I grew up fanatically listening to radio in the 1970s and 80s, because if you were a budding music obsessive, that’s what you did. Those of us who’d get particularly attached to a station lived in fear of the “format change”, in which a station you listened to (say, KSAN) surreptitiously ripped-and-replaced their programming overnight, and what was once a strange, moderately free-form rock station became a dopey country station (or easy listening, news/talk, smooth jazz etc.).
So it’s certainly easy to explain why I’ve resisted expanding the remit of my Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio podcast over the last ten years and have mostly kept the 195 episodes strictly focused on “sub-underground rock and roll roll from the last six decades”. Having thematic unity and a sense of continuity from song to song has made the show relatively fun to program and well within whatever made-up boundaries I’ve used to define the show: rock-based, sub-underground, generally lowered fidelity, slapdash, punk-influenced; whatever.
When I’ve wanted to stray off the reservation, I’ve done things like spin off an all-dub podcast (Hemorrhage in Dub); an all-jazz podcast (Jazz Libertines); and an everything-except-rock-music podcast (Adult Listening). There was a folk/country podcast called No Lonesome Tune. I even did an all-78rpm show called Otherworldy and Gone for a bit, and a brief pre-WWII blues show called High Water Everywhere. There was another one called Final Sounds out there for a while, too.
Not everyone likes nor can handle a cacophonous mix of genres, and yet there’s a certain nostalgia many of us share – even if we weren’t around to experience it – for late 60s/early 70s US & UK free-form rock radio stations, the ones who’d mix Captain Beefheart with free jazz with Firesign Theater with the Stones with the Seeds, and so on. Or for those college radio stations like my beloved KFJC forever pushing boundaries and blurring lines. Or for the strange pirate radio stations that still crop up around the world and which I enjoy streaming on my computer from time to time.
And let it be said: after 195 episodes of a purely rock-focused Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio, it’s felt like diminishing returns when I’ve religiously stuck to my made-up format as referenced above. In 195 hours of faux radio, I’ve probably played every genius song I’d ever want to, and it’s only new releases and new discoveries that keep the show motoring into uncovered ground. Meanwhile, I’ve resisted shoehorning other musics into the show for fear of poisoning the well and possibly alienating the listener(s), despite personally being kinda musically omnivorous and perpetually discovering exciting new reissues, archival stuff and genres I’m just getting comfortable with for the first time, such as abstract 60s pop, cumbia, freak folk, Arabic music of the 70s and a ton more. This is why I’ve done those spin-off podcasts, and why even that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me going forward.
I’m heartened by how well a sort of eclectic, free-flowing programming has been pulled off by shows such as Tucson-based David Mittleman’s Observations of Deviance and Greatest Music of Man & Womankind on KZAX out of Bellingham, WA. Jordan Burgis’ now-defunct Encyclopedia Esoterica has been a big listen of mine over the years, as has Domenic Gagliano’s Searching for a Thread on WRFI in Ithaca, NY (and of course, most of these shows are on Mixcloud, which is what makes them so easy to discover and/or subscribe to).
So the Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio format change is an attempt to steal from those fellas, and to beautifully and harmoniously bring together all the crap I listen to at home and want the rest of the world to enjoy as much as I do. My “curation”, such as it is, will still be with a goal of only playing the good stuff, whether it’s from 1922 or 2022. I’ll keep mixing in sub-underground rocknroll. I haven’t decided yet if I want to totally go hog-wild and jumble up genres within a given set, or if each set should more or less be within a particular genre or complementary genres. At the end of the day, it’s just navel-gazing on my part, but I’m just kind of like that – these shows are often mixtapes for myself, though it’s fucking fantastic that upward of 600-700 people listen to them every time I make one. Thank you.
With genre shackles loosened, it’ll also allow for the show’s length to wander a bit. For years the podcast has been an hour long, give or take a minute or two, and I’m a believer in shorter-is-better for the most part. A 3-hour podcast is too overwhelming, at least for me it is – so I’d like to settle on something comfortably between an hour and two. You can rest assured that you can be free to skip around as you see fit, as I know you will.
The most recent Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio episode – no. 195, the “Crud Crud Special Edition” – points the way forward. It’s a transition show, I guess. If you like the rock-only shows, there are 194 episodes before that one that you can stream and in some cases download at any time. Stay prone & ready for the next episode if you’re interested, and as always, I’m amazed and completely thankful that anyone still listens to this thing. In 2012, when I kicked it off, I thought 20-30 listeners would be a major coup. Perhaps that’s where we’re headed next – we’ll see!