Sunday, October 21, 2012

Garage Rock

Up until recently what I knew about  "garage rock" as a music genre was pretty much limited to one song : "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen.  That has all changed for one simple reason - I listen to Bill Audette's "The Night Train Show" which airs on WMPG, Southern Maine Community Radio (90.9 FM/ every Saturday from 1:30 to 3:00pm (Eastern).

Bill describes his show as presenting the history of rock and roll and it does just that.  When you listen to TNTS every Saturday you not only hear some great music, you also get the story behind the songs and learn interesting trivia about the artists who perform them.  Bill's knowledge about rock history is literally encyclopedic and he shares it with his listeners in a way that is totally entertaining, interesting and educational to boot!

I frequently make requests for particular songs by going to  and clicking on the "request line" button - but here's the thing, I usually don't just request any old song that I want to hear, although if I did I'm sure he would play it. Instead, I check the TNTS website to see what theme Bill is featuring each week and try to request a song consistent with his theme, because if Bill is featuring "Doo-Wop" I think it would be rude to request an "acid rock" song.  Sometimes I try to learn a little about the genre before choosing a song by doing a little googling - this had produced requests for some long forgotten or even unknown (to me) songs that I really liked. 

WMPG recently held its Fall Begathon, the semi-annual fund-raising effort the station conducts to solicit donations from its listeners to raise funds to cover operating costs.  I donated as generously as I could and I dedicated enough of my pledge to the TNTS to earn me the privilege of choosing a theme for a whole show.  I'm not sure why "Louie, Louie" was in my head but it started me thinking about "garage rock" as a theme for "my" show, so I typed the phrase into the search box and hit enter - it turns out there's more than enough really good music in the category to fill a 90 minute show so I decided that would be my theme.

I emailed Bill with just the two words: "Garage Rock" and asked him to turn it into a theme and he promised it would be an awesome show - and was it ever!  Bill played musical selections from a variety of garage bands, including some local ones, that covered the whole gamut of the genre - but you know what - he never played "Louie, Louie"!  Now I could have requested it and I'm certain he would have included it in the show, but I didn't want to disturb his creative juices in any way because when it comes to producing an awesome show it's impossible to improve on what he does on his own.  I'm not complaining about the omission because if he had played that song he would have had to omit something else, and I would not have wanted to miss anything he played!

But just to satisfy my own selfish need to hear the Kingsmen, here they are:

After you've listened to the song, go to Garage Rock for Steve and get a 90 minute lesson on Garage Rock from the Professor of the history of rock 'n roll - I promise it will be the most enjoyable class you ever took!

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