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80s Airwaves - 80’s Music, Movies, Media & More » Blog Archive » Strange Days Indeed

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Strange Days Indeed

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Looking back one week ago and looking forward one week, we have three somewhat strange and yet similar anniversaries we are celebrating, or at a minimum paying respect to.

Last week was our one year anniversary for our move to North Carolina. You know what they say about time flies when there’s rum, well that theory has been proven true. I know I’ve spelled it out previously here and in other places and in other ways, but living near the ocean simply changes things. The people we are surrounded by have lived in other parts of our country and in other parts of the world. It’s amazing to chat with people at a restaurant or pub and say “I would love to go to X”. And almost always you will have someone who either lived in X, holidayed in X, spent months studying in X, surfed the shores of X, stormed the beaches of X back in ‘42 or just sold their cottage in X. But they still have friends there, “so if you want to visit for a month or two… “. When you are surrounded by people who aren’t from here, everyone seems friendlier and helpful. Whether it’s a new subdivision being built, like we had in Wisconsin, or here on our tiny island full of transplants most everyone, including the actual locals who’ve lived here the entire life, seem open.

Next week is our 15 year anniversary of marriage. We’ll be visiting Charleston, SC for the very first time, just a few hours south of us. We’ve heard many great things about this city and can’t wait to explore it while celebrating our very special occasion. While we have certainly experienced a lot together over these many years, what’s remarkable is how many people who were a part of our wedding, immediate family and friends, that are no longer with us. Just think about 1997. It doesn’t really seem like THAT long ago, but how much has changed in your life? Who isn’t here any more that was here then? I’m guessing that there have been at least a dozen people that were part of our wedding that are no longer living today. We will be thinking about them and remembering them especially this coming week.

Speaking of which, also coming up next week will be the three month anniversary of the death of one of my best friends, a high school buddy, a true mentor and groomsmen from my wedding. At the age of 45, he died because of a tragic accident while working on his car. While it remains difficult for me to really express how saddened I am to lose him from my life, I can’t even fathom the loss that his kids must still feel. He was a powerful person with a super sharp mind, cutting wit and yet a tremendously kind heart. As the saying goes, he did not suffer fools gladly. He did not surround himself with people who were disrespectful, lazy or negative. Frequently now I find myself thinking, what would Dave do in this situation or what would Dave think about this person, how would he respond? WWDD? Somehow, after working for and with Dave for over twenty years, I don’t think I’ll ever shake the influence he’s had on the person I am, nor do I want to.

Dave and I shared many passions; cigars, the water, driving fast, coffee, Jamaica and always music. I can’t even give a good guess on many concerts we’ve been to together. When I began my career as a club DJ in the late 80’s, Dave was there to support me,even though it was clearly a distraction to my day job (where he was my manager). When I became a radio DJ in the early 90’s, once again Dave would show up at some of the remotes we would do and he even stopped by the studio during one of my ridiculously early morning shifts (starting in radio you almost always need to work a shift from 12am-6am Sunday morning). When I launched 80s Airwaves at midnight on May 1, 2004, Dave and his wife were there, yet again, despite the fact that this new 24/7 radio station of mine would clearly be a distraction from my important position within his now much larger multi-million dollar franchise company. Even after we closed our online radio station late in 2005 and I left his company in June of 2006, we continued to talk about music – what we liked, who we were going to see and always keeping that passion for music going. At one point in 1998, during the dawn of the mp3’s, when I returned back from the MP3.com “fest” he suggested we start a record label. How I truly wish we would have done that together - imagine that stories we would have today!

As all of these past events seem to collide now, I can’t help but think back to times in my life when music wasn’t an integral part of me. My earliest memories are of my uncle playing his Beatles and Bee Gees records, and the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar. My mom giving me some of the 45s that she listened to and the most recent K-Tel album she bought. Following t Dave’s funeral services friends from high school would tell me about the cassettes they still owned that I made them (fondly called “Shit Tapes” by Dave because it was always a mix of “all kinds of different shit”). Even when I quit WCBR in 1991, I almost immediately began producing a musical tip sheet (sent via fax) for other radio stations to introduce and educate them on new/upcoming bands, called Radio’s Dead. Don’t know why that didn’t take off… Rarely has there been a point in my life where I’m not surrounded by music.

And these days are no exception. This past May 1st, eight years to the day after we launched 80s Airwaves, I launched Oceanside Double Wide (ODW). While it began on Facebook as a place for me to post up new music that I was enjoying, it has since evolved into its own website (at OceansideDoubleWide.com) and very shortly will be evolving again into a weekly audio podcast.

Now, let’s talk about the music! Since moving to the island a year ago, I have become intrigued by surfer culture. The idea that people truly live to surf was new and unique to my Midwestern roots where it seems the majority live to work. The notion that someone would work a low-paying, yet somewhat flexible hourly position so they could escape when the surf was good was very entertaining to me. But time and time again, in restaurants, retail stores, shops and pubs, you would find great people, young and old, who worked what they needed to work just to cover the rent on whatever low rent space they could find and put some food in the fridge, only so they could focus on surfing. Where the lived or where they worked, didn’t really matter so long as they were close to the water. This is where the idea for Oceanside Double Wide came from. They have their own community and will frequently look out for one another. They don’t just keep each other informed about pending storms and wave conditions, but who’s hiring and who was fired, where to get a mixologist license, who has the cheapest beer, or the best pot or a scooter they can borrow to get off the island for a concert tonight.

As I grew to genuinely admire this loose network and this new lifestyle, I started to discover music that seemed to be in alignment with this ethos. Free flowing, glowing warm and yet open wide and expansive. Many music blogger describe this music genre as “surf pop” or “beach pop” or “chillwave” or “dream pop” but the lines are very blurry at times, and that’s a GREAT thing! Because as I explore these music “tags” using Tumbl, SoundCloud and BandCamp, we start to expanding into other genres like “surf rock”, “surf punk” or just plain old “surf”. Many of these tags overlap and are frequently cross-tagged with genres like “skabilly”, “lo-fi” or “garage rock” or “rockabilly”. Clearly these are not new musical genres, but they do represent a new means to explore great new musical artists. And my goal with ODW is simply to bring the best of this mess to the surface.

In the upcoming weeks I will be attempting to find a way to do an hour-long weekly show, taped live (probably on Sunday mornings) and then released as an mp3 podcast (via iTunes and the other top podcast channels). I truly look forward to this project and sincerely hope to maintain my commitment to the once weekly schedule. Once again, I think Dave would not just support my direction with this, but would likely appreciate some of the music as well. If it sounds like something that might interest you, I’ll hope you will take part as we roll forward.

Most peculiar mama…

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