Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I have something I must highly recommend to y'all: the Sunday night radio program (on 92 KQ in MPLS) “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.” I finally started listening to it and I couldn’t be happier on a Sunday night; it kinda changed my disposition on life—heading into Monday morning. Yes, Little Steven happens to be the long-time (actual, yes, really) best friend of Bruce Springsteen since they were 14 years old. Others of you might simply know him as the comical, wonderful guitarist in one the world’s greatest bands: The E Street Band. Still others might (sadly) only know him as Silvio from “The Sopranos.” Truth is, he’s all of those things and also a huge, shameless, Matt Pinfield-like musichead. Total nerd for facts and stats when it comes to all rock ‘n’ roll—but especially garage rock, the Nuggets variety. And that, my dears, is what the show is all about.
The first time I heard it he played some Runaways’ song—something I’d never heard, certainly not “Cherry Bomb”, know what I’m sayin’? One of the best things about listening to him—he’s all alone, and that’s extra cool--- is his hilarious, thick, Joisey accent and his slight speech impediment. It’s really only slightly less severe than Silvio. That night I tuned the first thing I hear after the Runaway’s rocker is: “ ‘Jett’ was actually not totally made up, it was her mother’s maiden name—how cool is that….The Runaways—actually the fourth all female rock group [????!?!??!?] of all time (after the Quatros…)[he goes on, I don’t even friggin’ know!] They we’re really starting to take off, but they were still seen only as a gimmick in the U.S….why? [he pauses]..uh, because we’re idiots, I guess.”
Last night, the first thing I hear is the orginal, the best song about prison (not including “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke, of course) “Jailhouse Rock.” After it, Lil’ Steven’s voice comes on in, “Not *all* of Elvis’ movies sucked.” He then launches into this incredibly detailed, funny story about Colonel Parker never reading scripts and how it bit him in the ass with this one. As well as a fantastic bit about “inexperienced, young punks they didn’t have to pay much to write the music” who turn out to be one of “the most successful music writing team in rock and roll history”: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
But the best thing about last night was this precious, nostolgic, but not sappy story about transister radios (“a vast improvement over the iPod [all fakey hoightly toighty], the transisiter radio had only one ear piece, so you could only hear it in mono—[he empahtically repeats] a vast improvement.”) He also includes this highly articulate description of how “rebellious” of an act it was to listen to it under your covers when you should be asleep. One night the 13-year-old Steven shared,with his 6-year-old brother, an experience he would remember for the rest of his life. “We heard something so compelling, so different, so strange, so wonderful [he goes on, really great, I don’t remember it all] all my little brother and I could do was..just laugh.”
In kicks in “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” by that lil’ British underground garage group, The Beatles.