White Dopes on Punk
Could there possibly be a breed of animal stupider than the upper management of Clear Channel Communications, the less-than-sharp radio megacorp that two weeks ago handed down a huge list of songs they felt listeners might find offensive—like the Beatles' "Obla Di, Obla Da," John Lennon's "Imagine" and Sugar Ray's "Fly"—in these times of trial by terrorism? Amazingly, yes—local white supremacists have also recently demonstrated their ability to take songs out of context. Log on to www.radiowhite.com, the Orange-based Web radio site specializing in white power music, click on the playlist, and you'll see a long list of bands and tracks whose names and titles are all you need to know about where they stand—the People Haters' "A Towel Is Not a Hat" and "Jewboy," the Angry Aryans' "Browntown Burning Down," and Youngland's "Thank God I'm a Whiteboy," plus a mess of songs by infamously famous white power band Skrewdriver.
"Radio White is an Internet broadcast showcasing music that you won't hear on mainstream radio," reads their mission statement. "However, we do reserve the right to play a song or two from a 'mainstream' band that maintains a respectful and healthy attitude towards our people"—and by "people" they must mean "morons": peppered throughout the list of obvious hate rock are songs like X's "Los Angeles," Agent Orange's "Bloodstains," Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll," L7's "Pretend We're Dead," Steve Earle's "Hillbilly Highway," Hellbound Hayride's "Hillbilly Gal," and other questionable tunes from the Adolescents, the Blasters, the Ditch Band Oakies, the Fenians, Three Bad Jacks, the Muffs, Marty Robbins, Circle Jerks, the Cramps, CIV, Motrhead and the Reverend Horton Heat. Several tunes from Me First & the Gimme Gimmees made Radio White's "approved" list, though exactly how the Bay Area pseudo-supergroup's revved-up covers of such schmaltzy classics as "Fire and Rain," "Danny's Song" and "One Tin Soldier" fit into the schematic of racial supremacy, we're not yet sure. Most ironic is the presence of songs by some of the most vehemently anti-racist and politically progressive musicians we know. X's John Doe was a proud supporter of Jesse Jackson's presidential runs; Steve Earle is a tireless anti-death-penalty advocate, which may surprise Radio White's operators, since the vast majority of people on death row are people of color; and the Blasters once featured famed sax player Lee Allen—an African-American—in their band. More irony: the Blasters song that made the Radio White list, "American Music," is nothing less than a celebration of diversity: "We got the Louisiana boogie and the Delta blues/We got country swing and rockabilly, too/We got jazz, country-western and Chicago blues/It's the greatest music that you ever knew." Granted, once a song is released into the world, people have every right to interpret it as they wish—that's art. But the rockers are likely to rebel. Lary Spears was pissed when informed that his band, roots rockers Can O' Whoopass, is featured on the site. "Hell, no, we don't support that!" said Spears. "I mean, we've got a Filipino drummer in the band! We don't ever want to be involved with anything like that, ever, and I know people like [the Muffs'] Kim Shattuck, [X's] Exene and the Reverend [Horton Heat] wouldn't either. I'm a firm believer in the phrase 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'—except for this." To be safe, Spears promptly sent out a press release soon after completely disassociating Can O' Whoopass from the Radio White endorsement. Still, what's to prevent the casual Web surfer from glancing at the Radio White site and thinking that X or L7 or the Adolescents or the Blasters or Agent Orange or Steve Earle "maintain a respectful and healthy attitude" toward bonehead racists? Nothing. (Rich Kane)
SOMEWHAT ALIVE AND KICKING
Want to ring in 2002 with Poco? Sister Sledge? The Lovin' Spoonful? Hot off the LowBallAssChatter fax machine is a notice from Orlando, Florida-based Lustig Talent Enterprises, informing us that these groups and other "great acts" are—remarkably—"still available to help you celebrate the biggest party of the year: New Year's Eve 2001." So we contemplated the possibility of featuring—live from our 10-foot-by-12-foot kitchen!—Firefall, Pure Prairie League, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, the Ink Spots, Badfinger, the Animals, and many, many more. We saw the name "B.J. Thomas" and thought we knew who that was, but then we came across Starship with Mickey Thomas. Now we're not sure who B.J. is. He may have recorded "Raindrops Keep Falling on Your Head." And there's Bill Haley's Comets. Now we know Haley—of "Rock Around the Clock" fame—stopped ticking in 1981, and we figured the rest of the Comets had joined him in the years since. See what a great service Lustig provides? They've also got the Platters, the Coasters, the Marvelettes and the Shirelles! And those who like their oldies acts fragmented can pop the cork with the New Rascals, Chuck Negron (without the rest of Three Dog Night) and the New Frankie Goes to Hollywood featuring Davey Johnson (who, like everyone else in the New Frankie, was not in the original Frankie, is not related to original singer Holly Johnson, and is not the former Dodgers manager). If you'd like to book one of these atrocities or others, contact Lustig—which must have the Orange County Fair entertainment booking office on speed dial—at (407) 816-8960 or go to their website, www.lustigtalent.com. (Matt Coker)
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