Monday, December 27, 2004

KSAN Staff Updates

Lotta news to get caught up on about former KSAN staffers and what they're up to now. Go to the Jive95 homepage and then click on "Latest Jive."


Friday, December 10, 2004

Joe Strummer R.I.P.

Moe sent me this:


Joe Strummer is Dead;
Long Live the Clash!


The Christmas card from Joe Strummer and family arrived by email on Sunday
night, a seasonal greeting accompanied by Joe's colourful illustration of a
fantasy festive scene. I was touched Strummer was always such a generous
host, keen to entertain and be entertained, full of the Christmas spirit all
year round. Like me he was no doubt relishing the chance to celebrate the
festive period with friends and family.

Then, just as I was preparing to send a return salutation, I checked the e
mail on Monday and the genuinely shocking news from his record company came
through the ether. The Christmas message had been sent on Thursday 19th.
When I had received it Joe Strummer was already dead.

Even now it seems hard to believe. The Strummer I came to know over the past
20 odd years was always an infectious and inspiring presence, alive with
energy and ideas. Not the sort of bloke who would simply lie down and pass
away peacefully in his sleep.

I first interviewed him shortly after The Clash had split up. He was a rock
legend, who'd lead The Clash out of punk onto to become one of the biggest
bands in the world. Drug problems and ballooning egos had caused the band
to split. It was undoubtably a cause for regret and he'd tried to effect a
reunion with Jones several times. But Joe's belief in the power of music to
effect change remained strong, a passion that continued as long as he drew
breath. During our conversation we discovered that we'd both recently
buried. Our fathers and Joe's mother had just been diagnosed with terminal
cancer, tears were shed as we downed our drinks. A proud punk rebel with a
big soft heart Strummer was also a loving son and an attentive father. As a
musician and as a human being it was his ability to express his deepest
feelings - anger or grief, sadness or fear - that made him special.

His father had been a Foreign office employee, and he was born John Graham
Mellor in Ankara Turkey 1952. As an infant he lived in Mexico, Germany and
Cairo before he and his elder brother David were sent to boarding school in
Epsom Surrey. He recalled being beaten at school by the day pupils "they
used wooden coat hangers, golf clubs, hockey sticks and leather slippers
anything you could beat a person with" he told me. Music provided an escape
hatch, something to believe in, the place where he could assert himself.

" The Stones, The Beatles, The Who and Hendrix there was no time for
anything else really. After I heard The Rolling Stones Not Fade Away I never
paid attention to anything in school. Music was everything," he told me.

But, while Joe was obsessed with the idea that rock culture could change the
world his brother David became withdrawn and solitary. The brothers argued
when David got involved with the racist National Front and the occult. But
the flirtation was short lived on July 19th 1970 David committed suicide in
London's Regent Park.

The loss affected Joe deeply but made him more determined to pursue his
musical goals. He was expelled from London Central School of Art for taking
LSD. He played in a succession of bands in Wales, with his friend Tymon Dogg
he busked around Europe and London in the style of folk legend Woody
Guthrie. Back in London he found a home squatting at 101 Walterton Terrace
and found minor league fame with the pub rock band The 101ers.

But, when The 101ers had released their one and only single Keys To Your
Heart (written and sung by Joe) their frontman had seen The Sex Pistols in
April 1976. It was a sign that pub rock was dead and the rock n roll
revolution Strummer had longed for had finally arrived.

"It was like an atom bomb going off in your mind, I was driven by The
Pistols and everything they were doing," he told me.

Bernie Rhodes a friend of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren introduced him to
aspiring punk musicians Mick Jones and Paul Simonon and The Clash was born.
With Mick Jones knack for arrangements and melody and Strummer's ability to
deal put weighty subjects - unemployment, social decay and race riots -
into incisive headline grabbing lyrics, one of the great songwriting
partnerships in Britrock history was born.

Though cheapened by imitations over the years the group's self titled debut
album remains a punk rock landmark. AS a teenager growing up in Ireland the
effect was immediate and transformative this was music that I'd never dared
imagine stuttering invention, righteous politics, proud and defiant of the
old order. When The Clash debut appearance in Belfast was cancelled hours
before the group were due onstage a riot broke. Riots were not unusual in
Belfast back then but this protest was unique because the participants were
united not divided by creed or religion. A homegrown Belfast punk scene that
crossed sectarian line was the direct result.

The punk dictates were something Joe soon rebelled against but he refused to
be drawn into a slanging match with lead Pistol Johnny Rotten. Rotten always
delighted in ridiculing The Clash. I asked him why he'd never responded.
"He's one of the best poets we have, a real poet. Poets deserve respect," he
told me.

The fact was that Strummer's band would have a more lasting effect than the
group that inspired them. Joe's sense of community, his determination to
reach out to all those who'd ever felt victimized or isolated grew out of
his childhood experiences. When The Clash went on tour, Strummer's hotel
room became an open house for followers seeking a floor to sleep on. With
his brother's suicide he'd seen what happened when loneliness and isolation
were allowed to fester and onstage it was as if he were trying to reach out
to every lost or confused soul in the audience.

Over the course of five albums The Clash rewrote the punk rulebook with a
musical game plan that embraced reggae, r&b, funk, folk, calypso, jazz and
rap. Classic singles - Complete Control, White Man in the Hammersmith Palais
and Bankrobber - were accompanied by albums that showed a hotbed of
creativity. London Calling with its Cold War inspired title track was their
masterpiece but the ambitious Sandinista, named after the revolutionary
Nicaraguan group was their most ambitious and diverse. Joe had found out
about the Sandinista rebellion from Moe Armstrong a onetime member of Daddy

"They'd made a big noise when they came to London in 1969 and Moe had become
very left wing, he gave us info that was quite hard to find out. A bunch of
teenage Marxists oust your favourite dictator? The establishment don't want
to know."

The Clash began to fall apart when drummer Topper Headon was dismissed over
a burgeoning heroin problem, soon after Rhodes and Strummer sacked Jones for
"straying from the original idea of The Clash". Typically Joe would later
take the blame for the split figuring that he "deserved to eat humble pie".
Despite many lucrative offers the group never reformed but they patched up
their differences and he, Jones, Headon and Simonon remained firm friends.
Indeed before Christmas he appeared onstage with Jones at a benefit for
striking firemen, and the entire band was poised to play together in New
York next year when they were inaugurated into the rock n roll Hall of Fame.

There was one last Clash classic after Mick Jones departed, the definitive
statement of Thatcher era despair This Is England. But Joe was hardly
inactive for the last 15 years of his life. He replaced Shane MacGowan for a
while in The Pogues, worked as a producer, played for Amnesty International,
had a fitful career as an actor. In the summer he was a regular at
Glastonbury Festival his ever-present soundbox pumping out world music
classic by the campfire. And he enjoyed going off to his bolthole in Spain
for the holidays with his family and his guitar.

Three years ago he decided it was time to "get back to rocking" and formed
The Mescaleros. The three nights I spent with him first in Finland near the
land of the midnight sun and at a London recording studio where the group
recorded their first album. Joe was thrilled at the prospect of recording in
the studio in an area of North West London rich in ethnic diversity but also
because it was where Free had recorded Alright Now. His passion for music
was sometimes as surprising as it was infectious. One night in an Indian
restaurant he and the owner enthused over Keith West's cheesy 1967 hit
"Excerpt From A Teenage Opera". A few days after Christmas a friend
received an excited answer phone ordering him to celebrate Bo Diddley's
birthday, he always cherished the memory of playing with Bo, his musical
lodestar, on the first Clash tour of America.

The time I spent with him was always some of the most rewarding and
inspiring of my professional career. Which was just as it should be, if it
weren't for Strummer I doubt I'd ever have thought it was possible to make a
living writing about music. He always thought rock n roll could change
lives, the most fitting testimony I can think to give to my old friend is to
say Hey Joe; you were right. Adios amigo.

Gavin Martin lives in London, where he writes about music. He can be
reached at:

Thursday, December 09, 2004


My friend KSAN and KUNM veteran and driving force behind Daddy Longlegs:


... is still around and involved with progressive causes. Checkout Moe's website and give a listen, especially, to "Waiting For The Snow To Fall." It will take you back...

Moe Armstrong's Personal Web Site

Thursday, December 02, 2004

WFMU-FM 91.1, New Jersey

Bill T., A good friend of mine who worked with me at KCSB-FM in the 1980's, recently wrote:

"I am currently listening to my favorite station of the past few years, WFMU in New Jersey. It is as open-minded as radio gets in my opinion. In fact, while listening at work, one of my co-workers asked me 'what the hell are you listening to?' My reply was that I didn't know, and honestly didn't care as long as I'd never heard it before.

"Once a music junkie always a music junkie I guess..."

WFMU-FM 91.1/Jersey City, NJ; 90.1/Hudson Valley, NY

Monday, November 22, 2004

"Deja Vu" by John Fogerty

John Fogarty's has his first musical release out in 7 years. Here's the NPR interview:

NPR : It's 'Deja Vu' for John Fogerty

The title track "Deja Vu (All Over Again)" is one of my current favorite songs. There's a link to the whole song at NPR, under their "All Songs Considered" section. Here are the lyrics:


Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you try to read the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again

Day by day I hear the voices rising
Started with a whisper like it did before
Day by day we count the dead and dying
Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score

Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Could your eyes believe the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again

One by one I see the old ghosts rising
Stumblin' 'cross Big Muddy
Where the light gets dim
Day after day another Momma's crying
She's lost her precious child
To a war that has no end

Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you stop to read the writing at The Wall
Did that voice inside you say
I've seen this all before
It's like Deja Vu all over again
It's like Deja Vu all over again

John Fogerty
©2004 Cody River Music / ASCAP

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Clash: "London Calling," 1979

Los Angeles quasi-freeform stations KMET and KLOS had problems playing The Clash and The Police, not knowing what to do with them at first. Up in Santa Barbara, at KTYD-FM, we had no problem slapping them on immediately. Of course, the college stations like the University of California at Santa Barbara's KCSB-FM devoured the stuff...

NPR: All Songs Considered: Episode 70


Another little bite about KMYR and its role in helping Zephyr get rolling...

Zephyr - A Brief History by David Givens

KMYR, Denver's 1st Underground

KMYR-FM became Denver's 1st Underground radio station circa 1968. Here's a brief mention at the KIMN Competition page:

KIMN & the Competition

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

More KFML Denver Memories

More KFML memories, courtesy of

KFML Denver Memories

Bill Ashford on KFML

Was just trading some KFML memories with T, at the FreeFormRadio Forum. He jarred some Bill Ashford memories and I went looking for him on the web. One spot I haven't seen before starts off like this:

"Convinced as a child that real people lived inside his family's console radio, Ashford was destined for a life in music and broadcasting..."

Compare prices for Bill Ashford - Rock Music. Read rock music reviews and compare prices at Yahoo! Shopping.: "Convinced as a child that real people lived inside his family's console radio, Ashford was destined for a life in music and broadcasting"

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Monday, August 30, 2004


Looks good. Here's an interview with the producer, with sound clips and link to the film's website:

NPR : Woodstock on a Rail in 'Festival Express'

Monday, August 16, 2004

Bob Weir Reviews His Long Strange Trip

Bob Weir has a 2-CD retrospective out. There are links to a couple of tunes of of it at:

NPR: Bob Weir Reviews His Long Strange Trip

The rendition of "Playing In The Band" is particularly good...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Nick Drake's "Pink Moon"

... and here's a link to Nick Drake's "Pink Moon," title track of the album circa 1972:

NPR: All Songs Considered: Episode 4

Nick Drake's Last Known Song

Listen to Nick Drake's last known song, discovered nearly 30 years after his passing:

NPR: All Songs Considered: Episode 64

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Richie Havens

Ritchie Havens interview on NPR. Includes current song "Lives in the Balance."

NPR : Richie Havens

Friday, August 06, 2004

Freeform WBCN-FM bagan on March 15, 1968

Some recollections of when WBCN first began as a commercial freeformer:

WBCN-FM: March 15, 1968 - New England Music Scrapbook

Jim Ladd, freeformer 1969-present

Jim Ladd was interviewed by about his current gig at KLOS and the ones that had come before:

Jim Ladd Interview

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Lost Early 1970's Soul on Capsoul

Always a special treat to find R & B and Soul music that has hitherto been lost. Here's some from Ohio in the beginning 1970's:

NPR : Capsoul: Ohio's Answer to Motown

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

AIROS: Native American Streaming Audio

I find myself listening to AIROS more and more. Native American themes were/are part of our freeform roots:

AIROS: Listen to Streaming Audio

Thursday, July 15, 2004

ClubFM Internet Dance Radio, Trance Radio

There were/are many different ways to do freeform successfully.

Some DJ's could put a thematic set together like no other. Others could incorporate similar musical elements to educate. Still others could create musical canvases as backdrops to their appreciation of the day (Ed Bear particularly comes to mind). A very few could lend their dramatic talents to create stories...

My focus (1969-92) evolved into a keen interest to make my primarily music and primarily rock 'n roll program sound like one long song - seemless, one song flowing into another, with commercials and PSA's matching the flow.

My older son turned me on to modern dance/club/trance music about a decade ago. Talk about seemless mixing and the art of segue! My highpoint in appreciation of its freeform qualities came when "dad saved the rave" at Ward Valley, the summer of the Hale-Bopp Comet (1996?).

Here's a good Internet source:

? ClubFM Internet Dance Radio, Trance Radio, House Radio, Tampa Radio, Chicago Dance Radio, Las Vegas

WFUV Studio A Archives

A goldmine of interviews and music hosted by Dennis Elsas and other WFUV'ers includes musicians like David Bromberg, Jackson Browne, David Byrne, Bruce Cockburn, Elvis Costello, EmmyLou Harris, Richie Havens, Leo Kottke, Ziggy Marley, Roger McGuinn, John Mellanchamp, Ringo Starr, Sting and James Taylor:

WFUV.ORG and 90.7 FM, Public Radio from Fordham University in New York City

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

NPR : Analog Tape Fading into History

First reel-to-reel I threaded was at home, recording Lee Baby Simms on WPOP-AM, in 1966. First radio station reel-to-reel was KCAB-FM, Dardanelle, Arkansas, in 1968. First Freeform thread: KCSB-FM, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1969... Ah, the memories...

NPR : Analog Tape Fading into History

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Top 40 Giant: WABC-AM

A bit off topic, the WABC Music Radio 77 website has lots of sound files, including airchecks, promos and jingles back from the Top 40 days... My recommendation is to stay away from the interviews. The actual recordings from the past are lots more fun...

By the way, there are a good number of airchecks from Bob "Bob-A-Loo" Lewis when he was doing the "All Nite Satellite" at WABC, before he went on to progressive FM radio...

WABC Musicradio 77

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

KSML Logo Gear

Digging around in the archives, I found the KSML logo (circa 1975). I put it on some clothes and stuff. Please check out the offerings at:

Station Logo Clothes & Accessories! | CafePress

If you would like a logo'd item that isn't currently "on the shop floor," so to speak, let me know and I can probably make you something custom as long as CafePress has the inventory.

Friday, May 21, 2004

WFUV: Scelsa, Fornatale and Elsas

Fordham University's Non-Com WFUV features former freeformers and New York notable DJ's Vin Scelsa, Pete Fornatale, Dennis Elsas and others. They stream.

WFUV Program Guide


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Bill Szymczyk @ KFML, early 1970s

Although not a part of the station on a day-to-day basis, Bill Szymczyk was an important member of the KFML family:

All Music Guide: Bill Szymczyk

Selctions From The Wasteland

I had forgotten about Razame (RAZ-uh-MAY) Crackers, who was there at KCFR during my brief stint there, Fall 1971:

Selctions From The Wasteland - KCFR, Denver

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Lee "Baby" Simms

Lee Baby was the guy who inspired me to get into radio. Although a Top 40 disc jockey for most of his career -- certainly never a freeform disc jockey -- he broke formats all the time and was one of the true outlaws of Top 40 and "AM Radio."

His whereabouts are currently not known by me. If you know, let me know. Last spot I know of was KISQ in San Francisco, 2002.

Link below has a synopsis of his days at WPOP. There's even a short audio clip:

WPOP Personalities (1/1/04)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Two Books on Radio

A couple of years back, two books wirtten by disc jockeys were published about radio. Here's an overview of both "Rebels On the Air" by Jesse Walker and "FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio" by Richard Neer:

The Independent Weekly: Reading the Jukebox

I've read both books and they are interesting reads. Hopefully, some of the info about FreeForm from both books will make it into mine.

Friday, April 16, 2004

KFML Denver Radio Tribute

Clancy and I came over to KFML from KCFR around January 1972.

KCFR -- the Denver University station -- was still freeform non-commercial and Wayne Roth, who would go on to make a name for himself managing NPR stations, was at the helm.

Clancy did a great job with Ed on the news. I had a Sunday morning program "Starship Aquarius" and substituted on weekends. My stay was short, only a half a year.

Jim Clancy can be heard today, reporting on the situation in Iraq.

Here's a little bit about KFML:

KFML Denver Radio Tribute

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

KMPX/KSAN Historical

The home of the KMPX and KSAN audio, visual and textual archives is at:


A wealth of resources and memories of the first commercial freeform radio stations in the United States, put together by those who were there. Also, a "where are they now?" page...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Bob Fass, WBAI - 2/16/2001

Bob Fass was one of the earliest implementers of the Freeform style. many of us took our approach from him.

Some "Radio Unnameable" memories and then-current discussions on Pacifica politics (in 2001):

The A-infos Radio Project: Program Details: Radio Unnameable: Blast from the Past, then Back to the Future!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Joe Frank Archives

Stumbled on the JOE FRANK Official Website. Many archival programs still free for freeform listening:

Joe Frank :: Official Web Site