RAVE'S FAVE'S(on the air): Beck*, Fiona Apple*, REM, Sting, Stroke9, Smash Mouth("Morning"), Marc Anthony, Apollo Four-Forty(Pick), Muse(Pick).
Beck and Fiona are getting top play at AAA and Adult Top 40, but it's so sad that alternative radio isn't giving these two songs any more than medium-level spins. Folks, I'm sure the pendulum will swing back toward more variety on these stations, once they decide they need to appeal to a broader demographic. History tells us that it's always that way. Given the current situation, I can only tell you that my two picks should be hits. 440 is an electronica smash that I heard in Europe this summer. It's energetic and fun; and has been on Y-107 as well as MTV and various specialty shows. It can become mainstream if given the chance. Muse are like Radiohead, but with more melody and with more obvious hooks. This band has a chance to be really special. Y-107 also added thier "Muscle Museum" along with MTV-2. From the faves of last August, The Santana, Fastball, and Tal Bachman songs continue to sound great on the radio.
RECOMMENDED CD'S: Beck, Fiona Apple, Smash Mouth, Blink 182, Powerman 5000, nin.
LA RADIO :( For those of you who are out of town, I can tell you that it's going downhill again, I'm afraid. Y-107, a refreshing alternative to KROQ, just bit the dust and is flipping to Spanish programing. Most of all, I'll miss the Chris Carter Mess. He was the bass player in Dramarama and is now an artist manager. A good jock in his own right, his Sunday night new music show played great new stuff from the US, UK, and various other countries. "The Mess" is my favorite new music show of all time, and I can only hope someone decides to pick him up because this music needs to be exposed. The next endangered species is KACD, our important AAA station. The frequency is for sale, as their new owners now have too many properties in LA. We can only hope that the format is moved to another signal, or that the new owners decide to keep adult alternative on the air in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, KLOS, while rocking harder, continues to be the most tired-sounding mainstream rock station I've ever heard.
I had my own fun on the radio when I was back at the U. of Wisconsin/Madison this fall. Long-time WSUM electronica jock Dave Ross interviewed me about everything from student activism in the 70's to music of the 80's and 90's. At one point, we both admitted we knew little about the Japanese rock scene. This may not surprise you radio guys or you heavy computer people, but I was very impressed that a listener not only requested a Japanese rock song, but she sent the file so that Dave could play the song.
I mentioned last time that I'd be going to Weird Al's show. It exceeded my high expectations. He really has more talent than many people give him credit for, and kudos to his band for perfectly covering everything from punk to new wave to hip hop. I haven't seen so many pre-teen kids with their parents since I returned to LA from Seattle! Also, the post-concert Eurythmics buzz was extremely positive. Annie just doesn't age.
I've heard some of the new, unfinished Duran Duran music; and I'm sorry to report that I'm very disappointed. The stuff is slow, unmelodic, and seems to lack inspiration. It's probably a good thing that the label isn't rushing this one.
I heard a cute story I meant to share last time. Sammy Hagar wrote a song called "Shag," which got some rock radio play. He submitted the song to Mike Meyers, but Mike turned it down, telling Sammy he thought the tune was "too sophisticated" for an Austin Powers film.
Well, that's it for now. Let me take this opportunity to wish you the very best over the holidays and into 2000. Of course, I look forward to hearing your feedback on what you're listening to, or what you may think of anything I've "raved' about. It's the positive input that motivates me to do this every four months.
Take care, and
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!