Thundering at the Buzzard
I hate WMMS, and it's a relationship of animosity that I have been an unwilling partner in for more than ten years. In around the early '80s, while in my teens, the really cool station to listen to in Cleveland was M105, which has since become a brothel of bad taste made for nothing but money like, well, WMMS.
Back in the day, M105 would be playing the Talking Heads and Red Rider and all sorts of new stuff while sneaking in occasional things from older, more established acts and doing this without hired gun jocks from out of town instructed to piss everyone off so as to get many callers, more listeners, and higher numbers in the quarterly. It was radio like an all-day, constant friend, and I kind of miss that station just writing of it now.
At that time WMMS was doing just what they're doing today: following profitable trends and grinning like a politician who keeps telling you that everything is going to be okay or some salesman who says his shiny thing will actually be worthwhile. Well, everything is definitely not okay, and I am not interested in shallow, cheap shiny things.
I suppose it is the salesman's smile which so offends me about this particular corporate entity--it, and the almost constant self-promotion disguised as civic pride. Maybe these guys were cool when I was playing with my G.I. Joes and watching Batman, but if that is the case, I'm sorry, I must've missed it. I don't know where they got their national reputation as a leader in programming and event promotion, and I don't care. As a consumer, I ask what have you done for me lately, and what quality does your product have at this time?
As for the purported demise of the symbol for this grinning group of slicksters, I couldn't be happier. But that happiness is being overwhelmed by a sense of disbelief. I don't imagine that they will do away with that annoying little creature, and although I constantly root for the poor, starving coyote to ravish that aggravating purple bird, I know better than to expect any better outcome: I think the Buzzard will live. I'm confident in this, but as I write this negative response to the proposal, so will many more write and call in to affirm their love for this whoring little entity. It's more than likely another gimmick, and its conclusion is as obvious as Superman's death or a bad sequel for an action movie.
I don't really care if they are pulling yet another fast one on the unsuspecting public. Sheep must obey their natures after all. But I don't doubt that even in the unlikely event some god does exist in this universe and that grinning, plastic, superficial symbol for what's hip and cool and okay to do in public school does get thrown straight into the abyss, he will soon be resurrected by some new, enterprising merchant looking to have him spend another thirty years on his back with one claw perpetually resting in the cash register drawer with that same goddamned leer plastered on his face.
My final word on all this crap? Peachy.
While I'm not used to writing to magazines, I'm compelled to complain with Mr. Coreno's letter about Sports Talk in our city [Black and Blue Browns, October 1]. Not only is [Cleveland sports talk] lame, with syndicated bores (Sports Babe?), c'mon, it flat out blows. [WKNR] has scary talent like Greg Brinda (don't argue with this "dean," he'll cut you off); a Pittsburgh native in Kenny Rhoda; Jim Rome sucks; and how about [WTAM's Mike] Trivisonno? Is he the best we have to offer? Yechh!
[Pete] Franklin came back, sounded old, senile, and bitter. Best of luck, Pete--life is fun in San Diego. Don't taint your image of yourself when we were kids. Outside of Bruce Drennan, Cleveland radio sucks--syndicated sports was something I had to tolerate living in Pittsburgh. [Is] there not any talent that WKNR could hire? May I suggest a couple of guys' show on 1300 [WERE-AM] Saturday night called Out of Bounds. These "brothers" go back to the old days--local sports chats--and they weave through local history. Check 'em out--WKNR is missing the boat with these guys.
Just picked up Scene as I do every Thursday morning, and I noticed the Alarm show was going to be opened by "The Fifth Wheel's Josh Stone." I have been a Fifth Wheel fan for about three and a half years, and over the last few months it has kind of dropped off the face of the Earth, and Josh has been doing all these "solo shows." I have seen a couple of these shows and some of the songs are good, but Josh doesn't have the same effect without the band. "The Band"--not the screwed-up version that has been doing a couple of shows lately. The solo thing just seems kind of weak: not the same punch that the band gave us, delivering "Wheelheads" with fun pop tunes.
Anyway, I was curious if Scene had any idea for what was going on with the band. I have trusted you guys for the last ten years with my area musical scene stuff. Hopefully you can help me (us) now. I know I am not speaking alone here.
Editor's Note: You are correct in noticing the Fifth Wheel has not been playing of late and that frontman Stone has kept busy with a series of solo gigs. The band's hiatus is due to the broken hand suffered earlier this year by bassist Tom Weyand, who is undergoing physical therapy. For more information, turn to Makin' the Scene (page 47).
What a great time we had at the Black Sabbath autograph signing at Camelot Music in Mentor. Let me recap the five hours we were there. We left work at 11 a.m. and elected to take the five hours without pay to make the trip. We arrived at Great Lakes Mall around 1 p.m. We went into Camelot Music and laid down $23.99 for the reunion CD (it was on sale, what a bargain) and got in line. At that point, more than 1,500 people were in line.
After two hours and fifteen minutes, we got our first break: at 3:15, up pulls a van and out pops Ozzy and the rest of Black Sabbath fifteen minutes early. Forty-five minutes later, we moved a whole ten yards. People who were maybe 50 people behind us a half-hour ago were suddenly 300 people in front of us.
When the police and mall security finally figured out that line jumping was taking place, they intervened, and suddenly we started moving closer to the door. I saw Michael Stanley taking a smoke break by Camelot's door, and a couple of minutes later, he was back on the air encouraging people to come on down to the autograph party with Black Sabbath.
Hey Michael, are you blind? At that point, there were probably 3,000 people standing in what once was a line.
The next touch of brilliance came (after standing in line for four and a half hours) when some stupid idiot announced that the band would sign only 1,000 more autographs. We were about a half-hour from the door to meet the band when, within seconds of that great announcement, a mini-riot erupted. Everyone started pushing, shoving, and fist fighting to try to get closer to the door. Any organization was shot to hell, and to make matters worse, some idiots in the line decided to play 'bounce the beach ball' with an orange highway barrel. We had it fall on us four times, people were still pushing and shoving-and that's when we decided to push ourselves out of the mess. It was ten minutes before 6 p.m.-five hours and 50 minutes after we arrived. We then stood in the parking lot watching what was occurring in line as we held our un-autographed $23.99 CDs. We packed it in at that point, and headed back to Elyria, which is about 50 miles from Mentor.
Here's a suggestion for the next time (if indeed there is a next time): Give tickets out to the people who buy CDs at the store, guaranteeing them an autograph. Perhaps someone can even figure out when to cut off the line instead of having Michael Stanley encouraging everyone to come on down to the party. Five hours in line for absolutely nothing, plus losing five hours on a paycheck is a great way to spend an afternoon. If anyone knows who made that announcement about Black Sabbath only signing 1,000 more autographs, do me a favor and put a foot or two up her ass.
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