It’s on Showtime (Finally)

It’s a new documentary called “New Wave: Dare to Be Different”about a cool little New York radio station back in the 80s. A real punk David & Goliath tale. WLIR-FM was a hip, low-powered station broadcasting from Long Island, the crowded suburbs of New York City. Management and the crazy staff made a decision in 1982 to abandon the corporate rock of the day and switch all their energies and airtime to the new music scene. That meant out with the Grateful Dead, Charlie Daniels, Styx, Billy Joel and Journey. Taking their place was the new wave sound of Nick Lowe, the Clash, U2, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, the B-52, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Talking Heads and Soft Cell. Watching the film you witness a dumpy little station (it was a hole!) broadcasting from the burbs. You meet a lovable, obsessed crew of DJs, phone volunteers, record shop owners, club promoters, record executives and clever publicist all before the arrival MTV. Some say that MTV’s appearance happened all because of WLIR’s sound and the powerful new music scene that was unfolding.

Stream the movie (Showtime required)

WLIR was the little musical engine that could. Along with KROQ in LA, it helped change the music world in America. To have been there, sitting in the front row of this zany story, is one of my proudest moments. I used to do the afternoon shift, doubling as music director with an office that you couldn’t even walk through the door of because of the constant avalanche of new vinyl everywhere. Yeah, those were the days.

By | 2018-03-31T20:53:24+00:00 March 31st, 2018|Press|Comments Off on It’s on Showtime (Finally)

Neil Young Blasts Google

They’re neighbors actually. Neil Young’s ranch is just a few miles from Google’s campus yet they are a million miles from one another philosophically. After the collapse of Neil’s pet project called Pono this past year which he blamed on the record companies, he’s now put Google (YouTube’s parent company) in his sites.

“The Tech Giants have figured out a way to use all the great music of everyone from all time, without reporting an art’s number of plays or paying a fucking cent to the musicians. Aren’t they great companies!!!”

He has a point. Here’s the entire text of his email.

Young artists today, great authors, songwriters and musicians at the beginning of their creative output, are challenged to make ends meet in the digital world, a world where the artist is paid last, if at all, by the Tech Giants. This came to mind somehow today, listening to Broken Arrow, an album I made with Crazy Horse about twenty years ago, in 1996.

Broken Arrow is an overlooked album. It was the first Crazy Horse album after the death of David Briggs, our producer since the beginning’s lucky “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.” It was engineered by Greg Archilla, who David had just introduced to us. Broken Arrow is soulful. Real. Not trying to be anything it wasn’t. I was beginning to see that hits were overrated and that hit-makers were falling like flies.

There’s a comet in the sky tonight.
Makes me feel like I’m alright
I’m movin’ pretty fast
For my size

Those lyrics from “Music Arcade” are kind of how I felt at the time. Today, in the age of FaceBook, GOOGLE, and Amazon, it’s hard to tell how a new and growing musical artist could make it in the way we did. The Tech Giants have figured out a way to use all the great music of everyone from all time, without reporting an artist’s number of plays or paying a fucking cent to the musicians. Aren’t they great companies!!! It makes you wonder where the next generation of artists will come from. How will they survive?

‘Don’t Be Evil.’ That was GOOGLE’s corporate motto as they directed users to pirate sites to get artists’ creations and not pay!! Amazing tech breakthrough!! Meanwhile, they reap the bucks from ads people read while listening to music made by the artists. GOOGLE just changed their motto to ‘Do The Right Thing,’ but haven’t changed anything else as they continue to rip off the artist community, building their wealth on music’s back and paying nothing to the artists. WOW! Brilliant tech breakthrough! BTW, GOOGLE is YOUTUBE! Guess who’s next?

I am so happy to be able to share my music and albums like Broken Arrow with you here at NYA, where you can actually hear what we did. Xstream high resolution music makes me feel like I was there. I hope you can feel it too. The more you enjoy this music, the happier I am to share it with you. NYA is moving into a future that is really different from what we have now. It will not be easy. We are going to break a few rules and give you what you want.


By | 2018-03-02T01:05:50+00:00 March 2nd, 2018|Press|Comments Off on Neil Young Blasts Google

Ben Fong-Torres' Profiles

I’ve been a long time fan of writer Ben Fong-Torres from his old Rolling Stone magazine days. In “Almost Famous”, Cameron Crowe’s loving portrait of a young music writer in the heyday of the 70s rock scene, captured the early days of the magazine’s talent staff. And that included Ben Fong-Torres. He stopped by and visited with me while on the air at KDFC and then did this marvelous profile for the SF Chronicle. Thanks Ben!

The original SF Chronicle article


By | 2016-11-13T18:37:21+00:00 November 13th, 2016|Press|Comments Off on Ben Fong-Torres' Profiles