A sad thing happened this week. I lost an old friend and colleague. So, in the spirit of "doing the best I can," even if it amounts to little, I pay tribute to the spirit of Bill Smith with music that reminds me of the "geographic/temporal nexus" that we shared.
I had actually forgotten that Bill dragged me out of music-critic retirement by persuading me to write some pieces for his zine, Hot Spit. I had given that up several years earlier, but like the rest of us at KDVS, I would have done just about anything that Bill asked. He was that kind of human.
That time was interesting for alternative music, college rock, or whatever you want to call it. By 1992 Nirvana had altered the landscape of mainstream music and Pavement was, in a way, generating an "equal and opposite" reaction in the indie scene. Things were contested and confused, and as I've written before, there were tribal debates from the 1980s that weren't yet resolved either.
Bill didn't care about any of that, or at least his zine didn't. I spent a lot of time at KDVS feeling like I needed to fight my corner, and I'm not sure that Bill even enjoyed the stuff I played, but he never questioned my license to play it and always provided encouragement and counsel. Even better, he did that for everyone. When I'm forced to think about what the spirit of freeform radio is, or ought to be, "Bill" is simply one of the first answers that comes to mind. It's getting dusty in the room as I write this; I'm really feeling loss.
Anyway, as I say during the broadcast, Hot Spit didn't come with a record or cd, and lacked only that. So what better piece of "Physical Evidence" than a record that came with a zine? I've written previously about my love for Sweatbox Records, which is based largely on the releases that accompanied Abstract Magazine. Tonight's record, Issue 5, is straight-up vintage.
It's not a great pressing, but that doesn't matter much. Either that Wolfgang Press track is a weirder, rougher mix than I remember or there's something wrong with our turntable channels in the studio! The track by And Also the Trees has crazy dynamics seldom seen in "rock" music. And there are a couple of tracks that remind me very much of "Friend of Bombast" Jeremy--The Jazz Butcher is a love we share, and he used to call me up during some of those 3-to-6 A.M. shows back in the day and demand that I play Cindytalk--more than once it was this one [NSFW]. Always special.
Let's talk sausage for a minute: is that Fuzztones / Screamin' Jay Hawkins record "of the period?" Sure. Did I have it in mind for this program? Never crossed my mind! Not until I heard the new recording by Joalz, on which they cover "Alligator Wine." That's an example of how things usually come together, and usually at the last minute.
Did I play the Fuzztones in my previous life? Not much, and only if I was subbing for another DJ. Did I play Screamin' Jay Hawkins? Possibly, even though he would have fallen outside my stylistic territory. I did become a fan when I saw him play for free in Central Park, 1990 [do you remember this, "Friend of Bombast" Jen?]--a show which most onlookers Did Not Get At All but nevertheless one of the best ever.
So: a "mix tape" of bittersweet nostalgia, but one for the pantheon, I feel. I wish you could hear this one, Bill.
BOMBAST playlist, 2013 July 24, 2100-2300:
- Le Dust Sucker: "Everybody Used To" [Boxer]
- The Wolfgang Press: "Fire-eater (remix)" [Sweatbox] / "Physical Evidence"
- Talking Heads: "Heaven" [Sire / Rhino]
- Kiratu and His Group: "Yanagiria Kayo" [Soundway]
- Cab Kaye: "Everything Is Go" [Honest Jon's]
- Thee Mighty Caesars: "Cyclonic" [Damaged Goods]
- Joalz: "Alligator Wine" [Many Scribes]
- New Gatanga Sound: "Thoni Na Caki" [Soundway]
- And Also the Trees: "Maps in Her Wrists and Arms" [Sweatbox] / "Physical Evidence"
- Screamin' Jay Hawkins and The Fuzztones: "Alligator Wine" [Midnight]
- West African Rhythm Brothers: "Mofi Ajobi Seyin" [Honest Jon's]
- Shortcircles: "Tunnels" [Plug Research]
- Big Star: "Big Black Car - Rough Mix/1974" [Omnivore]
- The Jazz Butcher: "Leaving It Up to You" [Sweatbox] / "Physical Evidence"
- Lee "Scratch" Perry: "Butterfly" [M.O.D. Technologies]
- Extrawelt: "Vorsprung durch Hektik - Dominik Eulberg Mix" [Boxer]
- The Loi-Toki-Tok: "Ware Wa" [Soundway]
- 17 Pygmies: "Last Grave at Dimbaza" [Les Temps Modernes]
- Ndalani 77 Brothers: "Nzaumi" [Soundway]
- Section 25: "Crazy Wisdom" [Factory Benelux]
- Cindytalk: "Playtime" [Sweatbox] / "Physical Evidence"
- Kraftwerk: "Dentaku" [Toshiba EMI]
- Do 7 Band: "H.o. Ongili" [Soundway]
- The Durutti Column: "The Magic Theatre" [Factory Benelux]
next time: Segundo in da hizzy. Enjoy the music! --kid Catharsis