May 11, 2006

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part XXVII

Life had settled into a modestly pleasant routine.

I was happily living in a basement in a nice little bungalow in South Minneapolis, with a total of five women, three of whom I'd gone to college with.

Life had improved a lot when I got my first raise; I'd been promoted sometime in late March or early April from "Intern" to "Associate Producer" of the Don Vogel Show. The title came with money - I was up to $4.25 an hour!

Laughable? Sure. But I was paying $135 for rent, my car was paid for (and insurance was fairly cheap for me), the commute bill had dropped down to $80 a month, and I made the occasional extra buck or two producing hockey games; I actually lived relatively large.

But not as large as I thought I could. From my introduction the previous fall, I'd learned that I kind of liked talk radio. And I'd heard stories - almost rumors - of political conservatives doing talk shows in other cities. I looked around - Morning guy Mike Edwards was center to slightly left (not that he ever had an opinion), Geoff Charles was a libertine, syndies Owen Spann and Michael "Not the singer, not the beer expert" Jackson both swerved left, Joe Soucheray was a Randy Kelly-style DFLer in those days, Pat Reusse was a seething commie, and while Don Vogel didn't care much for politics, he trended toward the left and didn't like Ronald Reagan at all.

I knew what the "Fairness Doctrine" was all about. I saw an opportunity.

I went to talk with the boss, general manager Scott Meier. "This station could use a conservative host".

Meier looked at me - wild-haired, looking for all the world like James Honeyman-Scott (heroin addiction and all) - and said "I'll think about it".

I went into the production meeting afterwards, and told Vogel. "Cool! Our own fire-breathing gun nut!"

"Meier doesn't sound too thrilled".

"Well, I'll talk with him..."

I left it at that.

The other part of my routine; I'd built a "recording studio". I had a Fostex X-15 four-track cassette player, my guitars (the '60 Fender Jazzmaster, an Ibanez SG with Seymour Duncan "Jeff Beck" pickups that played better than any Gibson SG I've ever played), my acoustic, a bass, and a Crumar T-1 organ that I'd picked up at one of Knut Koupee's "Sunglasses Sales" (trade in a pair of sunglasses for an awesome deal on gear - the organ cost $50) which when miked properly and with a certain suspension of disbelief did a better-than-fair Hammond B3 impression. and a $100 drum machine.

I rigged the whole mess up in a corner of my basement hovel, and started learning how to do demo tapes on my own - from 7PM until 10PM every night (when the housemates insisted I turn the guitars down) I laid down tracks, and from 10 to 2-ish in the morning I tried bouncing and mixing and editing tracks to make my little four tracks sound bigger.

And I started writing music. Oh, in high school and college, I'd fantasized about being a rock star, and written a couple of puerile ditties. But for the first time in my life, I started writing music - writing anything, really - with a certain amount of drive and discipline.

Life was getting fairly good.

Posted by Mitch at May 11, 2006 05:41 AM | TrackBack

Your Ibanez is still the best playing electric guitar I've ever plunked on!

Posted by: finger at May 12, 2006 09:42 PM
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