Oil of Dog
Gary Storm
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Gary:       Um how did you get into this business?

Sandy Beach:       Norman?  Go ahead.

Norm Schrutt:       Me?

G:       Yeah, Norm, how did you get into it?

N:       Ahh haha. My Horatio Alger story.

G:       Haha.

N:       Um everyone, the chief, the engineer back there is-is-a watching now.  Haha. “My father owns . . . .” no, hahaha.  I had a very close friend of mine who worked at this radio station.  Ahh and ah I ah used to ah sell cars, and he said, “Norm, why don’t you try to work at a radio station?” and ah I was interviewed two or three times and finally got the job as the local salesman.  And then I, six years later, I was made ah local sales manager, and then I was made general sales manager, and ahhh almost two and a half years ago, I think, I was made ah-ah General Manager, vice-president, general manager. I ah I love programming, I really do.  I and ah Sandy, and i-it drives Sandy crazy some-, I-ah-I and I know it, and I have to fight . . . . . I-ah-I have a fairly creative kind of thought process, I’m not very good at the statistical sale of the radio station, but I have a fairly good I ah think mind and creativity, and ah and ah Sandy and I talk a lot about it, but in case of a tie Sandy always wins.  He might win a lot harder than sometimes . . . . .

S:       Hahahaha.

G:       Hahaha.

N:       . . . . . but ah that’s when-when I hired Sandy I told Sandy, and that’s the kind of guy I want.  I knew Sandy, and Sandy, I was here when Sandy got canned.  Hahahahaha . . . . .

S:       Hahahaha.

N:       . . . . . The first time, folks! . . . . and ah ahhh and I always thought that he was, y’know, a-a-a good piece of talent, and I knew when I would hire him that he would not be a yes man, and that was really terrific for me because I really didn’t need that.  And ah we have some very interesting discussions hahaha.

S:       Our relationship is like an Italian family.  If you ever walked in on them . . . . . ah one minute they’re throwing the dishes at each other, and the next minute they’re embracing.  And that’s essentially the relationship we have.  I do have ah respect for his ability as a showman.

G:       Mm hmm.

S:       He’s always had a flair for that, and ah sometimes we’ll agree and sometimes we won’t.  But-the but-the point is we have a right to disagree with each other.  And we exercise that right, and when we agree on something it makes it that much nicer.

N:       Tell the folks how I found you in the marshes and ah-ah.

S:       Hahahahaha.

N:       . . . . just before ah, the . . . .

S:       Well, what happened . . . .

N:       . . . . . the ah Pharaoh found you, and hahahahaha.

S:       . . . . well, what happened is I removed a thorn from his paw . . . .

G & N:       Hahahahaha.

S:       . . . . and he was grateful and said c’mon up from Erie ahh and y’know.  I never thought I’d ever make, y’know, fifty bucks a week in radio and now I’m making double that.

N:       Hahaha.

S:       So I’m very very very pleased.  Hahaha.

G:       Now, ah you worked here ahh . . . .

S:       Six years as a jock.

G:       Uh huh.

5:       I was here from ‘68 to ‘74 as a jock and ah . . . .

G:       Was that your first DJ job?

S:       Oh no no no, I started in ‘62.  So I was about six years in the business before I came here and it’s the story, is amazing.  I came up here from Hartford.  And in Hartford, man, I jus-I just thought I was the best.  I thought I could blow anybody out in Hartford.  Y’know, and I came here . . . .

G:       You got good Arbitrons there?

S:       Yeah, sure.  Well, I worked for [W]DRC which was always a dominant station, AM and FM, ah simulcast whatever, and I was never short on modesty of my air ability.  Never ever, see.  But KB was always my goal, from the time I was ah a kid and used to go grocery shopping with my mother and father and I’d have The Hound on, and my mother would say – are you ready for this? – sh-they’d go in the grocery store, she’d say “Don’t play the radio, it’ll wear the battery down.” Now, when’s the last time you heard that? But I used to listen to KB ah in Massachusetts.  So I thought when I was going to professional school, I thought, “If I ever get to KB, that’ll be it, I mean I w-I will have no other goal.”  So I ended up here and I thought, “Jeez, hey, I’ve really made it!”  Until I started listening to the other jocks.  At the time, we had Stan Roberts, Fred Kiestine, Dan Neavereth, ah we had some pretty good jocks and I thought, “Oh my God!  I’m not as good as any of them, I’d better really get it together.”  So I used to come in every day, I’d listen to the jocks during the day while I was at home, and fight for survival.  I mean, I’d get on the air that night, I didn’t want to be embarrassed.  I mean, Neavereth would be on in front of me, do you know what it’s like to follow Dan Neavereth????  I mean, it’s-a it’s a killer situation.  So I would, y’know, I’d throw everything I had into the show just not to be embarrassed.  And it was a great situation for me because I really learned that that’s the way you grow, it really is.  And when you’re in with the sharks, man, you better learn to swim in a hurry. And that’s why . . . .

N:       Faster than the sharks!

S:       Yeah, right, haha.  That’s why I love working here now, y’know, I have such pros around me.

N:       Oh, ah ah tell them about, y’know, th-the day that they severed you, I mean, he went into all this good buddy stuff . . . .

S:       Oh, you want the good stuff?  Well . . . .   

N:       Yeah, right right.  Tell them about the line that you used about th- about-that got you in trouble up at the University of Buffalo!

S:       Oh no, well, we won’t go into that.  I used to do . . . .
G:       Hahahahahahahaha.

S:       The kind of shows I used to do on the air, what I did, it’s probably what you do, Gary, I would say. And I had a radio show on a fifty thousand watt radio station that was heard up and down the Eastern Seaboard at night. So it was a great form.  And what I wanted . . . .

G:       What were your hours at that time?

S:       Seven to midnight.  I worked another shift only a couple of months and then they put me in seven to midnight, and I figured here’s a chance to say things on the air that the average guy would love to say but he can’t, he doesn’t have a show, I have my own show, right?  So I would go on and I would do numbers on the phone company, the NET drivers that cut you off, they don’t care, it’s not their bus.  Y’know, they get out at five o’clock, your car is creamed . . . . .

G:       Hahahahaha.

S:       . . . . their car is parked, what do they care about it, right?  Hahaha.

N:       Hahahahaha.  Don’t do your show now, will ya, Sandy!  Hahaha.

S:       Alright, the phone company, the gas company, da dabba dabba dabba doo.  So I used to do this and I really enjoyed it.  But, of course, when you do that kind of a show, you better have a lawyer on hold, ah so anyway . . . . as the station progressed and grew, we got away from that kind of thing, and I had a-a few minor problems with the . . . .

N:       (He snickers.)

S.       . . . . . program director at the time. Prob- . . . . .

N:       Not exactly true, but go ahead.

S:       Probably because when they hired him, I-I said on the air, “You probably wonder how our new program director got his job . . . low bid maybe???”

G & N:       Hahaha.

S:       That kind of thing does not always endear you to the new program director.  Anyway, we had a philosophical difference, and ahh . . . . .   

N:       He got canned.

S:       Yeah, I got canned.  And they said, “Here, take twelve dollars and leave.”  Which is what I did, and I left and programmed for three years and then had a chance to come back.  Which was great, because if I hadn’t left I wouldn’t have this job now.  Because I wouldn’t have been ready for it.

G:       Mm hmm.

S:       So it worked out alright.

(He goes on to discuss the work he did in Erie before returning to WKBW as program director.)

S:       . . . . . The next question: Yes, I do miss being on the air, that’s why I’m doing this show.

N:       Hahahaha.

S:       And if I was on the air regularly, I would do all this on the air.

N:       But he couldn’t do the format.

S:       No, I couldn’t fit on my show.  I would never hire me as a jock anyway.

G:       Really?  Um, what about when you first got on the radio?  Di-did you go to broadcasting school?

S:       Yeah, I went to a two year school . . . yes.

G & N:       (at the same time) You’re the first person I ever met . . . .

S:       Right?  Went to a two year school in Boston.

N:       Well, Jeff did too, didn’t he?

S:       Jeff Kaye?

N:       Did you go to Emerson?

S:       No, Je-.  No, I didn’t.  Jeff said I went to Emerson on one of the things.  I went to a school called Leland Power School of Radio, Television and Theatre in which you had to take all three.  Ah, you were not allowed to ah major in one and, y’know, I was only interested in radio.  I-ju-I came from a farming community of 8000 people and I-I, y’know, I related to theatre about as much as the man on the moon.  Ahh, and I had never met theatre-types before and ah went into Boston and took two years of that and ah that was it.

G:       Mm hmm.

S:       It was-it was an interesting education, and the school is ah very well known around the country.

G:       Yeah, ah your-but I have never met anyone in broadcasting who went to a broadcasting school.

S:       I went, I went.

The mysterious intellectual murmurings of John Ashbery’s poetry combine powerfully with the intellectual probings of Michael Mantler’s solo piano music.  I read Ashbery’s “The Mythological Poet” as Mantler articulates a musical hypothesis:

        . . . . . He is merely
An ornament, a kind of lewd
Cloud placed on the horizon.

Close to the zoo, acquiescing
To dust, candy, perverts; inserted in
The panting forest, or openly
Walking in the great and sullen square
He has eloped with all music
And does not care *

Who is he talking about?  Is it perverted to so much love so many different things?

* John Ashbury. Some Trees. New York: Cornith Books, 1970, page 35.

“The Girl on the Magazine Cover” recorded in 1916 by HARRY MacDONALD, an almost operatic tenor.

The girl I love
is on a magazine cover
It seems they painted her
just for me.*

Penned by a Russian-born immigrant named IRVING BERLIN.  It is amusing to imagine how his turn-of-the-century guileless sentimentality would cope with the end-of-the-world zipless fuckedness exuding from modern-day magazine girls.

* © no date, Irving Berlin Music Corp. from Come Josephine in My Flying Machine: Inventions and Topics in Popuar Song: 1910-1929, New World Records, NW233.

This record is so horrible that it is useful only for smashing.  Save it for a time of anxiety and tension.  Effective.  Natural.  Non-habit forming.  Suggested Methods:

Let the disc warp in the sun.

Put your finger prints on the surface.

Scratch the grooves with your nails.

Play it without using a record cleaner.

Throw, frisbee-like, against a wall.

Hold in hand and smash it flat against the corner of a building.

When you have destroyed the record, you can use the sleeve as a party hat.

Thank you for becoming a member of WBFO.


Oil of Dog
        Did you ever stop to think of what your life would be like without a swell public radio station like WBFO?  Well, probably it would be about the same.  Your life would still be the wretched miserable drudgery that it has always been without any hope of change.  Without us, things would be just the same.  But give us your money anyway.  We are public radio and we depend on your bucks for support so we can take vacations to exotic places.  No, actually we use your money to pay for bills and do things that radio stations do while your life remains untouched and unchanged.  Just call me now at 831-5393 and pledge your support.  We’d love to have your money.
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BING CROSBY.  Yeah.  I guess even us nasty all night DJ’s are tamed by his charm.  After six decades of popularity he can’t be summarily dismissed.  Some call him the most popular singer of the century.  Check this little number from 1933, “I’ve Got the World on a String.”  In the background there’s Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, the Mills Brothers.  For all its lilly-white muzak-imbued easy-listening smoothness, this is jazz.
        Collecting records is for me an obsession.  I have been trying to obtain a fairly thorough collection of late sixties psychedelic era rock’n’roll.  But I was just in high school during that time,  I was a typical reactionary clean as a bean straighter than a masturbater all-American type kid.  I was square, gawky, loud, I never did drugs, smoked cigarettes, got drunk, porked a girl, grew my beard and hair, ran away, I didn’t believe that love could be a salvation until 1970 when it was passe, when I joined demonstrations and marches in college I always remained in the sidelines and still have yet to be arrested, I was even idiotic enough to be in favor of the Vietnam war until I left the dungeons of high school and saw some light, I never saw The Doors or Cream or Jefferson Airplane, not to mention the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, The Standells, or The Move; I was busy listening to Simon and Garfunkle and The Association and Joni Mitchell.  My record collection now fills an entire room.  It gives me no rest.   Why do I want to capture the music of a social phenomenon in which I never took part?  Sean Kelly once wrote an editorial in National Lampoon which I found very insightful:

Just as it is no coincidence that fat kids and bleeders grow up to be boxing buffs and NFL fanatics and the kids with terminal acne who had nothing to do at high school dances but read the record-album liner notes all turned into pop music critics, so all people who wallow in nostalgia get that misty feeling not for what they did and who they were back then, but for who they wish they had been, and for what they missed.


The veteran who never left Fort Bragg weeps into his Legion Hall beer when “Lilli Marlene” comes around on the Muzak.  It’s invariably the girl who spent the years 1950–1960 reading Sarah Teasdale alone in her room who has, over the last ten years, painstakingly collected Buddy Holly 45’s over which to wax sentimental now. *

I am nostalgic for a time and mood that may not have really existed at all.  It is possible that people across the United States never really were Romantic and revolutionary in the golden time around 1966, that there never really was a feeling in the air that a new age of love and peace had dawned and that the world would change.  Perhaps it was all invented later by people who read Tom Wolfe and Jack Kerouac.  But IF I WERE THE PERSON I AM NOW I would run away to Haight-Ashbury again wouldn’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t I wouldn’t.  This is the essential quality of nostalgia: we want something we didn’t get enough of, we didn’t get our fill.  Nostalgia looks back with longing, with emptiness, and sadness and fear; we are nostalgic because we are not happy now.  Back then oh I could have been in crash pads doing acid and learning free love with pretty girls with flowers in their hair and hair in their armpits, and oh I could do it for real with love and drugs and flowers and fabulous rock’n’roll exploding around the world, it would be the eye of the storm, and I would be there, in it, back then, back there, for real. My records take me back.

But nostalgia is always dangerous.  It makes us turn our back on the hell and beauty of today.  Most people do not have the courage to look at the 80’s; they would rather dream of the 40’s, or 20’s, or 50’s.  I listen to my records all alone now and I am in a worse hell than when I was that square dumb pimple during that myth of love in the 60’s.

* Sean Kelly. “Editorial.” National Lampoon, October, 1972, Vol 1, No. 31, page 4.  NOTE: I would like to thank Fannie at National Lampoon who went through a lot of trouble to help me find the particular issue from which this clippling was taken.
         I asked Frank Zappa about an old recording by a duo called Ned and Nelda doing “Hey Nelda” and “Surf Along”.  In reality, the record was one of Zappa’s earliest efforts.

Zappa:       Ned and Nelda was ah, remember Paul and Paula?

Dave Bloom:       Yeah. “Hey, hey Paul . . . . .”    

Z:       Well, at that point in the sixties, novelty songs were popular.

D:       Mm hmm.

Z:       That was, that was still back when Americans had a sense of humor on the radio.  I mean, anybody who listens to the radio now knows that it’s strictly business, y’know, it’s real serious, there’s no room for any laughs.  And you’ll never find anybody in the rock’n’roll business laughing at himself, and if he wants to laugh at somebody else he’s not gonna do it on the radio because he’s afraid he’s gonna offend one of his compatriots there in the-the wonderful world of rock, y’know.

Gary:       Uh huh.

Z:       Which is a tragic state of affairs, I mean, these are the kinds of things that lead eh whole nations to elect people like Jimmy Carter.  Everything is downhill when the laughs stop.  Okay, you settle for somebody who smiles instead of somebody who laughs.
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Enclosed is a donation check in the amount of $15.00.  I have recently moved into the Buffalo area and have found your programming to be most stimulating.  Of particular delight have been your shows by Gary Storm (where else can one hear Christmas carols in August?), Studs Terkel, and Jean Shepherd.

Gary Storm Oil of Dog WBFO Play List 2

Figure 14:  This is another of my legendary playlists.  Once again look closely and marvel that all this music was actually and for real played on the radio.

The record companies are in a panic. Dozens of clever publicity releases complain of poor sales.  Obviously they have not been paying enough attention to music lovers, they have forgotten they are in the music business, not the record business.  Maybe Oil of Dog ain’t so worthless after all.

But the stupid companies will do the wrong thing of course.  They will raise the price of records and complain poverty and cut my service.
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“Stormy Weather.”  Perhaps the greatest popular song of all time.  Sung so silky and sweet on this 1933 recording by HAROLD ARLEN, a Harlem Cotton Club performer, who co-wrote the tune with lyricist TED KOEHLER. Arlen is most often mentioned in conjunction with lyricist Yip Harburg, with whom he wrote “Over the Rainbow.”  As I play this record, another seven cents or so goes to Paul McCartney who owns the rights.
        Hi there!  Yes indeed the recession is on and economic troubles abound.  That’s why WBFO is having its membership week right now.  By golly, now’s the time for us to plug you for money because we need money.  We can’t live without money.  We’re a non-commercial island in a commercial world.  Which is why we’re having this fund-raising week.  We hold off begging you to fork it over until the last possible minute when all our money has been used up.  And during this time of economic disaster as thousands of steelworkers and autoworkers are being laid off just across town all we ask of you is that you donate some of your hard-earned money to WBFO at a time when you can’t possibly afford it so that you will wonder where your next meal is coming from.  In return you’ll get our heartfelt thanks and also a free program guide each month for a year.  Try and feed that to your hungry kids.  All you have to do is call me now at 831-5393 and we’ll be bouncing on needles and pins with lascivious looks in our eyes waiting for your money.  And if you pledge during my show you will receive two free record albums, a good one to play forever and a horrible one to smash to pieces.  Call me now at 831-5393 and give us your bucks.
        I spoke with Bill Macree, Rick Rikowski, and Jim Griffiths of Crack the Sky shortly after the release of their album Safety in Numbers.  Crack the Sky may be categorized with progressive rock groups like Genesis, Gentle Giant, and MarillionSafety in Numbers is a beautiful album whose distinctiveness survives to this day.  The speaking voices of each band member are somewhat similar on the tape so I may have miscredited some of the dialogue.

Jim Griffiths:       We live in the most polluted place on earth.

Gary:       You live in the most . . . . .
JG:       . . . . polluted area on earth.

G:       Ohio?  Where are you in Ohio?

Rick Rikowski:       Yeah.  Stretch of land between Wheeling and Pittsburgh, is the dirtiest spot on the whole planet.

JG:       It is.

RR:       It is really.

G:       I mean, is that like a statistical type . . . . .?

Bill Macree:       Yeah.

RR:       Yes.

G:       . . . . . thing.  Wow.

RR:       It is.

JG:       Yeah, it is.

RR:       They were in Science Digest . . . . .  I think it was July issue or something last year.

JG:       Yeah, you can buy t-shirts back home:  “We’re Number One.”  (Laughter in the room.)  Seriously.
BM:       You could.  Like, we made Family Magazine about four years ago, you know, the supplement that comes with the Sunday paper . . . . . 

G:       Right. Yeah.

BM:       . . . . . and hahahaha it was ah, it was an article about our area, uh and there was a picture of somebody, some guy had the idea of makin’ up the t-shirts, af-after that was ah printed in the national supplement, they had t-shirts for sale, said “We’re Number One”!

JG:       Yeah, like the Pollution Control Board is ah owned by the industry.

BM:       Yeah, so the-they put out false reports all the time, and they say, y’know, the pollution is-is fair, or . . . .

JG:       It’s really horrible, I mean, you go out at three o’clock in the morning, and like, and every night they’ll clean th-the smoke stacks, y’know, just blow ‘em out.  And you go out at three in the morning, man, it’s just terrible.  And you can see it and smell it and you just . . . (gags).

BM:       It’s an apathetic situation, y’know, because, ah three quarters of the employment at home is-is controlled by the mill, and so people would rather work than to, y’know, th-the company comes back with, “Well, it costs money to clean it up an-and therefore you have to lay people off,” and whatever, so everyone’s just controlled by them, and it’s at the point now where people . . . . . and we were in the same position, like, we whi-while yer livin’ there you just get caught up with it, and you jus-, and it just goes ah, take-it’s-ah you take it for granted that it’s, like, you know, it-it’s normal.  And then after we’d gotten out on the road, and then happened to come back, just realized . . . . . it’s just horrible there, and people-people are at a point where it’s just, y’know, it’s a complete apathetic situation, no one even no one says nothing about it, no one does anything about it, an-it-it’s really bad.

G:       Is this like resounding in your song, “Nuclear Apathy” too, or . . . . .

BM:       That’s part of it, y’know, jus-just the whole attitude, y’know, everyone’s atti-social attitude is just completely apathetic.

G:       But you still feel hope?

BM:       Oh yeah, you have to or you go nuts.  (Laughter in the room.)

G:       Well . . . . . I’m going nuts.  (More laughter.)

This interview took place in 1978.  I believe more recent studies have proclaimed Western New York the Environmentally Polluted Heavyweight Champions of the world.
        Music cannot lie.  Words can.  Music is understood by all humanity.  Words divide the world.  From George Steiner, I pick up a philosophical tradition almost as old as the history of culture: from the time of the Orphic and Pythagorean cults, through the works of Boethius, Kepler, Condillac, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Levi-Strauss, it is music that is the universal language, untranslatable into any other form, expressive of wordless truths known by everyone, welling forth from the hidden depth of our commonality, the language before the Fall of Man, before the fall of Babel.

        But you don’t need to look further than the history of rock’n’roll to know this.  Yackety-yak don’t talk back, “Don’t try to dig what we al s-s-s-s-s-say” stutters Roger Daltry;  “Talk, talk!!!” sneered The Music MachineThe Dead Boys don’t need no mom and dad just a sonic reducer.  The squares hold their hands over their ears, “I can’t understand the words!”  That’s right!! grins the rock’n’roller.  Only music speaks truth, music cannot lie.  Donny Osmond and Johnny Rotten reveal themselves, not with the words they sing, but with the music that carries those words.  Language is inseparable from lies.  Music can rage, flaunt, exhalt, convert, pacify, seduce, alienate, convince, frighten, rally, stun, arouse – but it cannot lie.
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RUTH ETTING.  Who was she?  She was sexy.  She was a movie star.  She married a gangster.  She divorced him and married her pianist lover.  The gangster shot and wounded the pianist and was tried and imprisoned.  The whole world watched the trial and, after that, Ruth virtually vanished.  She died in 1978.

How wild was she?  Did she pose nude?  At this moment all I can give you is her voice.  Oh, I love her.  Indeed I do.  What glissandi, what grace notes, what a sprite, what delight.

Do I
want you?
Oh my Do I!
Honey, ‘deed I do!  *

Ruth Etting. “’Deed I Do,” © Times Square Music Publications Co., from Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby: The Golden Years of Tin Pan Alley: 1920-1929, New World Records, NW279.
        So they talk me into doing a show called “Songs That Ripped Your Heart Out” for membership week.  Bud Rock, one of Buffalo’s greatest record collectors, loans a bunch of rare old 45’s.  So, that night I weep and sigh through songs that hold no memories for me, songs I was too young to know, or too snobby to hear.  And I pine and wail through songs of my own undulating squirting youth, songs that bit off my wanger and turned my brain to mush.

“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine” – The Walker Brothers
“Summer’s Gone” – Paul Anka
“Never My Love” – The Association
“Earth Angel – The Penguins
“Secret Love” – Doris Day (one of my all time favorites at the age of six)
“My Guy” – Mary Wells
“Goodbye” – Benny Goodman
“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Gerry Butler
“Walk Away Renee” – The Left Banke
“Judy’s Turn to Cry” – Leslie Gore
“Lovers Never Say Goodbye” – The Flamingos
“Happy Together” – The Turtles
“He’s Mine” – The Chiffons
“How Can I Tell You” – Cat Stevens
“Teen Angel” – Mark Dinning
“One Night” – Elvis Presley
“Killing Me Softly” – Roberta Flack
“Every Beat of My Heart” – Gladys Knight
“New Horizons” – The Moody Blues
“Silhouette” – The Rays
“I Had a King” – Joni Mitchell
“Crying” – Roy Orbison
“Yesterday” – The Beatles
“Teenagers in Love” – Dion and The Belmonts
“I Must Have Been Blind” – Tim Buckley
“Tell Laura I Love Her” – Ray Peterson
“Summer Song” – Chad and Jeremy
“I’ll Never Smile Again” – Little Anthony and The Imperials
“I Got You Babe” – Sonny and Cher
“Donna” – Michael Valens
“Donna Means Heartbreak” – Gene Pitney
“I Wanna Be Free” – The Monkeys
“Mr. Lonely” – The Vidells
“As Tears Go By” – The Rolling Stones
“I Wanna Love Him So” – The Jelly Beans

and on and on for five hours.  What a hard a heavy feeling I have in my heart just listing these songs.  The hay ride singing Christmas carols, in the meadow that summer, holding hands after the show, writing so far away, that September, finding her with someone else, getting drunk every night, trying to forget, goddamnit.
        Someone encloses a letter with a $25.00 pledge:  “‘Songs That Ripped Your Heart Out’” was terrific.  I cried; and woke up my wife to dance.”

Gary Storm and Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Figure 15:  Gary Storm with Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer:  "Lord, I thought I'd given up these worthless interviews years ago."  (Photo by Zowie.)
        In 1976, Emerson, Lake and Palmer went on tour with a full orchestra.  Because of a series of technical mishaps, the orchestra had to be sent home shortly after the tour started.  The whole episode must have been a financial disaster for the group.  In the winter of 1977, ELP embarked on another tour.  They must have been desperate begging and crying on their knees for money and publicity.  That is the only explanation I have for the interview I scored with the otherwise inaccessible superstar Keith Emerson.  He even came to the station in person and I found him gracious, intelligent, and fascinating, a great contrast to the strutting fool I once saw guzzling booze on stage.  He turned me into a fan.  And there is no denying that ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery is one of the greatest albums of all time.  He probably thought I was a doink.  I asked him about his heroes, the jazz musicians he grew up hearing.

Gary:       So you started learning licks off of records and stuff like that.

Keith Emerson:       Mmmmmmm, basically yeah, I used to learn Oscar Peterson (my engineers, all jazz buffs, give a loud cheer) . . . . licks, you know, slowing the record down, that sort of thing.

G:       Oh, there are some Oscar Peterson fans out there.  In fact, you did ah, you did a show with him, didn’t you?  Oscar Peterson.

E:       I did, yes.  Um it was about two years ago . . . . . I got to meet him in umm . . . . originally he was playing in a club in London . . . . . Lonnie Scott’s club.  And I didn’t know that it had been set up for me to meet him . . . . and I wasn’t too keen on meeting somebody like that, mainly because I’ve done it before.  You know, you get introduced, “Hi”, you know, there’s this . . . . there’s this ah rock star wants to meet you and ah . . . . all these old sort of ah you know, I’d say from another generation . . . . . they sort of have an attitude like, “OK well, I’ll do it, you know, but I’m not really into their thing.”  You know.  So I was a bit wary about it ‘cause I’ve met people in that situation before . . . . . . . .and it’s, you know, nobody had much to say to each other.

G:       Mm hmm.

E:       You know, Ummm.  So I didn’t think it was a very good idea and ah . . . . . I’d listened to Oscar Peterson’s first set and ah Peterson’s manager came up . . . . . to the table and stood by my manager.  And he said, “Okay, let’s go,” and I said, “Go where?” and he said, “To meet Oscar Peterson” and I said, “No, no.  Now, look, he’s just done a gig, he’s just done a set and I think it would be best if ah . . . . we just let him cool out you know.”

G:       Mm hmm.

E: And he said, “No, it’s been arranged.”  And I said, “No, I’d prefer, really not to.”  So the manager walked away obviously sort of, like, a bit put off and my manager said, now he said, “Awww, you’ve done it now!”  He said, “He’s gonna go back and say to Peterson, you know, ‘Emerson’s really stuck-up, you know, big-headed. He doesn’t want to meet you.’”

G:       Mm hmm.

E:       So I said, “Ah, is he really gonna think that?”  So I said, “Okay,” so I pulled the waitress over and I got a bottle of champagne and I wrote a little note on it and I said, like, ah “Look, I’ve really admired you for a long time . . . . and ah . . . . blah blah blah . . . . and here’s a bottle of champagne. Enjoy it.”

G:       Mm hmm.
E:       Anyway, word comes back with the waitress . . . . it’s ah . . . . ah “Oscar would really like to meet you.”  So I said, “He obviously just wants to say thank you for the champagne,” you know.  And he did the next set and at the end of the next set, ummm . . . . the waitress came out again and she said, “Look, he’d like to see you now.”  So I said, “Aww, okay, well, fine, he must be pretty genuine.”  So I went in there, knocked on the door . . . . . and he went “Heeeey man!  Hi!” you know, and he pointed to the champagne, “You shouldn’ta done that,” you know . . . . . and he introduced me to the rest of his band.  And he said, “Let me tell you something,” and he said, like, ah “I heard one of your ummm . . . . shows, I saw it on a television program, I think it was ‘Mid¬night Special,’” and he said, and he said, “I couldn’t believe it!” you know, these guys playing all these jazz licks and everything.  And he said, “Well,” he said, “next day I was on the phone to Count Basie . . . . .” and I was going, “What!!!?” . . . . . hahaha.

G:       Hahaha.

Last Friday, rather late in the evening, I called to pledge $100, and my all-time favorite radio person – Gary Storm – very kindly listened to me babble and even said he’d send me a photograph (of himself) in exchange for my pledge.  While giving my i.d. data to the operator, we were cut off (there are hostile forces everywhere).  Lest you think it was all a hoax, here is a check for 25 bux on acc’t., guaranteed not to bounce . . . . .

        We at WBFO want you to know that if we don’t reach our goal of $10,000 by the end of this week, we have a special vat of poison koolaid, and all the people who work here – paid staff and volunteers alike – have pledged to drink it if we fail in our goal.  And it will be your fault.   So give us your money.  Surely there are some doctors out there with some extra Medicaid dollars you’ve defrauded from taxpayers, or politicians who have reaped some heavy kickbacks from drug dealers and oil companies.  Remember that vat of koolaid and become a member and keep Buffalo out of the headlines.  Call 831-5393 immediately and pledge your support.  Not only will you save our lives but you will get the happy wonderful joy of listening to WBFO for a few more months until our next membership drive and you will also receive two free albums and the WBFO program guide.  Call us now.  831-5393.  It’s your fault if we all die.
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.  This is really nothing more than a psychedelic rock album by an avant garde synthesist on the Columbia Masterworks classical label with strong easy-listening overtones.  Joe Byrd is one of yer pioneers of the synthesizer who also formed the astounding group called THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  “Try to remember the shape of your name” advises Field Hippie vocalist Susan de Lang:

Where did you go when they started the game?
How did the sand get inside of your brain?
You can’t ever come down *


* Joe Bird and the Field Hippies, “You Can’t Ever Come Down,” © 1969, Pot and Benjamin (BMI), from American Metaphysical Circus, Columbia Masterworks, MS 7317.
        Tonight I went to see Lene Lovich.  I love her music but I could not make myself stay.  The opening act was a fine Buffalo band called The Third Floor Strangers.  They are exceptional songwriters but I did not last one song.

         I can’t stand it.  I am famous in this crowd.  Before the doors open talking to friends and acquaintances and strangers the entire length of the waiting line, taking promises from The Detours to play on my show, shaking hands with the Epic and A & M promoters, someone says, “Oil of Dog” and I turn and smile, threading the crowd looking and looking, stopping to chat with Dale Anderson, someone asks if I have heard the new Lydia Lunch, yes Great! I cry, someone calls my name, someone tells me they loved Hawkwind the other night, someone looks as if they are going to speak but they say nothing.  Tonight I am famous.  I faint into the eyes of astonishing beauty.  I cannot talk.  She whirls away.  And that angelic girl with the blonde swoop of hair sends me looks and smiles.  I am helpless.  I can’t talk.  I can’t move.  I am lonely to death.  I have to leave.
         The President calls up the Kremlin on the red Batphone.  “Look, we’re trying to get a little action over here.  The boys in the Trilateral are all bugging the shit outta me for another war.  How ‘bout if we trade Poland for El Salvador?  You know, all the routines: ‘official denunciations,’ ‘grave warnings,’ ‘angry condemnations,’ ‘increased military spending’ – the usual sword-rattling bullshit.  We can raise a little revenue slaughtering those spics down south and you can get those Polish fuckers you’ve always wanted.” Image under construction.
A girl voice:       Could you play “Stars” by Janis Ian?

I said Sure.

She said It’s on her Stars album, you know the one?

Yeah I said.  “Stars they come and go . . . . .”  

She said When will you get it on?

Maybe about twenty minutes, I said.  Maybe as much as thirty-five.

Can you get it on as soon as possible?

I said I will.

Are you the DJ? she said.

I said Yeah.

What’s your name? she said.

Gary I said.

She said I’m a tulip.

I said Oh.

She said Yes I’m one of Tiny Tim’s Tulips.  We’re here ‘til this Saturday.

I laughed So he tiptoes through you?

Yeah.  My name’s Pookie she said.  I would like it if you came to see us.

We’re at the Executive.  You know?

I said Wow I’d like to do that.  That would be great.  I’ll really try.  If you come you can come to me she said.  I’d like to meet you she said.

I’ll introduce you to Tiny Tim.  I said Wow.

        So my friend Scott Field from WBFO and I went to the Executive with visions of throbbing sweating moaning tulips dancing in our heads and when we arrived we met Pookie and we asked her how she got the job.  She said she auditioned.  About fifty girls tried out.  (All these people with identical dreams!)  She said she was really a singer but all she does is dance in this show.  I told her I listened to a Tiny Tim record to prepare for this event and she grabbed my arm:  Listen, I should have warned you, it’s a terrible show.  It’s just awful.  I’m embarrassed to be in it.

        At showtime, we learned there were only two tulips, not seven or ten, just two.  And the band looked bored.  They were called The Timmies.  One tulip cried And now ladies and gentlemen for your entertainment . . . . . . . and the other tulip chimed THE ONE AND ONLY TINY TIM!!!  The bored four piece band started a boom-chick rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and this surprisingly large man with a big belly in a gold tuxedo wandered through the tables touching his hands to his lips.  Thank you thank you ladies and gentlemen and hello to beautiful Buffalo.  You may be wondering what this show is about well it’s a non-stop presentation of nostalgic songs that we all know and love from as long ago as 1901 . . . . . and the audience smattered and Scott got the tulip and the woman he had been living with for five years left him the next day.
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