Saturday, March 28, 2009

The state of modern radio (hint: it's something like Montana)

A few weeks ago I mentioned the big suitcase record player/radio I used to listen to as a kid and how varied the playlists were back then. Soul next to rock next to progressive next to even some jazz, maybe some country...not so much nowadays. In fact, the state of commercial radio is well acknowledged to be in the bowels of the porcelain receptacle.

A few years ago, my wife was nice enough to give me a year's subscription to XM satellite radio and I was sooooo happy. I stayed that way for a long time, even did a presentation for a speech class extolling the virtues of XM in particular and satellite in general. The variety was incredible...XM alone had something like 130 channels, Sirius a comparable number (I never wanted to listen to Sirius because they had Howard Stern and I have always thought he was one of the biggest buttholes alive). Even though XM eventually got rid of their progressive rock channel, I stayed happy for a long time. Heck, I even did an XM annual report as a graphic design project (you can download the pdf here). Below you will see a group of illustrations I did in a new style for that project.

Recently XM and Sirius merged and although I still like my satellite radio, the variety has gone somewhat downhill...pandering to the lowest common denominator, I guess. There is still an exponentially larger amount of variety on satellite than terrestrial radio, but the golden days, the salad days...they seem to be a thing of the past.

I might have mentioned I have used my art to meet some of my favorite musicians...people like Don Mclean, Bruce Cockburn, Elvis Costello (twice), Todd Rundgren, Loudon Wainwright III, Tori Amos, Neil Finn, Jonatha Brooke, David Gray, Duncan Sheik, Peter Himmelman and X. Near misses, where I ended up with a signed print but couldn't meet them include U2, Sting, Springsteen, and Ani DiFranco and The Call. You can see a few of these pieces below.

There are still a few that I really want to "get." Musicians like Neil Young, Mark Eitzel, Joni Mitchell...but, living in Savannah for now means very few musicians come through on tours. San Diego was much better in that regard.

Have any of you met any of your favorite musicians? Got their phone numbers?


Anonymous said...

blogger ken i am no artist but i do have a photo of myself with George Strait in 1981 when he was on his first tour. my radio station hosted the tour and i partied with him afterward. any ideas on how to get the darned thing signed?

avery said...

Wow, you partied with George Stait? I heard he was a meth fiend. At any rate, if you partied with him and you didn't get your picture signed, you must have been doing drugs of some kind! Hey, if you partied with him, maybe all you have to do is give the tour manager your name...or whatever name you used!

Anonymous said...

hey thank for the tip