We have achieved lift-off.
RandoRadio is officially LAUNCHED. The stream is running 24/7, we're readying new shows to upload, and all sorts of delightful treats are in store!
Want to know what it was like at the GaGa Arts Festival this weekend, sending our rocketship of a freeform internet radio station up? It was hot. I mean really hot--and not in the rock 'n' roll, sexy garments sense. I mean good old-fashioned Hudson River Valley heat & humidity. Lethal ozone levels. The kind of hellish blast that one associates with...um...well, how about Hell? As in "it was hotter than the hinges of Hell." It was.
True RandoRadio fact: our beloved station lives in a very groovy (very basic in terms of luxuries like AC and such) arts center north of NYC, on the west bank of the Hudson. We're in loftspace at GaGa, an old factory complex. Think Soho before it gentrified, or Mass MOCA before they restored it. It's cheap 'n' cheerful, and the company is great. Our control room is thoroughly air conditioned. But we needed to keep our office doors open to attract visitors during our launch party. The result? Lordy Lord.
How hot was it?
It was so hot that Ed Croft & Greg Schettino were actually slowed down, just a weeny, tiny bit. Which meant that normal human beings could almost comprehend their energy levels. Ed & Greg are, of course, the 17-year-old stars of Roots 'n' Ruckus, the one-hour live performance/oddball scratchy 78 rpm/rare C&W record show on Rando. Think of that--two young guys, not even old enough to vote, who channel Hank Williams. We've got 'em at Rando, and we're glad, even though it takes three of us oldsters to wrangle them when they come up for a show. File under: herding cats. Really talented cats, that is.
Ed, Greg, and their electric band, The Moonshiners, opened the GaGa Arts Festival with a set of early Dylan, Hank Williams, and some rootsy/reggae-inflected original music. They played outside under the music tent noontime this past Saturday. They were astonishingly, dazzlingly good. We have recorded evidence that they peeled the red paint off the old Haverstraw brick buildings surrounding them. Stay tuned for it on RandoRadio!
Throughout the weekend, we streamed all our shows live, with video at Ustream. Saturday was Glenn Carella with My Midlife Crisis, Kenny Pearson with The Black Coffee Hour (plus a bonus hour of Kenny performing his original songs and some great covers, too), Gus Mason's Lament, and The Father Of Us All, Lou Cannizzaro, with Random Madness. Sunday opened up with Giacomo Servetti's G Train, and steamed down the tracks pulling along Cocktails with Chris (starring moi), Treavor Hastings' Sonic Streamz, and the long-awaited debut of Tom Jones, better known back in the FM heyday as WRNW's Duke of Darkness. Treavor's fixing up the recordings of that rich stew right now. It'll be rerun on our stream very soon.
Visitors dripping sweat drifted through, waving at the DJ's behind the glass window. Temperatures in our offices hovered around about 90 degrees. It was meat-locker-ish in the control room though, and blessedly so, keeping radio hosts and computers from melting down. Glenn inaugurated the weekend with a fanfare that summed up the whole affair perfectly: The Portsmith Symphonia's utter demoliton of "Also Sprach Zarathustra".
The rest of us, eagerly awaiting our turn at the frosty & refreshing mic, alternately laid our heads on the desks and whimpered, drinking oceans of sugar-free ginger ale (courtesy of Lou), and bothering one another by singing the refrain to "B Double E Double Are You In? Beer Run! Beer Run!" Gus Mason completed the dreaded ear worm effect by playing the cursed thing on his show. He was locked in the control room so we didn't kill him.
But we also managed to meet lots of folks who love the idea of free form radio that includes what we include: Edith Piaf, Robyn Hitchcock, Psychedelic bands no one has ever heard of, Sun Ra, Kenny Young and the Eggplants...the list goes on...If one of those visitors was you, dear reader, welcome, welcome!
I spun all thirteen minutes of The Incredible String Band's "White Bird" on my show, along with my fave track from the Sex, Food, Death & Tarantulas (do I have the order right there?) Robyn Hitchcock CD. My old pal Sheila from Summit School stuck her head in--and then my god kid, Juliet. I'd cut down my RandoRadio T-shirt to a sleeveless Flash-dance sorta thing by then, which might not be quite the look for me, but at least I was cool enough to focus.
The video stream revealed me getting my hair caught in the headphones, getting the gauzy Grateful-Dead-concert-skirt I'd worn caught in the rolling chair, and exposing the side of my midriff to the world at large. I'll tell you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that's entertainment!! The audio stream was pretty darned good, though, if I do say so. And what a cool thing it was to actually be a little nervous on the air because LOTS OF FOLKS WERE WATCHING AND LISTENING.
God, I love this station.
You should have been there.
Most of the Rando DJ's ended up back at my house later that night, drinking the Mojitos we'd been so cruelly deprived of in our effort to be coherent for station visitors that weekend.
Friends, there is great joy in the Randosphere today. Keep listening! Keep listening!