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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 816

Nothing can replace the music of our youth.  It's not that we close our minds and our ears to new stuff when we hit 21--at least that shouldn't be the case--but even a newly-discovered Greatest Record Ever Made can't hope to fully eclipse a pop music fan's devotion to the memory of the essential sounds that made him or her a pop music fan to begin with.  I'm not going to outgrow The Beatles.  I'm not going to outgrow The Ramones, or The Monkees, either.  I'll keep on discovering new sounds, past and present, for as long as I have ears, but I'll also keep on listening to Beatles VI and Rocket To Russia and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.  And don't even get me started on the subject of The Kinks!

And, of course, I'll keep on listening to The Flashcubes.  My favorite band when I was 18, I've spent the past (gulp!) 38 years preaching the Cubic Gospel, and I love 'em just as much now as I did then.  My unrepentant Flashcubes fandom extends through The Flashcubes' family tree, especially to Screen Test and 1.4.5., the two acts the 'Cubes split into in 1980. Collectively, this remains one of the finest bodies of work in all of rockin' pop music.

And on this past Saturday, March 5th, the Flashcubes Faithful had another chance to do it all over again, as Screen Test performed one of its increasingly rare live shows.  

A Screen Test performance is pop magic.  Bassist Gary Frenay, guitarist Arty Lenin, and drummer Tommy Allen have an endless, irresistible supply of nonpareil original songs, bolstered by impeccable taste in covers (Badfinger!  Crystals!  Searchers!  Big Star!  Eric Carmen!  Marshall Crenshaw! Elvis Costello!), and they know how to employ all of the above with maximum buzz 'n' jangle.  There is not a better rockin' pop band out there, anywhere. I know of a crowded bar full of people that would have eagerly testified to that effect last night.  The fourth Flashcube--guitarist Paul Armstrong, of the incomparable 1.4.5.--even joined in for a brief-but-invigmoratin', six-song reunion of The Flashcubes.  My head didn't explode; I was having far too good a time for that.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl is based in its entirety upon that feeling; that feeling that pop music, especially rock 'n' roll music, is timeless.  It renews itself.  It's forever young, evergreen, without shackling itself to mere nostalgia.  It transcends fads.  It's real.  And it's ours.  It's always ours.

This week's TIRnRR continued our sacred mission to keep smacking you upside the head with that notion of the power of pop.  Although the gregarious, hyper character I play on the radio show fools just about everybody, I'm still the shy guy who stumbled into a Flashcubes show in 1978 and watched his life change before his very eyes.  Starting from there, we get to here:  this is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a Sunday night in Syracuse this week.  

God save Screen Test!

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl streams live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at Westcott Radio

Support TIRnRR's near-future FM radio home:  Spark Syracuse

And visit the shy guy's blog:  Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do)

TIRnRR # 816:  3/6/16

[* following a track notes a song Screen Test and/or The Flashcubes performed live on March 5th, 2016]

THE RAMONES:  Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? (Rhino, End Of The Century)
SCREEN TEST:  Not Today (unreleased) *
THE BEATLES:  If I Needed Someone (Capitol, "Yesterday" And Today)
BADFINGER:  No Matter What (Apple, No Dice) *
THE SEARCHERS:  Hearts In Her Eyes (Raven, The Sire Sessions 1979-80) *
ERIC CARMEN:  Hey Deanie (Sony, The Essential Eric Carmen) *
MICHAEL CARPENTER:  Since I Found You (Not Lame, Hopefulness)
SAMMY AMBROSE:  This Diamond Ring (Ace, VA:  You Heard It Here First!) *
THE ROLLING STONES:  (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Virgin, Forty Licks)
THE SMITHEREENS:  Sorry (Entertainment One, Smithereens 2011)
THE KINKS:  You Really Got Me (Essential, Kinks)
THE FLASHCUBES:  Wait Till Next Week (Northside, Bright Lights) *
DAVID BOWIE:  Hang On To Yourself (Virgin, Bowie At The Beeb)
PEZBAND:  Waiting In Line (Frodis, Women & Politics)
GRIN:  White Lies (Sony, The Very Best Of Grin)
MARSHALL CRENSHAW:  You're My Favorite Waste Of Time (Rhino, This Is Easy) *
THE BEAT:  Walking Out On Love (Wagon Wheel, The Beat)
SCREEN TEST:  Notes From Trevor (unreleased) *
THE TEXTONES:  Vacation (Chiswick, single)
ARTY LENIN:  Mr. Acarius (Stout, A Life Of Ease) *
SHOES:  Tomorrow Night (Bomp!, VA:  The Roots Of Powerpop)
THE FLASHCUBES:  Do Anything You Wanna Do (Northside, Brilliant) *
THE MUFFS:  Rock And Roll Girl (Sympathy For The Record Industry, Hamburger)
SCREEN TEST:  Nothing Really Matters When You're Young (Air Mail, Inspired Humans Making Noise) *
THE JAGS:  Back Of My Hand (Spectrum, The Best Of The Jags)
THE FLASHCUBES:  Boogie City (Northside, single) *
BRAM TCHAIKOVSKY:  Girl Of My Dreams (Hip-O Select, Strange Man Changed Man)
SCREEN TEST:  She's Sure The Girl I Love/Someday, Someway [live] (unreleased) *
DAVID BOWIE:  Queen Bitch (Virgin, Bowie At The Beeb)
GARY FRENAY:  Dancin' At The U.N. (Tangible, Jigsaw People) *
JIGSAW:  Sky High (Renaissance, Anthology)
EYTAN MIRSKY:  Funny Money (n/a, Funny Money)
TELEVISION:  See No Evil (Elektra, Marquee Moon)
THE FLASHCUBES:  I Need Glue (Air Mail, A Cellarful Of Boys) *
THE DIODES:  Tired Of Waking Up Tired (Sony, Tired Of Waking Up Tired)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND:  Pale Blue Eyes (Polydor, Peel Slowly And See) *
TEN YEARS AFTER:  I'd Love To Change The World (Chrysalis, A Space In Time)
1.4.5.:  She Couldn't Say No (Northside, 3 Chords & A Cloud Of Dust)
ALTERNATIVE TV:  Action Time Vision (Cherry Red, The Image Has Cracked)
THE MONKEES:  (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone (Rhino, More Of The Monkees)
LIZ PHAIR WITH MATERIAL ISSUE:  The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana) (MCA, VA:  Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits)
THE RAMONES:  Rock 'n' Roll High School (Rhino, Road To Ruin)
THE FLASHCUBES:  Hey Miss Betty (Northside, single) *
SUGAR:  Believe What You're Saying (Rykodisc, single)
SCREEN TEST:  Anytime (Air Mail, Inspired Humans Making Noise) *
ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS:  (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding? (Rykodisc, Armed Forces) *
ARTY LENIN:  Destiny's Plaything (Stout, A Life Of Ease) *
THE 101'ERS:  Keys To Your Heart (VA:  The Chiswick Story)
SCREEN TEST:  Sound Of The Radio (JAM, VA:  This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Vol. 2) *
BIG STAR:  September Gurls (Big Beat, VA:  Thank You, Friends) *
THE FLASHCUBES:  Christi Girl (Northside, Bright Lights) *
CHRIS BELL;  You And Your Sister (Big Beat, VA:  Thank You, Friends)
AMERICAN BRASS COMPANY:  Tabasco Road (Viva, single)

[Whenever we set out with an agenda, I'm amazed and appalled by the sheer volume of great stuff we couldn't get around to playing before a mere three hours slipped away from us!  There were so many more wonderful Screen Test songs we heard live the other night--"I Get Restless," "What Is Wrong With This Picture,""Nothing To Say To You,""There's No Place Like Work,""Suellen,""End Of The Line,""Make Something Happen"...I can't BELIEVE we didn't play "Make Something Happen!"  Arghh.  I guess there's always next week....)