So Long, Dave


Back when I used to more regularly add stuff to RW370, one of my favorite things to add was YouTube clips of Letterman in the ’80s, under a category named “NBC Letterman”. Tonight is Dave’s last show, so I feel practically obligated: here’s a pointer to the category.


Letterman’s show was the first of a kind of self-aware TV presentation that highlighted the absurdity of the TV medium, producing great laughs – and great tension. Unlike his talk show hero Johnny Carson, little more than a square showbiz MC with a few dumb affectations, Dave could and would drive the show to places that invited equal parts delight and terror. Like Ernie Kovacs, he used everything at his disposal: cameras, remotes, stage play, stunts, animals, as well as a booking and musical sensibility that nobody in network TV could touch. Watching in its earliest days, as a Chicago high school student and punk rocker, a nightly show that managed to confound and bewilder my own sensibilities was something very rare, and treasured more greatly as the years go on.

John Hoolihan, a guy who talks into a microphone, speaking of Dave nicely summed up the show’s genius as “putting a guy who hated talking to people in the role of talk show host”.  Ding.



It’s Not Pronounced Keev, Senator


The above clip shows Sen. Christopher Murphy on the floor of the Senate debating intervention in Ukraine, mispronouncing the name of the capital city of Kiev.

You know, I wouldn’t mention this if it wasn’t the second time I’ve witnessed an elected official cluelessly mangle the simple pronunciation of the same critically important city in Europe. And given that this week’s events have turned Kiev a potential tinderbox for a monumentally ugly war between pro- and anti-Russian Ukrainians (to say nothing of a possible NATO throwdown), don’t you think it’s worth a review of how to pronounce the name of the place?  If for no other reason so that we don’t sound like complete bumpkins when we discuss the handbasket in which we are heading merrily to hell?

This time around, (I’ll mention the other time in a minute) the pronunciation offender is Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT). A far less reactionary and bloodthirsty type than his predecessor Joe Lieberman, Murphy nonetheless did little today to counter the image of the untraveled dullard the rest of the world fairly projects onto Americans. During Senate debate on intervention, he pretty much announced that he doesn’t get out much:

Senator, the capital of Ukraine is Kiev, which is pronounced exactly how it looks if you’ve actually read or heard Slavic, Ukrainian or Russian names.

It sounds like this: key-EV.  Say it.  It’s easy.


It does not rhyme with “beave” or “Steve”.

Why this name is difficult for our elected officials to master, I cannot imagine, but it is. I first learned how difficult while attending a 2010 event at Chicago’s Chopin Theatre held to showcase potential candidates for Mayor of Chicago.  In attendance was Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL). The stentorian-voiced Congressman Davis had considered a run for Mayor for a mere 72 hours — just about long enough to  enjoy the buffet at the event.  In particular, borscht served that night reminded him, he said, of a recent trip to Kiev, a trip he described in loving detail..

Only he didn’t pronounce it key-EV.  He pronounced it kive.  Rhyming with chive or clive.

If you’ve ever heard Danny Davis speak, then you know he has what radio and voiceover professionals call pipes. His voice is a James Earl Jones-caliber vessel of pure gravitas.  You just don’t care what he mispronounces when he uses that voice.

But today might lead to a vote on sending US carriers into the Black Sea or drones to Poland or god knows what else Lindsey Graham is howling for from his plastic army man play table. This is important.  And Chris Murphy’s no Danny Davis.


Jon Solomon’s Holiday Marathon Broadcast 25th Anniversary #wprbxmas


At around the 23rd hour, fatigue can make you wander into a field.

At 4PM CST, WPRB’s musicologist extraordinaire Jon Solomon will take the mike again…and not let go until a full 25 hours of holiday tunes and stories hit the air right along with a certain Mr. Kringle. It takes industrial-strength merriment and a music library of astonishing depth to pull this marathon off each season — but this year it takes even more. It’s the 25th anniversary of the usually 24-hour Marathon, and that means Jon is devoting an extra 25th hour to the twin foundations of the holiday season: sleep deprivation and nervous exhaustion. Do not miss.



Twist Again (And Again And Again And Again)

Just in case anybody was laboring under the mistaken belief that rap music invented or was first to lionize the blatant, direct repackaging of musical material, enjoy the following screenshot from my digital music collection in its Duane Eddy section.

The million-selling twang guitarist’s 1962 record “Twistin’ With Duane Eddy”, itself an echo of the 1960 Chubby Checker hit, inspired Duane and his handlers to produce many more market-squeezing twist-themed also-ran tracks, not even all of which are in this collection.  Nonetheless, the long string of lame twists-on-the-twist titles is impressive.

Also funny: whoever assembled the running order must have had a sense of humor, as the theme is brought, at track 11, to an abrupt end, Wil E. Coyote style.



The Jesus Lizard Book: Now Shipping


Shipping now from Akashic Books: The Jesus Lizard “Book”, a biography of Chicago’s greatest postpunk band, suitable for coffee tables everywhere.  Included is a section I wrote on the band’s early days at a show at the original Behind The Lookingglass space on South Michigan Avenue.  Also included are contributions from Greg Dunlap, Doug McCombs, Steve Albini, Andy Gill, Mike Watt, Bob Nastanovich, Alexander Hacke, Steve Gullick, Rebecca Gates, Hank Williams III, Sasha Frere-Jones, and the incomparable Bernie Bahrmasel.


San Andreas Fault Onstage At Redmoon’s Winter Pageant


Sold Out Opening Night at Redmoon’s 2013 Winter Pageant. Photo: Al Zayed

Last night was opening night for Redmoon Theater’s 2013 Winter Pageant. I wrote the original music for this indescribable show and my surf-noir band San Andreas Fault performs on stage as the proceedings unfold.   Dozens of dancers, improbable and massive machinery, mind-roasting visual spectacle, mythmaking and birds.  Oh man. The birds.

Opening night sold out; only nine shows left over two weekends.

Hats off to my brothers in the Fault, without whose power and commitment none of this music happens. Thymme Jones, John Cwiok and original gangsta Pete Muschong: thank you.


Radkey: Romance Dawn

What is it about siblings in rock bands?  There’s something musically cool and unified that I’ve never been able to put my finger on about the work of people who undertake rock music having come from the same parents.  Is it an upbringing steeped in a common record collection and listening habits?  Is it physiological?  Do the tendons and muscles and structures of the limbs or bodies of siblings allow for highly similar attacks/approaches on instruments or for highly similar / complementary mechanical understandings of rhythm?

I don’t know.  But ever since DEVO, I’ve noticed this.  Scott and Ron Asheton in the Stooges, too, plus the Youngs in AC/DC. Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson.  The Butler brothers in the Psychedelic Furs. The effect even shows up in not-that-great bands such as those Italian dudes whose names I forget from Stone Temple Pilots.

There’s an unmistakeable unity to the sound, almost as if one consciousness was driving two bodies. All the more remarkable in an era when we’re lucky if any single body gets an entire consciousness to itself.

So now, from the metro St. Louis area comes the pretty great Radkey, three brothers clustered around a flavor of rock that recalls in this reporter the eternal shout-alongs of The Misfits and Naked Raygun. Brought to my attention when guitarist and bandmate in San Andreas Fault Pete Machine passed it along after his bandmate, Scott Lucas (Local H, Married Men) encountered Radkey on the road during a recent Local H tour.   They’ve got that one-voice-many-limbed thing going on.



rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on Twitter

Rob at Huffington Post

Rob on Chicago White Sox Baseball

Rob on Chicago foibles at True/Slant

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende
August 2016
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