By David Goe
Friday, November 29, 2013
It’s 5 p.m. and I’m sitting in the broadcast booth at Magic 93.1 FM. “Five at Five” is just getting underway with the new Katy Perry/Juicy J’s joint “Dark Horse.”
The broadcast booth is a lot smaller than I anticipated, nothing more than a walk-in closet, and I’m sitting on a bar stool hanging out with the self-proclaimed “Channing Tatum” of Grand Junction radio, Max Ryan.
“I like to look at things with a sense of ridiculousness,” Ryan says as the new Pitbull and Ke$ha track “Timber” plays over the studio monitors.
The first thing we talk about is the biggest joke in pop music right now, Ylvis’ parody EDM track “What Does The Fox Say?”
Ryan plays me a series of audio clips he recorded earlier that day of listeners calling in to request the dreadful tune. With every clip Ryan playfully teases each listener before ultimately putting the kibosh on their request.
Zendaya’s “Replay” is now on air and we jump right in to talking about Disney stars. Of course Miley Cyrus twerks her way into conversation and shortly after that Justin Bieber’s name pops up.
“That dude’s Vanilla Ice-ing himself off the face of the planet,” Ryan says as the music switches to Eminem and Rihanna’s new track “Monster.”
“Five at Five” is wrapping up with OneRepublic, and listeners start calling in to name the five songs and win a small prize. The phone lines are blowing up and Ryan mows them down like a Tommy Gun.
“Magic. You’re caller number one. Keep trying.
“Magic. You’re caller number two. Keep trying.
“Magic. You’re caller number three. Keep trying.”
He lets the phone bank load up with callers again before finally picking the seventh caller. It’s an excited young girl named Megan and she knows all five tracks. Ryan records a quick phone interview, edits it down and has it playing live on air in under 2 minutes.
This is what it’s like chilling with Ryan. His energy is high and unstoppable and it’s rapid fire for the entire hour I’m there. The only moment of stillness is the split second right before he goes live on air. Ryan stretches his arms wide, shakes out the nerves (if there are any they are undetectable to me), and says “oh yeah” before firing up the microphone for a weather report.
While he’s talking about pressure fronts, I take a quick look around the studio. There are a number of artifacts lining the wall, notably an autographed picture of Barbara Mandrell, a bed pan marked strictly for emergencies only, and a talking Napoleon Dynamite action figure, Ryan’s addition to the collection.
Save for one old vinyl record nailed to the wall, there’s not a physical piece of music to be found. Everything is digital in the broadcast booth and Ryan manipulates the entire show from one gigantic flatscreen monitor.
“That’s my favorite sign in this room,” Ryan says pointing to a cartoon pig named Jeffrey who just happens to be sharpening a knife above deep smoked, country fresh ham.
Once again, it’s Ryan’s cheeky sense of humor on display. It’s the same sense of humor that has made him by far the most entertaining and popular drive-time radio DJ in Grand Junction.
“I’m just trying to bring back the spirit of Casey Kasem or Wolfman Jack to radio,” Ryan says. “I like the idea of leaving a legacy.”
Our hour together is nearly up and it feels as if I’ve only been there for a couple minutes. Ryan’s a powerful, infectious force, and, as I leave the station, the second Eminem song within the hour comes up. This time it’s “Berzerk,” the first single off “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.”
As I get in my car and start to head home I feel pretty good about my time with Ryan. With all the repetition and blandness in pop music, it’s good to know there’s at least one wild card left out there.
By David Goe
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
This Saturday the southern rap crew of Deacon the Villain, Kno, and Natti, aka Cunninlynguists, invade the Mesa Theater.
To get you pumped for the weekend I've put together the ultimate Cunninlynguists playlist. These 10 songs show off the trio's diverse style and indie hip-hop productions. Make sure to listen all the way through "Close Your Eyes" for an excellent guest verse from the current king of hip-hop Macklemore.
If you want to go even deeper and check out their full albums I'd recommend starting with their 2011 release Oneirology which features guest appearances by Big K.R.I.T., Freddie Gibbs (remember his standout set when he came through with Raekwon?) and Tonedeff.
By David Goe
Friday, November 15, 2013
Almost two years ago to the day, I started writing this column. Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are.
Fifty-three columns down, some good, some bad, and not one resulting in a libel suit. That’s something to celebrate.
If you’ve been with me from the start, first off, thank you. I’ve used the forum to discuss all sorts of music topics, and the feedback I get from you helps to keep me motivated.
Secondly, you’ll remember I kicked this whole thing off with homage to my first record purchase: Weezer’s Blue Album. I chose to share that memory because I thought you can learn much more about who I am based on the music that shaped my life than you could from the half-wit rambling introduction I originally planned on submitting. I’m much more interested in showing you than telling you who I am.
Back in 1994 I was a mere virgin to the music world, accidently happening upon a great album. Oh, what a difference three years can make though. Slowly learning how to curate my own record collection, things took a wild turn in high school.
Everything changes once you enter high school. “Parental Advisory” stickers are much less threatening, for one. I couldn’t entertain that dirty mistress of hip-hop in ‘94 but we sure did spend some quality time together in 1997.
That’s when I discovered the second album to dominate my young life: Puff Daddy and the Family, “No Way Out.”
I have a vision of my high school self, kicking in the doors near the old gymnasium at Grand Junction High School.
Try, if you might, to picture this. As the orange doors swing wide, a flood of light rushes in. All you can make out is the silhouette of a budding G. Stepping through the door, I slowly come into focus and the first thing you recognize is my forest green New York Yankees hat.
The wires of my ill-fitting, over-ear headphones snake down underneath my crisp white T-shirt and sweater vest and connect to the Sony Discman, with 10-second electronic skip protection, in my canvas messenger bag. Tommy Hilfiger jeans hang low as I walk down the hall in my white Lugz boots that couldn’t be cleaner.
The whole scene unfolds in slow motion, as “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” plays overhead. I look as pimp as can be, just like Puff.
Pimp status not withstanding, truthfully I look much more like a wimpy Steve Bartman than the man now known as Diddy.
“No Way Out” was much more than an album. It was a guide to living. Clearly, it had a strong influence on the fashion choices made by me and most of my friends. Everyone had those stupid carpenter jeans and the color Yankees hats that Puff and Mase wore everywhere. Our golf team alone represented nearly every color you could own (yes, I was a jock in high school).
I ate up the lyrics to “No Way Out” like they were a new gospel. That album taught me the true virtues of life, the ones left out of boring high school curriculum.
I learned about hustling from the tracks “Victory” and “Young G’s.” I learned to stack bills by endlessly playing “It’s All About the Benjamins (Remix).” Most importantly, I learned about being awesome from “Been Around the World.”
As Puff asks early on in the album, “P Diddy and the Fam, who you know do it better?” At the time, nobody.
Besides being culturally significant, “No Way Out” was the quintessential 1990s East Coast hip-hop record. It’s loaded with hits and guest rappers, notably the Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Mase and Jay-Z.
I played that album so much the CD nearly cracked in two in my Discman. As it turns out, “No Way Out” was by far the best effort that has been put forward by Puff. I’m extremely partial to the braggadocio of that entire record.
I joke about the life lessons this album taught me, but seriously, what better skills could a freelance columnist ask for?
With that, here’s to another year of misguided opinions. Don’t worry, I’ve still got plenty to say.
By David Goe
Friday, November 15, 2013
Tonight is a golden opportunity to catch the relatively unknown local band, We Speak Imaginese. This three piece outfit features Talya Dewey, the piano playing lead singer. Her strong vocal capabilities are impressive and you may have heard them before on Dreamboat's "Head Filled Up With Stars" album or at one of the local band's live shows.
We Speak Imaginese play 9 - midnight, tonight at Naggy McGee's.