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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 NewsThe Syracuse New Times, Big Stir magazine, and AHOY Comics.  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, December 6, 2017

Hey, Hey It's THE FLASHCUBES! Bright Lights On TV Tonight

At a 1978 live show by my favorite power pop group The Flashcubes, the band joked on stage about an upcoming TV appearance on American Bandstand, plugging their new single "Christi Girl." Well, although The Flashcubes' AB spot was total fabrication, this is not: tonight, Wednesday December 6th, 2017, the music of The Flashcubes will at long last make its overdue debut on national television, as a snippet of the group's 1978 punk tune "Damaged Beyond Repair" will be heard on a new episode of the ABC-TV sitcom Speechless. The episode is entitled "S-T--Star W--Wars W--Wars," and we recommend you set your DVR now.

I first became aware of a possible Flashcubes connection on Speechless in late October. Nick Zeigler, a lighting technician on the show, is also the drummer for The Forty Nineteens, and former drummer for The Leonards, both of whom have been favorites on our weekly radio show This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. Nick messaged me to say that actor John Ross Bowie (who plays Jimmy DiMeo, the father of the family on Speechless) had made a Flashcubes reference during a recent taping; there was no guarantee the mention would make it into the finished show, but Nick thought even the possibility was worth a heads-up to me, the world's most insistent Flashcubes fan.

I passed the information on to the 'Cubes themselves, none of whom seemed aware of it beforehand; if they were aware, and just keeping mum about it, Lady GaGa should give 'em some kinda Poker Face award. I started watching (and enjoying) the show, which is now in its second season. I'll quote ABC's description of the series: 

"Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver) is the mom who will do anything for her husband Jimmy (John Ross Bowie), and kids Ray (Mason Cook), Dylan (Kyla Kennedy), and JJ (Micah Fowler), her eldest son with cerebral palsy. In Season 2 of this amusing and often unexpected comedy, the family along with JJ's aide, Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough), are reunited after JJ's first-time summer camp adventure. As we move into the new school year, the DiMeos, who have always been on the search to find the right school support for JJ, are faced with a new and unfamiliar reality. The DiMeo kids are going to continue at the same school! This is uncharted territory for the DiMeos but, as always, they will find a fun balance in everything they do while adjusting to the concept of becoming actual members of a community."

That may sound either too dry or too maudlin, but the show executes its premise with skill and charm. Here's the trailer from the first season:

While we still don't know for certain that we'll hear Jimmy DiMeo mention The Flashcubes on TV tonight, we will at least hear The Flashcubes; that official announcement was released over the weekend. Nick conveyed my thanks to John Ross Bowie, and I expressed how much I'm looking forward to the show.

(And Nick's no stranger to this particular thrill himself. A 15-second clip of The Leonards' cover of The Vertebrats' classic "Left In The Dark" was similarly used in an episode of Ugly Betty about a decade ago.)

Yeah, I wish The Flashcubes really had appeared on American Bandstand in 1978, and I wish my alternate-world history of The Flashcubes was fact rather than pure fancy. But this chance to finally hear The Flashcubes on national TV tonight? I'll take it. I'll take it in all its truncated glory. It's a treat. It's a blast! And I'm Speechless.

Speechless airs Wednesdays at 8:30 pm Eastern time on the ABC television network. The Flashcubes' brief audio appearance on Speechless is tonight, December 6th. Check local listings, and BE THERE!

"Damaged Beyond Repair" was written by Paul Armstrong, and recorded by The Flashcubes (Paul Armstrong, Arty Lenin, Gary Frenay, and Tommy Allen). It appears on The Flashcubes' CD A Cellar Full Of Boys, which is still available as a download from CD Baby.  


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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.

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