Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Tomorrow morning at 10 am ET, I will be hosting the "You Be The Boss" program on SIRIUSXM's E Street Radio. For those who don't know, E Street Radio is the all-Bruce Springsteen-all-the-time channel on SIRIUSXM (I work there). On "You Be The Boss" you play five songs in a row and introduce them. Without giving too much away, my set is sort of a tribute to Little Steven. So, there's one Little Steven song, as well as a Southside Johnny song. I hate when people guest DJ and play the obvious stuff. (you can get a free trial here and tune in).

Why pay tribute to Little Steven? Well, as I mentioned I work at SIRIUSXM. But before I worked there, I was a SIRIUS subscriber. Here's why: years ago, someone told me about Little Steven's FM radio show "The Underground Garage." I was in my 30's by then, and hadn't really listened to much radio other than NPR in, maybe 20 years. I never liked radio formats, even classic rock. Classic rock turned the music that I loved into a museum - no new artists, and no new music by classic artists, many of whom (like Bruce, Bob Dylan or Neil Young) were still putting out great music. Foreigner or Journey instead of The Stooges or James Brown or Prince. Too much repetition. Boring DJs. I had my own tapes (and later CDs) and radio was completely unnecessary. Then I heard Steven's show. I listened on weekends - and I'll admit, I had a friend who works with Steven, and I got some copies of his shows on CD. They were amazing. Then, in the summer of 2004, I convinced my boss at Video Hits 1 to let me cover Little Steven's Underground Garage Rock Festival at Randall's Island in the summer of 2004. The Stooges, The New York Dolls, The Pretty Things, Bo Diddley, The Romantics, The Dictators, The Electric Prunes, The Chocolate Watch Band, The Mooney Suzuki, The Creation, The Charms, The Boss Martians, The Contrast, The Shazam, The Paybacks, The Woggles and The Cocktail Slippers (who, years later, would put out one of my favorite albums of the year) all played. To be fair, The Strokes also played: it was one of the most pathetic performances I'd ever seen. I don't know if it was really so bad, but coming between The Stooges and The Dolls, they just looked so lame. I thought they were boring before, but this took them to a new level of zzzzz. Little Steven still plays them on The Underground Garage. I don't love everything he plays, but I love maybe 80% of it, and I trust his taste enough to sit through stuff that I dislike, because I know I'll probably like the next song, and plus, I actually look forward to hearing the DJs.

As you can see, I was totally sold on this Underground Garage concept. At some point, I subscribed to SIRIUS so I could access the channel 24/7. (I also liked Howard Stern, Outlaw Country, Meg Griffin's SIRIUS Disorder channel, and the idea that there were channels for blues, bluegrass, jazz, soul, heavy metal and old-school hip-hop, but it was mainly the Underground Garage that got me to part with the cash). Then, when I needed a job, I checked the "Careers" part of the website, and ended up getting a job on the website. I don't know if I would have thought of that without Little Steven's Underground Garage. So, I thought I'd take the opportunity on "You Be The Boss" to thank the man on the airwaves. Maybe I'll do another "You Be The Boss" in the future - I'd like to do a set paying tribute to Nils Lofgren as well, and one celebrating Bruce's music from the past ten years. I have a lot of themes in mind actually.


C. Bottomley said...

What's Miami Steve's greatest Bruce moment? I have to nominate "Glory Days." He plays the mandolin throughout, and it's his interplay with Bruce which casts the song in a whole different light: that maybe the narrator is a little pathetic to be wallowing in the past so much. Then Landau buries him in the mix. No wonder he left.

Minority said...

ha ha, that's an interesting interpretation of of his mandolin playing and singing. I disagree with it heartily, but as ever, I respect your opinion, Mr. Bottomley! Although I do agree about the mix: I would love to hear the album remixed, it's is way too '80s, but on the other hand, if it were done differently, maybe it wouldn't have been as successful. And I think he left just because it was time for him to do his own thing. He has since admitted that it was stupid: if you have a great band, you don't leave. But he's been back for a decade, and today I'll be playing two live tracks from the '99 tour that demonstrates the incredible chemistry between Bruce and Steven. Tune in!