Spring Membership Drive: My Morning with a Musical Revolutionary

DJ Kevin Cole with Lenny Kaye and Patti Smith

During KEXP’s drives, energy runs high: phones ring, volunteers chat, parents stop in with their kids to make a donation and grab a cupcake. The week moves at such a breathtaking pace I have to remind myself to slow down every so often. When I’m home, I can take time to do simple things like go for a walk or bake a loaf of bread or listen to a record all the way through.

Yes, there are 171 unread emails in my inbox. Not to mention all of the real-life to-do items I still need to check off my list. But really, I just want to listen to records.

After a series of technical mishaps approaching a comedy of errors (my tuner won’t pick up 90.3FM, the turntable started to spontaneously speed up then sloooow down, the old portable CD player ran out of batteries, and then one of the computer speakers I foraged from my grandma’s garage fizzled out), my record player is finally working and I have music in my office.

Yesterday, I admitted that I bought my first Patti Smith record this last weekend. I’m not unfamiliar with this musical revolutionary — I’ve heard many of her songs (some performed live) and listened to her recount her days living in the Chelsea Hotel with Robert Mapplethorpe, pocketing meat she couldn’t afford to stave off anemia. She’s the real deal, and I know she’s influenced many of the artists that I love. I was definitely looking forward to sitting down and listening to her record all in one sitting.

But here’s the thing. While I love Patti’s powerful voice and feminine energy, listening to her record makes me want to hear PJ Harvey. And then that duet featuring Harvey and Thom Yorke. And then the new Radiohead. Then Atoms for Peace. Oh, then DeVotchKa! (I just read that they share a percussionist.)

So, even though I can make time to listen to a record all the way through, sometimes I’d rather turn on KEXP. Thanks for making a gift this week, so that this incredible musical diversity remains possible.

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