AROUND THE STATION
Martin looks fairly normal with a leather vest and checkered shirt. It seems I was intent on being anything but normal.
He was always very kind. Chrissie, on the other hand, was harsh. Somewhere along the line, she developed a habit of refusing to shake hands, which she told me one time getting reacquainted at the Weenie Roast. When, at the end of the interview, I reached out to shake and she was offended. Don't you think of Ray Davies of the Kinks as mild mannered? What on earth was a household like with the two of them.
Whadday know. Amazing who you run into in the KROQ control room. I can't figure out why Bonnie Raitt was there, other than to sniff something with our program director. I'm sure he did her the courtesy of actually playing her album for a week. She was sweet.
We had whiteboards in the Burbank control room. Notes for the jocks and Kevin and Bean. Evidently on this day, I was overdressed. Andy Fletcher in the Burbank control room.
My first radio boss ponders the decision of putting a sixteen-year-old on the air. I had a Saturday show where I played what I want, at that time a lot of Chicago, Jethro Tull, and Frank Zappa. He was a most kind and thoughtful individual. KPIN was sold my senior year, and the person who took over was Kevin Weatherly's father, who hurled records at me when I played George Carlin's album track Shit, on the air.
From left: Poorman (what a name) Van Johnson, Dave Gahan, April who couldn’t keep her clothes on, below her Martin Gore, whose guitar skills are vastly overlooked, Alan Wilder, Freddy Snakeskin (never one to push forward for photos), Andy Fletcher, Jed The Fish below Andy, some schleb who ripped off KROQ, and long time WB promoter Chris Crist.
The dawn of professional CD players. You cued them up by hand, almost like vinyl. Sony “Digital.”
What was cool about Emily is she had good judgement about who to let in to visit. Fan after fan would ask to see the DJ, and it was actually possible until 2001. There was no way we could see everyone, or we would never be able to work, but Mle would know which exceptions I would appreciate. Bless her heart! I think this was in my kitchen.
Girl harvesters Depeche Mode with three winners at varying stages of innocence. I'm sure at least one wound up at the Sunset Marquis that evening. A truly legendary KROQ group -- and a favorite of Richard Blade's -- they did perhaps the most concerts for us. If guys thought they were gay, it was just fine with them.
This guy wound up doing 22 studio albums and he is a famous songwriter. John Hiatt is still one of the most popular singers and writers for other artists.
Working at KROQ was fun, and I’m sure it sounded like it on the air. In back of me, albums, below my right elbow 7” 45rpm singles, the rest hundreds of carts, to my right and in front of me, shelved and stacked. The Grace Jones poster, seen in many photos, was directly to my right. We had creepy green carpet and awful green and red curtains which were never open. This control room had soul, the walls were covered with notes, flyers and photos. Ask me about Sly Stone.
This photo was taken as we were initiating the new studios in 1996. I believe that is Cynthia Takahashi with me in the control room, moving the equipment from the Pasadena studio. As you can see we had already begun to decorate. The filled cabinet was CDs, the empty ones for tape cartridges, or carts.
Jed The Fish Pasadena KROQ control room. Various radio station stickers were everywhere.
KROQ clock. An hourly guide for when to play commercials (green areas), play jingles, and most importantly, talk. They don’t remain the same for long. Circa 1994. Kevin Weatherly, program director.
Once established as Talking Heads members, Chris and Tina ventured out with a solo project. Tom Tom Club had an instant hit with Genius of Love, and I was still wearing free tee-shirts. This was their first son.
The ancient Sony CD players on the right, the ponytail — up — and the visor. It was amazing that we had an extra oscilloscope at all, and that it was in the control room a miracle. It told us if the signal was in phase, important to avoid cancellation (bad sound). As in most control rooms, a music log and a program log to keep track of played commercials. Koss headphones. Turntables to the left.
John Frost was a legendary promotional announcement producer and sound designer. There’s another photo of him floating around here somewhere. Here we are mugging in front of a giant cart rack. He called me Jed The Pudding Fish.
I must have met with Richard Butler a half-dozen times, and we always had laughs. One night before a show at the Forum he asked if I had decent seats, and I said, yeah, not bad. When he came onstage and saw me dead center in the front row, his eyes jumped out of his head. Later he said, he remembered me saying I had decent seat, but he never expected me to be right under his nose whilst singing. I explained that, yes, I can always get free seats, but if I really want to see, I always purchase tickets. On this occasion, I actually asked Goldenvoice if I could buy front row center and they let me, knowing I never ask such things. Note long-time Music Director Lisa Worden on right, left below me is Assistant PD Gene Sandbloom, who today runs Roq of the 80s.
The day I asked him about the lyrics for Hungry For You. The part in question says “Mais non pouvons faire ce que nous voulons.” I asked him why the line said must I pooo poo fester on the poo poo lawn. The way he corrected me indicated it was a serious question. Very English, he said, “No, no, no...,” dramatically descending in pitch. This was before their September 6, 1983 appearance at Hollywood Park, Synchronicity Tour.
Jed The Fish and Dusty Street at a party in Santa Monica. Photo Debbie Leavitt.
He was always such a genteel person. Shortly after this interview in 1982, he led a crowd of people from the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach across PCH into the Pacific Ocean. His last encore song that night was I Go Swimming, to be release the next year. Here, he's like a scraggly-headed vampire.
Debbie Leavitt contact sheet from 1982, KROQ control room in Pasadena. Never a fashion trendsetter, somehow the DJs picked up on the medical scrubs look.
One of my true heroes, Zappa wasn't especially kind when I interviewed him. I honestly was not great at it. He insisted I got into radio to get laid, and actually it was because even as often the best qualified journalism graduate, the news stations were obligated to not hire white men. I simply did not know what else to do. When you meet your heroes, you're often let down. This did little to diminish my admiration and enthusuasm.
This is the band I was most chummy with. We would get together at Farmers Market, their old hang, and I remember they would talk to their stalkers. Girls would go to FM to see them. They told me it’s important to approach them to humanize the relationship. You want them to know the impact they can have on your normal life just being famous. Not just being a quest. At Ron’s house one night, they played me Interior Design. It was an album devoid of bass parts. Some upper bass synth, but that’s it. I tried in vain to help them justify it. It was a tough listen, because I liked them so much. Rock needs bass if not guitar.
Jennifer Beals, eventually a Yale graduate, could carry herself well in an interview. Aside from Return of the Jedi and Terms of endearment, Flashdance was the highest grossing film of 1983. She impressed me so much, I asked her to take her bra off under her shirt like she did in the movie. It looks like she's dipping me!
Baseball shirts were a thing. Jed The Fish, Pasadena KROQ control room. There were carts everywhere. Similar to the old 8-track cartridges, these had a continuous loop with a stop tone (to stop the machine the last time someone played it) just before the beginning of each recording. So when you plugged it in to play it, it was always ready. It was quite a reliable system, which is why the cart machines such as ITC existed for 50 years. Hassle recording the cart in the first place, but I did it for the Go-Gos, who gave me a demo lacquer of “Cool Jerk.”
My very funny girlfriend in 1989 had Calvary Baptist parents, who once had a sermon villainizing KROQ. Coincidentally, we had the first and only billboard campaign. (KROQ has never advertised since) But my billboard, located near her parents’ house was vandalized. By Jesus Freaks. One of them risked life and limb to remove my name from it. It was a dumbass campaign anyway.
A rare photo of early 1980s KROQ Program Director Rick Carroll to the right of Lou Reed. Jeff Naumann, in the blue shirt, was a promo guy for Virgin in the 80s. Oh, my god. He got so yelled at by Lou that day when he asked him to sign his copy of Metal Machine Music. "Don't you EVAH, EVAH, show me a picture from my past AGAIN!!" Evidently Lou was a little sensitive in early sobriety. In a private moment, he looked at me and could tell I was having problems. He gently assured me if I went to a meeting it would make me smile. Awww!
Jed The Fish in the KROQ Control Room, Pasadena, 1983. The ubiquitous Sennheiser 421 microphones.
91X personality and smoker Mike Halloran at a 1997 Prodigy concert at the Spruce Goose in Long Beach, Ca.
In probably the best shot of the Pasadena control room, a 28 mm lens reveals Devo judging the Rhino Devotees album, for which KROQ listeners submitted their own versions of Devo songs. With phenomenal luck, two of my own made the album. Rhino at the time was known for their wacky, Dr. Demento tastes. Richard Bronson and Harold Foos went for the Warner Bros. payday. I would. The reason in 1978 I was so excited about working at KROQ, is that it was the home of Devo.
Kate and Fred stopped by for an interview after I had carved a jack-o-lantern in the KROQ control room. It was a sad time for the band with Ricky having passed just months before. They did not tour for the album. Warner Bros. Promotion person Paul V. was outraged at my criticism of the album.