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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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TIRnRR # 4, Track By Track: Pop Co-Op, "You Don't Love Me Anymore"

This is part of a series of short pieces discussing each of the 29 tracks on our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4The CD can be ordered at Kool Kat Musik.



3. POP CO-OP: "You Don't Love Me Anymore"

We're told that This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl played some small role in the genesis of the group Pop Co-Op. If true, then Dana & I have a message for all pop fans: You're welcome.

But some specific thanks are also due to Elizabeth Racz, the TIRnRR fan we usually just call "Baby" (because I got tired of mispronouncing her name). Among her many contributions to whatever the hell it is we do each week, Baby's the one who set up our Facebook group TIR'N'RR, which has become an online meeting place for listeners to kibitz and carouse as the show streams live on Sunday nights. Like The Beatles' Liverpool and Batman's Gotham City, the Facebook TIR'N'RR chat group was part of the origin of Pop Co-Op.

And I can't detail it much more beyond that. The chronology gets tangled, the inter-relationships crossed, connected, and re-connected. Pop Co-Op guitarist Joel Tinnel said the other day that I hipped him to the music of The Spongetones; I had no idea we did that, but that's an important thread in getting Joel into a band alongside Spongetones (and now Pop Co-Op) bassist Steve Stoeckel. I presume the chat group is also where Joel (and maybe Steve) met our long-time listener Bruce Gordon, the auteur of the pristine pop of Mr. Encrypto, and now a member of Pop Co-Op as well. And Pop Co-Op drummer Stacy Carson came to us after the fact, introduced to TIRnRR following the release of Pop Co-Op's debut album, Four State Solution (aka, Your Favorite Record of 2017). Full circle. And the circle's tangents include other listeners, like Rich and Kathy Firestone, who (I think) brought Joel and his wife Laura Sessions Tinnel into the TIRnRR fold via their shared love of the music of The Smithereens (and whom I definitely hooked on The Spongetones). Plus Baby. And others. The beat goes on!

Another plank on the path to Pop Co-Op bears our name, even though TIRnRR really had nothing to do with it. Steve Stoeckel is something of a creative dynamo, always playing and concocting...something. A few years back, Steve decided to try to write a new pop song as a collaboration with a bunch of folks on Facebook, putting the lyrics together line by line based on suggestions from these individuals. The result was a lovely confection called "I Could Be Good For You," which Steve then recorded, and we then played an awful lot on the show. We loved the song so much we asked Steve if we could include it on our This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 3 compilation in 2013. He agreed, and even let us bill it as Steve Stoeckel and His This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio All Stars. If it were possible for Dana and I to feel humbled, that woulda done the trick right there.

The ad hoc All Stars recorded a few more tracks, including "You Don't Love Me Anymore," which-- like "I Could Be Good For You"--was written by Steve's co-writin' committee (Brenda Trent Dillon, Loyd Dillon, Laura Sessions Tinnel, Joel Tinnel, Elizabeth Racz, Kathy Jackson Firestone, and that Steve Stoeckel). Pop Co-Op didn't necessarily come directly out of the All Stars, but the combo did emerge out of that same infectious sense of community, camaraderie, and collaboration. Joel, Steve, Bruce, and Stacy have never all been in the same room at the same time. Their album title Four State Solution refers to the disparate stomping grounds of the group's membership, with each player crafting his individual part in his own home town, the parts uniting via the modern technological miracle of MAGIC to form a cohesive whole. If Dana and I had any part whatsoever in inspiring that, then dammit, I think we are humbled after all.

When Four State Solution came out in early 2017, and Dana and I were starting the quiet work of assembling the then-secret This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4, I contacted Steve to see if we could use the All Stars' still-unreleased "You Don't Love Me Anymore," and bill it as a Pop Co-Op track. Steve was fine with that, but with one condition: he wanted to turn it into a bona fide Pop Co-Op track, so he called in the lads, across four states, to make it so.

The resulting final Pop Co-Op version of "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is an exquisite lament, a shimmering application of broken heart to shiny sleeve. We didn't write it. We didn't play on it. We had nothing to do with its creation. But we're happy to play it on the radio, and we're delighted to claim it as part of TIRnRR's expanding community. Yes. You're welcome, indeed.

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