Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Riopelle interview and feature

So Young
Thanks to a bright invention, Valley favorite Jerry Riopelle is finally on the verge of becoming cool
By Jimmy Magahern

Published by Phoenix New Times, Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's rare to find anybody over 20 inside the noisy arcade castle at Mesa's Golfland during the Saturday morning $8 Video Game Blowout. Never mind anybody over 60.

That's why the gray-haired dude on the Guitar Freaks V machine sticks out like a sore joystick-jamming thumb.

Eyes squinted Clint Eastwood-like, behind rimless bifocals, he studies the frantic anime graphics on the console's screen while striking the pick lever on the simulated guitar controller he's strapped over his untucked burgundy dress shirt. Pressing the red, green and blue buttons that substitute for frets, he keeps pace with a wild Japanese ska tune, hitting enough of the notes at the right time to impress the two 15-year-old boys who've stopped to watch him play.

"Wow!" one of them says, after the screen flashes the word "CLEARED" and the score on the Groove Gauge reflects even a Wailing Bonus. "You passed the stage."

If anyone over at least 35 were in the arcade this morning -- and if they had lived in Phoenix through enough of the '70s -- they might recognize the old dude behind the toy guitar as Jerry Riopelle, the rock star only Phoenix understood.

Largely ignored by the rest of the world, Riopelle was one of the most-played artists on Phoenix rock radio during the '70s and has retained a loyal following of baby boomers here, thanks largely to a series of New Year's Eve concerts at the Celebrity Theatre that have become legendary gatherings of his fans, who rival the Deadheads or Jimmy Buffett's Parrotheads in terms of stubborn devotion.

"He's played and sold out the Celebrity more times than any other performer in the history of the building," says Evening Star promoter Danny Zelisko, who booked Riopelle into his first New Year's Eve headliner there in 1975 and has remained a close friend. "That's pretty phenomenal, when you think of all the artists who've played there."

This New Year's Eve, after a five-year semi-retirement, Riopelle will once again take the stage at the Celebrity for what will mark the 30th anniversary since that first gig -- and possibly, he says, his farewell New Year's show.

But on this Saturday morning in late November, he's not thinking about what he'll play at that era-ending event. Instead, he's hanging at the arcade, testing out the competition for the interactive music-based game being built around the invention he's been quietly working on for the past 11 years: a device that allows anybody to make music by breaking laser beams in the air.

"I want to try out the other music-related games," he says, waving his hands over the sensor pads in DanceManiax 2nd Mix, "so that the next time I have a meeting with Jason and John from Roxor, I'll know what they're talking about."

Among the über game geeks who haunt the Valley's top arcade, just hearing Riopelle mention the names of the head honchos from Roxor Games, the upstart Austin-based company whose arcade and PS2 dance game In the Groove has managed to steal considerable thunder from genre dominator Dance Dance Revolution, elicits bows of respect.

"You've met Jason Asbahr?" says one teen gamer, rolling the name over with the type of awed adoration typically reserved for rock stars.

Not only that, Riopelle says, he's met with guys from Microsoft's Xbox team, a head engineer at Apple, and some folks at Sony in charge of engineering the next PlayStation -- all of whom have expressed interest in utilizing the technology behind his invention.

"Whoa!" say the chorus of gamers.

While most '70s rockers are settling into a kind of Mike Love retirement plan of sporadic casino gigs and bitter royalties lawsuits, Riopelle is onto an unlikely second act as a cutting-edge video game developer and interactive music visionary.

After four decades in the music business, a career he began working studio gigs with the iconic Phil Spector, Jerry Riopelle is finally cool.

"It's weird," he says, stepping outside the arcade for a break from the noise. "You're talking to a guy who, as a recording artist, was always behind the curve on the latest trends. All of a sudden now, it looks like I'm ahead of one.

"I just wish I was younger," he adds, in a quiet voice aged in eons of raspy rock 'n' roll singing. "I don't know if I'll have time to enjoy this money."

(To read more, go to:

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Blog On!!

Hi Jimmy,
Christmas seems like a good time to say a special thanks to you for creating such a cool, thoughtful website. Your "labor of love" sends a lot of good will out into the universe. Being able to share ideas and connect with friends both old and new through your site is what the spirit of peace is all about. Thanks!

Here's to a happy and peaceful 2006!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

No Hope? Try!!

Bush does it again? Surprising? Not so much. Horrifying? Yes.

One of the best kept secrets on the web and a good source for finding out if something from the rumor mill (political or otherwise) is true is this: check out

It's got that perfect blend of entertaining and horrifying info that will make you decide to refill your Prozac!!

Happy holidays!
P.S. Go see "Good Night and Good Luck."

HOMEWORK: Did he REALLY say that?

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!" Perhaps the best thing is to pretend our President did not say The Constitution "is just a god-damned piece of paper. Perhaps the best thing is to just accept that the corruption within our government will continually re-define itself--which will inevitably result in its own self-destruction

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Orwellian Times? Nah! RIOPELLE-ian!!

Anyone who has been in the Valley since the early 1970's knows that Jerry Riopelle is a favorite son. Bill Compton (2005 AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame inductee) did much to promote Riopelle's music. Since then Jerry Riopelle has continued to be a bonafide Arizona legend. His New Year's Eve shows at the Celebrity Theatre were the place to be for many years.

This New Years eve you can join Jerry Riopelle at the Celebrity Theatre for his 30th Anniversary New Years Eve blowout. I can say with authority that you won't find anything more entertaining to do this New Years Eve. Riopelle will perform a long awaited and sure to be spectacular reunion date at the historic Celebrity Theatre, the Valley's only intact original indoor rock venue.

The Celebrity claims a unique place in the Valley's rock and roll history book. In the late 1960's the Arizona State Legislature had collective cardiac arrest about Jim Morrison's performance at the AZ Veterans Memorial Colisuem. After the Door's performance, the alarmed legislators voted to close the AZ Coliseum doors to rock concerts. Thankfully it didn't take long for the new Celebrity Theatre to come to the rescue. The Celebrity gave us our first glimpe of a REAL venue for our music. The acoustics were fantastic. Seats were great. The line of sight couldn't be beat. Concerts were always packed.

In the 1970's the Celebrity, then known as Buster Bonoff's Celebrity Theatre, hosted greats like George Carlin (you can see this one on HBO!) Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Harry Chapin, Genesis, Loggins and Messina, Scherazade, and Loudon Wainwright III. Those are only a fraction of the Celebrity Theatre concerts that kept us groovin' in those days.

The theatre's revolving stage was a source of curiosity back then. Watching each artist react to the revolving stage was sometimes hilarious. Some said they would prefer to perform strolling around the circumfrence themselves than to be slowly orbited around the theatre. Once in awhile it came down to one of two things being stopped: the revolving stage or the show. I vividly remember George Carlin's raised eyebrow accompanied by a momentary look of paranoia as he realized the stage was revolving.

Cruising that circular path around the stage was an event for the audience members as well. Greetings would be hollered out by early bird fans as they spotted their laid back counterparts casually ambling across to their seats. The scene would have made a good R. Crumb cartoon. And though the Celebrity Theatre eventually closed for a few years when Bonoff sold it, it reopened and continued, although for awhile not as the premier venue it once was.

The Celebrity is now in its best incarnation since the theatre's heyday. A great time to come and visit this beloved Valley of the Sun stomping ground will be on Dec 31st for Jerry Riopelle's New Year's Eve concert. In the parlance of the times, it will be a happening, man! Even the AZ Republic newspaper is getting into the spirit by asking readers for their fondest (wild or mild!) memories of a Riopelle New Years Eve show. So, if you can talk about them, email your memories to the newspaper at Your comments might make it into an upcoming article on Riopelle.

In addition to the 30th Anniversary New Years Eve concert there's also some very hip stuff happening with Jerry Riopelle and Radio Free Phoenix. Jerry, Paul, "Sweet" Naomi, and Jeff Hollie (Riopelle's sax player) will be guest dj's on the Valley's own progressive internet radio station Radio Free Phoenix. The show is scheduled to air on Saturday Dec. 17th at 5:00 pm and again on Sunday Dec. 18th at 3:00 pm on 

If you haven't yet heard the incredible stream of non commerical music that comes forth from this "radio with a heart and a conscience" you don't know what you're missing. True to the station's self description, RFP's Cheryl Sweet put an ebay auction together to assist New Orleans street musicians who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The auction, which ends on December 15th, features some rare and funky items.

Auction items include an original KCAC poster, original KZON memorabilia, some 60's era Top 40 KRUX and KRIZ mementos, and souveniers from the Wallace and Ladmo show (Wallace, Ladmo and Gerald were inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2005.) Well known artist Tracy Dove also donated two original works of art which beautifully embody the spirit of a generation.

Leave it to Riopelle to donate one of the coolest items to the Radio Free Phoenix auction: a pair of wild pink Doc Marten shoes that Alice Cooper gave Jerry when he mentioned that he liked Alice's shoes! You can get more details and take a look at all the auction items on the site.
Riopelle's 4 CD anthology set is currently being manufactured. It will be ready in time for fans to snap it up on New Years Eve at his Celebrity Theatre gig. The title of the anthology collection is Jerry Riopelle/The Works 1970-2000. For those of you who can't make it out to the Celebrity Theatre for Jerry's 30th Anniversary New Years Eve show, you should be able to purchase the CD set online and in Phoenix area stores in late January.  

To pick up your tickets to Riopelle's 30th Anniversary New Year's blast, go to or call 602-267-1600
See you there!

Mariah Fleming,
Radio Free Phoenix
AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame 

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hey World! We're Not Just Nostalgia!!

That's right! Imagine, you can see a big story about the moods and music of the 70's and you don't have to make a pledge for a tote bag!! Well it's true! All you've gotta do is get out your glasses and go find the December issue of Phoenix Magazine (I got mine at Walgreens at 2 am! A good story all by itself!) The magazine is a little tardy in giving a nod to the subculture(d) but nonetheless, for them, it's hot off the presses!! And it's a cover story no less.

It's about Bill Compton and almost all things 1970's. In the magazine aisle, just look for a bright yellow cover with a smiley face on the Dec issue. Don't think about the guy in that era who came up with the "Smiley Face" and reportedly never made a dime. Just marvel at the seriously cool pictures that depict the Valley of the Sun in those days. They're accurate. Thank God they didn't find one of me.

For instance there's Bill Thompson no doubt leering at Mary Jo West, the first woman anchor in Phoenix. It was probably taken her second or third night on the air when he asked her to show him her appendix scar. Was the patriarchal news gang at CBS in tune with the times or what??

The 70's story includes much on people who were honored at the first AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony this last April. There's Wallace, Ladmo and Gerald of course. And some very interesting reporting on the KBKD heyday and Bill Compton. Anybody remember Belle Starr? Who knew??

Now's our chance! Let's start our own "We're Not Just Nostalgia!" movement. Read the article, and send lots of letters to the editor at Phoenix Magazine letting 'em know that Radio Free Phoenix thrives and KCAC Lives! Those times are alive and well (and newsworthy too.) Remember campers, we were all about "Just Do It" before it was a tennis shoe logo!! Are you with me?
Radio Free Phoenix

Friday, December 02, 2005





Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving at Alice's Restaurant

Anyone turning on the radio yesterday was likely to hear a bit of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," the 18-minute opus about a famous "Thanksgiving Day massacre" involving illegally dumped garbage, an ensuing arrest and imprisonment and, incidentally, a restaurant in Stockbridge, MA owned by one Alice Brock.
But did anyone go so far as to rent the Arthur Penn-directed, Academy Award nominated 1969 movie of the same name? Me neither.
If you're still looking for something different to watch over this long weekend, though, here's a review off the IMDB site from someone who's actually seen it:

"Seeing this cultural artifact from the late '60s is less like watching a story unfold than stepping into a time machine. The good, bad and tragic aspects of that turbulent era are all represented here, and the past - as observed from our tainted and narcissistic age of SUVs, AIDS and the Internet - seems positively innocent. And, with a few obvious exceptions,idyllic.

"The 1960s may have been a tumultuous era, but those years embodied one crucial concept sorely missing from today's society: youthful idealism. Way back when, before a six-figure salary became the college student's holy grail, when saving the world was more important than earning a law degree, young people were actually passionate - about freedom, about peace, about the long-term prospects for humanity. If that passion has not completely vanished, it has certainly been redirected - and not, in my view, toward a positive or productive end.

"Whether Penn's film works or not as a cinematic adaptation of Guthrie's song, whether it successfully mixes deadpan humor (hippies vs. bureaucratic clods) with tragedy (the dark side of drug use) seems almost irrelevant now. The movie succeeds in capturing a remarkable moment in time, a short period when the future may have been uncertain, but there was still a brilliant ray of sunshine at the end of the tunnel - and a youthful force propelling us toward it."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Daniel's backyard

For those fellow Arizonans already longing for snow, here's a fantastic photo from blog contributor Daniel (vagabondvet) that he says is taken from his back yard in Oregon. Luck-ee!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Lefsetz Letter

It's hard to find people anywhere on the radio who still remember vinyl, the feel of album jackets and the anticipation of getting home to play a new album on the record player, not just sliding the shiny little disk into the car's CD player as soon as you get out of Best Buy.
That's why it was fun to discover Bob Lefsetz's podcast on the Rhino Records site. He's a funny, opinionated guy whose rambling recollections about his favorite albums and artists remind me a little bit of Toad Hall. He manages to push his musical tastes on you in a way you don't mind, and may actually have you coming back the next week for more.
Here's Lefsetz after playing some of his favorite Little Feat tracks: "This is exactly like it was in college. If you came to my house, I would drop the needle on the record - this was in the days of vinyl - and I would make you sit there and listen to these tracks. Little Feat's are not the type of records that you play in the background and people say, 'Oh, this is phenomenal.' You either force people to listen to it, and force them to get into it, or else they find out about it independently, and you run into them and you're soul mates."
The Lefsetz Letter is a podcast I'd be inclined to force someone who misses the kind of radio voices we celebrate on this page to listen to as well.

The Rhino podcasts are available here:
The one on Lefsetz reviewing a recent Eagles concert (Rhinocast 007) is a good place to start.

Friday, November 11, 2005

KCAC/KDKB Memories

Hi Folks:

I was born and raised in Phoenix, left there in '72 and have hardly looked back since. Anyway, the other day the name "William Edward Compton" just popped up in my head and I wondered "whatever happened to that dude?" So I Googled the name, came up with your site and also found out that Bill died tragically in 1977. Sad!

Anyway, your blog has really brought back some memories. It's not really accurate that KCAC/KDKB was the first attempt at free-form radio in the Valley. I remember that KRIZ-AM in 1967, feeling the winds of change, loosened up its playlist considerably. It wasn't exactly "free-form radio" but they did play the Doors, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish and others of that Ilk, even the odd Zappa track! Then in the summer of 1968 KNIX-FM got going and AM radio in Phoenix was done for as far I was concerned! The thing about KNIX was so few people were listening you could really make out on the call-in contests. I remember winning tickets to a Who concert (where I saw Pat McMahon wearing a Nehru jacket-ha!), and I won all kinds of albums and stuff over the station's short lifetime.

I was even at that infamous New Year's Eve 1968 concert at Memorial Stadium that got the station in so much hot water! The Fraternity of Man (mainly known for the tune "Don't Bogart That Joint" on the Easy Rider soundtrack) did a song about a guy who'd just gotten dumped by his girlfriend. The refrain was "FUCK HER!" Then there was the Crazy World of Arthur Brown with their songs making fun of Jesus. I remember seeing a couple of 12-year-old teenyboppers in their "mod" gear wandering around the place with dazed looks on their faces, probably thinking "what am I doing here?" I believe Three Dog Night also played. This was before anyone had heard of them.

Well, after that concert the shit hit the fan. The Arizona Republic and Ev Mecham's throwaway rag the Weekly American made a big stink and Rock 'n Roll was banned from Memorial Stadium for awhile. I believe it was March or April of '69 that the plug was pulled on KNIX without any warning.

Even before KNIX there were a couple of lights in the darkness. There was a guy named Rich Rogers who did a jazz-R&B show (on KXIV?) that all of us hipsters at South Mountain High School listened to in 1968. I had a cool student teacher in my English class who was friends with Rich and brought him down to talk to us.

Then in the Fall of 1969 KCAC (and later KDKB) saved the day! I remember the old place on Camelback Road, then the studio at Tower Plaza and finally the place in an old converted Safeway store in Mesa. I got involved in the antiwar movement (I was friends with Morris Starsky, the college professor who was railroaded out of ASU) and I remember Bill Compton & KDKB were always happy to help out with publicity or whatever. We were always welcome down at the station to talk about whatever we were up to. I never really got to know Bill but he seemed cool & didn't let his fame go to his head.

Remember getting stoned and listening to bands down at the Encanto Park bandshell? The concerts out by Pinnacle Peak? Or for that matter, Wallace and Ladmo? Those were kinder, gentler times.

So long, and thanks for the memories!

John Beadle

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Riopelle's 30th New Year's Eve at the Celebrity

This just in from Mary Passarella at Evening Star:

Evening Star Productions is very proud to announce

30th Anniversary of Rockin’ In The Round

Tickets on-sale Monday, November 14 AT 10AM

Phoenix (November 7, 2005) – On Saturday, December 31, 2005 JERRY RIOPELLE will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his inaugural New Year’s Eve concert at Celebrity Theatre. The show will begin at 9pm with a soon to be announced special guest.

Jerry Riopelle started the New Year’s Eve tradition in Phoenix in 1975, 30 years ago, when he headlined his first New Years show at the Celebrity Theatre. He has played dozens of sold out shows there since then, and remains the biggest ticket seller in the history of the Celebrity Theatre.

“Playing New Years Eve at the Celebrity Theatre is my favorite gig, in my favorite theatre, in the world. It became a grand tradition in my life, starting 30 years ago, and I am thrilled to celebrate this 30th Anniversary and to share it with the incredible Phoenix fans, who have partied with me and the band all these years. It's been a great run and I'm sure it will be a night to remember. Many thanks.” remarked Riopelle when asked about performing on New Year’s Eve 2005.

"Jerry is a great legend in this city. He is known all over the world because of his regular appearances here since the 70's, with his fans branching out around the globe, spreading the word....but he remains Arizona's own. His legend has endured because he always gives such great shows, and is known to be a great guy. You can walk into his show and just get intoxicated with all of the good vibes in the room. That to me, is the definition of a great career and a great life." commented Evening Star Productions’ Danny Zelisko.

Mayor Phil Gordon furthered those sentiments, “Jerry Riopelle's New Year's Eve concerts are legendary. And that's exactly what you expect from a Phoenix legend. In my earlier life, I actually produced an album for Jerry for release on 8-track tapes. Jerry, of course, has gone on to bigger and better things while I have to wear a tie every day and am still sitting on a pile of 8-tracks."

Jerry Riopelle’s performances reflect a genuine honesty while his music offers husky vocals, intimate lyrics with heavy doses of rock, country and rhythm and blues. Songs featuring the trademark Riopelle sound include “Easy Driver,” “So Young,” “Naomi’s Song,” “Blues On My Table” and the instant classic, “Walkin’ On Water” to name just a few. Riopelle’s natural ability to draw from different contemporary styles while utilizing wide-ranging instrumental ideas and rhythmic variations gives the Riopelle sound a very distinct character. Of his music, Riopelle says it’s very “American,” with that he concentrates on writing lyrics in a caring way, with his belief that love is what music is meant to address. Check-out Jerry’s music at

Monday, October 24, 2005

Vampire Bill?

Bill Compton, a vampire? Apparently so - at least in the fiction of Charlaine Harris, proclaimed by Amazon editors as "One of the best-known and best writers of the new American mythology." Harris has authored four novels now (in her Anthony Award-winning Southern Vampire series) that center around the story of psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse who has fallen out with her undead lover, Bill Compton.
Hey, this blog is getting desperate for attention. Come on, you old KCAC/KDKB heads - play our Song of the Week and tell us why (or why not) our hero could be an undead lothario exiled to Peru.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New tricks from old dogs

Maybe Brian Wilson kicked it off last year by completing his long-lost "Smile" album and surpassing everyone's expectations, but lately, it seems all the old guys have been turning out great stuff. The Rolling Stones' new album really rocks, Stevie Wonder has a new single that sounds pretty cool (although I haven't heard the whole album yet), new releases by Neil Young and Eric Clapton rank with some of their best work, and now this new release from Paul McCartney has been getting rave reviews, too. Check out the free preview of his new single in the playbar at left - our current Song of the Week! And feel free to post reviews of other new albums by old artists you think are worth a listen.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Radio Tribute to Lissa Wales

To all Lissa's friends:
The services for Lissa were stunningly, achingly beautiful. For those out of state or out of the country who would still like to be part of this day of tribute to Lissa, on Radio Free Phoenix there is a tribute show playing now from 2pm-6pm mst.
go to (click 'listen now') it's easy to access it. If you would like a copy contact me at the station,

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bill Compton Story

Hi! I just stumbled across your weblog while testing the new Google Blog Search. I googled "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot." Interesting synchronicity. (I published it on <a href="">my blog</a> last week.)
Anyway, I have a Bill Compton story that I can finally tell to somebody who might appreciate it. I only met him once, but I might actually be one of the first people in Phoenix to meet him.
I was working at KALF/KMND in the spring of 1969. KALF was an AM daytimer and KMND was automated beautiful music. (It became KDKB a couple of years later.) My job was to babysit the automation overnight and do the program logs.
KALF hired a new announcer named Ray(?) for midday. He came in one night after midnight with Bill Compton. They had both just arrived from Texas, I believe. Bill came in to record an audition tape for KRUX. He said he was going to get hired at KRUX and then later introduce an album rock program on the station. Well, of course, that's exactly what happened!
He made an impression on me because I have never met anyone before or since who had so much confidence, without being arrogant.
Shortly after that I left for a real on-the-air job in California. I moved back to Arizona permanently in 1979. So I only heard KCAC and the early KDKB a few times while back visiting relatives.

Roland Foster

GO get your free GO E-Mail account with expanded storage of 6 MB!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lissa's Services

Lissa's services will be held this Friday and Saturday:
Friday: Visitation 6-8pm Rosary at 7pm
St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church
6261 N Granite Reef Road
Scottsdale, Arizona
Saturday: Funeral at 11 am at St. Maria Goretti
Procession to follow
Reception at church afterwards
Directions: St. Maria Goretti Church-take 101 North to McDonald, west (left) on McDonald to Granite Reef Rd, intersection of Granite Reef and Rose

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I forgot to say that the song by Buffy Sainte-Marie "God Is Alive, Magic is Afoot" feels to me like it was meant to be on the site this week for Lissa. It's funny that before I read the song on the site last week, for several weeks the song had been playing over and over in my mind. I had not thought of it in years, and it suddenly popped into my head and wouldn't go away. (o: I prefer to believe it was Lissa talking to me through the beautiful song that she no doubt would love very much.
"Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us." Marcel Proust

Lissa Joins the Stars

Thank you for allowing me to post these pieces about Lissa. I am so sorry that she was never able to know about the wonderful article about her "Drummerpalooza" that you did in the New Times. Thank you so much for all of your help and support. She knew you were probably going to write an article and was very happy about it. Words fail me now, so I am copying what I have just posted to her site.

To Lissa's loving mother and her sister, Mary...Lissa told me many times how much she appreciated your courage, devotion and unfailing love. Lissa will always be with us. From deep in my heart,
Mariah Fleming

For you Lissa:
'We know nothing of this going-hence that
does not share with us. We have no grounds
for showing admiration and love or hate
to death, whom a costume mask
of tragic lament crazily disfigures.

Still the world is full of roles we act.
So long as we try anxiously to please,
death acts also, though never to acclaim.

But when you went, a streak of reality
broke in upon this stage through that fissure
where you left: green of real green,
real sunshine, real forest.

So we go on acting. Fearful and reciting
things difficult to learn and speak and
now and then raising gestures, raising song:
but your existence, withdrawan from us
and taken from our play,

will sometimes come over us, like the knowledge
of that reality now settling in,
so that for a while we act our lives,
transported, not thinking of applause.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Drummer photographer Lissa Wales dies
Josh Kelley and Larry Rodgers
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 2, 2005 12:00 AM
Lissa Wales, a Tempe photographer renowned for her photographs of drummers, died Saturday after several months of battling a relapse of acute mylogenous leukemia. She was 48.

Wales, who grew up in the Valley and graduated from Arizona State University, photographed hundreds of percussionists over two decades, including drummers from some of the world's top rock bands.

Last month, several of the music industry's well-known performers played in a benefit concert to raise money to pay for Wales' mounting medical bills, which kept her shooting occasional concerts even as she was undergoing treatment for her disease.

Wales said at the time that she was 'flabbergasted' by the response of those who volunteered to play, including Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steve Ferrone of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, Jimmy DeGrasso of Montrose and Ian Wallace of King Crimson.

Wales' photographs appeared in magazines in the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as in advertisements for drum manufacturers.

Some of her works are displayed at

Her sister, Mary Wales-Long, remembered Lissa on Saturday as 'the best sister in the world (who) fought the good fight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

God Is Alive - Magic Is Afoot

This is most astounding to me. First time I heard it was in Phoenix, AZ when the album first came out. Floored me. Knocked me right on my butt. Beautiful. I have referred to it many times, copied it, had friends look up the lyrics (before there even WAS a Google), recited it as a prayer, sung it as a song and held it as a sacred word from a servant of God. When I was a writer for Rumor Mill News last year, I even posted it - and that is where I found it today, posted by a french mystic/writer Michael St. Clair. I never knew it was NOT written by Buffy-St. Marie. It was written by Leonard Cohen. Michael's post is left intact

Ron Wortham


Posted By: StClair
Date: Monday, 26 September 2005, 10:01 a.m.


Dear Friends:

Mercury the Messenger is now soonest -- as right now at this very moment 10.29 Libra - see PS below -- in the upcoming Red SkyWalker Eclipse Libra 11 degree, and RMN shaman colleague JASMINE reminded me kindly via a noetic "prompt" to post this amazing song lyric -- performed by Buffy St.Marie:

* * *


* * *

God is alive, magic is afoot
God is alive, magic is afoot
God is alive, magic is afoot
God is afoot, magic is alive
Alive is afoot, magic never died
God never sickened
Many poor men lied
Many sick men lied
Magic never weakened
Magic never hid
Magic always ruled
God is afoot, God never died
God was ruler
Though his funeral lengthened
Though his mourners thickened
Magic never fled
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
Though his words were twisted
The naked magic thrived
Though his death was published
Round and round the world
The heart did not believe

Many hurt men wondered
Many struck men bled
Magic never faltered
Magic always lead
Many stones were rolled
But God would not lie down
Many wild men lied
Many fat men listened
Though they offered stones
Magic still was fed
Though they locked their coffers
God was always served
Magic is afoot, God is alive
Alive is afoot

Alive is in command
Many weak men hungered
Many strong men thrived
Though they boast of solitude
God was at their side
Nor the dreamer in his cell
Nor the captain on the hill
Magic is alive
Though his death was pardoned
Round and round the world
The heart would not believe

Though laws were carved in marble
They could not shelter men
Though altars built in parliaments
They could not order men
Police arrested magic and magic went with them
Mmmmm.... for magic loves the hungry
But magic would not tarry
It moves from arm to arm
It would not stay with them
Magic is afoot
It cannot come to harm
It rests in an empty palm
It spawns in an empty mind
But magic is no instrument
Magic is the end
Many men drove magic
But magic stayed behind
Many strong men lied
They only passed through magic
And out the other side
Many weak men lied
They came to God in secret
And though they left Him nourished
They would not tell who healed
Though mountains danced before them
They said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh within my mind
This I mean my mind to serve
Til' service is but magic
Moving through the world
And mind itself is magic
Coursing through the flesh
And flesh itself is magic
Dancing on a clock
And time itself
The magic length of God
© 1966- Leonard Cohen.
Reprinted here with permission from the author.

* * *


We are heading into the most amazing LIBRA 11 RED SELF-EXISTING SKY WALKER Eclipse -- Wakefullness -- in less than seven days on October 3, when we ought to be able to walk through all the dimensional portals and back... and I would like to ask all RMNers to dream positive dreams -- and to use I-Magi-NATION for dreaming into being the great outcomes we desire -- and to manifest them by the time of say October 10th... 10102005 - nine ok. The admonition of Libra 11 over "Red SkyWalker" guided by Universal Water is to DIVINE and to integrate heaven and earth in your own self... and will say more later as OCTOBER 3 2005 = 11 ... approaches by the day...

What we channel and THINK now with Mercury right now as you read this is what will be relevant at 6:28 a.m. EST next Monday, in a week. That is 3:28 a.m PST or 12:28 p.m (noon) Europe. Make a note of this and reserve an hour for what you must get done inside of yourself at that time. Asleep or awake makes no difference, but set the inner mental "alert"-clock for that moment in time!!!

Michel StClaire

Friday, September 16, 2005

Anon and on (Re: NPR or GWB?)

I just read a post from 'Anonymous' in reply to the "NPR or GWB" post. It said I was "whining" about Bush-and that I was assigning Bush "omnipotence" by implying Bush "can summon such devastation through a hurricane killing all of those poor people of color!!" In the very midst of composing my reply, suddenly that post was deleted and another appeared. Wow, talk about omnipotent powers!! Anyway, to quote a wise man, "I know you think you understand what it is I said, but I'm not sure you understand that what it is you think I said, is not what I meant!" (=:

In the deleted post 'Anonymous' asked me: "What are YOU doing to help the planet besides whining?'' Good question! Certainly not enough! But, for one thing...I am signing my posts (o: As Bill Compton, the guru of goodness would say, "Peace!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lissa Brings the Stars Out-Thanks to Troy Lucketta and Dan Zelisko

For anyone who missed the Lissa Wales benefit Saturday night, it was truly a one of a kind event. Jimmy's article about it in the New Times summed up Lissa's spirited energy and loving reputation best. After all, how many people have a concert in their name with dozens of world renowned stars, plus videotaped get-well-we-love-you greetings from no less than Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney?!

Troy Lucketta and Dan Zelisko did a fabulous job putting it together. Lissa told me several weeks ago how thrilling and humbling it was for her to have her friends and colleagues in the music world and otherwise get such an event together on her behalf. As it turned out, Lissa's radiant face was not at her benefit concert but her wonderful spirit was absolutely there.

Lissa is in the hopsital at this time. Recovery from the transplant is a long road, and Lissa is, as always, valiant, determined and amazing. She constantly has astonished her doctors and nurses with her resiliancy. I know Lissa is grateful for all of you who supported this benefit. But more than anything, Lissa needs our positive, healing energy and prayers.

For those who could not attend and still wish to donate to assist with Lissa's ever growing mountain of bills, there is info on how to do so at Evening Star Productions, on Lissa's Caring site, and on the AMEHOF site (Lissa is on the AMEHOF Advisory Board, and the official AMEHOF event photographer.)

On behalf of all Lissa's friends at Radio Free Phoenix,

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Now is Always...

Now, as always is present in our shared past..Tis a treat to check in, on-line in this time and find our ole souls communicating, connecting....Little Willy is smiling, the Toad is totally with us, Hank is in the spirit of this time...Marty, still on the air, caring, commited to our enlightenment...Cool...So many supersouls singing to us out of the near past..Now, Dr. John, Fats , Aaron n Randy sing songs of Naw Orleans, suspended reality, returning and respected as the home of music that moved our generation to boogie woogie oggie...on the Radio... I remember Bill, in tears telling me that he could not play Jimi on his station, KRUX, go to KRIZ, he say, I did an Doug Southerland n Pat McMahon put him on the air an we sold out the ASU Mens Gym, 1968..Remember, anyone, the magic of that evening ?...That night the Beans became the Tubes, the Spyders became Alice Whoever, Condello & Foreman, stayed the same...Such were the times, radio guys noticed and the next became the norm...Da Wolfman howled from XERF, Del Rio, "Who Loves ya Baby ?". Who, indeed...Da Wolf, Little Willey, Who ?
2005, Still jiving, keep livin the scene, dream an awake to reality, world in chaos, America(ns) asking hard questions, soft to no answers coming from the top, down..we wait for relief...
To sleep, too dream..Keep wondering....RWG

Saturday, September 10, 2005

NPR or GWB??

Mariah Fleming said...
Appreciated the thought provoking column by Greg Palast. But I'd like to put his anti NPR comment in perspective.

The Bush administration has pillaged both National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Television.
While there are still many conscious, non corporate journalists working among those myopic Bush people, the reigns of public radio and television are now in the tight fisted grip of right wing cronies of the Bush administration. Sound familiar?

So of course these "freedom in media" hating shills send someone who will appear to be appropriately thrilled to see the POTUS making his appearance 1700 feet above the toxic bowl of gumbo that is now what's left of New Orleans.

Instead of dumping on NPR, maybe the point of Palast's article would be better served by informing his readers about what is happening to public radio and tv in the land of the free and the home of the betrayed.

We need to support public radio and television. The honest, informed people who are still in it are barely holding on to their jobs, hoping against hope to make a damn bit of difference in spite of it all.

Better to confront the idiocy rather than condemn it. Let's hope that's another column...

7:11 AM

Monday, September 05, 2005

Louisiana 1927

Lotta talk about this old Randy Newman song lately (our "Song of the Week" - click the player at left).
Aaron Neville performed it on NBC’s “Concert for Hurricane Relief,” on which Kanye West made his live statement, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” rendering the song’s refrain, “They’re trying to wash us away, they’re trying to wash us away,” suddenly real topical. I don’t know whether or not Neville changed the line, "what the river has done to this poor cracker's land” to “. . . poor farmer’s land,” as the singers did the following Sunday morning on NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion” show, but that part of the song is also drawing interesting parallels between Bush’s and Coolidge’s empty grandstanding on the relief issue.

For anyone who needs a quick history lesson, here's an excerpt from a column by journalist Greg Palast that puts the current headlines in quick perspective:

Friday, September 2, 2005
The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she'd piss on herself: the President of the United States had flown his plane down to 1700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! And there was a photo of our Commander-in-Chief taken looking out the window. He looked very serious and concerned.
That was yesterday. Today he played golf. No kidding.
I'm sure the people of New Orleans would have liked to show their appreciation for the official Presidential photo-strafing, but their surface-to-air missiles were wet.
There is nothing new under the sun. In 1927, a Republican President had his photo taken as the Mississippi rolled over New Orleans. Calvin Coolidge, "a little fat man with a notebook in his hand," promised to rebuild the state. He didn't. Instead, he left to play golf with Ken Lay or the Ken Lay railroad baron equivalent of his day.
As I travel around the USA, I'm just horrified at America's stubborn historical amnesia. Americans, as Sam Cooke said, don't know squat about history. We don't learn the names of a nation's capitol until the 82d Airborne lands there. And it doesn't count if you've watched a Ken Burns documentary on PBS.
I suggest starting with this: read "Huey Long" by the late historian Harry T. Williams. If you want to ease into it, get the Randy Newman album inspired by it (Good Old Boys) with the song, "Louisiana 1927."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It's on! Drummer Superstars concert for Lissa Wales

Organized by Troy Luccketta, drummer for Tesla and a relatively new Valley resident, and powered by Danny Zelisko, who Luccketta says had the Celebrity booked before he even got off the phone with him, an all-star drummer concert to benefit Lissa Wales is on for next Saturday, Septermber 10, at the Celebrity Theater. Tickets are $20 and $30.
This promises to be quite a jam, featuring everyone from Danny Seraphine (of the original Chicago), Denny Seiwell (original member of Paul McCartney’s Wings) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart) to Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and N’SYNC’s secret weapon, Billy Ashbaugh. Long-time Phoenix favorite Jerry Riopelle will do an acoustic set, and plenty of other notables will be on hand, too.
More info will be in the Sept. 8 New Times. In the meantime, go here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


This is an ideal spot to connect with someone who really NEEDS you right now. If you have room to offer, please describe it with your email address so that others can reply to you. AFTER YOU ARE BOOKED, let me know and I will remove your posts and responses. There are at least A MILLION refugees that need to escape the cesspools of New Orleans and the devastation inland.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jess Nicks...One Man Behind the Memories

It's an amazing thing that for three decades, Bill Compton's contributions to music and musicians is a subject of much interest and inspiration. Some of the reasons for the continuation of Bill Compton's legacy are not so publicly known.

Of course, Bill Compton's contributions were officially recognized by the AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame when he was inducted into AMEHOF in April 2005. The emotional response to the tribute came as no surprise.

We have other tributes to Compton: Radio Free Phoenix, which, thanks to the vision and dedication of its creators, is celebrating its first anniversary August 18th. The success of Radio Free Phoenix indicates the strong longing for the renewal of the kind of radio experience Bill Compton created. And Jimmy Magahern's KCAC LIVES BLOG is an ongoing tribute to Compton and to those who were part of KCAC and KDKB's genesis.

People who were not here during the groundbreaking time of KCAC and the original KDKB cannot truly realize the extent of what Arizona lost with the death of Bill Compton and his radio vision. And in the aftermath of Compton's death, one person who had the resources and the desire to help build a tribute to Compton's memory was Jess Nicks. He built the now defunct concert venue Compton Terrace. Sadly, on August 10th, just days after Stevie Nick's benefit appearance here for the AZ Heart Association, Jess Nicks died of a long illness.

Compton Terrace was situated on land adjacent to the old Legend City and was the premier rock concert venue for many years. Fleetwood Mac put on an unforgettable show at Compton Terrace. Compton Terrace was the only venue Fleetwood Mac would play when in the Valley.

Many remember driving to Compton Terrace, past Compton's name in great big letters...the lump in our throats when the venue first opened...and the excitement of so many people who wanted something tangible to represent their love and appreciation for Bill Compton's contributions. Compton Terrace gave us all a wonderful way to celebrate Bill Compton's spirit and love of music. Compton Terrace allowed us to experience still, at least for awhile, what we never imagined could so abruptly cease.

To Jess Nicks we give our heartfelt thanks.

Mariah Fleming
Az Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

RFP forums: radio-active!

If this blog just ain't active enough for frequent visitors, I encourage y'all to head on over to the Radio Free Phoenix forums. What started out small has already grown into a very active community. Check it out, and join in a discussion!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Music Industry Pitches in for Lissa Wales-is Bill watching?

KCAC blog friends;
Anyone who loved KCAC, Bill Compton, and his legacy in Phoenix radio, knows that Bill had extraordinary compassion. He helped people and touched countless lives (witness this web site, and his April Induction into AMEHOF.) We recently passed the anniversary of his death as noted in the beautiful tribute written here by Ron Wortham. Bill's spirit lives on in many ways. As Emerson wrote: "The only worthwhile soul is the active soul." If you would like to honor Bill's memory in a special way, you can help transform the life of his very dear friend Lissa Wales.

To those of you who have asked about donating to a fund for Lissa, I'm happy to pass on the following information from Andy Doerschuk, Editor of DRUM! MAGAZINE and Morgan Rose, Drummer from Sevendust. They are busy marshalling forces to help Lissa's recovery.
Those who know Lissa have been touched by her humanity. But even those that never met her have been touched by her artistry. Take it from us – we've never known anybody who deserves help more than Lissa does right now. We have created the LISSA WALES FUND so that Lissa can concentrate all of her energy on recovery without worrying about paying bills. We invite you to contribute whatever you can at this pivotal moment. Whether you can spare $20 or $20,000, we ask that you respond as quickly as possible. HOW TO GIVE: Make checks payable to: LISSA WALES FUND and send them to DRUM! Magazine, 395 East Taylor St., Suite 215, San Jose, CA 95112 – Attn: Connie Hood. Or wire transfer funds to Wells Fargo Account #7140221818; account name is "Enter Music Publishing Inc. Lissa Wales Fund," ABA routing number 121-000-248.
Andy Doerschuk, Editor; DRUM! Magazine
Morgan Rose, Drummer; Sevendust

P.S. Lissa still needs your thoughts, prayers and positive thoughts. To those of you who have already left a message for Lissa at her "caringbridge(dot)org" site (enter "lissawales") thank you! Lissa reads them all and they help give her enormous courage and strength. After Lissa's second bone marrow transplant in June, she stunned her doctors by doing so well they cut her 10 week post transplant hospital stay. She now continues her year long recovery process. Thanks. Mariah

Sunday, August 07, 2005

By golly, I just KNEW there was sump'n wrong with uncle John.....


Ivor E. Tower, M.D.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume 11, series 3, pages 4-5


This study conclusively demonstrates that unfounded fear of government is a recognizable mental illness, closely related to paranoid schizophrenia. Anti-Government Phobia (AGP) differs from most mental illnesses, however, in that it is highly infectious and has an acute onset. Symptoms include extreme suspiciousness, conspiracy-mongering, delusional thought patterns, staunch "us against them" mentality, withdrawal from reality, and often religious fanaticism.

Having the patient committed to a qualified mental health institution is the best option for family and loved ones. For this reason, all psychiatrists and family physicians should be provided with educational materials which will help them recognize the various symptoms and warning signs accompanying onset. Since comparatively little is known about Anti-Government Phobia at the present time, a government-funded health commission should be set up to oversee, and help focus, future research.

"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you".  - Carl Jung:

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Where are they now?

Betcha you have an older friend that asks; "Can you use that internet thingy to find old friends with?"
Here are a few neat links that might help:
RADIO DJ'S/personnell
NOTE: the criminalcheck database is a listing of sex offenders, nationwide. Might be fun to sign up to be on that one

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Song of the Week

To accompany John Robertson's post below, the Song of the Week (playbar at left, or download by clicking here) features Hank Cookenboo's closing musical tribute to Compton broadcast Wednesday, June 22, 1977 on KDKB, the day after his death. Hank, we miss you now, too.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bill Compton's Legacy

I want to thank Ron for his beautiful tribute to Bill Compton. I remember sitting glued to the radio for many hours, on that day in 1977, with tears in my eyes, as each of the jocks paid their musical tribute to him. What has stuck with me over the years is the final tune on Scott Niccolson's show that night (A Day in the Life).

That he deeply touched countless lives is undeniable. It was his influence and inspiration that landed me behind the mic at KDKB in 1977 at the tail end of the glory days of freeform radio.

We were all dreamers and visionaries in those days. While the emphasis for many of us was on the dreaming, Bill was totally committed to and focused on creating his part of the good, the true and the beautiful. He felt that radio should truly represent its listeners, musically, politically, socially and spiritually, and, as evidenced by KCAC/KDKB, worked tirelessly to make that dream a reality.

In my eyes Bill stood out because he was willing to walk his talk and speak his truth, regardless of the consequences, qualities each of us must demonstrate if we're to create the world we'd like to see. He exemplified that which he spoke and espoused. I can't help but feel the legacy he left for all of us is a challenge, that each of us, in the words of Mahatma Ghandi, "must become the change we want to see in the world and to live that with passion and conviction".

John Robertson

Friday, July 08, 2005

Phoenix Radio

Phoenix Radio


A note on underground radio history in Phoenix:  Does anyone remember KNIX?  I don’t recall (that old hippie memory thing!!) how long it was on the air, but it predated KCAC.  It was already shut down when the “gang from Texas” arrived on the Phoenix scene. 


A couple of names from the air staff that come to mind are Christopher and Rickets.  Stories have it that Rickets had a penchant for dismantling the studio broadcast equipment, particularly in the wee hours of the morning… the stories never did say why??!!!   I got to know Christopher post-KNIX when he was my roommate for a short time.  In addition to bringing to my house a certain fondness for things psychedelic, he also developed a certain fondness for my girlfriend of the day.  Unfortunately, when Christopher moved out, so did my lover… with him!  But… I’m getting off track here.  Back to radio… 


KNIX’s undoing began with its co-sponsorship of a concert featuring, among others, The Fraternity of Man, although, all things behind the scenes considered, I suspect it had begun unraveling some time before the show. Christopher was the MC.  The band (…Fraternity…) asked him if they could do a song called F--- Her.  Christopher’s state at that moment did not include the word “no” in its vocabulary. The song was sung, to the delight of the audience, but not so to the owner of the station at that time, a person known to lean rather heavily in the direction of conservatism.  A line had been crossed, and the station owner held the winning cards.   Sadly, that was the beginning of the end of KNIX, as we had come to know and love it.   Shortly thereafter they went off the air, leaving a creative void that was eventually filled by KCAC and later, KDKB.  To the best of my knowledge (not always something to be trusted), KNIX was Phoenix’s first underground station, and sort of prepared the ground for the good things that were to come. 


John Robertson



Wednesday, July 06, 2005

KCAC July 4th podcast

Just in time (well, two days late) for the 4th of July holiday, here's a repeat podcast of Bill Compton's Fourth of July program from 1970. Peace!

Monday, July 04, 2005

A quick apology, mon ami'

I have deleted the two previous politically-oriented items that I posted. No one complained or asked me to do this but it has occurred to me that I am hogginng the blog and perhaps chasing others off with such distasteful stuff. It is SO tempting to post such things here but - that is what other blogs are for.
Please excuse me. No disrespect intended. I too, shall fade away now, so that others may have a chance to add some goodies here.
Regards, Ron

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

OBITUARY for Bill Compton

Hi all. This is a simple cut/paste from my book, in memory of Bill Compton who died on this day - the Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year, 1977.
Tomorrow belongs to his sister Carole-Compton-Glenn who interestingly, is a Gemini. It's her birthday. I'll use the nickname Bill gave her. Happy Birthday, "Toot".
Across town and for reasons that will never be clear to me, KDKB fired Bill Compton, right after the time I started at KBBC. I felt as though KBBC and Bill might be negotiating. I found out later that they were, indeed. Myself and another former KDKB announcer and mutual friend there Dennis McBroom, would have stepped aside to make room for him, if needed. That was not to be. William Edward Compton III, probably the most influential friend in my adult life, died on the day of the Summer Solstice, June 21st, 1977. "Little Willie Sunshine" was killed in a car wreck, on the longest day of the year.

I couldn't help but think about the time at the Scottsdale house when he had told me that if he had a choice, he would go in a fast car. He and his lady Kathy Radina had tried to dodge a bicyclist in their BMW and wound up head first at the bottom of a 30-foot drop in a dry irrigation canal. Kathy was badly banged up and unconscious for a considerable time.

Dennis and I both played commemorative music for our friend and breaking format, spoke openly of our friendships with Bill on the air. Flatly, the wind was taken out of the sails of our work on KBBC. I knew I would have to leave. I would never sound the same there again. The boss verified my feelings a week later. I interrupted his prepared and awkward "We're going to have to let you go" comments with a wave of my hand. I was unenthusiastic and blunt. `I know', I said.

I was simply stunned. I stayed that way for a couple of weeks. The event had been so unexpected that it removed itself from the concept of being inevitable. My own death is inevitable. So is yours. Bill was a great friend and truly, an icon. Icons are not supposed to die unexpectedly. Without dwelling morosely on Bill's and my own mutual interest in occult sciences, I will mention that I meditated at length at the dining table in my house on South Central. In one session on a flat sheet of paper in a script that was not my own - but from a pen that was held in my right hand, were written the words; "Greater Love". I folded the paper and sent it to The Lady, Jean Compton, Bill's mother.

William Edward Compton III

Monday, June 20, 2005

Song for Lissa

The new Song of the Week is but a spry 19 years old, and technically isn't old enough to have been played on KCAC or the early KDKB. Nevertheless, Mariah Fleming says it's one of Lissa Wales' favorites, and it seems especially appropriate now as we all send out our prayers and good wishes to her.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lissa Wales ("DrumLissa") Web Page

Dear KCAC/KDKB Friends,
Many of you probably know Lissa Wales (pictured above), well known for her gig as a leading photographer for the percussion industry. She is well loved in the music world. Lissa's musical path crossed with Bill Compton's. They were dear friends and she told me that Bill's effect on her life was profound. He had an unselfish and helping heart. And I'm sure Bill would want us to know that Lissa is battling for her life.
Lissa was diagnosed with Leukemia in early 2004 and has undergone extensive chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant. From September 2004 through March 2005 she was cancer free, busy, involved with her photo career nationally and internationally, looking and feeling great!! But routine tests in March '05 showed her cancer had returned and invaded 30% of her bone marrow.
Lissa had already offered to donate her services to shoot the April 17th AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Induction Awards. Positive 'superwoman' that she is, she went ahead and photographed the event even though her blood count was very seriously abnormal. Medically there was no way she should have even been able to walk. But she did it (and did a beautiful job.)
Hospitalization and a more radical form of chemo began days after the April 17th event. Then a June 7th bone marrow biopsy revealed the cancer had now invaded 60% of her bone marrow. Currently Lissa's having more chemo. On June 30th she'll undergo another bone marrow transplant and be hospitalized for ten weeks. After the transplant her doctor said she will not be allowed to work for up to a year. Lissa is counting on our positive, healing thoughts and prayers to help her do so well with the transplant she'll be able to get back to her work (and the friends she misses) much more quickly and leave cancer behind for good!
I told Lissa about a website called Caring Bridge where I wanted to create a web page for her. She said 'go for it!' Lissa's Caring Bridge site is available anytime so you can stay in touch and informed; it's free and easy to use. Lissa's web site is here. There you can read updates about her treatment progress and send your wishes, healing thoughts and prayers.
Lissa wears a brave face and has a great sense of humor but she needs us. Lissa often says she doesn't want to "be a burden to anyone." The Caring Bridge site was created so we can let her know that we're thinking of her, we care and are here for she doesn't have to ask. (o: Her Caring Bridge page will provide a place for the many people here and abroad who love her to learn what's going on in her treatment, to communicate with her and her family, and most of all, to tell her we love her and know she WILL make it through this struggle.
Mariah Fleming
Radio Free Phoenix (

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Déja Vu, anyone?

My brother just rented the movie "Woodstock," and we're watching it again (for the umpteenth time). I'm reminded again what an incredible experience the whole '60s thing was, and the love and hope that motivated us. Max Yazgur's comment from the stage to the half a million people who attended the concert, that they had shown the whole world something new, was right on the mark. I highly recommend re-renting the movie, if you haven't watched it lately... it might bring tears to your eyes, as it did to mine.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

KDIL, anyone?

Anyone remember this station? In a comment posted elsewhere on this blog, Azmtbear writes, "KDIL was a freeform, smart, and very wacky Phoenix pirate in the 1970's, with a rich history. A couple broadcast legends were involved, one of whom is apparently behind the website. Good thing the statute of limitations expired. 8o)."
It's a seriously wacky web site, to say the least, and makes me wonder how much of the "rich history" mentioned on the pages is made up. Does anyone out there remember this station from the 70's?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cowboys on Mars? UFO's / lights in Cave Creek?

----- Original Message -----
From: Carole
To: Ron Wortham
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 8:03 AM
Subject: Re: Recommended
Cool! I haven't heard anything about this - so news media is not covering it as they did the previous "lights". Thank you for sending!
----- Original Message ----- I think you might find this of interest!
Since 1999 especially I have been appalled at the deception of the population and the dumbing-down of the people. INCREDIBLE manged news/programmed ignorance. In my opinion, the lights may be connected either to a sort of spiritual/dimensional entity. BUT they may be a totally geological manifestation of huge stresses within the earth - "St. Elmo's Fire". This has been observed prior to earthquakes, usually within weeks.

_-=Plant Your Seeds=-_ (autobiography) is now online!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Song o the Day...Hey Space Cowboys ...

Hey Jimmy..I jumped up out of my seat and started shaking my booty to this favorite Little Stevie Miller classic that was my earliest inspiration for Cowboys on Mars ?
...Now, does anybody remember The Steve Miller Band opening at Aquarius SW at 28th Street and Thomas in 1969 ? There was a kid working for us that gave Steve a 2500mike tab of purple owlsey before the second show...As I recall it, Steve went on and did about 45 minutes of "Livin in the USA" with some lyrics that we're not on the album. As Wavy Gravy said, "If you remember the sixties, you wasn't there". If anyone does remember that show please share as the fog of time has blurred my memory.
Thanks again, Jimmy for the Blast !
Bob Gately 

What a treat...

What a treat it is to be connected to y'all who have indeed shared the evolution of our common cultural evolution in this Valley. Kudos, to us all.
Kick my ass for the past ,but assure me that we are still on the path to some kind of enlightenment. We all get the Willies when wondering what's next and why we even care. Must be something in the waters of wonder that keep us connected and concerned, or just a matter of Mind.
KC the AC/DC of our past must poist a energetic question that demands an answer. Who are we...where we coming from, whats our next destination ? I am not so presumptious as to assume the total awareness of this important question, I would ask all of our community to contribute to the solution of our universal condition. Come on, speak up, tell us of your concerns, fears, desires for tomorrow...Let me know where your coming from and where it is ya want ta go.,..I will respect your opinion and put it in our Play on Words, as it were.
All of you have participated over the years in our ,Way Up-West , future, writing of this play ,and I wish your Words to be heard. Speak to me now of your vision for the Next World we would like to be presented, on the world stage.
Thanks for the forum to present our ideas...We will look foward to your response.
Bob Gately

Friday, June 03, 2005

New Song of the Day

OK, so maybe this is turning more into a Song of the Week (or month), but there's a new one in the left column in honor of Ron and Bob's recent "Cowboys On Mars" post. If you can guess it before it loads, well, I'm sure you know where it's at . . .

Saturday, May 28, 2005

And it ain't just - there's Cowboys On Mars!

I asked Bob for permission to post this.... Ron
Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2005 2:06 PM
Subject: Have a nice Play...

Hey Howdy, Ron...
Yup, the curtains come down on the web-site hijack caper and  I'm trying to concentrate on making every day a day that moves us closer to actually producing the play , live, on stage, with a kick-ass ensemble of Arizona artists and associates.
I really did appreciate your line about putting yo bucks behind this Mission Possible as I have been bereft of such confidence for some time now. Indeed, Ron, it takes a long time to make the story short. Right ?
An yeah, I do need to connect with BBB an request his dramaturge assistance with this Way Up West Epic script. Thanks for the tip.
At this point we've got Richie Albright and Charlie Gearhart (Goose Creek Symphony) on board as well as all the creative Buckaroos I've shucked n jived over the past 21 years to make this bit of play a Hit. Your encouragement is a fine compliment to everyones efforts.
Slagge T. Pyle, aka Jim Heaton has assumed our Webmaster position and our site will be back on line within days and we will again show our work to the world and wish for its approval. Given your impressive web presence [?]we would pray your future enthusiasm, it Ti's a serendipitous blessing on the whole enterprise.
It is so delightful to be back in touch with all of our yesteryear friends and Pals...Little Willie Compton, Waylon and the Boys will be proud of our accomplishments.
Hope to gather us all for a pow-wow soon. We'll be in touch.
Best regards & thanks, always
Bob Gately
Surround yourself with people of impeccable integrity. Karl Eller 

Friday, May 27, 2005

Song of the Day, and other catching up...

Wow! I'm so pleased to hear a different version of this song (I Bid You Goodnight / A Very Cellular Song)! What a nice job they did, too, thanks for sharing.

I finally had a chance to visit the Arizona Music Hall of Fame, too - what a great collection of contributors to the Arizona music scene, and, truth be known, the whole world of music. I'd just like to express my gratitude to all those who helped foster and promote a deep appreciation for the magic of music.

I also visited the KCDX site, and while I'm unable to get the connection to listen to Radio Free Phoenix, the link on the KCDX site worked just fine, and there's good music playing there! I'm curious where that link came from, and wonder who's behind it? Could it be a familiar name from long ago, or perhaps even one of our own KCAC Lives members? Whoever's doing it, I'm glad we've got a link here. Thanks again.

Blessings to all...


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I bid you goodnight

I likewise grew up in Phoenix listening to the great Bill Compton on KCAC and loved the Incredible String Band's "A Very Cellular Song".  They probably learned the hymn "I Bid You Goodnight" from a Folkways recording by the great Bahamian singer and guitarist Joseph Spence.  Joseph had a very unusual style of singing and playing, not for everyone.  My favorite version of the song appeared last year on a CD by the Dixie Hummingbirds entitled "Diamond Jubilation", one of my favorite releases of the year.  My brother has since informed me that the song comes from the same hymn tradition as "Amazing Grace" and was also was a common show finale by the Grateful Dead.  Perhpas this is more than you ever wanted to know but that song always stuck in my memory as well.
I went on during the late 1970's and 80's to do a free-form program on KJZZ with Reggae and World Beat music and brought Johnny D in to be my partner for the last year.  This probably would never have happened if I had not been inspired by KCAC and the great Bill Compton, Toad Hall, Johnny D, and Marty Manning.  No station will have us any more.  I 'm sure Bill wouldn't be able to find a place on today's commercial radio.  What a sad situation.
Frank Hill

"Parrallelograms" by Linda Perhacs

Mariah Fleming posted a comment earlier saying she's looking for a piece of music called "Parrallelograms" by Linda Perhacs. Although the original record is apparently hard to find [update: e-mail Ron; he's located it], it turns out Perhacs is re-recording her one hit and has even put together a video. What seems like a terrible idea actually sounds . . . not bad. Give it a view/listen here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I know! I know!

I know it! I know that one..!!

But for some reason I cannot think without a joint in my hand, a lighter in my pocket and a warm female body next to me so I am NOT going to tell ya....... nyah, nyah, nyah. Meanwhile some interesting non-musical mechanical counting on the KCAC Lives! blog: Since approximately April 1st the clicker sez we are averaging about 22 hits per day. Some of that is team members checking in, so 20 per day is a good guess for new and returning visitors. We have had 795 "hits" - almost 800 visits that we know of............ Now if there was some way to find all those folks, THAT would be a party!

.....Put your something pada-rum-tum-tum... THERE'S A LITTLE SONG YOU ALL SHOUD SING.
Nope, that ain't it. Hhhhmmmmmmm

Name That Tune

I've got another "name that tune" pop quiz for KCAC/early KDKB hotshots. What was the song Toad Hall closed his shows with? All I recall is the refrain, "I'd rather be havin' fun/Doing just about anything." I believe Andy Olson knows the answer to this one, but anyone who can also offer a link to where to find/buy it gets extra points.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Song of the day

Hmmm, think we may have stumbled on a way to legally share some of the songs we talk about on this blog. This link downloads a low-fi, but full-length, copy of the Incredible String Band 13-minute opus mentioned in Stephen's post below. It comes from a Russian download site,, which legally gets through some RIAA loophole to offer songs at 2 cents per megabyte. But the best thing is, they offer full-length copies of the songs for preview. True, the 24 kbps bit rate ain't exactly CD quality, but for a blast from the past (they offer just about any late 60's/early 70's album you can think of), it ain't bad. Click this built-in Quicktime player to begin loading and playing the song Stephen and Ron talk about below. And let us know if it works - we'll start taking requests!

(Geez, I don't remember that violin being that out of tune!)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Echoes of KCAC

Got an IM from another DJ from KWFM in Tucson, Doug Grant.  Same kind of station, same time warp (1969-1977) and same or similar memories.  Good website.  Maybe it's a movement!
Ron (FreeSpeak117)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Hello Ron: I recall KCAC, with William Edward Compton, prior to KDKB. In those days the AM station would sign off at sundown, and every day they played the same piece of music as they went down for the night. I am trying to find out what that song was. I don't recall the name, or the artist, but it was a lovely slow melody with the repeating refrain "and I bid you good night, good night, good night". Hopefully you know somebody who remembers those days, and can tell me the name and artist of that piece of music. I must have it! Thank you for any help you can be.

Hey Stephen! I am taking the liberty of posting this at the KCAC Lives! blog so it can be shared. This little blog by the way has had something like 600 serious readers this month!

To answer your question; the song you refer to is by The Incredible String Band from `The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' and is part III of "A Very Cellular Song". I can think of no song that was more definitive of the spirit of KCAC than that one. The first time I really HEARD it, I was alone, listening in monaural, baking in a little house in Sunnyslope. The experience wasn't "gee-my hair stood on end" or anything like "oh goodness my skin prickled". For me it was a soul-shaking electrifying experience almost like sticking one's finger in a light socket.

I have to say if you experienced anything like that remotely - and in fact you REMEMBER it, you can can count yourself among The Chosen. THAT is the essence and charisma of KCAC, now in (at least) its third incarnation at

PS... For almost any song you can think of, check out Limewire.

Thank You Ron, for getting back to me so quickly.

My experience of this song was simple and profound. I was tuned in every day prior to sunset, feeling the end of daylight as this song comforted me. The experience had few words. Feeling warm and hopeful, something moved inside me in a deep personal place. I was prepared for the coming night with a sense of gratitude.

I am off now to try and find the piece of music. Thank you again. I look forward to perusing.

NOTES: Stephen connected with the WHOLE album!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Aleta From Starbright Ranch

Join the lovely Aleta, from Starbright Ranch, this weekend on Radio Free Phoenix.
Aleta, a Valley artist, will be sharing her 15 favorite songs this evening at 5pm and again on Sunday at 3pm.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

John Dixon

The KCAC poster (on display in the lobby of the Dodge Theatre during the Hall of Fame Ceremony) sure was a surprise and it's thanks to John Dixon that it was there for all to see. All the fabulous items you saw were courtesy of John Dixon. John is well known and well respected for his knowledge of music. He has a long history with Arizona music, in fact he is THE recognized expert in AZ Music History.
Looking over the posters, LPs, 45s and other memorabilia was a rare treat...a real trip back in time, people loved it, and it was great of him to do that. We're lucky John took the time to bring some of his collection to the Dodge, set up the posters and other collectibles for display, and offer some of his rare and unusual 45's, LPs, CDs and compilations for sale. Arizona is fortunate to have him. He had the foresight and instinct to know what was important to save from the late 60's on. If you want to know about AZ music, or music connected with AZ, John Dixon is the go to guy. For more music info/time lines/detailed rare record info go to
Thanks to John, for bringing some of his collection to the Dodge for everyone to see. It was one of the highlights of the event. Some smart publisher would do well to peg John to write the definitive book on AZ Music History. It's obvious that no one can do a better job than he can.
- Mariah Fleming

Friday, May 06, 2005

New readers: You can post by email!

NOTE: Posting by e-mail has been temporarily disabled in an attempt to eliminate spam.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mariah Fleming To Join RFP

Mariah Fleming, longtime creative force in the Valley and link to Phoenix's early underground rock radio scene, will be featured on Radio Freedom , the guest DJ show on Radio Free Phoenix.
Mariah will play her 15 choice selections Saturday at 5pm, with an encore performance Sunday at 3pm.
Radio Free Phoenix program director Andy Olson has confirmed the addition of Fleming as a permanent member of the Radio Free Phoenix airstaff.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fw: Starbright

FROM A listener:

Just by a Trick of Fate I stumbled onto Radio Free Phoenix and It feels like Home in here. I grew up in Phoenix listening to KRIZ and KRUX and my all time fave KCAC. I can't begin to tell you what a trip it's been for me to hear Real Music again..and the Memories that have come to life.

In 1970-71 I lived at a little Community in Laveen called Starbright Ranch. My Mother, Father, Sister and I lived in one of the small guest houses at the foot of South Mountain. My Mother use to send me with her fresh baked bread to share it with our Good neighbors...Carol, Ron Worthram, Ray Thompson and "Little Willie Sushine".

When I first met Bill Compton I thought he Looked like Jesus...Hey...I was a 13 year old kid and he was the first Real Hippie I'd ever met. I remember walking into his flat and there was this one whole wall filled from floor to ceiling with shelves of Albums. everything you could Imagine...I'd ask him do you have...and the answer was alwas a Big Smile and he'd pull out the Album..just like Magic! Bills place reminded me of the was almost had to of seen it to know what I mean.

It's been a long time...alot of Old Memories have come back in Living Color...And now that I've found RFP..I've got a feeling I'll be Flashin back to some good memories quite often..and I am spreading the word. I know so many people who would be Trippin to the Tunes Boo. Thank you,Soooo much for RFP...Well Done!


Thursday, April 21, 2005

KCAC Lives!

Let Your Ears Thow A Party For Your Head

-slogan on vintage KCAC poster from the Johnny D. collection
on display in the lobby of the Dodge Theatre last Sunday.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hoo Wuz Tuli Kupferberg?

Tuli Kupferberg and their group of cohorts were out making trouble, giving the FBI migranes (the Chicago branch contacted the Washington main office at one point to ask if they should arrest the FAGS for obscenity and un-American activities).

Tuli Kupferberg

Interview by Theresa Stern (June 1997)

PSF: What were you working on before the Fugs?

Well, I was the world's greatest poet before I became the world's oldest rock n'roll star. I wasn't with the Fugs until I was 42 but before that my life was trivial. I went to graduate school for sociology in Brooklyn. I dropped out and became a bohemian, living in Greenwich Village. The rest is mystery and history. It's all one blur now.

I was a free-formist. I never took to the traditional forms. I never bothered to learn them. It's OK to learn the old forms though and study what you've inherited in any art. I valued spontaneity a lot and being young, you're always afraid that you're going to be overwhelmed by the masters so you try to avoid it.

Fw: Az Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame

Forwarding from Carole (Compton) Glenn.  Great review.
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2005 8:56 AM
Subject: Fw: Az Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame

I sent this to the people that I thought might enjoy it and somehow missed your email address:
Subject: Az Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame

Hi, All,
For those of you unable to attend the AMEHF Ceremony, I thought that I would write my impressions for you. Hans did a masterful job of putting this together.  The entire program was done by volunteers.  Hans was there to greet people as they came and was back stage making sure everything ran smoothly.
The Master of Ceremonies for the first portion of the program was Marshall Trimble.  Marshall is the Official AZ State Historian, teaches history at Scottsdale Community College, poses nude with BBB and writes for TW.  The inductees were from eclectic backgrounds - as were the presenters.
There was a brief slide show for each inductee.
Dwight "Red" Harkins was the first recipient.  In the early 30's, at the age of 18, Red opened his first of a chain of movie theaters in AZ.  He also helped to revolutionize FM radio.
Mike Condello was a musician and music director for the long-running popular children's TV show Wallace & Ladmo.
The founder (Mike Lacey) of newspaper, New Times was next.  His award was presented by Renz Jennings.  Mike was ill and did not attend.  Renz looks great and told Marty that he is farming in south Phoenix, since leaving the Corp Commission.
Dancer/choreographer, Dee Dee Wood was next.  She choreographed movies like Mary Poppins and worked with Dick Van Dyke when he filmed his TV show from Carefree. Dee Dee has won many awards. 
Native American musician, R. Carlos Nakai performed a flute piece that was wonderful.  He has earned two Gold Records and been nominated for six Grammy's.
Wallace & Ladmo were inducted for their children's TV show.  Bill Thompson (Wallace) appeared on stage with 2 of the coveted "Ladmo Bags" - which were given to two people in the audience.  Had he made it to the correct row and seat for the second one, Bill or Emily would have received it! 
World renouned musician, Lalo Guerrero was inducted.  Lalo passed away one month ago.  His son, Mark, and his son's band played two of Lalo's pieces of music.  Lalo recorded and wrote varied types of music - he's been honored by the Smithsonian and many other foundations.
Recording artist, Floyd Ramsey and recording engineer, Jack Miller were inducted.
Jazz pianist, Charles Lewis, was inducted and performed.
Radio & TV personality and member of the Wallace & Ladmo show, Pat McMahon was inducted.
Lew King of the "Lew King Ranger Show" was inducted - award presented by Gary Peter Klahr (remember him?!). 
Artist, Fritz Scholder, was inducted. 
Award winning writer, Jana Bommersbach, was inducted next.  Jana writes for TW and has won too many awards to list.
R & B group, Dyke & the Blazers, performed and were inducted - introduced by Johnny D.
Marshall presented the AMEHOF award to Marty Robbins.  Rollie Stevens and a wonderful C&W band performed one of Marty's songs.
Bill's award was presented by his friend, Marty Manning. It was a lovely presentation - Bill would have been honored.
Concert promoter, Dan Zelisko, received his award from Alice Cooper.
We left at entermission and there with performances and awards still to be presented - Jessi Colter, Waylon Jennings, and Glen Campbell.  This was to be followed by a jam session and then people were to go to Cooper's Town.
As you can see from those being inducted - this was very entertaining.  Because Marshall grew up in AZ and knew many of these performers, he was a great mc and had touching and funny stories.  The presenters had great insights about those they were presenting to and those receiving the awards had some great stories. Dan Zelisko told about his first sold out show in the coliseum - Bob Seger - being cancelled the day of the show at 5 PM - and other, now humorous, wins and losses.
Photographer, Lissa Wales, was there taking photos.  Some of you will remember her from the "Radio Reunions".  Lissa is battling leukemia and hoping to find a bone marrow match.  She looks and feels great and is beginning chemo for the second time today.
There were some new and some familiar faces there - Julia Flannigan, Wonderful Russ, Lee Powell, Johnny D, Bob Gately, Andy Olson (Radio Free Phoenix), Jeff Parrets (sp), Dwight Tindle, and Dan Duffy (there with Jessi). 
It was fun and I know Bill would have enjoyed it all!

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