[Left to right: Frank Shepard ’96, Sarah Teasley ’95, Lily Prillinger ’97]
Back in the 90’s, I arrived at Princeton with a fistful of dubious ambitions. I actively brooded.
While svelte coeds were friskily tossing lacrosse sticks and sporting diamond stud earrings, I lumbered around campus draped in a long coat and self-loathing. While the Prep-zillas were having ragingly banal keg parties and blasting bland yet thoroughly emetic sonic sludge like ‘Dave Matthews’ and ‘The Spin Doctors’ — I listened valiantly (and alone) to a gargantuan beast of a Walkman which furiously chewed up my ‘exotically-acquired’ yet terminally fragile mixed tapes. It was a lonely existence.
One day while skulking around campus, I met this cool-blooded, long-haired guy who was wearing an “Eraserhead” t-shirt. His name was Frank and he was the Clyde to my self-styled Bonnie. I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually follow the proverbial flannel-cloaked Pied Piper, down into to the subterranean universe of WPRB.
I still remember the warm fustiness of the basement air — a strange blend of dustiness and dampness which emanated from the ubiquitous and crumbling orange acoustical foam. I remember the heavy walls of dense vinyl, each album meticulously reviewed by ardent loyalists who penned their critiques. At WPRB I was a fairly inept deejay: neither particularly erudite nor technically proficient. My style was fast and loose and my artistic sensibilities hovered between “scattered” and “shattered.” I remember playing long, apoplectic interspersions of Edgar Allen Poe and David Allen Coe, which likely yielded no sonic value other than pure irritation of my long-suffering friend, Frank.
And then of course, there were the many serious discoveries — songs and albums which become the sonic armature for my own thought process, shaping the way I though about life and art. When I was a hack deejay at WPRB, I was probably more entrenched in the rhapsodic cacophony of young adulthood than than the finer nuances of music…but even so, how very sweet…LONG LIVE WPRB!
-Lily Prillinger ’97