KAFM Community Radio is currently in Fund Drive mode, raising cash to keep the station operational. Culminating with Radio Soul Train at the Mesa Theater this Friday, the Fund Drive is a great introduction to the station and what they stand for. I've been a supporter of the station for quite sometime and still believe it is relevant to the Grand Valley. It's truly the only station where local bands can get airtime (see the current Battle of the Bands contest) and the only station where YOU can meaningfully shape the sound.
Last October I wrote this article about the KAFM Fall Fund Drive. While the Fund Drive dates have changed the message still remains pertinent.
“Rock ain’t about doing things perfect,” says Jack Black in the movie “School of Rock.” “Do you wanna rock? You gotta break the rules. You gotta get mad at the man and right now I’m the man… Who’s got the guts to tell me off?”
KAFM Community Radio does. It’ll stick it to the man all right. KAFM and its tireless volunteers are up for the task.
On Friday, Oct. 5, KAFM starts its Fall Fund Drive. “Whoopity doo” you’re probably saying. Well guess what? If you dig music, and I mean live and die and sweat and cry over music, really dig it, then it’s time to tune in.
“Left on the dial, right on the music,” as my man and fellow volunteer DJ Allen likes to say. KAFM is one of the last true and real music resources left, not only in Grand Junction, but in the country.
One of less than 200 community radio stations in the United States, KAFM is free from the shackles of corporate run, for-profit radio. The man has no power over KAFM. The man has no sway over volunteer DJs, your co-workers and neighbors and friends, playing and sharing music from their hearts. It’s your station. You determine its fate.
I’ve been involved with the station for over six years, sharing new music during my shows on Friday and Saturday nights. When I first started I selfishly thought I would bring change to Grand Junction. I would be the enlightened one, perched in front of the mic on top of Mount KAFM, spreading the new gospel of rock ‘n’ roll to the masses, sticking it to the man in my own way.
After meeting station volunteers I quickly realized I was not alone on my quest. There are more people than I could have ever imagined who passionately love and breath music. Though we differ in taste, our convictions are the same.
The one comment I regularly receive from readers of this column is this: “Dave, I love your writing, but I have never heard of any of these bands you are talking about.”
Fair observation, as I too love my writing. Ego massaging aside, I concede that most music I write about is not necessarily mainstream in Grand Junction. It rarely gets spins on corporate radio, and it’s under-represented by concert tour stops.
That is why KAFM is so necessary. I am of the opinion that if you don’t like something, it’s up to you to make it better. Less complaining and more action.
I’ve always disliked the music scene in Grand Junction as it has never lived up to potential. That’s precisely why I write this column and why I volunteer at KAFM. I want Grand Junction to be better. It can be better.
If you haven’t heard of Kishi Bashi or the Lumineers, that’s OK. Grand Junction doesn’t make it easy to discover new music. Are you unfamiliar with the likes of Metric and Delta Spirit? Again, it’s OK. That’s why you’ve got me and other KAFM volunteers around.
KAFM is not perfect. Our DJs are not slick professionals working off a soulless playlist. We are an unpredictable group, breaking from the masses and delivering swift justice to the high desert plains. Upset with the lack of diversity, honesty and authenticity of corporate radio, we’ve taken to the air to bring you real radio. We are a life force for Grand Junction.
I will not dare tell you what to do with your money and ask you to donate. I will challenge your determination though.
Do you have the guts to tell the man off? Do you have the guts to stand with KAFM?
Have you seen this yet? Well before Daft Punk's new, highly anticipated album "Random Access Memories" is released, The Creators Project Channel has been publishing a series of videos reigning praise on the album like its already an all time classic. So far two episodes have been released featuring producers Giorgio Morodor and Todd Edwards, both who worked on "Random Access Memories."
The interviews are extremely interesting, notably Morodor talking about the first use of synth sounds in popular music, and I actually enjoy the backdoor access to the reclusive French duo. As a music nerd I love seeing how bands create sounds and the process they go through to make music.
The timing and tone of the videos however are a bit odd. We've only heard a :15 second clip of one song and yet it feels like we are supposed to believe "Random Access Memories" has already been cemented as a classic dance album.
Yes, Daft Punk is awesome and yes, I'm excited to hear the new album but I'm not comfortable heaping so much praise on something that isn't even released. Can we wait to hear the full length before crowning it a masterpiece? Something about this series of videos screams marketing campaign. Is it genuine praise or a calculated ad campaign? I can't tell and it makes me uncomfortable.
When a band sells 1 million copies of an album you have to give them props. It doesn't matter if you like the music or not, you've got to respect that feat. That kind of thing doesn't just happen by accident. It's like hitting 50 home runs in baseball. You need more than just dumb luck to get to there.
Check out these dudes. That's Queensryche circa 1983. These progressive heavy metal rockers have four platinum albums. Four! "Promised Land," "Empire," "Operation Livecrime," and "Operation Mindcrime" are all certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Any band would give their drummer's right arm to have just one platinum album, let alone four. While the band line up and musical direction has changed over the years, you can't deny the bands success. Twelve albums and over 20 million records sold speaks for itself.
Outside of their 1988 concept album "Operation Mindcrime," I don't know a whole lot about Queensryche.I'm not really into the metal scene but as a musician I respect the longevity, respect the sales, and respect Queensryche. They've accomplished a hell of a lot. What I do know is a) these dudes have been making hit records as long as I've been alive and b) they are playing the Mesa Theater tomorrow night.
The lineup playing tomorrow features original vocalist Geoff Tate, someone with some serious heavy metal pipes.
Just looking at the calender here and boy is April stacked with live music. From here, till the end of the month, someone somewhere is playing a live show worthy of your attention. There are some big names here. Check out the highlights:
April 12 - KAFM's Radio Soul Train with DJ Strangefellow, Dusty Thunders, Goe Goe ft. The Rev, and DJ Skip Naft at the Mesa Theater. From the people who brought you Zombie Prom comes Radio Soul Train. This event is a costume party benefiting KAFM, our undervalued and supremely important community radio station.
Living in Colorado we are reminded every day of our cultural heritage.
It’s in the names of our city streets, such as Chipeta and Ute avenues.
Look at the towns that populate the Centennial State such as Cortez, Leadville or Nederland.
Nederland? Hold on, what the heck is a Nederland?
Well, just off the Continental Divide, Nederland was set up as a trading post between the Ute Indians and Western pioneers. A mountain town straight from western folklore, it is quintessential Americana, the kind of stuff you glaze over in Colorado history class.
One group of Nederlanders, a band known as Elephant Revival, cannot escape these cultural roots. In a city founded on the idea of exchanging cultural goods and customs, Elephant Revival is a fusion of culture past and present and celebrator of Americana.
Elephant Revival plays like the simplicity of a cast iron skillet, or at least that’s what you are meant to think. A quintet that weaves harmonies, string and percussion instruments together, it is bare-boned and efficient in its storytelling.
Elephant Revival pulls from the best of American root music to create its sound. It’s not quite bluegrass, or jazz, or Celtic, or folk. It’s simply a melding of all styles.
“Where words fail, music speaks.” That’s the first line on the band’s bio and never clearer than on its 2012 album. “It’s Alive.”
Bonnie Paine’s washboard percussion intro on “Tam Lin Set” sounds like a typewriter tapping out a frantic message. Low guitar tunes add drama, and as the band starts to hit full stride, fiddle carrying the main melody, the song says so much without uttering a word.
Elephant Revival is conscious about the space it occupies. An Americana band at heart, Elephant Revival makes music that speaks volumes about love, loss and everything in between.
On “To and From,” the band sings, “This heart’s a steam engine baby / love is you.” It’s an endearing message rooted in the past, but timeless in nature.
Listen to the band’s sound firsthand on Friday, April 5, at the Mesa Theater and Lounge.
Opening Friday’s proceedings is local favorite The Williams Brothers Band. Also incorporating truly American music styles such as blues, folk, country and funk, The Williams Brothers Band are rock solid in its delivery.
One minute the band can make you feel warm and cozy, like a Sunday afternoon on the back porch, with an acoustic blues based serenade. The next minute the band might channel the raw power of Jimi Hendrix in an electric guitar heavy assault of your senses.
The band has over 20 years experience and are so engrossed in its sound that the band performs live without a set list.
“We just get up and let the music play us,” James Williams says. Williams also hinted that the band may debut new original material and possibly a new cover at Friday’s show.
There is something charming about bands playing music that incorporates our historical roots and values. Groups such as Elephant Revival and The Williams Brothers Band are playing music about country and freedom, characteristics of American life.
They might not break any new creative ground with their music, but their songs authentically capture the collection of ideals that make Americans American.
Don’t you just feel at home when listening to this style of music? I do. The thing about Americana is that its not somber nostalgic tones of years bygone, its a holistic celebration of all good things.