a uniquely useful hobby


After a half dozen more Sundays with Dugle, WAIF rewarded us with our own show, late at night on the last Saturday of every month.  And with that, the Six Pistols found themselves in Geek Nirvana.  

Dave D, Bucky, Ron, Bob, and I wrote prolifically.  At the other extreme, Dave S., my best friend, never contributed a single piece of material to the show.  Additionally, he couldn’t act and any voices he did were extremely nasal because of ongoing sinus problems.  (Bob, at least, could fake a British accent, albeit with a Kentucky twang.)  

However, Dave did make a lasting contribution:  he brought sex to the show.

More than any of the Pistols, Dave loved being on live radio.  The comedy, he couldn’t care less about.  But live, he was primal, untethered, a rock star.  

So, if the DJ that was supposed to follow our show at midnight failed to appear – which happened frequently – the Pistols, having exhausted our albums and taped material, would start taking calls from the audience.  (Stunningly, people were actually out there listening.)  And Dave would come alive.  Hey!  Hello!  How are you?  What’s your name?  How old are you?  What are you wearing?  What are you doing up so late?  Wait a minute.  Let me call you, offline.  


Back at home, one of my Dad’s hobbies turned out to be uniquely useful.  As an obsessive 70’s hobbyist, whenever he got into something like photography or HAM radio he’d go and build a working dark room under the basement staircase or an actual 50-foot-high radio tower in the back yard.  As an audiophile, he had accumulated a full set of recording and editing equipment including an actual reel-to-reel tape deck, stacks of tapes for recording jazz off the radio, microphones, a splicing machine and spools of multi-colored leader tape, and even a magnetic bulk tape eraser.  It never occurred to me that these weren’t general items found in an average household.  But with all this equipment conveniently available we started recording and editing bits right there in my living room.  


For our entire junior year, the Pistols continued the monthly show on WAIF.  By senior year we had become, if not honed, then tighter simply by being attached to one another round the clock.  High school became easier.  We’d been written up in the school paper, featured in the WAIF program guide.  Students knew of us.  Liked us.  Some listened regularly to the WAIF show and even invited us to parties.  

But the initial thrill of radio had faded.  The others were now distracted by college admissions and completing their senior years.  The shows continued – but they wrote less and less while I kept cranking it out.  For me, the more we did, the hungrier I got, and a once-a-month show with five other guys wasn’t enough.  

Solo made sense.  But it might not work.  I might bomb.  I might die.  And if I died – well – fine.  I’d go home, go back to radio, get on with my life.  

My expectations were low.



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