Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Happy 12th Birthday RadioNowhere!


As RadioNowhere turns 12, I wanted to say a few words about the station Bruce Springsteen so lovingly wrote about.  Well, I’m assuming he wrote the song about us since we were broadcasting under the name RadioNowhere 5 years before he penned his song!

RadioNowhere was created because there was music that just wasn’t being played anymore.  Here in the UK, everything is so pigeonholed. If you don’t fit in a scene or they can’t put a label on you, you’re just ignored. I find this tribal attitude fascinating and frustrating in equal measures.  I wanted to hear The Sisters Of Mercy, followed by Les Baxter, followed by Earth, Wind & Fire, followed by Hans Zimmer, followed by Wild Balbina, followed by Waylon Jennings.   What’s wrong with that?  Everything, apparently.  RadioNowhere was, and still is, designed to be ego free, no celeb Disc Jockeys, no pretentiousness – a station to be enjoyed by people who truly love music.  RadioNowhere is not for scenesters, hipsters, bandwagon jumpers, people who need to be told what to listen to – it is designed for people who like to dig a little deeper and find that forgotten gem or hear that band no-one else will play.

The first song I can ever remember singing along to was oddly enough ‘Sing’ by Joe Raposo.  It was featured on my favourite show, Sesame Street, which of course is still my favourite show, so you can imagine my delight when my father brought a copy of it home for me, only this version was by The Carpenters.  I remember playing it (most probably ad nauseam) on my little orange and white General Electric Record Player. My father worked for Columbia Records at the time, so not only did he pass along promos to me from CBS, but promos from all the labels via his friends in the biz and, needless to say, our home was always filled with music.  From Percy Faith to Johnny Cash, from Hugo Montenegro to Bob Dylan, from The Flying Burrito Brothers to The Beatles, from Peter Pan ‘ding!’ turn the page read-a-long books to Carpenters.  I listened to them all.  Each new record was a new adventure, a completely new sound, and thus began a journey for me that continues to this day.  I was an only child in the sense that my brother and sister were much older than me and had at that point already left the nest.  My little GE record player was my surrogate sibling; I spent hours on my own introducing each record as if millions were listening, but of course I was talking to no-one… kind of like I do today in the Vinyl Dungeon!  I’ve always had ‘eclectic’ and ‘eccentric’ tastes in music; things no-one else appreciated or enjoyed. Whether it be heavy, jazzy, orchestral or electronic, I’ve never judged music too harshly as I just love a great melody.  So what’s been popular or fashionable has never really been of any concern to me, only if I liked the music. To this day, when I listen to anything new it’s always the music first, the lyrics are secondary, but that’s just me.  You see I love analyzing the structure of the bass line to a pop song or the 2nd & 3rd trumpet arrangements in an orchestral piece.

  Music played a huge part in my childhood – as I mentioned earlier, my father worked for Columbia Records and in her youth my mother was on the verge of becoming a professional musician before her mother put a stop to it as she said that lifestyle was not befitting a lady.  In those days it just was not the done thing, and moreover you did what your parents said!  I know my mom never got over that and always wondered what may have been.  When I began playing music (believe it or not, I was a classically trained trumpet player once upon a time) I was so grateful to my mom for not living through me but being so supportive, and encouraging me all through school.  I remember the tears in her eyes when I told her the news that I had received a music scholarship to university. I knew she was so genuinely proud that part of her, her son, was able to fulfil what she was so cruelly denied by her mother.

Music, in my opinion is a human right and I’ve always felt that way.  Iggy Pop said at a speech last month that 'music was never a for-profit enterprise' and, you know, I couldn’t agree more.  This is evident in RadioNowhere.org being a not-for-profit station. Of course I support musicians who are grafting a living through music, that’s why we are always asking for donations so that we can meet the costs of royalty payments, and all the other financial responsibilities of staying on the air, and running a non-profit entity.  But, at the same time, I curse those in the music world who squabble over every last penny, as to me they are simply capitalists, not artists or musicians or lovers of music.

Music is so much more than sound, it’s friendship, laughter and love.  It knows no borders as a melody can engage anyone from any land or language. I met my wife through music. Remember mixtapes?  They were a great way to start friendships and open new worlds, and through my launching of RadioNowhere 12 years ago I’ve tried to keep the spirit of the mixtape alive through constantly changing programming and playlists

Music is such a beautiful thing, you can read it from every quarter note to coda.  You can write it from the first half note on a staff, or the chords from the sounds in your head, to the last line of text reviewing the latest release from your favourite band.  You can look at it in the form of a music video or perhaps as the sheet music in front of you. You can feel it as the pounding bass piercing your chest at a live gig, to the physical satisfaction of playing an instrument, to a tear rolling down your cheek from a melody that touches your heart.

I will forever be grateful to my parents for introducing me to the beauty of music, a gift that has lasted my entire life. When I put on a Beach Boys or Statler Brothers record I can see my dad bellowing along behind the wheel, or when l put on Neil Young or Colourbox (yes my mom really loved Colourbox) I can see her shimmying across the living room. The people I miss and love are always with me through music.

So on this our 12th Birthday here at RadioNowhere we would like to extend our immense gratitude to all our presenters past and present and to all those who have believed in us, spread the word about us, DONATED to us in any manner of ways, and, most importantly, sat back and listened to the music we’ve played. Thank you.

Sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
~ Joe Raposo


Maynard said...

Happy 12th birthday to Radio Nowhere and all that sail in her.

Ley Bricknell said...

Chris, this posting has truly come from your heart. I am so grateful to be part of ththe team.
Love Ley


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