Welp… time to change it up

Enough signs and emerging pattern to say that caloric deficit is taking its toll. It’s time to carb back up a bit, then start again. Small steps downward.

I’ve been building up some strength and size on various movements. I’ve picked up a bunch from the past 5 macrocycles: 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps to failure 3 minutes between (working) sets is… choice (h/t Paul Carter). I’ve got some movements better suited for my build, like I respond well to 20º incline bench – nice clavicular pec growth. Leg press ain’t just a side dish. Dedicated calf work is important, and put the ego in the backseat (the neverending reminder). Stabilization is… a thing (again, Paul Carter); that Cybex chest-supported row machine is sweet. I set some nice PRs, including inclining 265×3@8 – I’ve never inclined 265 let alone 3 easy reps.

And so the strength goes down. It’s ok. I play tricks: pick new movements where I have no idea where and how I’m strong with it. So change it up and keep on.

Here’s what I’m looking at now:

  • General
    • Mon/Wed/Fri – it’s a 4 session cycle done 3 times per week, so it’s a 9-10 day microcycle.
    • 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps aiming for true failure. 3 minutes rest between (work) sets. (Carter)
    • Start light, progress slowly. (Wendler)
    • You need less than you think you need.
    • Push the shit hard, and build up to it over the weeks. Again, start light, progress slowly.
    • Accumulate volume over the week/microcycle; since it’s 9-10 day microcycle, “working a muscle” once per microcycle isn’t enough.
    • Keep recovery in mind – I’m 50… TRT helps, but I’m still 50.
    • Do stuff out of the gym to stretch, keep mobile and limber.
    • Treadmill cool down, 20-30 minutes.
  • Day 1: Push
    • Flavor: more of a delt-focused approach. Maintain pecs. Grow tris because arms.
    • Seated smith machine overhead press
    • Incline dumbbell press (maybe… wrist sensitive; something for pecs, bias upper)
    • Rolling DB extensions (some sort of triceps work)
    • Cable Y raise (something for middle delts)
    • Those Cybex machine rows
  • Day 2: Legs, quads
    • Flavor: keep growing quads.
    • Cybex Plate Loaded Squat Press
      • Reset the weight a bit and work back up.
    • Leg extensions
      • here too.
    • Hip adduction
    • Seated calf raises (350 method… dunno… I just seem to get more out of these with those; it’s variety if nothing else).
    • Cable upright row (a little more delt, and a little biceps)
  • Day 3: Pull
    • Flavor: Keep growing the back – get really honed into activation
    • Barbell row (lighter, really work the muscle instead of muscling it…)
    • Neutral grip pulldowns (with those angle-90 grips or something where I can have neutral grip and some free movement)
    • Cable rear-delt “raises” (not sure how I’ll execute this yet…,)
    • Preacher curls
    • Cybex chest press (selectorized)
  • Day 4: Legs, posterior
    • Flavor: leg press 2x/micro was too much; swap in RDL instead. Unilateral work in lunges, which is also good for me.
    • RDLs
    • Seated leg curl
    • Lunges (I don’t want to do these, they are the right thing for me to do… so I will do them, probably half-assed, but I will do them). LOL
    • Calf raises on leg press (these are 3×5-8, stretch and squeeze; it’s not much weight)
    • Pushdowns (actually leaning over the bar and pushing down like a dip, not the hinge at the elbows pinned to your side version of pushdowns).

So basically I keep doing what I’ve been doing. What has built the muscle is what will “maintain” the muscle, because really “to maintain” means to keep (re)building the muscle. You are actively fighting against muscular atrophy. So the best weapon is that which will maximize growth. And the above is panning out pretty interestingly well to support stuff.

What will be interesting will be to see how, even in deficit, I might grow. I want to focus some on my delts/shoulders – I need some width due to my narrow skeletal structure.

Radio Daze : 10 – Scorpions

Tori & I with Scorpions 1991 Captial Centre Landover, MD

1991. Scorpions on tour with Great White and openers Trixter. Scorpions was touring behind their Crazy World album, with their hit Winds of Change. Working at WXJM and having good relations with the reps at both Mercury (Scorpions) and Mechanic (Trixter), I was able to get on meet & greet lists for both bands.

I took my friend Tori. We were in high school band together (I played french horn and was drum major senior year; she was a drummer/percussionist). She liked metal too. She moved to NoVA from the LA scene, so she was all into hair metal (e.g. Warrant). So this all worked nicely.

The show was great. Missed most of Great White’s set due to the meet & greet with Trixter, but it was cool to meet Trixter. Did catch the end of Great White’s set from the floor in front of the arena stage, which was cool. I have this burned in memory of looking WAY up at Jack Russell (I was on the floor, he was on the stage’s side riser), as he walked, planted his feet, then swung his head and body 180º, long-arms pointing out to the audience with a wry smile. Very much frontman. Good stuff.

Tori’s hair was awesome.

Scorpions of course were incredible. Tori was a big fan of Scorpions, so she had a great and I’m sure memorable time. What I remember most? “The Zoo” live is awesome. Also watching Herman Rarebell hitting on Tori, trying to get her back to the hotel (she didn’t, and she was like… dude, you’re old enough to be my dad!). It was pretty funny.

Fun times.

I’m down…

…to about 250-ish pounds. The other day the scale said 248, but that was just water/carbs.

Catching you up

I track my bodyweight via RepCount into Apple Health,; before that in spreadsheets. I’ve also written about it here under the weight-management category. tl;dr 2015 I got my leanest to date at 199 from my highest ever at 265. After that I got more into powerlifting, Vitamin T. Got strong, and big… especially big. My bodyweight has fluctuated up and down since then, tho certainly the overall trend has been increasing. This time tho, there’s far more muscle. I’ve been sitting in the 250’s for maybe 18 months now. I ballooned up to 261 from Thanksgiving bloat.

I’m tired of it

It’s fun to be big. No lie.

It’s also tiring. #IYKYK

Oh, I still want to be big – don’t get me wrong! But I don’t need to lug around fat as the amount I have does me no good (you only need so much to function). What I’ve got gets in the way more than helps. Put it this way: lean abs and big pecs help with AIWB, and I ain’t helpin’ myself.

It’s been my eternal struggle. Food is my crutch, my comfort, my drug.

That must stop. Not just change, but stop.

I’ll state right out front: death comes for us all, and until that day I will occasionally enjoy a fine meal and good whiskey. I will also not stop eating Mrs. Hsoi’s cooking, especially when she makes me large-pearl tapioca pudding (just like my Grandma Eleanor used to). I just want to ensure that until that day comes I can live well – which for me right now means leaning out.

And never going back.


Being sick was perhaps the blessing in disguise. It killed a bunch of my appetite. It’s been pretty easy to bypass the sweet snack-y things (props to Alan Thrall). That alone I know is a help – and I told myself

Or… it could be the Animal Cuts. Yes I know, but let the little bro in my live a little. LOL. I actually wonder if the appetite suppressant properties may be contributing. The tin is almost empty, so I’ll cycle off for a bit and see what happens. Over all these years I’ve always experimented on my body to see how things act, react, respond, etc. I keep data. The experiments are interesting and educational. But I know like any supplement, if you don’t put in the work, you still ain’t gonna get results. Frankly? Even if it’s placebo, if it’s only just helping me somehow be accountable (e.g. like why some people have a personal trainer) because that paying out $$$ makes you not want to waste it. 🤷‍♂️

Still, my appetite is down. I can look in the mirror and see I am VERY flat. My wedding ring comes off more easily. So while I got down from the post-Thanksgiving bloat of 261 pretty quick, it was back into the 254-257 range. So that I’m now bouncing around 248-251 is… good. I believe this is mostly water and glycogen loss, maybe a pound of tissue if I’m lucky? Which I know contributes to the dizzies at the gym. Still, that’s needed to deplete to drive the body to alternate energy sources (fat). Working to keep my protein intake high (at least 200g/day on the “lazy measure”, which means I’m probably getting 225-250g from all sources).

It’ll manage out. There’s some fine-tuning to do and I’m doing it. I know the scale is but one metric, and I know how I leverage that metric. To see 250 consistently for the past few days is actually good. We needed convenience supper last night, ordered pizza, I ate a couple more slices than I should have however I’m not feeling guilty because my body needed it. I’m coming off a really hard some months at the day job and last night started 2-weeks PTO… so I unwound a bit and don’t feel one lick of guilty about it. Woke up 250 this morning, a little fuller looking. Pretty cool. I’ll return to normal today, both in food consumption and glycogen levels. It’ll be fine in the long haul.

So… it’s a small step, but it’s a meaningful step. Slow progress is still progress.

Radio Daze : 9 – Kage

I honestly don’t remember how I came across Kage. Kage was a local band, based in NoVA of the greater Washington DC music scene. I saw them at The Bayou a number of times. They were unsigned, but pretty strong on the local scene. In 1993 Kage won the WAMA (Washington Area Music Association) award for Best Metal Artist/Group. Frontman, singer, guitarist, songwriter Jeff Brasfield won Best Metal Vocalist 1993 & 1994.

When I first met them the band was Jeff (lead singer, guitarist, songwriter), Alex Thorne (drums), David Groves (guitar), Mike Groves (bass). Eventually the Groves brothers left and Gary Jordan (bass) and Jeff Mortimer (guitar) stepped in. State of Mind was good for what it was. Shadow of Faith was a more developed album, tho I admit not liking it as much as State. What I really liked was a cassette EP they did where they debuted recordings of: The Chosen, Back Against the Wall, Fight to be Free, Stained Glass, and the cover of The Dead Kennedy’s Too Drunk to Fuck. They included that EP on the tail end of Shadow, and that remains my favorite of their discography.

There were silly things, like the records were released on Egak Records (Egak… Kage spelled backwards… get it?). Or the live show favorite, “You Bitch” – always great for audience participation. 

I saw them a lot live. It was really cool to follow and support them in this way because I got to see songs evolve. I think I first heard the EP songs live. I got to see the stage schtick they did. They knew how to put on a good show. Jeff having this crazy-long hair and whipping it around made for quite a visual (the bridge parts around the solo in Talkin Trash)! They also were still kids and just having fun! It wasn’t a stuffy show at all – very fun atmosphere.

One night at The Bayou, Morty’s girlfriend (I guess that’s what she was?) couldn’t get in because age vs. bar. They were asking me if I could drive her home. I was willing to do so, but in the end something else got worked out and I didn’t have to (and got to see the show).

I got to know Jeff a bit. One precious memory I have is a call I received from his mom, Nancy. You have to know that Nancy wasn’t just Jeff’s mom, but she also managed the band. Nancy Ford, because Nancy Brasfield – “your mom manages the band?!!” – isn’t cool, as she explained it to me. 😄. She was a warm, loving, and supportive person. She called me one day and invited me over to the house for Jeff’s birthday. I was surprised to have been invited, and I went and had a marvelous time. I’ll always cherish how much love Nancy gave.

When my metal show on WXJM was doing well in late night, I had… alas, I don’t remember exactly what I called it, but it was pitting two songs against each other and callers voted on the better one. One night Jeff and Alex came down and guested on the whole show. And over time, Kage’s Darkness Descends was so successful at winning week after week I had to retire it.

I wish the band was able to make it bigger. I recall being at some small Washington-area music convention thing. Cheryl Valentine, who was the Mercury radio rep, was there so I went to the thing so I could say hello. I got Jeff with her and recall watching Jeff talk with her and Cheryl politely taking a State of Mind CD. But despite not making it bigger, I’d like to think they made it well. I had a great time, and I do believe they did too.

Thank you Jeff.

Radio Daze : 8 – Type O Negative

My high school friend Bryan came back home after a summer away. He had a cassette tape with all sorts of new metal tunes on it. There was this one with some lyric like: “Lick me she begged, she pulled down my head… I LOVE TO EAT PUSSY! A taste so fine like sweet April wine, I won’t trade for any money”. 

Well! Wasn’t THAT something for teenager me to hear!

We had no idea who it was – no Shazam in those days, kids. We at first thought it was Sodom, but I checked one of their albums out and it was no where near the same style let along song. Eventually I found out it was the band Carnivore, the pre-Type O Negative band for Peter Steele.

I admit, I like Carnivore. Yes, it’s all the horrible things you say it is… it’s a cartoon, a reflection of the time. It’s art, like it or don’t. I mean come on! They’re dressing up like some sort of Mad Max post-nuclear apocalyptic cavemen! They look like jackasses! It’s goofy! Do you really think this is serious? 

Well… the music is (kinda). You start to get the feel for where Peter was going. Listen to him croon on “Male Supremacy“. It’s Conan. It’s Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the stuff goth girls swoon for. Proto-Type-O.

Mark “Psycho” Abramson at Roadrunner was my radio rep and he knew I dug Carnivore. He got me this early copy of a demo from a band called Repulsion, which was going to be Peter’s next thing. The name was already taken, so they switched to Type O Negative, and the rest is history. It was cool to get the early peek into that project. 

I also remember being at a Pantera / Wrathchild America show at The Bayou. During the show, Phil Anselmo called out a dude in the crowd he saw with a Carnivore shirt. Backstage after the show, I spoke with Phil about it and he brought up the Repulsion stuff, which we then talked about for a bit.

Never got to see Type O live nor met Peter. Was always fascinated by his early distain and later embrace of Catholicism (I’m sure in part because of Nettie).

Radio Daze : 7.5 – Red Decibel Records, Part 2 The Coup de Grace

Red Decibel Records (Discogs) was the project of Jake Wisely. I really loved this label and their output. Their radio rep, Brent Ashley, was really cool and we developed a solid relationship. He sent me not just normal album releases, but special run 7″ and 10″ records, posters, various cool stuff. Note that a lot of their stuff was Minneapolis music scene.

Album cover poster

Their band I really got into? The Coup de Grace.

The Coup started as a traditional metal band (“Daylight Dawning“, “Barbed Wire“), but later albums took a “lighter” turn (still good rock, but not as metal). Jimmy Mecherle – also known as Jimmy Coup – was singer, guitarist, songwriter. In later years Jimmy would play with Andrew W.K. as well as do a lot of Thin Lizzy related things. I dug The Coup a LOT. That debut album still is awesome to me. “Daylight Dawning” is classic, and of course I learned to play that on my guitar.

Steve Prue, Mark Abramson; Roadrunner Records

One college summer I went to NYC to see The Coup play. Just me, traveling by myself from DC to NYC to see The Coup play. I used the time to visit some of my industry peeps: Mark “Psycho” Abramson & Steve Prue (both at Roadrunner); my reps from Mechanic, Big Chief, others. I had never been to NYC before, and I was young and stupid. Some the reps needed to go somewhere, so I piled into the backseat while one of them stopped off to pick up a big bag of weed. He later told me to just go to this reggae music store, raise your finger in a “1”, and well… I walked out with a dimebag of my own.

?, Kurt, Jimmy, Steve, Brent. The red tie-dye shirt was a #IYKYK thing. I had one and wore it often.

Later that evening I met up with Brent at a club where The Coup were playing. Watched the show. Met the guys. Hooked ’em up. Everyone was hip to rolling back to Rita’s place (Brett and Rita were trying to get together…). We all get back to her place, Jimmy rolls, we pass the dutchie. Had a nice evening. Steve (guitarist) was sitting next to me and all night would look at me and say “thanks for the bake, man” 🙂 They were very kind people. Good dudes. I also remember not meeting the drummer until the next morning –  he was sleeping in the van with their gear. That was the moment I learned that was a thing bands (have to) do. We shared some coffee and talk in the kitchen that morning. Then I headed out.

Before we went to Rita’s tho, Jimmy was hungry and he wanted to grab a bite to eat. I don’t recall the exact time, but it was wee hours… 1 AM? 2 AM? He invited me along. I was surprised? “You can get food at this hour?” “Dude, this is New York City… of course you can!”. And off we went in search of, as Jimmy put it, the BOLDEST sandwiches. We found a bodega, got some BOLD-ass sandwiches, sat on milk crates in the sidewalk, ate and talked with Jimmy of The Coup de Grace.

I was rockin’ and rollin’ and having a grand time. What an experience! That here at age 50 I can still recall it so well… yeah, it’s a core memory.

Steve, you’re welcome, man. ❤️

Radio Daze : 7 – Red Decibel Records, Part 1

Cool show poster

Red Decibel Records (Discogs) was the project of Jake Wisely. I really loved this label and their output. Their radio rep, Brent Ashley, was really cool and we developed a solid relationship. He sent me not just normal album releases, but special run 7″ and 10″ records, posters, various cool stuff. Note that a lot of their stuff was Minneapolis music scene.

Drop Hammer were a solid thrash metal band, very traditional sound.

Libdo Boyz were more of a punk band. Brent told me their album “Opgu” was named because one of the guys had a hat with “Top Gun” on it but the “T” and “n” came off so… Opgu. I had the Godzilla Barracuda 10″ – it went to a good home during the move to Bryan. I would dare say I probably had the biggest collection of Red Decibel product outside of perhaps Jake and/or Brent (thanks TO Brent and Jake).

Distribution via Metal Blade. Nice.

Rapscallion I thought were pretty cool. Avant-garde, if I can use a term. Debut album, “Gardens of Machinery” was more traditional sounding, if you could even call it that. Sophomore effort “Chameleon Drool” was more eclectic and I’m sure would never appeal to the mainstream, but I liked it in part for how offbeat it was. I remember the back cover with the track listing was printed all wrong, so I made an index card with correct listing – this was WXJM’s CD, so it needed to be accurate for the DJs.

They had other bands like Walt Milk (didn’t know much from them, I think I only had a 7″), Season to Risk (pretty cool), Fat Tuesday (another interesting “artsy” band, but it was cool), I recall an industrial band Bloodstar. But the band I really got into? The Coup de Grace.

In Part 2 I’ll talk about The Coup de Grace and my solo trip to NYC to see them, getting stoned with the band, and enjoying the boldest sandwich of my life with Jimmy.

Yo Brent. How’s Judy?

Winter 2022 Programming

This is about lifting weights, what I’ve been exploring in my program, how it’s paying off, and where I want to go next.


I’ve been lifting for hypertrophy; no more 5/3/1 (tho principles always remain, especially start light, progress slowly). It’s been about 3.5 months and 4 3-“week” mesos (I lift MWF). It’s basically an upper/lower A/B split. I started with a “powerbuilding” approach, trying to squat/bench and other heavy stuff for progressions.

In time I had to stop squatting because my current shoulder mobility makes it hard to get into position for back squatting and starts to put a lot of strain on my wrists, elbows, and shoulders – excruciating pain, which I’m not hip to dealing with again. So, more leg pressing.

I also found myself following Paul Carter’s stuff again, looking things like “effective reps” and keeping it to maybe 3×5-8 work.


Not squatting has been good for me. My body feels better: knees not so stiff, wrist/elbow/shoulder pain gone (well, the squat-induced pain; my left hand/wrist still has other issues, which are better but still present). Plus quads are getting bigger. I use the Cybex Plate Loaded Squat Press, which is awesome. On Lower A day, I put on my squat shoes (elevated heels), feet low on the plate, quad-bias. On Lower B, Chucks (flat sole), feet high, glute bias. Working up to something heavy, 8 reps RPE 9-10 sort of thing. I think I was getting to a point of too much heavy leg work because I was feeling it (stiff, achy, not fully recovering). I’ve started to cut back on the pure volume, as I don’t need as many warm-up sets now as I’m more in the groove of this movement. Slowly adding weight, just taking my time to work up into it – start light, progress slowly.

FWIW, I never thought much of the leg press. I always hated it. It was always a lesser/secondary to squatting. I do think the particular machine helps (vs. other styles of leg press machine), but it’s more having to make this a primary movement and working to wring out the most from it. It’s not an afterthought movement… I’m glad I’m coming to better appreciate the old leg press. It then touches on two things:

First, Paul Carter. While sometimes Paul’s online communication approach rubs me the wrong way, I’ve long appreciated his coaching and knowledge; his teaching is probably 2nd behind Wendler for me. His most recent thing is around “effective reps”. I’ve been exploring that, aiming for 5-8 rep sets to failure (or very close to it). Also, 3 minutes rest between sets. Pushing this hard has been… different. It’s taken a while to work up to where I am, and I’m still not feeling like I’m really pushing it… I’m getting there, but not there yet. And the results are so far solid.

I mean, I can feel more “boulder” with my biceps. I am quite aware of more pectoral, especially clavicular – thank you John Meadows 20º incline bench pressing. I can see my calves popping (both gastroc and soleus). Delts are getting wider. I’ve got hamstrings. Shit’s growing.

Second, less/reducing volume. I was doing more volume – in terms of simple sets & reps, and weight – because I know roughly how much stimulus I need to “stimulate, not annihilate”. Well, as things are getting heavier, as I push more towards true failure, I really need less “overall volume” in favor of “effective volume”. So I’m dropping some warm-up sets – it’s not much, but it all adds up (I don’t need those warm-ups, like going from incline benching to JM press, I was doing a few more warm-up/light sets to learn the movement, but I basically feel I have the groove so I just go right into the work sets).

Also, I’m still getting stronger – the one major indicator is my incline benching. I just did 265×3@8.5, which is all time PR. The fun thing about doing very different exercises (than SBD/P) is there’s all new PRs to set! Plus, I’m really trying to make the # on the bar be a secondary thought: not what I pursue, but a nice thing when it happens. Like to incline 300 will be pretty cool… give me a year, since I’m enjoying plodding along 5# per meso, and that will stall at some point (probably 280, based on how that 265 moved). Still, I’ll get there.

So getting bigger, getting stronger, and not feeling so beat up all the time. What’s not to like?


I’ve been debating if I should replace the Lower B leg press (high-feet, glute) with something like RDLs. It was the “too much” factor. But reducing some of the volume on leg pressing has helped. If I can continue to reduce that volume while still making gains, great. I may still switch, we’ll see. But I’m enjoying this leg pressing stuff so… we’ll see.

I do want to continue to reduce “volume” where I can.

I want to keep doing my “yoga”. That’s been not an everyday thing, but I am more sensitive to it and do these moves and stretches more often. I of course can still improve here. But no question this helps all the things.

But for the most part, I’m going to keep on. It’s pretty simple progression for the most part: 3×5-8@9-10 is the goal. Trying to do “as little as I can” in terms of volume, but pouring that much more into every single rep. It’s a slow progression for me, just keep adding weight & reps each session (e.g. 1 more pound, 1 more rep) and just keep pushing it. Over time, it’ll all catch up. Then I can reset, new exercises, etc. So just keep going until it’s time to not keep going.


This is been interesting. I’ve been tracking my intake (roughly) with Macrofactor. I’m not strictly following it, it’s more a visibility and accountability thing for me. The app has some good parts, but annoys me a bit too (speaking as an iOS developer for many years). Still, it’s helped me hone in on some things. I can validate that if I basically aim for 50g protein 4x/day and make sure I do that, I’ll be in good shape. Then eat the carbs and fat my body needs, don’t go overboard. And don’t snack or overdo it. That’s the big one that I’m struggling with as it’s massive habit to overcome. But I’m recognizing it and having more successes than before so… it’s coming along.

Really? I need to become comfortable with being hungry, both literally and figuratively. That will change everything. It’s slow progress, but that’s still progress.

Radio Daze : 6 – Q101 & Froggy99

If I was going to work in radio, I needed to work in radio. WXJM was cool, but it was college radio – I needed to move into commercial. Q101 was the big local station, whose format I’ve described as Top40 with Adult Contemporary leanings – the kind of thing you hear in a doctor’s waiting room, with Rick Dees every Sunday morning. I was John Williams, and often did the 12a-6a overnights and weekends. I was the FNG so I got the shit shifts. But I had a blast.

The format was fine. I got my dose of Celine Dion, developed an appreciation for Taylor Dayne, played Sophie B. Hawkins “Damn, I wish I was you lover” a lot, and that “I would walk 500 miles” song. “What Is Love” just… oh that song! Have I told you lately that I love you? It was prescribed – I had a list. I played was I was told… mostly. Occasionally timing changed and I’d get to pick my own song to fill, or maybe things go long and I cut. But for the most part, I just spun the CDs, loaded the commercial carts, gave a weather break.

Weather breaks. So we would do something like: “In Harrisonburg it’s 75º, Wayneboro 77º, Staunton 72º… it’s time to Come Undone with Duran Duran on the Q…!” <hit station ID jingle bumper> <spin Duran Duran>. Those temps? The station had a “weather station” on the building, so the Harrisonburg temp was the temp at the station. Then the other two were made up, always within a couple degrees. Seriously. I was told to do that (and so I did that). Yes, I was flabbergasted. I was there to gain experience, and experience I gained.

One year there was a nasty blizzard. There in The Shenandoah Valley, snowdrifts up to my waist, it was nasty. I had to get into the station so I could help run things – you kids and your cellular push notifications! I had to go out into the blizzard to get to the station… that was precarious in a 1983 Ford Escort hatchback. But people needed relief so in I went. I was reading all the closures, taking calls to learn about closures. If you wanted to know what was open or closed, you tuned into the radio. It was cool to be of service to the community, not just entertaining and advertising. It was cool to be a DJ.

But really, it was all about talking over that song intro and “hitting the post” of ending the talk right as the singing starts. Even today, when Kix’s “Girl Money” comes on, I have to intro it – it’s just that sort of song intro. Oh and… I refuse to “kick things off…”; that’s a tired segue.

Q101 had other interesting things too. You’d have regulars that would always listen, call you up. Some of them too young (I recall some dude got canned and maybe arrested over something with a young caller…). Some not so young… and while I had an opportunity, I didn’t do it. So she did another DJ. I know because I was doing my airshift and the other DJ came in to cut some commercials… but his sweats were stuck to his crotch, having just come from spending time with her. Good times.

John Williams was a hasty decision. I showed up for my first shift, introduced myself to the dude who was about to sign off and hand it over to me. He was getting ready to go into his last break, cocked his head back my way: “Kid, what’s your name?” Oh shit! I hadn’t thought of my on-air name! The first thing that came into my head? John Williams (I’m sure due to the composer). And it stuck. Not what I would have chosen if I had the opportunity to put thought into it, but I didn’t. And I don’t know what name I would have chosen, because I had chosen so it was an answered question.

The hot young afternoon drive-time DJ was Dennis Hughes. At the time he was also married to Libby Gardner, the pretty young anchor on the local news (Den-by? Lib-nis?). Dennis and I got to know each other. He told me he was in a rock-and-roll band, “In Debt”, he was the drummer. He invited me to come over and jam with them. I’ll have more to share in a later installment.

Dennis wanted to move up in radio too. He had topped out this market, so he went up the road to the Winchester, VA area and got a gig at Froggy99 (I think they were 50,000 watts). He had me come up too, getting occasional shifts. I forgot my name there… we all had frog names, like “Doc Hopper” or other frog puns to roll your eyes to. It was basically the same stuff, different call sign. One winter the roads weren’t good. I was riding with Dennis in his brand new Geo Tracker. We were heading up to Froggy99 to work, when the car hit a patch of ice, slid diagonally, ending when the driver’s side parallel collided with the guard rail and caromed off. We could keep driving, just a little shook up – the car not so much. And a pisser since it was brand spankin’ new.

I was working my way up in things. I was soon to graduate from JMU and figured the logical move was into a radio gig. I heard the money, I did the math… food OR rent. Not AND, but OR. That’s not going to work. So I panicked and decided to avoid the real world for another 2 years and went to grad school. That’s how I ended up at Texas A&M.

Me and Dennis. I have no radio station pics of us together (selfies weren’t quite a thing yet), so here’s one of us playing in our band, In Debt.

Radio Daze : 5 – Last Crack

Art. Some bands aren’t about sex, drugs, nor rock-and-roll. They’re about art.

I’d classify Last Crack – and their singer/frontman Buddo – as art.

Look at the cover for “Sinister Funkhouse #17”. Listen to the intro to “Kiss a the Cold”, but then also listen to the song itself. Last Crack is different, but pretty damn awesome. I remember getting a promo VHS from the record company that had video of him acting out the Kiss-a intro, in addition to other visual artistry.

My favorite song is an unusual one: “Mini Toboggan“. It’s a sweet story told through the innocent eyes of a child, sledding in the snow with “…2 brothers and a sister we… could… fly!” I find it an amazing and moving song, well-composed, telling a powerful story.

While they were on Roadrunner, I know they did a 7″ for Red Decibel for a song I think called “P.C.T.” (Pointy Cone Titty). I don’t have that record any more, and I only listened to it a couple times because I wanted to preserve the vinyl. 

I did get to see them live at The Bayou. IIRC I went with my friend, Wayne. I just remember the crowd being sparse. Buddo was wearing one of those kinda frilly pirate shirts (see Seinfeld). It was a cool show, shame for the small crowd.