Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Your mother should know…

Among the readers of this blog, you will find an attorney, an artist, an economist, a surfer, a teacher, a karate instructor and an engineer.

You will also find my mother.

And mom has a history of adding value when she comes around. For example, in 1990 I started a radio program in Memphis. The station played old-school country music during the daytime hours and then I came on at dinner time and started spinning Dinosaur Jr, The Cure, Jane’s Addiction and the like.

I worked from 6pm to 3am seven nights per week.

The country people hated me. I occasionally received threats over the phone although they were all just blustery intimidation. Still, try walking out to a dark parking lot at 3:15am all alone after taking a call from a guy who was reading the studio address from a phone book. That happened at least a half-dozen times. I took to parking my car flush against the back door of the studio just to facilitate a quick getaway.

But it wasn’t all paranoia and black coffee. I actually developed a small but loyal following – especially among the alienated high-school types. Most calls I took were enthusiastic and I even got fan mail. I introduced and emceed a few rock shows in town and got to hang out with luminaries like the guys from Reverend Horton Heat’s band and School of Fish . The Hoodoo Gurus actually kicked me out of their dressing room!

So there were lots of upsides.

The most popular thing I ever did was interview my mother on the air after she had breakfast with Eric Avery, the bass player from Jane’s Addiction. It’s true. Let me set the stage…

Picture a classic New England town – wait, I’ll get even more specific. Picture the town from the movie The Witches of Eastwick. That movie was filmed in my home town. A pristine, coastal New England village with a white church on the town common. We lived across the street from that church in a house built in 1750.

This is the actual place I'm trying to describe. Is it any wonder that the producers of The Witches of Eastwick found this to be the "perfect, typical, charming New England town"?

My parent’s neighbors had a daughter who worked on the Lollapalooza tour in some capacity and when the tour was in town, she took Avery to her parent’s house for a home cooked meal and, as it turns out, breakfast at my parent’s house.

So there’s my mom, sitting by herself having a quiet breakfast on the back patio – probably some juice, toast, maybe some cantaloupe – with the dogwood tree in full bloom when this guy peaks over the white picket fence:

My mom’s interview about that breakfast was the most talked-about thing that I ever did on the radio.

So you can see, having my mom around has its benefits.

And that’s why I panicked when she told me that she listened to the first 5 or 10 minutes of Dan Carlin’s Punic Nightmares podcast (from my October 16 post) and that she couldn’t stand it.

“He sounded like the worst history professor I ever had. Boring and slow and dull.”


Slow and dull? That was the opposite of my impression. And I was so…forceful about that recommendation. What have I done to my readers?

What have I done to my cred?? !!

But upon further review, I’m going to stick with the recommendation.

The thing is, mom doesn’t have an iPod (mental note – iPod for birthday present) and she was sitting at her desk, listening and, well, just sitting.

Also, I could see her point for the first ten or fifteen minutes. It does start slowly. The host, Dan Carlin, is speaking in a kind of deliberate way at the beginning. But I think that’s intentional, his way of building suspense and working up to a crescendo.

If I can get mom to listen while she walks the dog or drives somewhere, I think she’ll get caught up in the story. If I can get her to give it 15 or 20 minutes in the right environment I still think it will pay off for her.

I also spoke to Bob, my history-major friend and drummer and while he hasn’t yet listened to the particular episodes I recommended, he is familiar with the Hardcore History podcast and he’s a big fan.

So while mom’s opinion matters, I’m going to stand firm on the recommendation. Get out there and give a shot. I would love to read your comments when you do.


molly said...

dont you wish you had tapes of the old show?
or, do you?

Tim Foil said...

Molly, I have some old tapes in a shoebox somewhere but sadly the interview with my mom is lost to time.