Saturday, January 31, 2009

Land of the Lost Playlist - January

January 30


The B-52's - Planet Claire
Iggy Pop - I'm Bored
U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday
Joe Jackson - Jumpin With Symphony Sid
Telekin - Imagination
OMD - Red Frame White Light
China Crisis - Orange Mutt Mutt Dance
Men Without Hats - Antarctica
Eurythmics - Doubleplusgood
Psychedelic Furs - Heartbreak Beat 12"
Bad Manners - Lip Up Fatty
General Public - Tenderness


Soft Cell - Memorabilia
Morrissey - Lucky Lisp
Echo & The Bunnymen - Angels & Devils
Experimental Products - Feeling Left Out
Altered Images - Bring Me Closer
New Order - Procession
Minny Pops - Goddess
Boys Don't Cry - I Want To Be A Cowboy
Depeche Mode - Photographic
Bush Tetras - You Can't Be Funky
Seona Dancing - More To Lose
The dbs - Black And White


Pretty Poison - Seal It With A Kiss
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Strict Time
Young Marble Giants - Final Day
Pylon - Crazy
English Beat - Best Friend
- chat with Dave Wakeling
English Beat - I Am Your Flag
Bad Manners - What The Papers Say
The Mo-Dettes - The Story So Far
WIRE - Ahead
Killing Joke - Adorations


Kleenex - Ain't You
Yoko Ono - Walking On Thin Ice 12"
Blue Rondo a la Turk - Me & Mr Sanchez
Pigbag - Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag
Specimen - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
The Smiths - Sweet & Tender Hooligan
The Untouchables - Freak In The Streets
The Rock Steady Crew - Hey You The Rock
Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator
Our Daughter's Wedding - Lawnchairs Are Everywhere
Common Sense - Voices Inside My Head

See you next time (Final Friday in February) as we enter the Land of the Lost and celebrate the artists that performed in the URGH! A MUSIC WAR documentary. Don't forget, I'll be hosting a screening of this historic concert flick at International House on Tuesday, March 4!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Roots Of My Music

So, it’s 3am on a Tuesday morning and, after sleeping soundly for three hours – here I am, wide awake. Hope is I’ll squeeze in a nap before having to get up at 5:30am and start my morning – but for now, I write.

In my last post I mentioned my love of disco – and how it was second only to my love for new wave. That got me thinking back to just when that wonderful genre first really infiltrated my world.

I remember in the late 70s, the music scene in my neighborhood was divided into two camps: those boys that listened to pop/disco and those boys that listened to rock music.

Those boys that listened to rock music were teenagers that wore Army jackets, complete with those small brown burn holes that are made when the ash from a joint that you’re smoking behind the strip mall blows back and lands on your coat. Those boys that listened to rock music usually found themselves surrounded by muscle cars of the day; Camaro, Trans-Am and Corvettes; they either drove or rode in one every Friday night.

Those boys that listened to rock music wore their hair long and parted in the middle; giving off the impression of a sad stoned dog with big floppy ears. Additionally, those boys that listened to rock music wore nothing but corduroy jeans – tight corduroy jeans.

Those boys that listened to rock music had a fixation for silver jewelry; a skull ring or necklace was the norm; and somewhere in their collection was at least ONE cloth patch of the famous Rolling Stones lips.

I wasn’t one of those boys that listened to rock music.

I was one of those boys that listened to pop and disco.

Generally speaking, those boys that listened to pop and disco embraced the denim jean phenomenon. I recall purchasing my first pair of Sergio Valente jeans – complete with the white stitching down the sides and obnoxiously all over the back pockets. Those boys that listened to pop and disco shopped at Just Shirts – embraced man-made fabrics and had a slew of poly-cotton button downs.

The problem was that I wasn’t really one of THOSE boys either – although I seemed more welcome into that fold, for reasons that – at the time – were mysterious. Of course, looking back it makes sense – THOSE boys did more than wear the same clothes – THOSE boys were entwined by the same rainbow-hued thread that made us stick together, even though we were so alone.

I remember how music was my salvation. As an only child – by the time I hit my teens, I was on my own. My parents had become immersed in their own survival and the arrival of a new baby boy. I took that as a cue to explore the world around me. By 1978, my junior year in high school (I was 15 then), I met a boy who dressed in the most unique fashion.

He wasn’t wearing refer-stank jackets, nor was he poured into tight jeans. He was dressed in a mixture of 1960s businessman topped with an amazing pile of hair, combed into a full DA. He was just 18 and I was intrigued.

We began a friendship that led me into Center City Philadelphia for the first time (without family supervision). We walked the dirty streets and he showed me the underbelly of the city. I met some far-out artists, musicians and other creatures of the night. He also fed me a steady supply of mixed tapes – that introduced me to a world of new sounds! I was experiencing an awakening courtesy of The Ramones, Patti Smith, Television and more.

From 1978 through 1980, I absorbed that new sound- I realized there were few peers around me that appreciated what I loved; so I would head into Center City Philly as often as possible; dressed in a mixture of skinny ties and 60s slacks. I loved NOT fitting into one of the groups – and I treasured my independence; both in musical tastes and in life.

That was the root of my passion and love for the New Wave genre. The music represented the key that unlocked my cell and allowed me to escape and be free and to grow into who I am today.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Week in Review

Greetings all -

I proudly hold the record for breaking a New Year's Resolution in record time!

I had made a resolution to myself to have at least one entry per week in my blog - sort of a week in review. If nothing else the hope is it would force me to keep this creative avenue open throughout the year.

The fact is, I enjoy writing. I enjoy the use of language and every time I post, I feel refreshed afterwards. Sadly, the past four weeks were just a whirlwind of work, side gigs and life and I kept getting distracted.

So - with this entry, I make my private resolution, public. This first entry will bring us up to date; from this point I will post my Week in Review every weekend. The Week in Review entries will be as diverse as me! They might focus on activities - or perhaps deeper thoughts that came to the surface during the past seven days.

Naturally, my real hope is to post MORE than once a week - but this is a good guide to get me back in the habit. With that, here is the extended edition of my Week in Review 1.1-1.23


New Year's 2009 was probably the best entrance into a new year that I have ever had! Having rung in years at swank events or neighborhood bars - or with friends at intimate house parties - the one experience missing was to ring in a new year with the one you love, peacefully and intimately, at home.

Back when I was in my 20s, I thought those couples that stayed home on New Year's Eve were lame - look at all the fun they were missing. But now I see life through very different eyes. My ever-growing relationship with John has taken me to new levels of understanding; both about myself and about human interactions in general.

So, on that cold December 31, we stayed put at his place; complete with a backlog of DVDs, some great food and blankets. John has the "pleasure" of living inches away from the Philadelphia Mummers Museum on Two Street, so at midnight - we layed in bed - muted the audio around us and listened to the city celebrate a new beginning. Fireworks were booming overhead, the mummers and their families were pouring out from clubhouses and rowhomes to scream, yell and bang pots together to loudly proclaim "Damn it, we made it! No matter what economic, war-weary, budget-crunching drama you want to toss our way - we're here to start the new year!"

There was a certain sense of hope in the air - drawn from the end of one administration and the beginning of another only days away; as well as the fact that (especially for those outside the window) the annual ritual had survived.

For those unaware, the Mummers Parade has been around for over a century - sadly, due to budget cuts all around the city, the Mummers found out that they were going to have to march for no prize money this year as well as keep the entire celebration under a time limit.

Truth be told, the Mummers don't compete for the prize money - costumes alone cost more than the top cash prize. However, the money does help offset the production of this elaborate community event.

So, the fact that the parade was ON and only hours away - gave this scrappy neighborhood something else to celebrate during those first minutes of 2009.

New Year's was too cold to bother for us - and for many. We camped indoors and made the best of a great situation. The following day was the First Friday of the month, which means only one thing: Sex Dwarf.

My monthly nonstop new wave dance party has been going on for 6 years and continues to be an ever-evolving event of quality dedicated new wave music fans of all ages! Marilyn Thomas - my partner DJ - and I were anxious that our January party would be light; being the day after New Years, etc.

Farthest thing from the fact! Our January 2 party broke all records for attendance and was truly 'off-the-hook'. The energy and the people really took me back to those dance parties underground in Philly back in the day. The gig inspired me to keep on, keepin' on - in regards to my passion and love for that era of time. Soon, I will post separately about my fascination for the 80s - - I think there's a story there.

January became a mix of heavy workload at WXPN, as well as a series of side-gig events that I was booked at - coincidentally all on Fridays.

Friday the 9th, I came out of my Disco Closet and showed the public just how much I love disco - I've always been a fan of 70s dance music and feel that the genre as a whole got a bum rap (much like 80s new wave did for a while). Sure, there is TONS of schlock in disco, but there are some truly incredible productions; back when computer technology was primitive at best. Real instruments played by real people. Music designed to not just move a person but control a crowd. Epic orchestrations performed by talented musicians.

Anyway – I was hired to spin disco at the 150th anniversary of the Mutter Museum. Words cannot do the Mutter justice, so just visit their site above. The party was a grand event – complete with an LED dance floor and a rig of lights! I wore some patriotic platform shoes which became a weapon of torture by night’s end! Man, did my feet and legs kill me the following day!

The following Friday, I spun at the Tritone Bar on South Street – I really love that space and I only wish that it would develop a personality. The bar hosts live bands, but rarely has a ‘vibe’ when there isn’t a band on tap. It’s a neat spot and reminds me of the lounge clubs from the early 80s in Philly. I spun as the opening for a trio of bands including Witchtrialz, Certain General and Void Vision.

Void Vision has become my new obsession! Directed by my friend Shari, this band embraces all the good from early 80s electro and mixes it with a multi-media on stage production! Computer graphics, live dancers dressed in mouse masks and neon spandex, honestly – I can’t begin to explain this band – just know that, if you stick with me, you’re going to run into them sooner or later!

After that weekend – we found ourselves immersed in a sea of Change on Inauguration Day. This day alone needs its own post, since it has its own story. That will also come during this week.

Finally, we get to last night – for my next Friday gig, I was spinning at Digital Ferret – the music store located on South 4th street – a few blocks below South. I did the gig as a favor to Shari, whose Void Vision was slated to perform live in the store – they did not disappoint! As for my set, thanks to the incredible sleuth techniques of my partner John (who is a music maven), I’ve been filling up my collection with more and more forgotten tracks from forgotten bands from the late 70s and early 80s. Last night gave me a chance to spin everything from Minny Pops to Section 25 to Tunnelvision. A fun night indeed.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sex Dwarf Playlist 01.02.09

- a spotlight on Blondie

DJ Robert Drake 9:00 - 10:30pm

John Foxx / No One Driving
Midge Ure / Man Who Sold The World
Tom Tom Club / Bamboo Town
Blondie / Dragonfly
Heaven 17 / Let Me Go 12"
Scritti Politti / Wood Beez 12"
Kid Creole & The Coconuts / Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy
Visage / Fade To Grey 12"
The Clash / Magnificent Seven
Book Of Love / Boy
Human League / Love Action 12"
Re-Flex / The Politics Of Dancing 12"
Talk Talk / It's My Life 12"
Blondie / Picture This
Wall Of Voodoo / Mexican Radio
Sparks / Upstairs
Pat Benatar / Love Is A Battlefield
General Public / Tenderness 12"
Transvision Vamp / Tell That Girl To Shut Up
Blondie / Hanging On The Telephone

DJ Marilyn Thomas 10:30 - 11:30pm

Blondie / Heart Of Glass
Blondie / Call Me
Berlin / No More Words
Bananarama / Venus
The Bangles / Walk Like An Egyptian
The Go-Go's / Vacation
Blondie / I Know But I Don't Know
Blondie / 11:59
The Ramones / Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Gang Of Four / Damaged Goods
English Beat / Mirror In The Bathroom
XTC / Life Begins At The Hop
The Smiths / This Charming Man
Echo & The Bunnymen / The Cutter
New Order / Perfect Kiss
Duran Duran / Girls On Film
Blondie / One Way Or Another
Blondie / The Tide Is High
Blondie / Sunday Girl

DJ Robert Drake 11:30pm - 12:15am

Haircut One Hundred / Boy Meets Girl
Human League / The Sound Of The Crowd 12"
Blondie / Rapture
Tom Tom Club / Genius Of Love
Prince / Kiss 12"
Raf / Self Control
Blondie / Atomic
The Cure / Boys Don't Cry 12"
Modern English / I Melt With You 12"

DJ Marilyn Thomas 12:15 - 1:00am

Dexy's Midnight Runners / Come On Eileen
Billy Idol / Dancin With Myself
The B-52s / Rock Lobster
Haysi Fantaysee / Shiny Shiny
Blondie / X Offender
Blondie / Pretty Baby
Romeo Void / Never Say Never
Yaz / Don't Go
Erasure / A Little Respect
Bronski Beat / Smalltown Boy
Joy Division / Love Will Tear Us Apart

DJ Robert Drake 1:00 - 2:00am

Killing Joke / Change
aha / Take On Me 12"
Buzzcocks / Fallen In Love With Someone
Blondie / Dreaming
Depeche Mode / Strangelove
Kim Wilde / Kids In America
Josie Cotton / Johnny Are You Queer?
Red Rockets / China
The Knack / My Sharona
Toni Basil / Mickey
Bow Wow Wow / Aphrodisiac
The Damned / Jet Boy Jet Girl
Tears For Fears / Shout 12"
Blondie / Fade Away And Radiate - closing song

(see you all February 6 @ the next Sex Dwarf!)