Classic Rock Radio Doesn't Have to Be Stale

Would it kill programmers to give Iggy Pop a spin once in a while?

Classic rock is not a genre of music, it's a radio format. Rock 'n' roll is a genre of popular music that spans over 50 years and has very many subgenres. Classic rock tends to only feature music from the mid-'60s to the late '70s. My issue with this radio format is not what music they play: it's what they don't play. Like most people, I listen to the radio in my car. And I'm a compulsive channel changer: always looking for that tune I like. My typical favorite stations play hard/alt-rock, oldies, and classic rock. I listen to talk radio too. Steppenwolf is one of my favorite bands. Listening to classic rock radio, you'd think the only songs they ever recorded were "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Born To Be Wild": two great songs. However, Steppenwolf has a great body of work. Couldn't we hear some other tunes by the band? Since the turn of this century, the Jimi Hendrix estate has released great unheard material. I like the tunes "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe," and it's refreshing to hear the different versions of these songs from the recent releases. Who would have thought there would be a new Beatles record in 2007? LOVE is a fresh take on Beatles music, put together as the soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil production in Las Vegas. George and Giles Martin did an excellent job reworking the songs. The most striking is the mashup of "Within You, Without You" and "Tomorrow Never Knows." It's effectively a new Beatles song. But this fresh take on these radio staples go mostly ignored and the same old material is repeated in the same old format. All roads lead to Liverpool and the Beatles with rock music since the mid-'60s. Of course the Rolling Stones have their place, too. These British bands opened the doors for others to follow through. Since the mid-'60s, American bands like the Seeds, the Sonics and others produced a hard-edged sound commonly known as garage rock. Out of this movement came the seminal Stooges. Iggy Pop and the Stooges blazed the path for punk rock with their three albums, The Stooges, Fun House and Raw Power. Iggy Pop made great music in the mid-'70s (and beyond) with the albums Lust For Life and The Idiot. A song like "Lust for Life" has only entered contemporary popular sensibilities by being featured in television advertising. Why don't they ever play this song on the classic rock stations I listen to? Couldn't they bump Pink Floyd's "Money" (great tune!!) a few turns out of the rotation to make room for Iggy? It's unfortunate that classic rock radio is ignoring this and other important work. It's revisionism. Even though he looms large in music history, Iggy has been airbrushed out of the picture. Of course this matters little if music is only what you hear in an elevator or on hold with a telephone. Music has been a way of life for me—not only as a musician, but as a fan! By today's sensibilities, classic rock radio programming could merely mimic the content of an individual's mp3 player. And it does, in a way. Playlists originate from a central location in the belly of the station's corporate headquarters. Commercial radio also ignores electronica: true modern music. Radio is stuck in a certain part of the past. It wasn't always like this. Radio in the '70s didn't feature a heavy dose of music from the '30s and '40s! Today, listeners hungry for challenging music can turn elsewhere, using different technologies not only to find new music, but to not ignore important artists from pop's echelon. Note: This Thursday I'm hosting the Ron & Don Show on 710 KIRO from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. I'll be talking about free association and our democracy. My guests, so far, are Richard Winger from Ballot Access News, Stephen Gordon from Third Party Watch, and Matt Gonzalez, running for vice president on Ralph Nader's Independent ticket. I've Lost a Tooth, But Gained a Gig By John Roderick I've had a very busy week, flitting from this high-society party to that glamorous music industry shindig, hobnobbing with famous and brilliant artists and musicians, and brooding introspectively in front of a crackling fire with a beautiful Russian double agent, but unfortunately the various non-disclosure agreements I was coerced to sign prohibit me from even referring to those events in print. Instead, I intended to offer my exegesis of the Book of Deuteronomy (which bears a surprising resemblance to the later work of Don Rickles), when I received a curious letter from my editors at Seattle Weekly. I was asked to undertake this column a month or so ago as a short-term "residency," which served the purpose of legitimizing my claim that I was a "journalist" and so therefore would be financially unable to make restitution to the plaintiffs in the unfortunate miscarriage of justice that was the judgement against me in Radcliffe v. Roderick's Miracle Enhancement Pants. That ruse accomplished, I was prepared to draw the curtain on my writing career in order to concentrate exclusively on fleecing consumers by finding ways to get them to pay me to play guitar. But now the brain-trust in the executive office suites of Seattle Weekly, who answer directly to the cabal that runs the Village Voice from a subterranean cavern a mile under the Zugspitze, who in turn must submit to weekly spankings by the undergraduate members of Skull and Bones, have proposed that I continue to columnize. This puts me in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand, the notoriety that accompanies being a columnist for a weekly newspaper is a bit overwhelming for someone as naturally shy and retiring as myself. The backslapping and ballyhoo that accompany every publishing day threaten to knock the fedora with the "press" ticket right off my head. My brother Whitey, who plays the role of the Red Rasputin at the Showbox Theater, even complained that people are mistaking him for me, which has always irritated him since we were little kids back in the fjords of Norway. On the other hand the perquisites of mainstream journalism are astonishing. My Seattle Weekly press pass has already proved invaluable in twice excusing me from fifth-period gym class. Also, I get to choose any available seat at matinees at the Seven Gables Theater. I remember when I first came to this windswept seaport town. I walked the mean streets of Broadway, shoulders hunched against the driving rain, hands jammed deep into the pockets of my Filson jacket. My soggy spiral-bound notebook brimmed with angsty poetry and discomfiting doodles of barmaids. I by chance gazed upon the Seattle Weekly in its street-corner dispenser (it cost money then!), and wondered how a young man could ever rise in life so high as to write a cover story therein on Seattle's 10 best noodle restaurants? I threw my notebook down in frustration and disgust and shook my fists at the gray, unrelenting sky. "How many roads must a man walk down?" I yelled, still walking down Broadway. And the years went by. (This story is consolidated from many separate instances during that era when I threw notebooks in frustration and disgust, wondered how I could get hired to write for Seattle Weekly, shook my fists at the sky, and when Seattle Weekly rated the 10 best noodle houses. It does not represent an actual event and is for illustrative purposes only.) Now I'm a bona fide columnist. Yes, I think I'll take the Weekly up on their offer, and not just because the lucrative contract includes a cubic zirconium clause with which to dazzle my mistresses. It's because I'm a man with stories to tell! Story Number One: I happen to be missing one of my front teeth. Normally when a man my age is missing one of his front teeth it's a sign that things aren't going so well for him, but in my case things have never been better. The missing tooth does inspire curiosity, however, so I'll tell the story of how I lost it. When I went off to college, the student housing people sent me a questionnaire (which I filled out with the same dedication to accuracy and personal integrity that I bring to my journalistic work), promising that they would match me up with a roommate who shared my interests. I confess, I was more than eager to meet whomever they picked, because my questionnaire was, I thought, hilariously offbeat. I pictured someone smirkingly ironic like MTV VJ Kevin Seal. Imagine my horror when my freshman roommate turned out to be the tassel-loafer-wearing, sailboat-sailing, hair-gel-applying, argyle-sweater-knotting, Haircut 100-listening, damn pretty-boy snob Greg Roberts. Did they take my sarcastic responses seriously? During the first week we lived together, he made a masking-tape line down the middle of our room and UP THE WALL demarcating his side from mine, although in his defense I did take apart all the electrical outlets in our room in a scheme to "rewire" the place and shocked myself insensible. Anyway, we ended up having a grudging respect and friendship, although tempered by some genuine cultural incomprehension like you might have with a foreign-exchange student. And we used to fight, as boys will. One day some item of my clothing, I think a shoe, fell off the pile on my side of the tape line and onto the spotless floor of his side and, in a fit of pique, he picked it up and threw it out the window. I was incredulous, and threw out a pair of his shoes. Soon we were chucking each other's things out the window and onto the lawn in front of the dorm, and eventually he was swinging a nine-iron at me (preppy!) while I slap-boxed him and hid in the closet. Finally I hit him a little too hard and heard his head conk against the cinder block wall of our dorm room with a sickening "klunk" like a honeydew melon. His eyes turned red with rage and he chased me out of the room and down the hall screaming obscenities in hot pursuit. He was fairly dangerous with that nine-iron, so I made the fatal error of trying to escape by heading down the stairs. Old Greg Roberts was madder than a preppy with a bonked head. I was starting down the stairs at a full run when he dove at me from the top step, catching me around the arms and diving with me down the staircase. He rode me down, actually, and we landed on the banister at the bottom on my teeth. When I came to, I was flat on my back with my mouth overflowing with blood and the RA standing over me screaming in panic. The story as it was told to me later was that the RA was screaming "Call a doctor, call a doctor!" and I reached up, took the pen from his shirt pocket and wrote on the wall next to my head, "Not a doctor, idiot, a dentist." Anyway, most recently I broke the fake tooth I had in there on a piece of maguro sushi in Toronto. Finally done in by the softest of all foods. I don't know what happened to Greg Roberts, but I'm sure he's a stockbroker or real estate mortgage amortizer or portfolio manager, and I bet his wife is pretty. I hope he's bald. FOOD The Saint Opens Friday THE SAINT 1416 E. Olive Way (look for the triangular, electric robin's-egg-blue building), 323-9922 www.thesaintsocialclub.com Word just came in from Hannah Levin that the Saint—the bar-restaurant being constructed in the old Wingdome spot on East Olive and Bellevue—opens on Friday. There's no missing the place unless you're colorblind: The triangular building is a beautifully electric shade of robin's-egg blue, which one of the salespeople at Kuhlman told me a few months ago is the color of 2008. I just got off the phone with owner Quentin Ertel, who also owns Havana. He's been remodeling the space since January, including last month's paint job. The Saint will be a tequila bar, with a "library" of 80 different varieties of the Mexican spirit. "We're going to offer everything from a $6 shot of Sauza Gold with a bottle of beer to a $140 shot of Patron Gran Burdeos aged for 10 years in French oak," he says, as well as a dozen specialty cocktails mixed with fresh-squeezed juices. For the food, Ertel's going all traditional: hand-press tortillas and dishes like posole verde and carne asada. There's no DJ booth, either—just enough room for 45 seats—so there's no worry that some trashed Microsoftie convinced he can pop-and-lock will knock $10 worth of a premium anejo out of your glass as you're meditating on its notes of banana, clove, and horse sweat. -- Jonathan Kauffman Get a Head Start on Mom's Day Mother's Day is Sunday, May 11, which leaves you plenty of time to make brunch reservations, right? In Seattle? Not so much. Most iconic brunch spots have already started taking reservations, and favorites like Salty's, which CitySearch called the "nation's best Sunday brunch," are already booked for large parties and almost full for smaller parties. "When our reservation lines opened at 8:30 a.m. the day we started taking Mother's Day reservations, all ten lines were booked all day," said one of Salty's reservations reps. Volterra co-owner Michelle Quisenberry says Mother's Day is always one of the busiest brunch days of the year. Her restaurant books up a few weeks in advance, leaving only the bar area open to walk-ins. A reservationist at Etta's told me they also fill the books completely by three or four days before Mother's Day, but recommended that 2- or 4-tops hoping to get in at the last minute show up the second doors open for business. If you're an early riser or especially gifted with intimidation techniques, another option is choosing a place like Chinook's, where reservations are never taken. You can also ask your favorite spots if they are doing events on other days. At The Georgian at the Fairmont Olympic, popular seating times for the $125 Mother's Day "Feast" often fill up a month or so in advance, so they've expanded to offer a Mother's Day tea on Saturday as well as free brunch for new moms at Shucker's. Get on the horn. Salty's, various locations. Volterra Restaurant, 5411 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-5100. Etta's Restaurant, 2020 Western Ave., 443-6000. Chinook's at Salmon Bay, 1900 W. Nickerson St., 283-4665. The Georgian at the Fairmont Olympic, 411 University St., Mother's Day reservations only at 287-4049. -- Jess Thomson A New Gin Joint Panama Tea & Coffee House 607 S. Main St. Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. www.panamahotelseattle.com Am I the only one who longs for a gin and tonic, or some otherwise potent adult libation, to back up my pot of Bombay Select? Clearly not. The Panama Tea & Coffee House in the I.D. has applied for a liquor license for beer, wine, AND spirits. Please join me in supporting this decision, if only that it keeps the strollers away... -- Maggie Dutton

 
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