Long-time listener (and newly-minted WPRB fill-in DJ!) Donna Bee sends this amazing image, which she says was her entry in a late 70s/early 80s WPRB-sponsored photo contest. We have no idea if this was the winning entry, what the prize was, of if there even was a prize, but wow—great picture, right?
With huge thanks to Listener Larry in Somerville, here’s a WPRB aircheck from 1982, featuring DJ Bill Candee spinning hits of the day by Roxy Music, The Jam, the Waitresses, Dead Kennedys, Buzzcocks, and more.
Unfortunately, due to Draconian copyright rules, we had to cut all of the music out of the recording presented here, but you still get Bill’s sparking DJ personality, as well as a barrage of great WPRB-produced spots for long-gone (but never forgotten) Princeton businesses like The Music Cellar, Titles Unlimited, and Lavake Jewelers.
Here’s a lengthy interview with Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, discussing the band’s then-new debut LP “Vivid”, just as it was on the cusp of blowing the doors off of college radio and exploding into the mainstream. WPRB’s A. Josh Henig quizzes Reid on the band‘s history, the Black Rock Coalition, their early gigs at CBGBs, comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, and upcoming shows at City Gardens and the Knitting Factory.
(With apologies to Cornell University for re-using their tape.)
Digitized by Joan Hsaio on 9/30/2016.
I remember a lot of failures. Failing to cue the right song, failing to turn on the mic, failing to read the weather report. Near-failing grades, too. Every DJ has nightmares of irrevocable failures and total chaos, only to wake up and be thankful that real mistakes are quickly lost in the atmosphere.
There were failed promotion stunts, like the rain of nerf balls dropped by the Raritan Valley Flying School over the live Communiversity broadcast on Nassau Street. The lucky person who returned a certain colored ball to Axel’s booth would have won a weekend to Florida, or something like that. However, the wind carried the balls away from the center of town. I don’t know if anyone claimed the prize.
I remember the WPRB night at City Gardens in conjunction with the Mekons concert. We promoted it heavily, but the small enthusiastic crowd was mostly ‘PRB staff. And there was that paid promotional audience-involvement stunt for the First National Bank (Adam, check that.) For weeks we advertised the first annual Bank Vault Cram-In. The group that fit the most people into the vault would win a new CD player. No one (but a few enterprising ‘PRB staffers who thought we needed a new CD player, myself included) showed up. The bank manager was not very amused.
Everything seemed to break or was broken when I was a DJ. The headphones were always broken, as were the chairs; the turntables in Studio C were rarely working at the same time; cart machines and their remote control buttons were always fickle or feckless. Not to mention this production director’s love affair with the elderly Scully reel-to-reel recorder. I also remember the valiant efforts of the helpless engineers, Charlie and then James and then Steve, to reconstruct the scene of the technological crimes. All i can report to have built were some record shelves; setting off the fire alarms by burning the wood with a very dull radial saw is admitted, too. But why dwell on failures? WPRB also fostered many wonderful memories…
Pictured: WPRB’s trophy wax Naughty by Nature 12″s
With thanks to WPRB History’s newest digital archivist Joan Hsiao, we present two recently digitized drop-ins from the station’s storied era of Thursday night hip-hop shows (The Raw Deal, Vibes & Vapors, Club Krush, etc.)
First up, this drop from Jeru the Damaja from the Vibes & Vapors era.
And then from the Raw Deal, we present Treach from Naughty by Nature.
And finally, just because it’s an easy excuse to post a great song, here’s the late, great Tony D, who was a contributor to all of the above mentioned shows, as well as a WPRB DJ in his own right. “Check the Elevation” is a critical slice of local hip-hop history.
Here’s a very early Fugazi interview which was recorded at WPRB on April 6th of 1989. This recording was made in advance of their gig at the Terrace Club in Princeton, which took place later that same evening.
LISTEN: Fugazi interviewed by WPRB’s Ethan Stein, 4/6/89.
[Right-click to Download]
This interview was recorded squarely between the release of the band’s debut and “Margin Walker” EPs on Dischord Records. (WPRB’s copy of the first is seen above.) All four members of the band join the discussion, and hold forth on matters including their rigorous touring schedule, the genesis of their legendary $5 door price policy, the metamorphosis of the DC music scene, and how they were verbally harassed by some local idiots on their way down to WPRB’s studios.
With Jon Solomon’s 27th annual Holiday marathon on the approach, what better time to take a spin back through WPRB’s glorious Christmas specials of yore? Here’s a recently unearthed aircheck recording of DJ Mark Dickinson’s Mondo Xmas Radio Spectacular from December 15th of 1984. It’s a wild smackdown of sounds ranging from The Fall to Jimi Hendrix to Tuxedomoon to the Sonics…. only we had to cut all of that out for copyright reasons, leaving only the thrilling sounds of mic breaks from more than 30 years ago. Joining Mark are DJs and friends Dana Batali, Nicola Graham, Jared Silverman, Mark Crimmins, “Death” Ray Gonzalez of the Funstigators, and the Shields brothers of notorious Jersey punk band Detention. (“Dead Rock & Rollers, they were out of controllers!”)
You’ll also hear a rehearsal medley of hardcore holiday tunes from the Wild Hairs, courtesy of the Shields brothers. Stay tuned for part two in the coming days!