Monday, December 17, 2007
Little Steven's Underground Garage
For the past 5-6 years, I've been listening to the syndicated Little Steven's Underground Garage radio series (aired locally on WXRQ 104.3 FM Sunday nights at 10pm), hosted by Steve Van Zandt, gutiarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. "Little Steven"'s program focuses on "garage bands" from the birth of rock 'n' roll in the fifties to current groups. As such, a typical episode's playlist will include songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the Beatles, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Byrds, the (British) Birds, the Rascals, Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, the Clash, the Who, the Faces, the Kinks, Johnny Cash, the Ramones, the Chesterfield Kings, Prince, the Rolling Stones, the Grip Weeds, Oasis and the Stems, scattered all over the place, Van Zandt also gives listeners background information on a variety of topics, from the strange life of Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys), the origins of Thanksgiving & Drive In Movies, and the life and works of such diverse artists as Allen Ginsberg, Frank Sinatra and Roger Corman (to name but a few).
Aside from walking down memory lane however, the Underground Garage is, next to satellite radio, practically the only source to hear new, young bands for the first time. I would not have heard of, and enjoyed, such current performers as the Kaiser Chiefs, the White Stripes and the Woggles without having first heard them via Little Steven's program. Similarly, I also rediscovered the joys of the likes of the Pretty Things, the(American)Wailers, the Sonics and Johnny Thunders.
The template for the show was obviously the classic Nuggets collections (currently available on CD by Rhino Records & carried by the library), which focused on the great unsung groups who'd meet & rehearse in somebody's garage and then try to go professional.
Little Steven's shows have been archived at his site here, so check it out! And play it LOUD! -Ed