Frank and Bobert Tag Team the Monday DBAWIS

Either I misplaced today’s column from one of our Monday Revolving Door contributers, (Darrell Vickers, Doug Thompson, Justin Smallbridge, or Gary Pig Gold), or the fridge magnet holding their schedules to their Kelvinator’s freezer door lost it’s power and dropped out of sight.

Frank and Bob

In any case, this column comes to you all because Jaimie Vernon made an amazing album, Frank reviewed it in another blog, and Laurie Biagini (we has similar names) re-posted it in her ALSO amazing Indie Pop Musician’s Daily online magazine. When I asked Frank’s permission to re-repost it here for your dining and dancing pleasure, the following exchange occured using the much maligned Facebook Message service.

I thought, what the hell, our Dearly Beloved Readers deserve to see just how we communicate, make reallly important decisions, and kid ourselves into thinking what we do is in some way or another…entertaining.

giphyI was also reminded of how talented Jaimie’s team was (and is) who brought the CD in question to fruition, Brian, Jade, George, Lawrence, Todd, and Jaimie are all owed a big tip of the Hatlo Hat (look it up) for this gem. And may I say, (humbly, of course, like Antonio Banderas’s Puss N Boots), how proud I am Georgeof having been asked to participate as well, contributing some writing and my voice to Jaimie’s vision. Along with Jaimie and Jade, I feel we wrote and painted a solid and entertaining picture of Jaimie’s subject matter as good as any ‘Theatre of the Mind’ radio performance I have ever heard.

Tragically, we lost George Christie last year, an Uber-Talent both on the air and on the tech side of radio, whose contributions here are a nice reminder of his committment to and love of, radio. George could do it all; host, program, maintainance, image, edit, mix,write, and do it all for not only SIRIUS Iceberg Radio, but CFRB, The Mix/Virgin, and EZRock/Boom. He could also keep up with me at Scallywag’s, the bar across the street where George and I unwound after our shift together. I’m surprised they haven’t gone out of business since George moved along, and Astral Media left the building that had housed one Broadcast entity or another, for over half a century. Rest in Peace, Good Buddy….

Without further ado (we are all out of ado…) here’s the last minute reason and the decision to make this decision,  that all of you have a column to read today….

 =0=

Time: Monday, May 26th, 11:58 am….

Place: Somewhere in North York/Somewhere in Oregon/Somewhere in Cyber Space

  • Conversation started today
  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Hey Frank…Can I reprint the awesome review of Jaimie’s CD today? Can I…huh?…can I? …and your new column (there’s a new column, right?) will run tomorrow as usual. Let me know ASAP! Your friend, the prestigious, Ice Person.

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    You can reprint anything I have written anytime, Bobert. It goes without saying. And, yes, column for tomorrow. It will be an oddball one, but you will like it if no one else will.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    The review you wrote of Jaimie’s CD is bloody great…and thanks for the kind words.

    Why are you up so early?

    WHY!!!???

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    It’s 9 AM, for chrissakes! That’s not early! I think Nightmare is Jaimie’s pinnacle album thus far. I’ve listened to it faithfully once a day, sometimes more, since he sent me the files. I even put it onto my mp3 player so I could take it with me in the car. Wait. The big question is, why are YOU up so early?

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    For some reason, 11:30 seems to be the time my Alien Overlords have programmed me to rise, like a loaf of bread, out of the murky depths of sleep and sit (stunned and slightly confused) in front of my computer trying to remember who I am and what I do while nursing a Monster Sugar Free Energy Drink and lighting the wrong ends of cigarettes. Yes, I am sitting upright with eyes wide open…but I won’t be AWAKE for another couple of hours. I am sick of the Beatles.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Gonna write an intro for your story and give Laura props….

    Can you tell me a bit about the site you wrote it for?

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    Just a blog I put up to place my oddball music pieces. The html program I use is a bitch to embed videos, so when I felt it important to use videos, I put the articles and reviews on Indiemusicology. Like WordPress, it is user-friendly once you get used to it.

    Laura who?

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    The Indie Pop Musician’s Daily

    paper.li

    The Indie Pop Musician’s Daily, by Laurie Biagini: Your daily dose of news from the independent pop music community
  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Oops…Lauie, not Laura

    Laurie

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    Aha! Well, I am always the lead story when my column comes up. So are the rest of us DBAWIS writers. Laurie is a real sweetheart. She deserves as many props as we can find for her. You still have that Star Wars sabre?

    That’s a joke, son.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    No…traded it for a burrito and a Chinese Ping Pong player. I still have my autographed jar of T-Rex urine from Jurassic Park 3….

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    No shit! I know guys that would give you their firstborn, if they could ever figure out which one it is, for that. Ha!

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    I am reprinting THIS conversation as the lead in to your review.

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    Hahahaha! Culture shock for the masses.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Our readers deserve an inside look at our professional personal lives…or not.

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    Yup. So are you going to write about your involvement in Jaimie’s project? That would be fascinating, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    There will be a mention, perhaps…Jade and George are getting a pat on their heads…although George, tragically, isn’t with us anymore.

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    Know what? This is either stupid or brilliant, but we could keep this going for awhile by getting everyone to write about this— Todd, Lawrie, Jaimie, Jaimie’s wife, Gagnon— like a rolling commentary with personal asides.

    I think I saw that Jaimie put an RIP next to his name. We’re freakin’ getting old, Bobert.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Next time…in fact, we should do some ’round table’ messaging with the DBAWIS Crew occasionally.

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    That would be fun.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    George was barely out of his ’40s if that…a sudden and unexpected passing.

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    Damn. That sucks.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Large. A talented and very nice guy.

    Worked with him for 2 years at SIRIUS

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    You ever gpoing to write about SIRIUS?

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    …and what do you mean ‘GETTING’ old…I got old YEARS ago…but I prefer to think of myself as a 16 year old driver in a 65 year old Chevy.

    I haven’t written about SIRIUS?

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Stil in Stockton, I assume.

    You have never written anything serious about SIRIUS. You have just mentioned it here and there. I mean, not that I’ve seen.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Cruisin’ the Avenue, lookin’ for Babes. Every night is Saturday night

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    From the pictures you have posted, there were SOME babes there, too.

  • Robert Segarini
    Robert Segarini

    Well if you say so…okay…will write a piece about my time there…just as soon as I finish the current episode of “Enough Already”, the upcoming “TV Shows that should NOT have been cancelled” column, and “My Socks: Where Are They Now?”

  • Frank Gutch Jr.
    Frank Gutch Jr.

    We are all hanging on the edge of our seats on that sock thing. Post soonest. Gotta get to work or you won’t have a column for tomorrow. Over and out.

  • Robert Segarini

    Under and In, Our Left Coast Indie God…

    Seen 12:54pm
    =FGJ/O=
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jaimie Vernon (and friends)— The End of Terrestrial Radio in Three Acts

I must listen to hundreds of albums a year— at least sample that many— and there are few which really floor me.  I try to write about the ones which do, though even then the words sometimes escape me and those reviews remain unwritten.  It isn’t easy, writing reviews on a constant basis, so when an album comes along which I not only love but wish I could have been part of— or at least been privy to some of the creative process— it is rare.

When friend and colleague Jaimie Vernon unleashed his latest project on us a few weeks ago, it caught me completely by surprise.  It is a concept album, he explained, about the downfall of Pop radio, and then sweetened the deal with the hint that “The Iceman”, Bob Segarini, was somehow involved as were a handful of friends with whose work I was familiar:  Brian Gagnon, Lawrence Ingles, Todd Miller, and Jade Dunlop to name a few.  It revolves around the last Pop radio station in existence and soon to go out of existence, he said, and…..  Well, here it is in Vernon’s own words, borrowed from the liner notes:

Nightmare @ 20,000 Watts is a modern morality audio play in three acts that postulates a ‘what if’ scenario concerning the slow demise of terrestrial radio. What if the corporatization of our airwaves becomes so ubiquitous that every last radio station on the planet is absorbed and reformatted out of existence? Pictured: Jaimie Vernon

“What would the final terrestrial radio station sound like on that fateful day when the playlist is transformed and the on-air talent broadcasts across the ether one last time? C.R.C.K. could be that station. A 20,000 Watt FM transmitter located in the remote outpost of Sachs Harbour in the Northwest Territories’ Beaufort Sea at the tip of Banks Island.

“And it is here that the world of past radio glories and current radio collapse collides in a farewell to a format that not only informed my own musical growth but was the audio thread that connected nearly four generations of pop music fans in the Western Hemisphere.”

Is that a great idea or does Vernon just make it sound great?  I would have to say a little of both.  I mean, the idea is not necessarily original— I’m sure there are albums out there which have toyed with the basic idea and, of course, the Cruisin’ series of albumsrecreated a string of albums featuring the hits of a specific year in the radio format of many of the top disc jockeys of the 50s and 60s.  But no one to my knowledge has done it exactly like this.

In the first place, Vernon not only wrote and recorded most of what made it to disc (or into digital format) but created a scenario far beyond that “actual” day of broadcast.  His liner notes, in fact, lay out the complete history of radio station CRCK, bringing us up-to-date just in time for that final broadcast.  The lead-in for the album is the dial-twisting we have heard many times— well, us oldtimers anyway.  I grew up on it, the various stations crowding their ways through speakers as the listener searches for station of choice.  The fact that it stops on CRCK and Brian “The Iceguy” Campbell is the kickoff, Segarini then hosting a similar program for Sirius under the name Bob “The Iceman” Segarini.  Art reflecting life?  Possibly.

It is the first in a long line of coincidences and parallels to the real world.  The placing of the radio station in Sachs Harbor takes it far out of the reach of the rest of the world, that town being well north of the Arctic Circle, and while the station broadcasts, it is with a sense of isolation.  Not only the last Pop radio station in existence, but the last Mom and Pop radio station.  Think about it for a minute.  For those of a certain age, it is the darkest of science fiction.

Vernon, though serious, cloaks it all with a stunning sense of humor.  Bringing in Segarini, a good friend and someone with whom Vernon has worked with more than a bit, was stroke of genius, his off-the-cuff delivery just off enough to fit the whole concept but not drive it into serious ground.  Indeed, “The Iceguy” sounds as much Red Green as he does disc jockey, plugging everything from Sterno to beaver shooting to a store called Bill’s Bait & Beer because there ain’t two things in the whole world that go together better than that.  Vernon even includes a funeral home ad— fake, of course, but oh so appropriate given the theme.

Of course, none of this would work minus music and in the end it is the music that holds it all together.  Vernon went out of his way to include songs by Lowe & Brow, San Diego’s Atomic Enchiladas,The Terra Cottas, The Hudson’s Bay Brothers (think about that one for a bit), and Sydney Australia’s The Modern Punk Quartet, et. al.  That would be hell of a lineup, folks, if the bands existed.  They don’t, of course.  The thing is, the album is put so well together that it is hard to believe they don’t.  The songs, all Vernon-centric except two (Frank Marzano‘s Drink Her Goodbyeand Jim Lowe‘s I Feel the Beat), are first rate and the production the same.  You can hear influences of The Beatles, ELO, Klaatu and others, but the songs stand on their own.  In fact, I hadn’t even realized that the musicians on each of the songs are pretty much the same in odd combinations until maybe my tenth listen.  I had somehow fallen into the fantasy and for me The Middle Americans and Atomic Enchiladas had taken on a form as real as any I could imagine.  In fact, I began to worry about myself.  I began having this urge to search the band names on the Net just to scope out their discographies.  Pictured above: Sharon and Jaimie Vernon

Any real drama must come to an end, and this is true drama in odd form, and Vernon wraps it all up with the sign-on of new kids in radio town, CWSH, and the smoother jazz format.  Pop radio is no more.

The PDF file Vernon sent me shows the insert, marked Disc 1.  Turns out that there will be a second disc.  Basically, it will be the music from the “radio broadcast” minus the radio patter and with all of the proper lead-ins and lead-outs— just the music.  It will also include bonus tracks, from tracks relating to the “broadcast” to others written during the time period the album was actually being recorded.  Soon, he promised.  When time and energy permit.

Am I impressed?  I am totally knocked out.  Each day I find time to listen, and always all the way through.  It isn’t getting old— any of it.  The music, the vocal palaver, the humor cheers me up.  It is radio as it should be.  The fact that the music and characters are weaving an audio tale of creative consequence fascinates me.  You want to hear it?  It’s streaming here.  Do yourself a favor and pop a cold one, lay back and hear it for what it really is.  This will be in my Top Ten of the year, easy, and it isn’t because I know that guy.  But, just for the record, I know that guy.

(Frank Gutch Jr. writes and has written for numerous magazines and websites, presently including this blog, his own website and the prestigious Don’t Believe A Word I Say site put together by musician and music pundit Bob Segarini, out of Toronto. He specializes in the Indies, having fought hand-to-hand combat with major record labels for decades (talk about zombies). He believes music should be the core of the music business, though business it mostly be, and denies the accepted reality in the stead of the artistic one. Seldom does he receive pay for articles and/or reviews and believes that there is no place for negatives in a world in which one cannot keep up with the positives. He is, in a sense, a lost soul in a sea of music, drowning, but drowning gratefully.)
=FGJ=

Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.” 

One Response to “Frank and Bobert Tag Team the Monday DBAWIS”

  1. […] was its original release date).  You can read what both Bob Segarini and I thought/think of it by clicking on this link to a past column.  Jaimie, you knocked this one out of the park.  In future moments of drunken stupor, you can bet […]

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