In the mid-eighties, replacing a DJ involved both close friends, such as the Cosmic Commando and Rock Rolling, or social friends such as B.B. Bacardi and Bob Smirn
off. My ex-wife and I threw New Year’s parties from 1970, the year we met and after we married until I DJ’d at night during the mid seventies. We started the parties up again in the eighties. Along with the WTIT
DJs, we’d invite neighbors and social friends. My ex-wife was a housewife by this time (Yea, I know that is not “PC”, but that’s what we called it then) and knew a lot of neighbors. On New Year’s Eve 1987, a neighborhood guy, that I never met, came to our party. I think his name was Ricky. He cornered Rock Rolling in our studio. He had never seen anyone who had a Tape Radio studio in his or her home. (Go figure…) I was elsewhere at the party. Suddenly Rock came out of the studio rushing over to talk to me. He said, “Hey, you need to talk to Ricky”. After I asked who the hell was “Ricky”, Rock grabbed my arm to lead me to the studio.
I saw Ricky, and he proceeded to tell me how cool he thought our Tape Radio thing was, and asked whether he could join. No one had ever done this before, and come to think of it, since. We had our five and at that time it was Rock, Johnnie, Cos, B.B. and I. But, what the heck, I said sure. He was to start as “J. Fox” the next Wednesday. I told the DJs at the party. They were all friendly, and welcomed J. Fox aboard. Later, Rock said he was sorry that he didn’t handle it better. “Bud, he said he has wanted to do this his whole life.” I paused a second and asked, “He told you that he wanted to come over to my house and talk into a tape recorder, his whole life?” To this day, I am still not sure what he meant. Johnnie has an expression that I love. He says, “Life is strange. And then it gets a lot weirder.” Our collective Tape Radio lives were about to get really weird.
The following Wednesday night the five of us were braced for the first DJ to join us
that absolutely no one knew. A funny thing happened. He did not show up. Rock has this recurring character, a private eye, whom he calls Dain Bramage. So, posing as Dain, Rock called The New Guy’s wife, to explain that he had been hired by WTIT
to find out where he had disappeared. To this day, I’ll never know what this woman had to think about that call. She explained that The New Guy was out with friends. Perhaps “wanting, for his whole life, to talk into a tape recorder at my house”, was perhaps the second most important thing to him.
We decided that our comedy bit that night would be a “promo” for listener’s to stay tuned for the future debut of The New Guy. We started by saying in our promo that The New Guy was going to revolutionize Tape Radio. We even did a parody of Rock’s prank call to The New Guy’s wife. When our script was ending, Cos starting chanting, “Kill The New Guy”, and of course we all joined in until we were screaming it.
What could be worse than The New Guy not showing up his first week? The answer turned out to be having him actually show up. Now listen, we have had DJs with various levels of talent. It does not matter to us, as long as you understand what it is that we are actually doing. Every time we tried to play him a comedy bit, or try to explain what we did, he interrupted, talked over and generally ignored us. Not only were we not impressed, but also we felt stuck.
The next week, he did the “no show” thing again. So naturally we did another “Kill The New Guy” promo. See why Johnnie says, “life is strange and then it gets a whole lot
weirder”? He in fact did show up the following week. We tried to do some comedy but h
e continued to be disinterested and interruptive. During this, we just decided to go back to playing songs. Now The New Guy leans over to me and asks, “did you see my car out in front of your house last week?” Obviously I didn’t. I didn’t know the idiot or what kind of car that he drove, even though he lived just a couple of houses away. He continued, “Yea, this taping scam is great. I’m saying I’m coming here and then my girlfriend picks me up!” You should have seen the expressions on all five of the rest of our faces. “Dude,” I responded, “we are changing the night we tape.” The New Guy said that it was fine. Then I stated, “I’ll call you when we figure it out”. The New Guy then informed us, “I have to go now, my girlfriend is outside.” Needless to say we indeed switched nights. However, he has been waiting for my call since 1987.
We should have just “Killed the New Guy”.
That’s it for a Hump Day on The WTIT Tape Radio Blog. We do hope that you’ve enjoyed your time here. If not please register a complaint to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are sure an appropriate underling will be glad to tell you to fuck off. But, keep those cards and letters coming! Parts of today’s post appeared on May 12-13, 2006. Hope to see you manana.
Same time. Same blog.