The second episode of the Saturday Six Pack on AM 1700 was, by all accounts, a success. I was kind of dreading it going in, as I didn’t have much planned for the 7:00 hour, but, as is usually the case when you open yourself up to serendipity, everything just kind of unfolded in a naturally, beautiful, organic kind of way. If you have a chance, I’d recommend listening for yourself. The first hour is a pretty intense… a lot of local history, not all of it pleasant… but then things take a turn for the weird once I open the door and put out the word that I need help finishing the six pack. If you listened at home, or called in to talk with me, or stopped by to talk in person, thank you. You’ll find my rough notes below. If you feel like actually listening for yourself, though, you can do so here.
[If you liked that, just click here to listen to episode one and hear ho it all began.]
OK, first things first… For those of you keeping track at home, this week the beer of choice was Fat Tire by New Belgium Brewing, and it took us two hours, six minutes, and thirty-seven seconds to finish all six off.
Now, here are my notes, for those of you who refuse to hit the button above and listen for yourselves. [images courtesy Kate de Fuccio]
We started the show with a theme composed by my old friend Dave Miller, who now lives in Portland. I didn’t listen to the track in advance, as I’d wanted to be surprised… and I was. Dave, who also happens to be in my one-day-a-year band, The Monkey Power Trio, had created a disturbing soundscape featuring the sounds of babies crying, and children screaming, under audio of me mumbling and sluring lyrics which, for obvious reasons, never made it onto Monkey Power records. Dave called in after we played the theme to talk about it. He said he’d been imagining it as the track that would accompany a memorial slide show at my funeral. He then told us that he was talking to us from the side of the road somewhere in Portland, delaying his daughter’s arrival at her fifth birthday party. You can hear the track here, if you like.
Right after Dave’s daughter asked him to stop talking on the phone, and take her to the party, I introduced our first guest, local historian Matthew Siegfried, who I’ve interviewed here on the blog before about Ypsilanti’s Native American past and the lives of former slaves in Ypsilanti. Our discussion, in part because of the calls that we were fielding, was kind of all over the place. From the University of Michigan’s questionable past with regard to Native Americans, to the lives of the “factory girls” who worked in Ypsilanti’s mills before the turn of the century, we really jumped around. One minute, we’d be talking about the Henry Ford’s enforcer, Harry Bennett, and the next we’d be talking about the life and times of escaped slave turned university president, HP Jacobs. (And, by the way, I was completely serious when I said that I wanted to raise money for a historic marker for Jacobs in Ypsilanti.) We talked trade unions, strikes, historic incidences of sexual harassment, and black communists in Ypsilanti’s past. We also talked a good long while about how the landscape we still see around us today was dictated by the all-controling, crypto-fascist Henry Ford. It’s all good stuff, and I’d encourage you to listen to the first hour if any of this sounds even remotely interesting to you. Here’s Matt talking about how he’d like to vandalize every statue of Henry Ford that exists, by adding true facts about the man.
Peter Larson of Bulb Records fame, who’s probably our only listener in Kenya, wrote a special song for this episode of the Saturday Six Pack and sent it in. The more I listen to it, the more lovely I think it is. Listen for yourself…
[And now I’m thinking about asking other bands to write songs specifically for the show. That’s a good idea, right?]
The rest of the show is a blur. Things just started happening. It was like I was caught in an undertow. I remember there being a call from a guy who said that he was in bed. He said that the Saturday Six Pack was the best show on the radio, and, to prove it, he began turning the dial of his radio, so that we could hear what a lot of other stations were playing at that very minute. It was pretty persuasive evidence. Another guy called in to say that he’d been talking with me in his dreams. I asked him to come and visit me in the real world, and, a few minutes later, there he was at the door. And he’d come with a gift – a copy of his zine, Ypsi Underground, which we spent a while talking about. Here he is. His name is Colin Moorhouse.
At some point there was a lull, and I said something to the effect of, “I’m going to need help finishing this six pack.” A minute or two later, I saw a man that I hadn’t seen for a few years approaching the door from the darkness. As I don’t think he lives in Ypsi, he must have been sitting outside somewhere, listening to the show in a car or something. He sat down, I handed him a beer, and we talked about being duped by John Edwards. Not too long after afterward, a family of four would come in, bringing us sweet potato fries from Red Rock. The father of the family, Ann Arbor-based photographer Peter Smith, told us that it was his wife’s birthday, so they’d chosen to celebrate at a restaurant close to the radio station, which is really surreal to me… the thought that our little show is actually driving commerce in Ypsilanti. Who would have thought?
There was lots of other stuff, but I don’t think I’ll give it all away here. I’ll just leave you with this photo of me, once again smiling uncharacteristically.
Lastly, I’d like to thank AM 1700 owner Brian Robb for opening the station to me and allowing the weirdness to flow through it… and, of course, for playing the Flaming Groovies when I needed a bathroom break. If you get a chance, like AM 1700 on Facebook. I know that would make him happy. And he deserves to be happy.