloween’s, and overjoyed when I found a discarded copy of Destroyer laying on the street, still in playable condition (playable for a ten year old, anyway). I had posters that covered my walls, and like all of my friends, strongly anticipated the broadcast of “KISS Meets the Phantom Of The Park“.
They are the first band that I wanted to know everything about. Where they were from? What they did before they were a band (Gene Simmons was a school teacher!!!)? Why they chose KISS as a band name? Why they didn’t stick with Wicked Lester? Of course everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of them out of makeup. But I could not hide my disappointment when they decided to ditch the makeup altogether in 1983. What the hell was that all about? Even before the unmasking, the band had moved so far away from their riff-centric rock, full of stories about partying down and getting the girl, and I had discovered another band that would hold my attention, and continues to do so.
When I was 8 or 9, around 1978 or 1979, I was introduced to The Beatles. I was floored. I jumped ship a year or two later from KISS to the Fab Four, and honestly I felt like I was breaking up with someone. I didn’t know at that tender age that I was allowed to have more than one favorite band. Shortly thereafter I added Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead to my ever-growing list of faves. After that the flood gates were open. I started buying my own records when I was 13, and my collection grew by leaps and bounds.
Though much of my record library consisted of what would be “classic rock” by today’s standards, I was really proud of what I had amassed in just a few short years. It wasn’t just quantity in my mind, it was quality too. I joined KFJC in late 1988 and tired very quickly of what was sitting, collecting dust, in my own library. I hungered for more. More genres, more obscure artists, more “classics” waiting to be discovered. In 2010 I purged about 5000 LPs that were taking up too much space in my home and my psyche. Most of this music could be heard on any commercial radio station anyway, so why would I hold onto it all? What I kept (about 1000 LPs) and what I continue to purchase is inspired by my time in non-commercial radio and local artists.
There are too many musical gems waiting to be encountered by the masses. I continue to be involved in radio to share my discoveries with you. Take a look at the playlist below, and all of my playlists. Much of what you see, you have never heard before. Give it a listen. If I play it that means I like it enough to want to share it with you. Hopefully you will like it enough to support that artist. Buy their music. See them live.
Enjoy…I know I do.
Hell’s Kitchen Radio with John Hell
Radio Valencia in SF
Chicken A La King/Bad Move: Dale Crover
Love How In Love With Love You Are: Adam Mackintosh with Storm Large
I Shot All The Birds: Blind Shake
Come On Over, Turn Me On: Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
Psycho Star: King Tuff
You Are What You Love: Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
Feel: Ty Segall
Otis Rush Tribute (1935-2018)
I Can’t Quit You, Babe: Otis Rush
Double Trouble: Otis Rush
Little Red Rooster: Otis Rush
Southern Politician: Willy Deville
Am I Black Enough For Ya: Schoolly-D
Round and Round: OP8
Lord of Lightening: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Please Mr. Gunman: Mudhoney
This is my favorite scene from Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. That Paul Stanley is a real thespian.