Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RIP, Jonesy's Jukebox & Indie 103

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.


varangianguard said...

I suppose that bloggers, in general, might fall under the "narciscist" banner, whether they run a blog or just post on some. ;)

There are plenty of (non-paying) opportunities out there to free form DJ via live streaming. Can't promise an audience, though.

Salvador Dali is your favorite artist? That's an insight, and one that I wouldn't have guessed, either. My sister-in-law's significant other had a Dali phase in his art career. My tastes are fairly eclectic, but run in a somewhat different direction.

Mike Kole said...

Let me tell you about MY narciscism! I think I'm like Jones, though: more self-indulgent than narciscistic.

I like Dali for bending things to unreality, with enough reality left that you can recognize it. The wholly abstract, like Jackson Pollack, is totally lost on me.

varangianguard said...

My philosophy on artists is this:

If you are passionate about it and people will pay you to do it - hooray for you!

I may not care to appreciate it, but they are more than welcome to practice it.

Indianapolis has a vibrant art community which all should support in whatever way one can.

I am of the mind that stifling creativity and innovation while encouraging a herd mentality will be more deleterious to society over the long run than most other things we consider problems today.

What's a Libertarian think of that?

Mike Kole said...

I agree on all counts! I don't knwo much about Indy's art scene, I must confess. Something for me to look into more. Any recommendations?

varangianguard said...

Poke around at indyarts.org. You can view a few thumbnails provided by each of the various artists categorized by media. Most have links to their own websites as well.

Fountain Square, Mass Ave and the Stutz Building (near I-65 and North Meridian) have local artist populations. More opportunity for good eats around Fountain Square, though. I think the Indy Libertarians have met at Deano's Vino at Fountain Square once or twice, in fact.