waal

Release Date: 1/10

Album: HELLO CLEVELAND

Writer: ADAM MARSLAND

Audio:

Lyrics:

99.1nce upon a time
There was a station so sublime
The Great Pretenders and Circle Jerks
Whistle while you Kraftwerk

And then one day Clear Channel came
And made my radio all the same
Boring, bland, plastic kitschy
Makes me cranky, Lionel bitchy

Radio Hell (WAAL) (4x)

This can't last, this is so lame
Then the latest ratings came
The suits rejoiced, oh happy day
Second highest in the U.S.A.

Feel the pleasure, feel the power
Play the same songs every hour
Hear those blasting broadcast towers
Pouring forth in golden showers

Musicians:

Adam - lead vocal, guitar
Teresa Cowles - bass
Jon Braun - drums
Charlie Zayleskie - keyboards

Adam sez:

This is the only song (barring the title of "The Night I Bought Micky Dolenz A Beer") that had any part of it written prior to 2009. I came up with the chorus back in the '80s, when I was still a teenager and living in upstate New York. A friend and I had taken a road trip to Vermont so he could buy beer and as soon as we got out of a 70 mile radius of our hometown, the radio filled with college stations and glorious music I had never heard before. It was the first time I'd ever heard a punk rock song ("Needle Up My Cock" by g.g. allin), and my imagination was captured. Then, on the return trip, as soon as we got within 70 miles of our home town, it was like a cloak had been cast over the FM dial. There was absolutely nothing but the most boring MOR crap imaginable. That's when I started humming "Radio hell...WAAL..."

WAAL (99.1 on the FM dial), when I was pretty young, had been the progressive radio station in my home market of Binghamton, N.Y. Early on in the new wave era they had really creative programming. I vividly remember hearing "Everywhere That I'm Not" by Translator, which I used as the basis for my first real studio recording called "What Am I Gonna Do," which actually got play on the very same station a few years later. This changed suddenly and abruptly at some point in the '80s and they changed to the most repetitive, hits-oriented playlist imaginable...and because there were no other remotely rock stations in the area, everyone was more or less forced to listen to them, resulting in them having the second highest cum (pronounced kyoom, OK?) rating in the country. It was an early lesson to me in how statistics and polls can completely misrepresent what people want. WAAL had the second highest ratings not because people liked the station, but because media consolidation dictated they had no better alternatives, but of course the top line spin would be "see? We're giving the people what they want!" And top line spin is all the information we get anymore. 20 years later, we can see where this idea has taken us...in the rise of talk radio, the decline of independent and mom and pop media, the homogenization of music and the increasing rigidity of playlists, the polarization of the country, and the dearth of ideas that don't fall down on predictable (and often wilfully stupid -- because forceful ideas that are never exposed to an honest critique usually are stupid) partisan lines. So driving in the van in the rain, it seemed like a good idea to pick up the reins of my first-ever attempt to write a punk song, and finish it up.

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