You may have noticed a little set of links to the lower right under the header of "Stuff I Like". Nothing political there, just other things that brighten the world for me.
Well, sadly, Indie 103, a Los Angeles radio station, was plowed under in January in favor of programming in Espanol.
I loved that station, as much as a guy in Central Indiana could. Steve Jones was the main attraction for me. The Sex Pistols guitarist did a very entertaining daily show, where he played things he liked, because he wanted to hear them. He invited guests from his musical background, but also tapped into the Hollywood celebrity network to do interviews that were not the standard.
Jones would often break out his guitar and into song mid-thought. He would whistle a tune. It was decidedly unformatted, and a lot of fun for this college radio lifer. I listened to every podcast, and often listened to the live stream while I worked at my desk. Now it's gone.
I completely relate to what Jones had to say about his future prospects in radio, via the LA Times:
"Wherever I go, I will still do my show the same; I wouldn't change it. I don't think I should, and I hope any of these people that are thinking of hiring me aren't going to try to mold me into something else," Jones said. "I'd be bored out of me brain. I'd last two weeks if they had me reading some nonsense. If you want someone to read a piece of paper, just hire someone else. There's loads of people that do that."Bingo. That's exactly why I never ventured into commercial radio after the college radio days, because after having the freedom to do exactly what I wanted as a creative process, I couldn't take being on a radio assembly line. I can't listen to it, either.
I had a brief exchange on Facebook about self-indulgence and artists, where this quality was issued as a put-down. For my money, the best art is created by the self-indulgent, perhaps narcissistic individuals. I don't think of Jonesy as the latter, but certainly his show was the former, and it was all the better for being a reflection of him rather than being something that pandered to an audience, or tried to generate an audience via calculated moves. When I think of my favorite artists (Dali), authors (Clancy, Quinnell, O'Brien, Dostoyevsky, Rand), bands (Sex Pistols, Gary Numan, Minutemen/Mike Watt), it is the idiosyncrasies and self-indulgences that make them notable, distinct, and worth my time.
Jonesy's Jukebox was spontaneous and riveting, which is about the best compliment I can issue to live radio. Commercial radio has generally choked the daylights out of spontaneity and wonders why it is dying on the music side. Notice that the talk thrives, even if it is doctrinaire, because the hosts have talent enough to be spontaneous.
It's a shame to see Indie 103 and Jonesy's Jukebox go. I'm glad the station was podcasting highlights of JJ, because I still have the MP3s. Sadly, I'll have to delete something special from the "Stuff I Like" list.