As we’ve seen in past Review Revue posts, there were a lot of different ways to stir up a philosophical programming debate in a 1980s college radio station. I’ve now found perhaps the very best way: add a 1970s prog album to the library, preferably one by a band currently enjoying mainstream success.
To be fair, as forward-thinking and downright out there as Genesis’s early work is, by 1989 the band, long abandoned by Peter Gabriel and led by Phil Collins, was much closer to “Sussudio” than “Watcher of the Skies,” or even “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” The first thing to come to mind at the time when hearing the name was probably their sole US hit “Invisible Touch,” which I think we can all agree has no place on the hallowed airwaves of 90.3, whether KEXP or KCMU. Still, though, it seems at least one DJ at KCMU was adamantly against the very idea of adding anything not “new” or “current.” I’m glad we’ve all gotten past such narrow-minded purism.
“Please — it’s 1989 almost! NO NO NO”
“It’s called ‘filling in the library’ Art! This is great, open your ears.”
“Hey, grow up Art! When this LP was released Genesis was a cult band with no airplay. The same position your fave musicians are still in today. Without progressive bands there would never be the current scene. Everything is connected.”
“And I own a copy of it. I used to get stoned to this. Eat me.”
“This is creative, fun, + plain good. LISTEN!”
“Excuse me, but when I was a wee lad of 16 I bought this record, along with a lot of Yes + Moody Blues records too. Why don’t we get all those too. [someone else inserted “No $?”] My ears are open. This is old, Chris, old. A three hour show should cover what’s new, what’s current, not troll around in the deep, dark ’70s. Oh – but I forget – our listeners don’t care about what they hear.”
“Ooooh! Art is soooo coool! Only Art knows how to program. The rest of you are so lame, not cool like Art. I, who am stupid and uncool, actually like some records I bought before 1980. Not like Art. Who is soooo coooool.” [I could be wrong here, but I think I detect a tiny hint of sarcasm?]