ROCK OF THE 1970’S
What the hell happened? KROQ used to be a fun station. We not only put out calendars, but gave events for them. This one was in Orange, 1999. Wonderful crowd. Hey, let me know if you have a better guess at the year.
Where’s Josie? This is the day I asked her what her real name was, and she said, “Well, basically Josie Cotton is my name.” A dedicated bimbo. Pasadena control room. A fake protest was staged outside the Pasadena studios. None of the protesters were angry. Gleaming Spires, the Sparks offshoot, was in the studio. Leslie Bohem and David Kendrick.
The great Depeche Mode “riot,” 1990, when so many fans showed up at Wherehouse Records the band could not accommodate them all. God forbid they cut off the line and stay an extra hour. It did get dicey with enraged Dmode fans who pounded on the window in view of the band. Warner Bros. then called it a riot to regenerate buzz. As I recall it changed permitting policy in West Hollywood. We would do things like this several times a year with our bands. If KROQ supports you, you’re a KROQ band.
Elvira and I did a string of appearances together. This one was in Hollywood at a gay club called The Circus. She was on-air for KROQ in 82-83. Always a riot to work with. And of course look at.
Amazed that we could sell out what was then Irvine Meadows, I had no idea it would become an exalted event. We were so happy to have hotel rooms, because the staff didn’t want the worry we would show up late. Wearing the shirt. Sometimes we did not get good seats, so I early on got in the habit of buying them both for myself and my guests. When people would ask me for tickets, I would always inwardly groan because I would rather give away no seats than nosebleed.
Those silly backward shirts. Way to go! You’re promoting a radio station nobody’s heard of, and they can’t read the shirt. I remember also having fun with Doc on the Roq that day. Yes, we played King Crimson.
We did a ton of beach remote broadcasts, which were difficult from a technical perspective: we had to hear ourselves, we had to communicate with the person running controls at the studio, and we needed to make sure the audio was good, which was not easy. Since I usually could not hear the music at all, I had to hope I was back-announcing the right record. Even with today’s tech, PD Kevin Weatherly hates them, because it’s almost never a controlled situation.
This was in the Pasadena lobby, on a day when I showed up for work in a bathrobe. My house was two minutes away. Susan Sailor, Dr. Drew’s wife, was the “head” KROQ Bikini Girl, who would book their events. What’s not to love.
This is one of my oldest memories of KROQ. This is the parking lot where I climbed the stairs the night I was hired. Original logo. From left, Brett Kahlen, Chuck Randall, driver, chick dj I don’t remember, Mike Raphone, me being prophetic about the station’s prospects, Darrell Wayne in nice red pants, Larry Woodside, hairy dj I don’t remember, and the late Al Ramirez. He always looked like he was sneaking away from something. Let me know about the ones I missed.
The only reason I would dare wear a muscle shirt is if I had some, however briefly. Rodney gazes at the photographer, me with a mic, and Raymondo bending over to speak with someone. Likely April Whitney with her back to the camera, and Rockin Fig with the tanned back. Note my fanny pack. Hear tell they’re making a comeback.
He was rumored to have a chandelier goldfish bowl, and sure enough, during a party, I found it. It was actually a terrible interview that day — I was sent all the way to New Orleans for a Nine Inch Nails interview with faulty equipment. I shall restrain myself from identifying the engineer who furnished a bad DAT recorder. I think his name was Paul. To make matters worse, because I had to use Trent’s studio gear, they edited out the part in which I asked him about Marilyn Manson.
Wendy O. Williams, of the electrical taped-nipples and porn past, was the perfect front woman for a punk outfit. They would destroy things. Cars, TVs. Wielding a chainsaw with a chainsaw voice, she always had political sentiment whether it made sense or not. I can find this poster nowhere online.
We were toast after visiting with each fan for 10 seconds, but they were fun. The KROQ Calendar appearances went on for a while, and we all did it just because we were supposed to. Great fun. We had a wonderful promotions person, Amy Stevens.
Steve Wozniak, Apple computer innovator, had millions to throw a party, so he did it twice. Their stage manager was concert legend Bill Graham, who was a dick. My ex-girlfriend worked for him for years. He was pained to see me onstage at all, let alone speaking before Oingo Boingo to a crowd of over 100,000.
Me in my pannies in 1983 introducing Boingo at the Us Festival. This was the day I was used by Terri Nunn to make Richard’s first wife jealous. She picked at my nipple with her long nail. I could only watch.
I was probably heading off after announcing Dramarama. This was before we had two stages.
Backstage at the Bowie Glass Spider tour, the most amazing guitar player Adrien Belew, entertains KROQ DJs Lewis Largent and Jed The Fish, Dodger Stadium, 1987. This was the tour Peter Frampton played guitar as well.
And Scott Mason was there too. Nice to have an engineer along on a beach remote. Even better if he’s the Chief Engineer. That was our bitty microwave truck to get the signal back to Burbank in 1991. I don think we played John Wesley Harding since, but he was a quick wit.
We were lucky enough to be invited to a party at record mogul Jimmy Iovine’s house, and a certain KROQ DJ behaved poorly when speaking to Fred Durst. Our boss reprimanded her, saying “Save it for on the air,” not to his face at an exclusive party. Billy Corgan also thought she should “be a good party guest.” Hard to believe you could get in trouble for talking shit to Fred Durst.
When we were on a listener vacation to Hawaii, Danny and buddy Jed The Fish had truly a blast. Partying in one of the suites at the Reef, a few days later 300 KROQ listeners went to see Oingo Boingo at Aloha Stadium.
By 1986, Depeche Mode were about to be huge. Here we display a listener license plate in the KROQ control room in Pasadena. Despite claims to the contrary, I played Just Can’t Get Enough the week after it was released in London. I played it because I had heard of the producer, Daniel Miller, who also produced the double a-side single TVOD/Warm Leatherette. Mike Zampelli of Zed Records in Long Beach gave it to me.
I think this was for the True Stories album, as David moved closer to a solo career. Always an impeccable dresser. Pasadena control room.
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.
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.
Here I am wishing I had a piece of Brody Dalle of the Distillers. Soaking wet with sweat and just off the stage, nothing could be a whole lot better. She knew she was what girls call gross but rubbed up on me anyway. #hot
Oh, I did my best guys, but when I was set to pick her up for a B-52s concert at the Forum, her mother introduced me to her boyfriend and the date was over. Intercepted!
The one that almost got away was Elvis Costello. A fan since 1977, I thought of him as this elusive, difficult artist that would have nothing to do with me. Along came Trust and that changed a bit. True, the LP needed help, but I have rarely met such a gentleman. He brought albums, each cover in a plastic sleeve, and each sleeve in its own velveteen slot. I was impressed with just his record box! So much for the angry young man.
Just after the interview, the station was swarmed with fans. Here is the boldly-named Elvis, before he got in his limo. Pasadena.
At least I stood up for this one. Erasure with Jed The Fish.
Very seldom do I get a pro to photograph me at work, but Debbie Leavitt was there on Josie Cotton Day, without Josie Cotton. These are her proof sheets, not actual prints.
My second semester at USC, my video project was a discussion on the riveting subject of Los Angeles TV advertising. Not what about the advertising, does it suck or what, merely the ads. Harry Shearer, left, took me aside and gave me some much-needed advice. He said afterwards, "Look, when you have celebrity guests, you roll out the red carpet, have a green room, drinks, etc. Even though it's not a drama, you give them a script." My response was to offer him a joint. Right, Mal Sharpe, in glasses, Peter Bergman.
It's rough for the American radio listener to hear a heavy Liverpudlian accent. Paul McCartney learned to clean his up a bit, Ian McCulloch not so much. His subdued voice does not help. At least he left a sizable souvenir booger on the wall of the Burbank men's room, which remained for nearly a year.
Muscle shirt, no muscles. INXS drummer Tim Ferriss is the clowner-arounder of the band, and I love that they didn't always send Michael Hutchence for interviews. Fun guy.
Surfers in general are easy to speak with. Unlike many though, Jack Johnson is articulate. Even though he did not grow up listening to KROQ, he was generous about my influence on him.
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.
Darkwave industrial rock artist Meg Lee Chin allowed me to both produce one of her tracks and play drums for her on occasion. I never got to know her in part because we were each handled by managers.
Undoubtedly the only straight people with our hands on each other that night, I did not think of her as a comedienne. I thought she was just funny as hell. Ahh, the gays always loved her.
The thing I remember most about this interview is I got Bono to imitate Naked Lunch author William Boroughs. Evidently, the greatest lead singers are adept at imitation. I also remember they smoked like chimneys and brought a case of Guinness, promptly consumed by off-air KROQ staff.
Before they got huge, Wang Chung stopped by the KROQ studios to promote Points on a Curve. I always thought Jack Hues was an odd sort of good-looking, like he was genetically modified. They actually made themselves into a verb, as in "everybody Wang Chung tonight."