About Me

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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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

THE EVERLASTING FIRST: Quick Takes For L [music edition]

Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock 'n' roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it's the subsequent visits--the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time--that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.


I first heard The Long Ryders on WBNY-FM in Buffalo in the mid '80s. BNY jumped on the Ryders' "Looking For Lewis And Clark," and I rode right along. When the group did a much-criticized (by dunderheads) commercial for Miller beer, singing "Miller's made the American way!," I put together a Long Ryders wall display at my record store, proclaiming the group's music as Made The American Way! "Looking For Lewis And Clark" came from their State Of Our Union album, which also contained a great song called "Lights Of Downtown." I subsequently snagged their Native Sons album, and fell hard for its closing track, "Run Dusty Run." Ultimately, my favorite Long Ryders song was the awesome "10-5-60," which I didn't discover until PolyGram issued a Long Ryders anthology CD in the '90s.


December 28th, 1998: the very first episode of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. I'd never even heard of Mary Lou Lord, but Dana played "Lights Are Changing" on our debut show, and I was smitten. She played a disastrous Syracuse date in 1999, but we had a chance to meet her and chat for a while. She was a new mom at the time, and my daughter was just shy of four years old, so we spent a bit of time comparing notes; the experience led me to say later on that if someone had told me years ago I'd spend an evening in conversation with a major label recording artist, and that we'd spend most of the time talking about our kids...well, I'd have been skeptical of that claim, I guess. Mary Lou Lord is one of the defining artists of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's long and storied history, and I'm grateful we had that chance to connect. Oh, and her version of Nick Saloman's "Aim Low" is The Greatest Record Ever Made.


I originally intended to cover Lyres as a main feature in The Everlasting First, but then I realized I didn't really have all that much to say about them. As with The Long Ryders, my first taste of Lyres music came via WBNY. "I Really Want You Right Now" was my first Lyres track, followed in short order by "Don't Give It Up Now" and "Help You, Ann," all on BNY. Well, I was convinced! I picked up Lyres' first album, On Fyre, and saw 'em play a terrific show at Buffalo's Tralfamadore Cafe. On Fyre remains one of my favorite albums of the '80s, and it's been a staple on TIRnRR, although in recent years the song "You Won't Be Sad Anymore" (from the second album, Lyres Lyres) has become my go-to Lyres track. Oh! And "Here's A Heart" with Stiv Bators, from the third album, A Promise Is A Promise. Plus Lyres' transcendent cover of The Scavengers' obscure garage gem "But If You're Happy." And...and...and...!


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Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here.