Wednesday, September 30, 2009

They're the fags, and I'm the one with a naked dude on me.

I used to be on a morning show with two guys we will call Charles and Buddy. (I can't use their real names so we're gonna borrow from a 1980's Scott Baio sitcom.) Charles was the goofball and Buddy was the more normal one. I was their occasional third guy who they would send out to do morning show stunts in public while on the air. What sucked is that, while we were three hell-raising sons of bitches, we had to tone that shit down on the air and act somewhat wholesome since we were on a station that played twangy bullshit new country music. You don't know how many of our crazy show ideas were squashed by one of us saying, "I agree, this is an awesome idea. However, our audience hates awesome, so we're not gonna do it. Think of something a little less entertaining that will amuse your average soccer mom. I like when the show goes to the locker room, too. Hell, we're all three great at doing locker room. But that's not who we're trying to appeal to. Come up with some gay ass shit like American Idol humor instead. And not that hilarious "Clay is Gay" shit. These women that listen to our station, cling to the belief that Clay might fall in love with their daughter. They pay us to be those kind of guys."

Yeah, it was hell sometimes. But when we went out on the road, that was a different story. We were out of control. Anytime there was a station event, we would all three pile into the tacky Country Station Ford Explorer and go wherever they wherever anybody would pay us to kiss babies, dance like monkies and give out lame prizes.

Rather than tell you about what happened at one of these stupid "Three Hours Giving Out Pizza To Listeners at a Car Lot" deals, I'll tell you what happened once on the way back.

We were driving back to the station from some event in Burgaw where an Auto Parts Store payed us to host a pig pickin'. It was actually really fun. We ate a lot and coaxed redneck skanks into doing that barefoot dance where they pull their skirts up over their ankles so they don't trip. It was a fun little hoedown in a parking lot. As we approached the end of East Bound I-40 we hit the first red light. (Yes, the road runs from 2500 miles from California to North Carolina with no lights, and then turns into a traffic jam when the name changes from I-40 to College Road.)

As we sat at the red light (Me driving, Buddy beside me, and Charles behind Buddy in the back), Buddy spotted an ambulance up ahead in the right lane. He said to us, "Fuck those motherfuckers. They're all a bunch of faggots. I hate that company. If you work there, you suck." (Oh, Buddy moonlighted as a paramedic, that's why he cared so much about other ambulance companies.)

Immediately Charles said, "Well, Buddy, an enemy of yours is an enemy of mine! If you don't like those guys, then I don't like those guys! Roth Wriscey, pull up beside them first chance you get and I'm gonna moon the fuck out of 'em. They're gonna get more of my ass than they ever wanted. This is for my pal in the passenger seat. I'm gonna do this for you, Buddy! Because I know you'd do it for me. Actually, I know you wouldn't. So the real reason I'm doing this for you is so you know that I'm a better friend to you than you are to me. Since I'll moon on your behalf and you won't moon on mine. So really, I'm gonna moon these guys so I can own you, you asshole of a friend! I'm gonna tell everybody on the air, too. I'm gonna tell them you suck. Roth, get up beside that ambulance!"

So as I approached the ambulance in the lane beside us up ahead, Charles was pulling his pants an underwear down and getting his butt ready to be smooshed up against the backseat passenger side window of this easily identifiable Explorer, to gross out the guys in the ambulance that Buddy hated.

As I pulled up beside them, Charles got his ass right up in the window, but but the EMT's hadn't looked over yet. So Charles said, "Honk the horn at'em!"

I honked the horn at them. And just as they looked over, while we were riding beside them, the light in front of us turned red. I had to slam on the brakes. And so did the ambulance. So we were slowing down together at the same time for the light.

Unfortunately, I had to hit the brakes so hard that something crazy happened. (And I know this is gonna sound impossible, but I saw it. It happened. I don't know how it happened, but it happened.) When I hit the brakes while Charles was mooning an ambulance from the back, he went flying over the back of Buddy's chair, over Buddy, and into Buddy's lap. I'd have to say, that's the first and only time I've ever seen a naked morning show guy accidentally sitting naked in the lap of his partner. I'm sure it's happened somewhere on Earth but I had never seen it.

And I remember, while Buddy was sitting there stunned and embarassed with a naked Charles in his lap, as those ambulance guys were sitting there laughing at us for looking like a bunch of country homos who ruined their own prank by pranking themselves, Naked Charles just looked at Buddy, and said, "Hey, there Buddy! I've been waiting a lifetime for this moment."

As Buddy scrambled to get Charles out of his lap, he was like, "Dude, get the fuck out of here. I hate those ambulance motherfuckers. They're the fags and I'm sitting here with some nekkid dude on me in front of them. This ain't cool!"

It may not have been cool, but it was funny as shit.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who in the hell flies to Myrtle Beach?

I am tinkering with the idea of writing a book of compiled radio stories - and by radio stories I mean things that I have witnessed with my own eyes during my on-again off-again radio career that has spanned 11 fucking years. (Wow. That went by fast.) I also plan to include tons and tons of stories that were told to me by all the old school radio vets.

You see, I can proudly say that I have one awesome characteristic: I learn from the mistakes of others. I avoided a lot of pitfalls by asking the older guys to tell me about some of the radio messes they made for themselves back in the day. All those other dumb kids never thought to listen to these wise old fuck-ups. (Sorry, the beloved jadedness that comes to me when talking about anything radio causes me to cuss a lot. It just comes out naturally. Please forgive. We are rough bunch. OMG, I said "we." I try not to associate myself as "one of them." I don't even socialize with other radio people anymore. It's better that way. Two radio people together is too much. I learned that the hard way. I don't sleep with, drink with, or even go to a movie with other radio people anymore. Life is better that way. Trust me.

Still, I love this salty business. And in that year and a half that I was out of the business, I learned a couple of things about myself. I learned A: I can absolutely live without a microphone. Life is managable without a big megaphone to let everyone know what the fuck I think about fucking everything. And B: That being said: I do love access to the mic. I enjoy having a big megaphone that let's everyone know what the fuck I think about fucking everything. In conclusion, I prefer the mic. But I can live without the mic.

Here's what I was getting to, before I got all distracted by my self: because I was smart enough to inquire the thoughts of all these radio vets, I learned a lot of funny stories along the way. As a result, I think I could compile a funny book of radio stories. However, I don't want to get knee-deep in an endeavor only to find out that it is only funny to me and other radio people. So, with your help, I plan to write ten straight totally true radio stories. And your job is to tell me if it's actually funny, or just funny to me. Thanks. Here goes. I'm gonna pull a tale out of the bag.

Here's a true story that was told to me by my delightfully Jewish-turned-Christian production guy friend from Wisconsin. He's about 50. I will tell it as if I'm him.

"I've seen a lot of radio contests screwed up by a lot of people... but never by the actual contest winner. Until we encountered "THE GIRL." Oh, I still dread... THE GIRL."

"It was back in the 1980's when I worked at Rock 92.3 in Greensboro. We busted our butts to put together this really big promotion with a really big prize. It was two first class airline tickets to anywhere in the world... on our dime. Anywhere, sir. I'm talking anywhere. So this girl won the contest. And we interviewed her live on the air. Our jock said to her, "So where do you want to go? Paris? Brazil? Italy?""

"And do you know what her answer was? Do you know what THE GIRL'S GOD DAMNED ANSWER WAS? It was this: "I'm going to fly to Myrtle Beach to see my boyfriend."

"She said, "I'm going to Myrtle Beach to visit my motherfucking boyfriend!" Do you know how bad she screwed us. She had a chance to go anywhere in the world for free! And she took the wind out of our gigantic sails by saying she was going to take a thirty minute flight on us... for the weekend! That dumb bitch could drive to Myrtle Beach in 4 hours! A flight takes just as long when you consider check in and check out. She could've gone to Hawaii!"

"And this girl who had two tickets to anywhere had the nerve to ask us if she could us the two tickets separately! Both for herself, so she could make two flights to Myrtle Fucking Beach to see her stupid, stupid boyfriend. ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!"

"And this burn she gave us had only begun. Think about the after-glow we had to do. In case you don't know what the after-glow is, the after-glow is where you pat yourself on the back and brag in commercials about the big fucking prize you gave out to a lucky listener. The intent is to make the listeners think: "Next time it could be me! I'm gonna keep listening to this awesome station."

"We had to send off copy for our voice guy to read that said: "Rock 92.3 is your contest station. We've always got the best stuff for you! For example: just last month we sent THE GIRL on a flight to anywhere in the world!!!!!!!!! And now she's living it up in.... MYRTLE BEACH!!!!!!! YEAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!11 ROCK 92.3 IS YOUR CONTEST STATION! MYRRRRRRRRRRRTLE BEEEEEEACHHH!"

"Sir, take my advice. Never do a contest to anywhere in the world. Never give the listeners control over their own destiny. They will screw you everytime. If you are gonna send them somewhere, you tell them exactly where they are going to go. You say: "You're going to GD Paris whether you like it or not!" Otherwise you got a voice-guy that thinks the copy you sent him was a prank. Who in the hell flies to Myrtle Beach?" Oh right! The Girl. I still hate the Girl.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tomorrow's Booth

Me and my roommate are going to set up a booth downtown tomorrow night to make money off of drunk people. We will be running a two-man booth with your choice of two amazing products.

K-Max is going to draw caricatures of people for a dollar - stick figure caricatures. Give him a dollar, and we will draw you... as a stick person. He promises to give nice girls big boobs, and rude girls big hips.

For my part, I am going to be selling plagiarized celebrity autographs. You name the celebrity, and you tell me the message you want to them to send you and I will totally right that on a piece of paper and sign their name to it. You want a piece of paper with Brad Pitt professing his love to you? I can make it happen - you know, sort of.

I know what will happen. Mark my words. Whenever I just try to have fun and brighten this town up with something like a silly self-admitted fake autograph table, the powers that be get all mad and put me in handcuffs. I don't know how a comical side-business can lead to that, but when I'm involved, it always does. I think it's because I have pretty teeth.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Poor Guy Never Had Nothing

My dad's friend Skipper died on Friday when he crashed his own plane somewhere in North Carolina. Skipper was a very rich man that I never met once. But I always wished for the chance, so I could thank him for making me feel as rich as him on an annual basis when I was a kid.

You see, my dad was the electrician to Skipper's Mercedes dealership. The two of them were acquiantences first, but then became friends. Now let me eventually get to telling you what Skipper did for us.

Every year in the 1980's, my dad would round up a team of 13 of his redneck friends and they would head to a town in the Mountains called Newland for a softball tournament. We would stay at a ten dollar a night hotel called The Shady Lawn. An old man and old woman owned the place and lived in the place. It was so 1970's with it's astroturf outdoor hallways.

No women were allowed on the trip. No kids were allowed on the trip, either - except me. It was just me and all those blue collar men who were between the ages of 18 and 40. I remember all those dudes like it was yesterday. I remember there was Skinny Thomas who worked on a DOT crew. Monte with the Perm and Big John who looked like The Brawny Man, both of whom worked at Maintence Supply. (Big John would soon die at Maintence Supply when he was to fall through a skylight. I saw that man get buried in his softball uniform. I remember wanting to have the urge to cry, but I was afraid John would sit up in his casket and tell me to shake it off.) There was Allan the Dropout. Emory the Guy No One Liked. Mickey The Guy Who Never Got His Uniform Dirty. Donald Keith: The 20 Year Old Man with 80 Year Old Farts. Kimmett and Rodney Wilhelm. Kimmett was the big brother who was little. And Rodney was the little brother who was big. They were nephews of the Hall of Fame Baseball Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm. There was the pitcher, Billy Winecoff, who I never saw drink wine and I don't remember having a cough. And there probably would've been Kevin McIntosh, but he got killed in a car wreck by an insurance agent around the time of the first trip. (We got a playground built at our church in his honor, because they said he loved kids so much. Which was ironic since my strongest memory of Kevin was the time he purposefully scared my 7 year old ass by laughing and driving down Rocky River Road at 95 miles per hour. Even more ironic, when he got around to actually dying in a car, it wasn't his fault. There was also this manly redneck named Jimmy Gurley. And there was my dad.

Thr only reason I got to go on the trip was because I had a job: I was the bat boy. The trips were awesome, but they weren't as debaucherous as you'd think. Mostly, the men just hung around the hotel at night and drank whiskey and beer and played poker in Big John's room and looked at porno mags that I could never quite get to. I even had a job in the poker game. It was to look out the window for any cops in the parking lot, since we had the door open. I also learned how to pinch pennies for money. Those rednecks taught me early that if you gamble, you might lose your money. They wouldn't give it back to me when I lost. A few of the guys would go out to try to find bars and chicks at those bars to screw, but my dad and Big John made it clear to them that they were to keep that shit out of our hotel. It was the old "If you're gonna bang'em, bang'em at their place, and make it to the field by game time" order.

The first year we went to one of these weekend tournaments was in 1985 and we were Team Tim Richmond. Yes, that Tim Richmond. The hottest guy in NASCAR at that time. The guy who had AIDS but nobody knew it yet. The reason we were sponsored by Tim Richmond was because Allan the Dropout's fiance was Tim's personal secretary. (When he died of AIDS, Allan said something like, "Thank God Melanie's a good girl. Or we mighta' both had that shit, too.")

When we arrived that first year for the first game early on a Saturday morning, there were like 200 locals there to watch the game. They were all staring at our team - and only our team. Then one of the older more decrepit ones spoke up:

"Whar's Teee-yum?"

Where's Tim? What?

We were all confused. Then Murph came up to me and my dad and pulled us away and said something to us privately. Before I tell you what Murph said, let me tell you who Murph was. He was my dad's best friend since they were 5. The only reason we ever came to this mountain town was because Murph was in charge of it. He also worked at a local newspaper.

Then he smiled and gave us a not-so-sorry apology. He said to my dad: "I guess you noticed the big turnout, Bill. Well, you see, it may or may not be because I may or may not have written an article in the paper hinting that Tim Richmond may or may not come to Newland to watch the team he sponsored play softball."

My dad and laughed and was like, "Murph, you fuckin' piece of shit! Hey wait, don't these people know he has a race this weekend?"

Murph was like, "I guess not. Just be glad you have a crowd. And they're probably gonna pull for you guys. Or kill you. I really don't know. Good luck!"

I remember that we didn't win that tournament. We made it to the second day, but that was it. And I remember that I couldn't believe these people were making such a big deal over us being the Tim Richmond team -especially since some of our guys played in blue jeans. All he did was give us cheap red t-shirts and cheap red trucker hats with his name on it. It couldn't have cost him over $200.

Some time between that tournament and the next one, Skipper got wind that the Tim Richmond Softball Team wasn't outfitted as well as it could be. So he decided to sponsor us instead. For 1986, we were to become The Beck Imports Team. We were sponsored by a freaking Mercedes Dealership. And we had these bad freaking ass black shirts with individual silver numbering and the dealership name on the back. And we got these nice hats. Real baseball hats. Not those cheap mesh-backed trucker hats that Folgers Boy used to give us. And pants! We all got pants! They were top-notch silver pants. We were the only team with full uniforms And I even got a uniform and I was just the bat boy. Very few teams had a bat boy. And only ours had a uniformed bat boy. Hell, I even had stirrups. We looked so good, that we actually played pretty good.

But it wasn't the uniforms that I always wanted to thank Skipper for. It was the car. Every year it was the car. You see, Skipper went on to sponsor us for 3 or 4 years. And every year, he would give my dad a brand new car from Beck Imports to take to the mountains. You'll realize how much this meant to me when I tell you that my mom and dad never once had a nice car. We always had the ugliest car in town. It was perpetually an outdated Malibu Classic. Our cars were never worth more than 100 dollars. We were some of the poorest white people in the snobby town of Davidson. I constantly got ridiculed by all of the snooty Davidson College professor's kids due to the ugliness of my moms cars. I didn't care to impress them. But I also didn't care for being picked on. And our car always got me belittled. But for one weekend a year, I would be in a brand new Mercedes. Just me and my dad. We would get the car on Friday, drive two hours to the mountains. Stay the night in the hotel. Drive to the game and park the car in a prominent place for all to see (Dad felt he should do that for Skipper since he was hooking us up.) Then we'd find any excuse to drive it around after the game. And then back home on Sunday.

And while the Mercedes Benzes were nice. One year, Skipper really did us nice. He gave us a cherry red brand new Porsche 944. I have never felt so rich and awesome in my life. I remember my dad, who wasn't that daring, driving the hell out of that thing a couple of times. And I remember it had all these electronic gadgets on it. And radio that didn't have old push buttons - it was something called digital. And I remember lots of hot young women looking at us at stoplights. And my dad would laugh and say, "They ain't looking at us, son. They're looking at this car. Still, it ain't so bad, is it?" No, it wasn't. I always knew Sunday would come and our Porsche would turn back into a pumpkin, but I never thought about that until Sunday.

And that's why I always wanted to meet Skipper and say thank you. He was a rich, rich man. He had golf courses, and sports teams, and car dealerships, and even got to be the biggest client busted in a high-profile prostitution scandal this year. He got to hang out with Michael Jordan and he got to golf with Tiger Woods. And I'm sure he got to have just about everything he ever wanted. But the one thing he never got to have was nothing. But because I had nothing, every time he loaned us a car for the weekend, I felt like I had everything.

Thanks, S.B.

Monday, September 7, 2009

All Hail King Buzzo

I went to see Down the other night and they were as awesome as I figured they would be. That being said, how come nobody ever told me that their opening act, The Melvins, would be one of the most badass things I would ever see on a stage in my entire life?As soon as I saw this chubby middle-aged freakazoid with a grey 'fro, I knew they were going to rule - I just wasn't sure how they would rule. Nobody told me this same bizarre being named King Buzzo would come out in some crazy wizard suit all descended from somewhere in one of the awesomer parts of outer-space and own the place. I've heard of the Melvins, since they've been around for 25 years, but damn! And that song that began with just the two drummers pounding two tiny cymbals for two minutes? And the way King Buzzo would turn around and act like he was fixing his guitar when he was really just letting his drummers have the spotlight? It was awesome. And the way he never spoke to the crowd or evern acknowedged us? It actually worked. That dude was too cool to acknowledge the crowd. And his mirrored guitar made it look like he was playing faster than he was. But my ears did not decieve me, he was actually playing better than he was (which doesn't make sense except when referring to King Buzzo. He is better than ever himself. He's that good.)I always figured because of the wacky hair and timid band name The Melvins would be a bunch of fags. But those dudes were some of the most badass metal I've ever seen. And if you want to argue with me that they aren't really metal, I don't care. You can call them whatever you want, but I know this: whatever the hell they are, The Melvins are from some other place and it's a better place than anywhere I've ever seen. And I hate all of you for not having told me during some time in the last 25 years.