Monday, October 29, 2007

San Jose's KFOX: SHEEP, A Halloween Play and me in the mornings for two weeks

Here's something different for Halloween:

Rocker, author and DJ Greg Kihn has written a play that will air at 5 and 9:30 p.m. Halloween eve, so you can listen before and after taking out the kiddies.

Called "PLAN 98.5 From Outer Space, " it's a change from most modern fare. And remember this is the anniversary of another big radio play, "War of the Worlds,: broadcast Oct. 30, 1938.

Kihn's play features the KFOX staff and Santana singer Tony Lindsay.

Then, over the weekend, the station will host its original "Extra Hour of Sheep," music to entertain you during the extra hour you get when moving the clocks back.

Here's what you get at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, for the fifth time the station has done the special baa baa programming::::

George Shearing "Early Autumn" (Get it? Shearing? And it is, after all, early autumn. Used this as the intro bed)
Pink Floyd "Sheep"
Monty Python "Flying Sheep"
Strawbs "Sheep"
Adrian Munsey "The Lost Sheep"
Johnny Standley "It's In The Book" (Little Bo Peep)
Baa Ram Ewe (brief clip from "Babe")
Paul McCartney "Ram On"
Randy Newman "Mr. Sheep"
Gene Wilder and Daisy from Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)"
Bob Rivers "Dirty Deeds (Done With Sheep)"
Stevie Ray Vaughan "Mary Had A Little Lamb
The Singing Sheep "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (short clip only)
Stan Freberg "Point Of Order" (Baa Baa Black Sheep)
Canned Heat "Wooly Bully"
Monty Python "Killer Sheep"
Theme from "Silence Of The Lambs" (plus some dialogue with Jodi Foster & Anthony Hopkins)
Genesis "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
and a whole mess of bleating sheep.

Also, I'm one of the judges for on Greg Kihn's Last Band Standing Contest, along with rock star Robert Berry and promotor Read Zaro. You can hear us, sans Paula Abdul from 7-9 a.m. for two weeks.

I wanted to be like Simon LeGree Cowell, but the bands this morning, MamaLuke and Cover Girls were too good to knock.

Any tips or advice from listeners??

Michael Krasny, KQED's thinking man's radio guy

Here's a book review that ran in Sunday's Mercury News on radio's Michael Krasny::

The literate radio host
By Brad Kava
Special to the Mercury News
Article Launched: 10/28/2007 01:43:57 AM PDT

In his years on commercial radio, talk show host Michael Krasny was told to limit his vocabulary and to keep his show dumbed down so listeners would not feel stupid.
He makes up for it in his autobiography, "Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life" published this month by Stanford University Press.

His subjects range from the hard-boiled radio manager whose loves were ego and power, to authors such as Salman Rushdie and Larry David.

Krasny ultimately left commercial radio - one station fired him because he had "too many old broads on" following interviews with Jessica Mitford and Doris Lessing - and has spent 14 years on KQED-FM, where he hosts the station's erudite two-hour interview and talk show "Forum."

Perhaps the biggest plaudit to give Krasny - who aspired his whole life to be a novelist, but settled for hosting talk radio and television shows, doing live interviews and teaching college - is that this book is well written, and will equally please literati and listeners of commercial radio.

One critic complained the book should have been called "On Mike." But part of the book's charm is that Krasny, 62, doles out some of his toughest shots at himself, as he grew from a Cleveland hoodlum to the holder of a doctorate in English teaching at San Francisco State University.

So many memoirs leave out unfailingly human moments of pain and doubt. But Krasny recalls those moments, like throwing up on his first job interview at a professor's home.

These stories are balanced with his slow march to success in the Bay Area, including his stints on Marin's KTIM-FM (where he did a show called "Beyond the Hot Tub") and 10 years with San Francisco's most listened-to station, KGO-AM (where his nighttime show mixed collegial intellect with entertainment), and his current high-profile position hosting "Forum" at 9 a.m. daily.

At the end of each chapter of his life story, Krasny weaves in summaries of his interviews with successful authors, such as Khaled Hosseini, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, Isabel Allende, Amy Tan and Kazuo Ishiguro. Radio fans will instantly recognize the pattern: They are like the hourly commercials and news that punctuate a talk show.

It's a good twist in this age of channel surfing. Fans of literature may only want to read about the authors, and radio fans may want to skip the interviews and stick with stories of the airwaves.

My biggest problem with the book was his failure to name names. For example, he doesn't identify a boss by name, and he recounts a story of a famous rocker indulging in preconcert sex without identifying him.

In an interview, Krasny said he preferred not naming everyone, some for reasons of libel, others just because he didn't want to. But he goes so far in telling all most of the time, it's frustrating not to carry it through to the end.

He even leaves out Michael Savage's name, although the high school graduation speech at which the conservative radio talk host heckled Krasny has been extensively reported.
His description of the now-popular host who practices "pathology dressed up as conservatism," is a great example of Krasny's storytelling, and his candor.

"I would later on feel involuntary twinges of envy for this despicable man, a toxic, incendiary gasbag with a growing, undeniable appeal - who would go on to build a major national career out of a frappe of jumbled extremist views and the sort of kook and shock-jock excess that I had come to speak publicly about as giving talk radio a bad name."

There's always an underlying self-doubt with Krasny, even as he is hired to high-paying jobs interviewing corporate CEOs and the world's top authors.

Krasny never feels that he has achieved his own dream of writing great literature, although, like James Lipton, he's become identified with the oeuvre of doing serious, unfailingly well-prepared interviews, a respected art of its own.
Even at the height of success, when one of his students calls him "professor Superman," Krasny, unafraid to show his warts, responds: "Read my book."

A Memoir of Talk Radio
and Literary Life
By Michael Krasny
Stanford University Press, 344 pp., $24.95
KRASNY l Erudite radio host
shares stories of his career

Sunday, October 28, 2007

REVIEW: Neil Young's Bridge School Concert: Neil, Metallica and Tom Waits give some strong sets

Neil Young
didn't headline his own show and there were no special guests, despite the rumors that Bruce Springsteen would show (that a local newspaper devoted tons of space to). There wasn't even the usual campfire jam on the end on some classic Young tune.

But there were still some great surprises Saturday night in an outdoor show at Shoreline Ampitheatre that lasted 7.5 hours.

Jerry Lee Lewis and Metallica closed the show at 12:30 a.m., after Young's earlier set. Also featured were Tom Waits, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Tegan & Sara and Regina Spektor.

Young played a set that drew largely from his new disc, "Chrome Dreams II," released this week, and was a throwback to the long jamming days of 1971 songs like "Down by the River." He, drummer Ralph Molina, guitarist Ben Keith, bassist Rick Rosas and guitarist Anthony Crawford tore the place up for almost a quarter of an hour on "Hidden Path," a wonderful return to the old jamming days.

"I'm not doing any songs you know, probably," Neil said, by way of apology. At least he threw in "Oh, Lonesome Me," the Don Gibson cover from 1970's "After the Goldrush." But the set was one of the best by Young in years, because the new material was melodic and tight.

Tom Waits....what can you say? Looking like a dark Fantasia cartoon character come to life he sang from "Hello Dalai," a religious-one-man musical, backed by the cellos and violins of the Kronos Quartet and a bass player. He performed it first in 2003 at a New York Avery Fisher hall show for the Dalai Lama.

Laced with cynicism and despair, and sung with his carnival barker voice, the songs included "God's Away on Business," "Cold, Cold Ground," "Way Down in a Hole," and "The Part you Throw Away." It was a tour de force for the Bridge, an artist using an acoustic forum before 20,000 people to really try something adventurous.

His face lit up in red like a devil, it was one of the the most artistic moments in 21 years of Bridge School benefit concerts. In his past Bridge appearance in 1999 the classic rock audience waiting for the Who, Sheryl Crow and Pearl Jam, streamed out. This time, they were rapt, and gave a standing ovation. Metallica's James Hetfield introduced Waits as one of his favorite performers and lyricists.

Metallica headlined the show with a set of mostly unexpected cover songs. James Hetfield has never sung better, with surprising resonance and passion on the likes of Rare Earth's "I Just Want to Celebrate," Nazareth's "Please Don't Judas Me," Garbage's "I'm Only Happy when it Rains," Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" and Bob Seger's "Turn the Page."

Who knew Hetfield knew Dire Straits or Garbage, let alone could bring out real emotion for them? Maybe it was Metallica's time off that had his voice so fresh, or the fact that he didn't have to scream for an acoustic set. Metallica has stayed fresh by continually challenging its audience, and this set was another winner.

"Bridge School Shocker: Metallica was acoustic and funky," Hetfield said, writing his own headline for the audience, after the Rare Earth cover.

They also threw in some Metallica songs fans really wanted: "Disposable Heroes," "All Within My Hands" and show closer "Nothing Else Matters," before Pegi and Neil Young thanked the audience and left.

John Mayer, backed by David Ryan Harris and Robbie Macintosh, did a predictable, but lovely set, including "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," "Waiting for the World to Change," "Gravity" and Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'"

Jerry Lee Lewis, the 72-year-old killer, did the set that most pleased the children behind him, with showstoppers "Great Balls of Fire" and "Roll Over Beethoven." Lee looked more fragile than he did at the show two years ago, never wrestling the piano or playing with his feet. Neil Young sat offstage playing air piano and dancing and hugged Jerry Lee when he got off.

My Morning Jacket were interesting, if a bit slow on a long day of music. "Golden" and "Gideon" were almost like homages to Young, with Jim James's voice paralleling Young's airy registers.

Tegan and Sara's set included their wonderful hit "Walking with the Ghost." Newcomer Regina Spektor's schtick is using scat sounds instead of words, something that may catch on big as the generations grow less literate. Seriously, her singing was strong and true in a less angry Alanis Morissette vein.

Young opened the show on acoustic guitar with his standard, "Sugar Mountain," and the new "Beautiful Bluebird."

Overall: if you hit the last four sets, you got your money's worth.


(PIC: tom waits,

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band: Bad Sound or Just Moldy?

The formula was the same as his past tours with the E Street Band, but Friday at Oakland's Arena, there was something missing from Bruce Springsteen's 2 hour and 15 minute hour show.

It wasn't just that the man used to play longer and this set seemed like a warm-up.

And it wasn't that he didn't try an ambitious set: he pulled out three chestnuts for the first time on this tour, including "Two Hearts," from "The River"; "Racing in the Street," from "Darkness on the Edge of Town"; and a bluesed-up "Working on the Highway" from "Born in the U.S.A., that started out with the Boss on harmonica playing over a ZZ Top "La Grange" beat.

He also played the rare 1973 oldie left off his first disc, "Thundercrack," (on Tracks) and everyone's favorite B-side, "She's the One," a healthy dose of new material and an elegaic "Tunnel of Love."

But what should have been jubilant moments were killed by a terrible sound system, and just too many musicians on stage. The 10-person E Street Band worked the highway like a bad union crew.

They didn't need five guitarists--ever--but with Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell strumming, that's what they had for some songs. They made a wall of sound that was was more like a wall of mush. Two keyboards? Five voices? All overkill.

Clarence Clemons, who used to punctuate the show often in the early days, looked bored and frustrated all night. He got in a few solos and spent the rest of the time mucking about with some maracas and percussion instruments.

"Miami" Steve Van Zandt, Tony Soprano's go-to-guy, was also Springsteen's. But despite Springsteen yelling out his name all the time, you could barely hear his vocals or leads over the oatmeal. Nils Lofgren was there, I think. I caught a couple of slide guitar leads, somewhere in the mix.

Springsteen seemed a bit tired, maybe of the working class personae that seems to be more than a bit of an anachronism in what he describes as these evil times.

He took off on George W. Bush at one point, and the loss of freedoms under this presidency, and added "we're just musicians, playing songs. It's a start."

From his mansion on a hill, it seemed more frustrating and frustrated, than a real call to arms.

One friend of mine suggested that maybe Springsteen should run for office or become Democratic Party chair. He could wrap it up for the party.

I imagined him as our Governor Arnold, our Reagan, with manager Jon Landau playing the part of Dick Cheney. But maybe it's time for Springsteen, whose music represents a generation, to do something more than sing.

Back to the music: This show might have worked better in a bigger place, or outdoors, but this indoor arena was too small for that much sound.

Springsteen pulled off the same big band arrangement in 1999 and 2001, alternating the full band moments on anthems and quieter times on new material. But the sound was less muddy then and he made up for it all on the quieter moments, when not everyone was playing.

(bruce, with body guard, signing two autographs and shaking everyone's hand outside the arena at 4:20 p.m.)

All through the Seeger sessions, which I loved, I kept wishing to hear Springsteen rock out again. But all through this show, I wished I could just hear Springsteen rock out too.

I missed the "Human Touch/Lucky Town" tour (not a big fan favorite), when Springsteen had to play harder in front of an anonymous band and showed his mettle.

He's a better guitarist and singer than most anyone he plays with, and it's more like he brings out this full E Street Band out of friendship and loyalty, than a musical need. Sure, they are an All Star team, but this show was like the All Star Game, played for looks, not really for fire in the belly dire competition.

Maybe he should just bring half of them out on each tour, and let us hear more of what we came for: the Boss, not all the employees.

(top photograph by Jere Visall)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Radio Columnist Ben Fong-Torres takes a radio show on KFRC-FM

Longtime San Francisco Chronicle radio columnist Ben Fong-Torres will do a radio show on KFRC-FM (106.9) Sundays.

"Backstage" will focus on the city's rich rock history, which Fong-Torres covered as an early editor of Rolling Stone (he was portrayed in "Almost Famous.")

The show will be run 7-9 a.m. and p.m. Sundays.

It will feature his classic interviews with Elton John, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Bonnie Raitt, Jim Morrison and Stevie Wonder.

More O'Reilly lies and Glenn Beck should be burned at the stake

God bless for tracking the lies of the right wing media, but it would take an organization the size of the Pentagon to document them all.

This week O'Lielly was complaining that liberal bloggers just make things up.

Then, a beat later, he said that San Francisco tourism has been "pounded" because people were upset over a group of fake nuns, "the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," taking communion from the local Archbishop.

Of course, he cited no evidence, no study, no facts on his "Factor" (or Factless) radio show.

And anyone who lives in the Bay Area knows that in a place that fills up for the Exotic Erotic Ball or the Gay Pride Parade, people aren't affected by something that has upset mostly conservative talk show hosts who always need a hot topic.

It's like his claims that he got gas prices lowered and shut down tourism to France...This guy is nothing but a blowhard.

Then there's Glenn Beck, who says now that he was joking when he celebrated the "America haters" who lost their homes in Southern California fires.

From Media Matters::

As Media Matters for America first documented, Beck said on his October 22 radio show: "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today." Beck added, "There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that."

No mention of a ha-ha, that was in bad taste. I was kidding, as most people would do when they regret making a joke about people's misfortunes. This guy isn't even bright enough to realize that most of the areas in the fire are home to San Diego Republicans.

It's sad but these are the people dominating, and destroying, the media.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Greg Kihn Speech and some video

What can you say about a guy who has a Number One song, a Number One radio show and has written books that really should have been Number One on the Best Seller list, and I think still may be one day?

Maybe I should say....what can you say that he hasn't already said himself, because Greg likes to talk and it would be impossible to limit anything about him to only a few minutes....

But let me say this...I was so honored to get the call to induct Greg. I canceled my own birthday plans to do it...

When I was a student at Berkeley, I used to study in the library until 11 o clock...and when it closed, I'd treat myself to a walk to the Keystone to catch Greg most every time he played there.

It wasn't just that his weeknight shows were cheap, and all a student could afford, but that on GKB nights, the club was like a family setting....It didn't feel like a band separated by a stage from its audience...but we all surrounded them and were right up there next to them....

They played these smart, sharp, funny, witty songs, which to me were like the American KINKS...(i should spell that KIHNKS, in keeping with his tradition of working his names into albums like KIHNSPIRICCY, KIHNTINUED, Kihnsolidated and Rock KIHN ROLL. He wrote songs that were hits and some that never quite got their due, including "Madison Avenue Man," "Can't Stop Hurting Myself," "The Breakup Song," "Lucky," "Happy Man," "Testify"...and oh did I forget Jeopardy???

I was shy back then, if you can believe that...and I was the guy who would stand in back and yell for him to play "Remember" till it drove him nuts, and he'd yell back "Freebird."

Remember was the song I put on all my mix tapes and when I would send them to my friends back east, that was the song they always wanted to know about. I've got to add this as an aside...not long ago, I was at a Greg Kihn concert, standing with his lovely wife Jaye...and he was playing Remember acoustic....and she said, who wrote this song? I've never heard him do it before....

That says something about him too...he's the most normal guy in rock and roll....As big as he seems on the radio sometimes, above all, he's been a humble, regular guy.

I used to watch him and think, if he wasn't a rock star and I wasn't a student we'd be friends.. So when he called me up about 10 years later, and told me he was a fan of my column and wanted to have lunch, I almost peed in my pants.....

We've been friends since....and when he gave me one of his books to read, I put it off, thinking, how can a stoned out rocker write a great book and how can I tell him it sucks, if it does.

Finally, one day, I was getting on a plane and grabbed BIg Rock Beat and i couldn't put it down. I just couldn't believe he'd written it, in the off hours of doing a radio show...I called him the minute I got off the plane, to apologize...I still can't believe how good his writing is, and that he isn't mentioned in the same breath as Steven King and Dean Koontz.

I also cant believe he's not nationally syndicated, because as much as he's done for music and books, he's done more for San Jose radio, with a show that reflects and involves the community. He's got rocker kids on there, rocker families, and he's doing a show that is wholesome, unpretentious and smart, without all the offensive things that are a trademark on so many other stations.

And even though I don't beleive one bit in his politics, I listen, and know that like everything he says, his views come from his heart, unfiltered and , what we say in my hood....he's keepin it real.

We're lucky to have him here...and if he hadn't blown all his early dough in the rock and roll lifestyle..he'd probably be retired off in hawaii...

his misfotune is our good fortune...

let me say KIHN cratulations, are a real San Jose Rocker.

See what's new at

San Jose Rocks: People video, Greg Kihn, Mikel Herrington and Dean Markley honored

Check the video for a touch of the largely unknown band People.

San Jose Rocks second annual concert was a great event for a town that gets too little live music love.

Greg Kihn, the headliner, rocked harder than I've heard him in a while. The band was tight and disciplined, with heady orchestrations, a stereo mix that had Ry Kihn's guitar doing David Gilmour effects and sublime dynamics, from a whisper to a scream.

They ran through the Kinks-like "Madison Avenue," "Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song" hits that have become classic to a new generation.

People, who had only rehearsed once in 39 years, was a pleasant surprise. Psychedelic one minute; cheery pop the next.

Here's what I wrote about them for Premiere's radio prep service for disc jockeys.

For the first time in almost four decades, the original members of the psychedelic pop band People reunited to play their hit “I Love You,” at a music awards show in their San Jose hometown.

Two of the septet’s founders, Geoff and Robbie Levin, hadn’t even talked in 30 years, but now say they may make another go of this much anticipated reunion.

Unlike so many “Behind the Musics,” it was religion, not drugs that split this band. The Levins, drummer Dennis Fridkin and keyboardist Albert Ribisi became Scientologist. Singer Larry Norman became a born-again Christian and has had a successful career in Christian music. Singer Gene Mason became an air pollution inspector.

Members of People have kept their riffs sharp by playing bluegrass music, something they started before switching to folk and rock in the sixties, some as far back as jamming with Jerry Garcia in his preDead jugband.

They were brought together as part of San Jose’s second annual awards concert celebrating the city’s music scene, which is often overshadowed by musicians in San Francisco, 50 miles to the north.

San Jose has produced a slew of one or two-hit wonder garage bands that mixed cheery pop with psychedelia. Last year Syndicate of Sound (hit, “Little Girl”) and Count Five (“Psychotic Reaction”) were honored.

This year’s inductees to the San Jose Rocks branch of the city’s history museum also included Greg Kihn.Smashmouth and the Chocolate Watchband also hailed from the suburban city which has more garages open for practice than more urban San Francisco.

The area may be better known for its technological contributions to music, which are also being honored. It's been the birthplace of Dean Markley strings; the iPod; Gallien-Krueger bass amps; and Dolby and Memorex labs.

Shay Quillen wrote an interesting review here.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wine Tasting and Auction for Dennis Erectus, SUNDAY

A Wine-Tasting & Silent Auction to Benefit Radio's Dennis Erectus, Brain Injured from a Heart Attack Organized by KBAY's Steve Fox and Jona Denz-Hamilton

Scroll down to see wines and vintage items up for tasting and winning!!
Oct 21st 3-6pm
A Perfect Finish Wine, Cheese, & Dessert Bar
55 S. First St. Downtown San Jose 408-288-6000 click here> Get directions

$50.00 at the Door~cash/checks only maximum 100 guests

~TASTE: the wines of your dreams--see below!
~LAUGH: at your collectible Erectus wine glass designed especially for this event.
~SEE: a compelling, powerful, Dennis Erectus yesterday and today video.
~HEAR: a great piano concert by KFOX'S Chris Jackson.
~JOIN: radio's Steve Fox, Dana Jang, Jona Denz-Hamilton, Marla Davies, Laurie Free....
~COME: with a friend this Sunday!

· Some of the wines lined up:
o Silver Oak Cellars – Nora Comee
o Gatos Locos of Vinehill – Darlene
o Mann Cellars – Mike Mann and Carol Shoaff
o Wine Warehouse – Jon Birkland
o Eno Wines – Alice and David
o A Perfect Finish – Hal (a variety of local and unique wines)
o A Perfect Finish – Hal (Erectus Flight – additional charge)

· Some of the silent auction/raffle items :

Signed bottle of Fleming Jenkins Choreography ($100+ value) (donated by A Perfect Finish)
2-Wine baskets ($120 ea value) (donated by A Perfect Finish)
1-Wine basket ($60? value) (donated by Ruthie Callahan)
Concannon Winery tour (donated by Steve Fox or Alice Aoki)
KOME Official "Members Only" Staff Jacket (donated by Heidi Fisher)
Autographed, framed poster of Cracker from band to KOME (donated by Heidi Fisher)
Heather Gray KOME New-logo polo shirt sz L (donated by Heidi Fisher)
Black KOME sweatshirt with yellow diamond logo (donated by Heidi Fisher)
Wine item/tour? (donated by Steve Fox or Alice Aoki)
Wine (?) (donated by Steve Fox)
Sign up for a KOME badge for $10 each (at check out)

RAFFLE (suggested: 5 tickets plus a bonus KOME badge for $20.00~~$5 per ticket)
Signed bottle of Fleming Jenkins Victories Rose ($30+ value) (donated by A Perfect Finish)
(4) $25 Wine Cards (donated by A Perfect Finish)
Bundle of 3 fun Dennis-inspired DVDs (donated by Donna "Denise Erectus" Volpicella)
Bundle of 4 fun Dennis-inspired DVDs (donated by Donna "Denise Erectus" Volpicella)
Bundle of KOME" paraphernalia" i.e. keychains, badges, etc. (donated by Jim Hardy)
(4) KOME Glass Logo "coaster" (donated by Heidi Fisher) (and vinyl below too)
Bundle of 11 vinyl discs including Led Zeppelin II originally used on the air on KOME
Bundle of 11 vinyl discs including Foreigner's first LP originally used on the air on KOME
Bundle of 11 vinyl discs includ Bob Seger "Live Bullet" used on the air on KOME w/ airtimes

Taste incredible wines
Take home a treasure or two

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Greg Kihn, People, Dean Markley, Mikel Hunter to be honored Friday in San Jose

San Jose Rocks, the lively younger arm of the San Jose Historical Society, holds its second dinner/concert Friday to honor musicians and technologists from the Silicon Valley.

Check the website for more details.

I found out last night, I'm inducting Greg Kihn, which is a great honor. I'm a long, long time fan, going back to my college days, and I've been lucky enough to be his friend for the last two decades.

I'll print the text of my speech, and some video, here tomorrow.

The $125 tickets are sold out, but there are $35 seats available for the show, which has been moved indoors to the Fairgrounds exposition hall (where Hendrix, the Dead and others played back in the day).

pics from last year's event, held under the radio tower...including paul kantner, jud cost and me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

KINKS Fans: new Ray Davies song and disc free

The London Times will distribute 1.5 million copies of Ray Davies's new album on Oct. 21. It's website is now giving away a great new song, Vietnam Cowboy.

Check it here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ann Coulter should read the Ten Commandments she'd like posted over courthouses and schools

As long as this country is breaking down into a religious war, with so-called radio pundits throwing brickbats like Middle Eastern mullahs and Bill O'Reilly about to restart his "War Against Christmas" crusade, I've got to throw my own grenade into the fray.

(Jews are reluctant to join religious wars in a largely Christian country. We saw in Germany what can happen when some Christians get mad. Hell, Ann Coulter makes one believe in reincarnation. She seems to have stepped right out of Nazi Germany.)

Commandment Two, after God makes his introduction in commandment One: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

No mention there of Jesus, impregnating virgins, the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, or of being perfect by following a former Jewish carpenter.

God goes on to say he's a jealous guy and will reek havoc upon idolaters for generations to come.

If we take those commandments as literally as Justice Anthony Kennedy claims to take the constitution, Coulter and her "perfected" cult are in heap big trouble.

O.K. Now we can go back to debating how many Angels can fit on the head of a pin.

Latin Radio Pioneer Susan Shepherd Dies Friday in San Francisco

Here's the S.F. Chronicle report on her death, run down by a 90-year-old motorist while in a crosswalk.

Susan Ali Shepherd obit.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Michael Savage blasts Ann Coulter and George Bush: We Finally Agree

The slimiest host on radio, Michael Savage, sounded like the genius his fans think he is today when he blasted Ann Coulter for her antisemitic rant on an MSNBC show (correction, CNBC..shows how much TV I don't watch).

Savage, who whines like a stuck pig when anyone criticizes him, said Jews should picket Coulter's publisher and boycott her new book, for her statements. I agree.

I think they are as bad as what Imus said (same with her use of the word "faggot" to describe John Edwards).

Here is some of the statement summary. You can see the video at

During the October 8 edition of CNBC's The Big Idea, host Donny Deutsch asked right-wing pundit Ann Coulter: "If you had your way ... and your dreams, which are genuine, came true ... what would this country look like?" Coulter responded, "It would look like New York City during the [2004] Republican National Convention. In fact, that's what I think heaven is going to look like." She described the convention as follows: "People were happy. They're Christian. They're tolerant. They defend America." Deutsch then asked, "It would be better if we were all Christian?" to which Coulter responded, "Yes." Later in the discussion, Deutsch said to her: "[Y]ou said we should throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians," and Coulter again replied, "Yes." When pressed by Deutsch regarding whether she wanted to be like "the head of Iran" and "wipe Israel off the Earth," Coulter stated: "No, we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. ... That's what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws."

She goes on to say that she thinks Christians are "perfected Jews," something which demonstrates exactly why religion should be left out of the political playing field. There just isn't enough tolerance of other views by those in power. There never has been.

Just watch during this holiday season, as Coulter and allies such as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, launch their version of the Crusades, the "war against Christmas," in which they allege that people other than Christians, are out to attack and shut down the holiday, which is so pervasive in this country, it's inescapable for anyone of other faiths.

Savage, a Jew, said he would keep up his campaign against Coulter. I support him in that, but bet he won't mention it again.

And, as usual, he went over the line, saying she looked like a transvestite from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I don't know...she looks better than Allen Ginsburg, the gay poet who Savage propositioned in his early years, in letters on file at the Stanford University library.

Savage and his guest Pat Buchanan, also blasted George W. Bush, saying the president wasn't "smart enough" to wage the war in Iraq.

Ironic, that seven years ago when liberals said the same thing during time of war, they were blasted by Savage and Buchanan as traitors, hurting the war effort and putting the troops in danger...

What's the difference now, except that Savage and crew would never admit the liberals were right back then and these guys who put the ditz in pundits were so, so wrong.

I just downloaded the new Radiohead recording

For the record, I paid &5.45, English pounds, about $10. And yeah, when the disc comes out in January, I'll probably buy the hard copy...

review to come..

It sounds great at first listen...and a lot of the songs were played last year at the Berkeley Greek.

Live 105 got a mention in today's New York Times, for letting station fans listen to and vote on what songs the station should play on the new disc...

here's the story::

Monday, October 8, 2007

Stories about Mastrey, with comparison between lame Mercury News and great Minneapolis Coverage


Good to see your radio writing continues ay Miss your column in the San Jose Mercury-News.

Note that Dana Jang sent along the email from Cara that I posted to all the email radio groups I belong to on September 24th. Thank you for putting it on your blog. Alas, October 2nd was the day she died. I was in LA. Will send you a separate email on that and the memorial service Saturday.

Shame that the SJ Murky News can only repeat the LA Times article and mention “a stop in San Jose.” Indeed.

Tawn was at KSJO 1975 to 1979, with a little under a year as KMEL’s first evening jock and Asst. MD. Tawn was at KSJO when I switched from KOME and became their Music Director in 1976. I got her promoted to MD and became Asst. Program Director after she returned from KMEL in 1978. KNAC, where I did mornings in 1986, wasn’t the first time we teamed up and shared the joy of discovery of new bands with our listeners.

Her hand writing as well as mine dominates the sticker in the corner of the original import 45 of “Roxanne” that I put in KSJO’s “A” rotation (see attached.) The band had “stiffed” in the UK, and A&M Records had no plans to release their music in the US until boxes of their UK single started selling out here and in Boston...same pattern we established for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, AC/DC and many more...Tawn was my musical twin, my best friend and ally at both stations, my fellow radio maverick.

See the 2nd attached picture taken outside KSJO’s studio in 1979. That’s me, with my former hair, beard and big gut by the driver door, and Tom Mix, one of our DJs by the Trans Am tailpipe. Sammy dedicated his set at Cabo Wabo to her last night, and was contributing for her benefit.

Here’s the difference between the Minneapolis-St. Paul news story and the SJ one:

It’s also worth noting that neither the local MSP newspapers nor the station she worked at there, KXXR, managed to put out the urgent plea, even though they were in the best position to perhaps find a donor and save her life. Posthumously, their now all over it. We’ll continue in her memory.

Hope you are well.


Paul “The Lobster” Wells

Tawn Mastrey Passes...Rocker Slash from Guns N Roses sends a message

In a hotel room near the MSP airport. Two months ago on August 7th (See below), I made a plea for help for my fellow radio maverick, Tawn Mastrey, on my website That was followed by an urgent press release from her sister, Cara Mastrey distributed to the radio mailing lists that my colleagues in the industry subscribe to. A donor, sadly, was not found in time.

Today, I was honored to join the family and friends of Tawn for her Memorial Service at a funeral home in Minneapolis. I spoke representing those in the radio and music business who loved Tawn and passed along the condolences of those I've spoken to in the last few days. I was in LA, and fittingly on-the-air at when I got the news on Wednesday morning. I was there to help get the ball rolling for benefits to help save Tawn's life and cover the costs of care for her recovery. A letter from Slash is below, and was read at the ceremony by Tawn's beautiful and talented sister, Cara.

On October 2nd, Tawn lost her life as a result of liver failure due to an undetected and dormant for decades Hepatitis C infection. There is no cure. Because of the concurring factors of no insurance, a need for a rare blood type match of a liver or the donation of a piece of a living donors healthy liver (a relatively new procedure that grows a new liver in the recipient and the 100% re-growth of the donor's organ) AND the lack of a sense of urgency on the part of some who heard the news, Tawn's fight ended in a needless early release from this mortal existence. All in music and radio who knew her will miss her spirit, her love of music, her laugh and a true friend with a big heart. In Tawn's memory, her sister Cara and many of us will continue the fight for organ donations and Hep C awareness. visit for details as they happen.

Please feel free to email me if you'd like to volunteer for efforts including benefit concerts being planned in Los Angeles, San Francisco / San Jose, Minneapolis-St. Paul and other actions.

May 10,000 lives be saved in Tawn Mastrey's name.


Paul “The Lobster” Wells

Slash’s email
> Yes, I would like u to say that "Tawn was my hero,
> she fought harder than anybody to support my band
> Guns n Roses back when nobody else wanted to have
> anything to do with us & helped put us on the map
> along with a lot of other young bands during that
> period. She was a true blue maverick who was
> fearless & spoke her mind when it came to things she
> believed in. She had a huge heart & loved life &
> everything about it. She was a lot of fun to be
> around, with her anything was possible. Without
> Tawn, It is the end of an era, I've never met
> anybody else like her & seriously doubt I ever will.
> Tawn, we will miss u terribly, but I know that your
> in a better place where u are needed for whatever
> reason right now, & most importantly, there will be
> no more suffering. Love u, Slash."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

RADIOHEAD: Lets fans pay what they want for new recording

Finally, a rock band takes the first step to stop the greed.

Radiohead, one of the smartest, most progressive bands out there, will release its new disc, "In Rainbows" Oct. 10 on the Internet. Price? What you want to pay.

I've been waiting years, no decades, for a band to say enough is enough. Instead, we watched as the Summer of Love became the Winter of Cash, and bands from the Beatles to the Grateful Dead , U2, Metallica and the Stones, just kept upping the prices for music, long after we were all promised that the advent of the CD would lower costs. Ha.

The revolution has begun, and it wasn't with any phony street fighting men or God wannabes. It's an art rock band that made the move to say, we've made so much money, let's give something back to the fans.

Now the question remains, how much will people pay? I imagine Harvard marketing fellow and blogging pioneer Doc Searls would argue that the band will get a fair price, maybe more than it would have set itself, because the market will appreciate the move. (check for his take on price setting).

The band is also offering a box set with the disc with a steeper price, $82. It will include a vinyl version of the disc, photos, bonus material and lyrics. That will come out in December.

What do you all think of this??

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


(photo: tawn with the cornell hurd band).

Here's a note forwarded by Dana Jang::

Tawn is in the hospital dying. We don't know how long
she can hold on, as she is in desperate need of a
liver. We fear that her kidney and heart are also now
having troubles due to her liver failing from
Hepatitis C. Major complications are occurring and if
she waits too long, she will be too ill to operate on.
She has been going from nursing home to emergency
hospital every few days now.

Tawn can receive a portion of someones liver from a
living donor. Both donor and Tawn's new 2-1/2 inch
liver, (if it were to be received by living donor),
will both grow back to normal healthy sizes in a
matter of weeks.

If anyone out there would like to become a living
hero, this would truly be a huge way of doing it. I
myself would give her a portion of my own liver, but
I'm too small in body size. It would take a man or
woman with the same blood type as Tawn's, O-negative,
and also similar body size and weight. Tawn weighs
about 119 pounds.

Tawn would have a second chance of life and both donor
and Tawn would live a healthy normal life again. if
Tawn receives a complete full liver from a deceased
person, Tawn's recovery time would be much quicker and
therefore, less complications for her. Either way, we
pray she receives a liver soon.

To apply for a screening to be a living organ donor,
in order to Save Tawn's life, please contact:
Kathy Garvey 1 800 328 5465 or 612 625 8666
Organ Transplant Center, University of Minnesota,
Fairview Hospital
(Serious applicants only)

Tawn has no other options as she has been left with no
income and no assets, having to quit work months ago
due to her being too ill to even speak. Minnesota
Government Medical Assistance health insurance is
covering her bare essential medical costs. Thank
Goodness for that, but there are limits as to what we
can and cannot do for her. Donations to Tawn Mastrey
Supplementary Needs Trust, will help with those extra
costs, and will also enable Tawn to survive the day to
day expenses for the before and post operative care,
by receiving the best comfort and care possible.
Please help. Thank you for your kind donations.

There are simply not enough organs to go around and
not enough time. For more information on organ donors
please go to: