Monday, June 23, 2008


George Carlin-A Tribute

George Carlin who was a KCAC and Phoenix favorite early in his post-Ed Sullivan show, comic-in-a-suit career, has died, reportedly of sudden heart failure yesterday in California. He was 71.

George Carlin played to sold out concerts in large part due to KCAC and KDKB program director Bill Compton. Like many of you, I first heard George Carlin's comedy on KCAC (and later on KDKB) on Bill Compton's show. Who knew it would be the last of our stations then that weren't cowed out of having a totally unique radio identity? Thank goodness Phoenix now has Radio Free Phoenix, a gem that honors the KCAC tradition of uninhibited, community based 'real radio' freedom.

Many of us remember Carlin's "hippy dippy weatherman," first from the Valley's beloved, groundbreaking KCAC format (or 'for-not') and soon after when Carlin appeared in the early 1970's at the legendary Buster Bonoff's Celebrity Theatre. At the first George Carlin show I attended, he joked about the revolving stage and thrilled us with unparalled wit. Carlin dared to satirize the absurd power of words, most famously in his biting, uncomfortable and hilarious “Seven Words You Can Never Use on Television.” This American treasure who seemed to revel in making audiences squirm as much as making us laugh, danced himself off the Celebrity stage with an Irish Jig.

Upon learning of Carlin's death a couple of hours ago, I got the same feeling as when decades ago I found out that John Lennon had been brutally murdered. Someone came running into our band practice room to tell us. We insisted that it wasn't true. Sports Announcer Howard Cossell, broadcasting the breaking news of John Lennon's murder with an authentically shocked, somber tone, broke the veil of denial, while we stood in front of the tv, muted, as shock and grief stopped time for a few days.

With the death of George Carlin, who like John Lennon was a visionary friend of our decade, we've again lost a kindred soul, a spokesman of our time. George Carlin is suddenly and inexplicably gone, and many of us will cry our hearts out like we did for John Lennon. But with George Carlin's death, tears seem out of tune with what he was all about. I can picture Carlin shaking his head at millions of fans as we wipe away the tears and imagine him in Heaven, beaming down rational thought laced with humor, something we sometimes seem to be lacking in this decade.

Thanks George! I hope you wound up somewhere besides where the missing socks from the clothes drier go!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Arizona State Press Article...

Dan G. asked that I post these scans of an article about KDKB from the Arizona State Press. I've also uploaded them to the KCAC Lives! photo album (link in the left sidebar). Thanks, Dan!

The text is hard to read on the blog, but here are direct links to the images in the photo album:
Image 1 Image 2 Image 3

House of Mercy

Fresh on the heels of Toad Hall's departure, a Brit landed in our Sonoran Desert, to host mornings on KDKB from 77-78. Anyone remember Barry Everitt?

Barry is now back in London, hosting an Americana, Blues, Roots-Rock Show called House of Mercy.

Radio Free Phoenix will be broadcasting the three hour show beginning at 12 midnight on Saturdays.

Here's last week's playlist for a sampling of House of Mercy:

House of Mercy radio playlist 7th June 2008

in-session Robert Fisher from the Willard Grant Conspiracy

Intro - Into The Red - Tammy Rogers

Joe's Gone Riding - Patricia Vonne
Billy The Kid - Charlie Daniels
These Were The Days - Will Hoge
Wheels Inside The Wheel - Mary Gauthier
Poison - BR
549Forty - John Eddie
It's A Hoot - The Million Stars
The Other Kind - Steve Earle
Country Soul Brother - Jesse Dayton
Countrified Soul - Emerson Drive
Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy - Big & Rich
Nowhere To Sleep - Chatham County Line
Drunkards Lone Child - The Stairwell Sisiters
Robert Fisher in session
Gotta Serve Somebody - Bob Dylan
Shine On - The New Giants'
Wolves (Song Of The Shepherds Dog) - Iron & Wine
City That Care Forgot - Dr. John
Drinking Muddy Water - The Mississippi All Stars
Can't Stand The Weather - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Round Midnight - Conil
Hey! You Going My Way - Jim White
Find A Finger - The Minus Five
Ding Dong - Johnny Dowd
I'm Insane - T. Model Ford
Heart Attack & Vine - Screaming Jay Hawkins
Rolling Stone - Muddy Waters
Muddy Water Blues - Paul Rogers
Paper Bag - The Pack A.D.
How Far Can To Far Go - The Cramps
Lover Street - Heavy Trash
Broken Down Gambler - The Wilders
Leaving Town - The Maybelles
El Paso - The Gourds
Nobody's Sleeping - Anne McCue---------------------------------------------------

If you happen to catch the show, Andy Olson, Radio Free Phoenix Program Director, would love to hear your comments! Or, for more info on House of Mercy, visit

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Blog Buzz, Bart Bull, and Americana Music

All right! That's a little more like it! I'm happy to see new faces joining in and old friends returning. Building a community (online or otherwise) is tough, but maintaining one is even tougher. There's only one way to do it: let's keep talking with each other. If we can maintain some momentum through the summer, maybe we can have another party at the Alwyn House this fall. Keep the buzz going!

I hope you all enjoyed the Channel 8 show. Marty Manning made huge contributions to the program, both on and off-camera. We owe more to this this fine gentleman and his wife Wendy than we can every repay. My old friend Paul Lowes and I also spent many hours meeting with the producers, providing tapes and newspaper clippings and making a case for KCAC/KDKB as an important cultural force in 1970s Phoenix. I think this was reflected in the final cut of the show. It was a wonderful tribute, not just to the personalities involved but also to the freewheeling, anything-goes spirit of those days.

Incidentally, Paul has an amazing story about his first encounter with KCAC. I'm trying to get him to write it up and post it on the blog. If he doesn't, I'll paraphrase the story and post it myself - but he could do it better.

As for the Bart Bull controversy: I remember his brilliant, sometimes scathing writing for New Times, including a two-piece article about the descent of KDKB into corporate programming. If he wants to criticize our efforts or challenge our perceived notions, all the more reason for him to post it and us to read it! He might ask some tough questions; he might rip us to shreds. His comments might hurt or offend. But they would represent the viewpoint of someone who was there, and they would challenge us in ways we might never challenge ourselves or each other.

Besides which... Bart is called out with a "thanks to" in the notes to one of my favorite CDs of the last 20 years, David Halley's "Stray Dog Talk". I don't know what role Bart played in David Halley's career or in the production of that album, but if he played any role at all I'd happily take whatever tongue-lashing Bart might want to give me. (Bloggers, if you've never heard of David Halley, he is possibly the finest singer/songwriter to ever come out of the Austin scene. The CD I mentioned blows away the competition, not by doing anything radically different than the others, but by doing it so much better that they look like rank amateurs.)

Finally, continuing in a more music-based vein: regular readers know that I lean pretty heavily toward the Americana side of the dial - the rock/folk/country hybrid that John Stewart perfected so long ago, and that is still being practiced by folks like Andy Hersey, Dave Alvin, and Buddy Miller. One of the premiere Americana acts of the last several years was the Hacienda Brothers, which featured two superb singer/songwriters in Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzales. I saw them a couple of times at the Rhythm Room here in Phoenix, and they tore the roof off the proverbial dump. Chris Gaffney died of liver cancer earlier this year, but Dave Gonzales will be playing a special memorial show at the Rhythm Room this coming Tuesday, June 10th. Admission is free (let me repeat that: FREE!), but donations to offset the family's medical bills are encouraged. The band's last CD, "Arizona Motel" (recorded in Tucson) will also be available. I'll be there on Tuesday evening, and I hope I see some of you there too.

There's a nice article about the upcoming show in today's Arizona Republic (Sunday 6/8/08, Section E, page 8). The link below may or may not work (sometimes links seem to vanish into cyberspace when I try to include them here), but as an alternative you can do a Google search using the key words "Hacienda Brothers Arizona Republic".

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thoughts on the candidates' economic platforms...

A big philosophical difference exists between Barack Obama and John McCain concerning their approach to our economic difficulties. The Republican (McCain's) approach is to ease the tax burden on corporations and businesses in the assumption that they will be able to grow their businesses, hire more people and stimulate the economy. The Democrat philosophy (Obama's) is to create government programs that benefit the public and employ a lot of people that way. Of course there are more elements in each candidate's platforms, but let's look at this fundamental philosophical contrast.

First, both points of view have some rational validity. It's true that Reagan's 'trickle-down' economics theory seems basically sound, and it's also true that the Democrat concept of government programs will work, as it did so well with FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps. Both also have their flaws. Trickle-down economics works if corporations and businesses put the public interest ahead of profit in their list of priorities. Unfortunately it doesn't seem that this is likely to happen. The problem with the Democrat principle is that it results in "bigger government" (i.e. higher taxes) and more regulation.

When one considers these options one must also reflect on the history of our economic decline. There are, of course, innumerable factors, but a fundamental one that seems to sort of jump out is that corporations have had the opportunity to find a proper, or at least workable, balance between profit-margin and public interest values for decades, and have done rather badly, to say the very least. They might have observed the Native American rule that, when confronted with issues that affect the entire tribe, elders must contemplate the impact of their decisions on the next seven generations. Think about that for a minute. Compare it with our current world paradigm. The corporations had more than enough time to balance their priorities a little more on the side of sustainable viability and resource conservation, and a little less on the side of short-term profit, if they were at all so inclined, but they have far too often chosen the course of voracious greed.

There is always an inherent tension between the concepts of individual freedom and social responsibility. Anarchy would be an ideal lifestyle if everyone would cooperate and behave responsibly and honorably. Free trade would be an ideal business model if corporations were willing to balance their quest for profit with their moral responsibility to serve the long-term public interest. Well, people and businesses just don't always do the right thing - it's a fact. Some of us are monstrously selfish. Therefore, we need guidelines, rules, government, and regulation. For both people and businesses. And the degree to which we need them depends on the degree to which people and businesses exercise their freedom without regard for the consequences of their actions. Lately that's been quite a lot, so it would follow that quite a lot of regulation is

In an ideal world corporations would voluntarily shift their focus from profit-driven endeavors to those that settle for a little less profit for doing something that truly serves the public interest. They'd self-regulate. Creating jobs in the "green" industry and building businesses that produce valuable goods and services at reasonable cost would be a good example. Downsizing business enterprises so they can tailor their products and services to local needs would be another. Sacrificing immediate profit for long-term goodwill and sensible resource management
practices would be another. Unfortunately, we don't live on that planet. Corporations on this planet have had the opportunity to do this for ... forever, for as long as there have been corporations. What on earth... or anywhere else for that matter... could possibly make us think that the Republican policy of allowing businesses and corporations more freedom will result in a shift in the corporate paradigm profound enough to save the economy or our planet? Our recent experiences with a Republican administration and Congress prove unequivocally that relaxing government regulation on corporations, granting them favors and trusting them to "do the right thing," has had disastrous results. Perhaps some day our species might evolve to the point where we don't need strict regulation of commerce, but in view of our clear and present crisis it seems pretty obvious that a significant stiffening of the regulation of businesses must occur, and we must stop entrusting them with our future - they've broken that trust too many times already. Someone said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Obama's proposal, in line with the Democrat platform, is to establish government programs that will create (or encourage the private sector creation of) "green collar" and other jobs that serve the public interest (e.g. health industry, understaffed agencies and departments of the government itself, etc.), and a number of others in related infrastructures. This would not only stimulate the economy, it would move us quite a bit closer to that seventh generation concept. Of course none of us wants "bigger government" intruding into our lives... at least not in the way we're used to experiencing it... but a more benevolent government, one that has our long-term interests and welfare at heart, might be a bit more welcome, don't you think? And as for taxes, well, we get what we pay for. If we want a good government, it's gonna cost us, but the benefits will far outweight that cost. Cheap government is bad government, and look at how much bad government has been costing us! A whole lot more than higher taxes, in the short term, and in the long haul... some of our decisions are costing future generations more than we can possibly calculate. The choice seems clear to me, but I suppose many will continue to work to emasculate the government and empower greedy and powerful national and international corporations. It will no doubt be argued for some time yet, until we find that delicate balance between having enough government but not too much. In the meantime we'd better make a severe course correction or we're headed for the rocks.

Monday, June 02, 2008

New Bloggers Q&A - Welcome to KCAC Lives!

In a few comments by new bloggers I was asked about the blog, so I'm going to attempt to give some history. The archives are the best place to start, but for the short version, here's my shot: First, it's fabulous to see new names commenting on the blog! Tell us about yourselves (if you are not in the witness protection program) (o: Bring up a topic you want to talk about!! Don't be shy! We're truly a community and you don't have to be someone "who was there" in the 1970's KCAC and KDKB days (o: to be part of it. We LOVE hearing from new people and talking about ALL SORTS OF THINGS.

Am I the blog administrator? Well, not exactly, but sort of, by default. How's that for a definitive answer? Seriously, Jimmy Magahern (one of the Valley's long time favorite freelance writers) actually created this blog. Jimmy wrote for New Times for years. You can read some outstanding articles by Jimmy Magahern on intriguing topics (REALLY interesting stuff!) for Phoenix Magazine. He brings a whole new perspective to the magazine. FYI if you want to read some of the best articles written for the New Times over the years, go to their site and archive Jimmy's stuff. No, Jimmy is not paying me to say these things (o: in fact he may be embarrassed that I am saying them but they ARE true.

Somewhere in the KCAC LIVES! archives Jimmy Magahern wrote the story about about how he got involved via Russ Shaw and Marty Manning, original KCAC/KDKB guys. Maybe Jimmy will check in and tell you the story again himself. He can do it much better than I can! The blog was really busy for a long time, lots of stuff happened (go back thru the archives from the beginning if you want a real trip down AZ Mamory Lane!) So it's really a joint effort headed up by Jimmy Magahern. But if he hadn't started this blog it would not exist. There are some amazing (and embarrassing) (o: KCAC circa photos in the archives as well. Check it out.

I got involved when I had a radio show a few years ago. I became aware of the blog because there is a link to Radio Free Phoenix (RFP's a 24/7 commercial free music internet station that honors the KCAC days with its name, format and REAL people doing air shifts!I Gasp!!) I was drawn to it because of the historically fascinating (and entertaining as all get out) stuff written by Jimmy, Marty Manning, Russ Shaw, Ron Wortham, and other veteran radio heads like Radio Free Phoenix creator Andy Olson and RFP and KOOL radio personality Liz Boyle. Jimmy noticed the comments I was writing to their posts and began putting them in as 'articles' such as this one. Then he asked me to be a contributor (see sidebar, there are many of us!)

I really got acquainted with Jimmy when I asked if he'd be interested in contacting Arizona's internationally known rock and roll photographer LISSA WALES to do an article about Promoter Danny Zelisko and drummer Troy Lucketta's huge benefit concert for Lissa called DRUMMER-PALOOZA (October 2005.) Jimmy did a really cool interview with Lissa for a New Times piece about DRUMMER PALOOZA. Lissa was really happy he'd called her and got a big boost out of talking with him. Jimmy emailed to thank me for referring him to Lissa and said he greatly enjoyed talking to her. Jimmy seemed like a really outstanding, authentic human being (o: as well as writer, so when he asked me to be a contributor I was honored to be part of the team.

Sadly Lissa Wales never got to read Jimmy's article, or any of my articles on this and other websites or see the benefit. Lissa knew her sister brought Jimmy's New Times article to her and it was on the table by her hospital bed. She'd undergone a second successful bone marrow transplant and then fate reared its head. Lissa Wale's wonderful, unique spirit kept shining brightly here on terra firma until she died in October 2005 very shortly after the benefit concert. Lissa battled leukemia for 18 months. Lissa's spirit and talent is so well known and cherished by those who knew her, her name STILL appears as a contributing photographer for L.A. based DRUM MAGAZINE (a glossy internationally read drum magazine) and Lissa's famous photos are all over the websites of VERY famous bands. Her specialty was shooting drummers. Check out her photos on own website at and also on the website (or just

Back to the blog: As a native, long involved in AZ arts and entertainment, I have both an artistic and emotional connection to this website, and when Ron Wortham (another KCAC original) and I started contributing like crazy, Ron became the main administrator along with Jimmy. When he decided not to do it anymore he asked me to step into his shoes, which are way too big for me to ever fill. Jimmy, of course, still is the main administrator, but he is up to his eyeballs with his freelance career. So, I do what I can.

Aaack! Edit, edit, I know! Sorry!