BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE REUNION SHOW
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2013 (aka LATE SUNDAY NIGHT)
MIDNIGHT TO 2AM
WCSB 89.3 FM
If you’re not from Cleveland and the title of this post does not immediately jump out at you, you may be wondering what kind of reunion this is and what all my excitement is about. First off, no- it’s nothing related to Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s concept album called “Blows Against The Empire”. Instead, it’s an upcoming one-off reunion show for one of THE best college radio shows from the great and fertile college radio landscape of 1980’s Cleveland.
Blows Against The Empire (BATE) played punk and hardcore and was a weekly, 2 1/2 hour show on WSCB out of Cleveland State University that was hosted by then-students Matt Dudas and Mike Kole. It originally aired between late 1987 and late 1989, mostly on Wednesday afternoons between 3 and 5:30 pm. For me, the show was very formative in helping me develop my taste for punk and sparked a passion for punk that continues to this day, 25 years later. I was wrapping up high school at the time and Blows was THE FIRST place I heard Black Flag, Bad Brains, Germs, Misfits, Subhumans, Sham 69, Social Distortion, you name it. But beyond the music, Matt and Mike were awesome hosts who had great camaraderie between them and engaged in some great, fun shenanigans when they weren’t playing music during the show. Their show inspired me to march into my campus radio station my first week of college in August of 1989 and get my own punk/HC show that I had for nearly 4 years.
Anyway, as I mentioned above the Blows reunion is going to air on Sunday night/Monday morning September 2nd between midnight and 2 am during Keith Newman’s Scruggscorp Radio time slot. Of course, you can stream WCSB through iTunes (go to “Radio”, then “College/University”, then search for “WCSB 89.3 FM”); Windows Media Player; or RealPlayer, if you’re not in Cleveland to listen live on yer radio.
Here is the very cool, minute long promo that was just put together specifically for this reunion show- I really dig the vintage soundbites from old Blows shows scattered throughout it, brings back lots of great memories for me:
For all these years I thought that this was just some random picture Matt and Mike
cut out of a ‘zine of a punk with spiked-up hair. However, Mike (who I happened
upon online earlier this year) said that this is actually his Blows co-host Matt
and that the picture was taken in London at Battersea Park, which I am told is the
park where Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols hung around in while they
were growing up.
As I said above, Blows Against The Empire was formative for me as I got more and more into punk. I first started listening to punk in ’87, thanks to old messy newsprint days of Thrasher mag but I only dabbled in it. Once I discovered Blows my mind was like a sponge that soaked up everything they played; it was all new to me at the time. I remember them playing the first Misfits EP on the show and I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Same for Side 1 of the 7 Seconds Committed For Life EP. And it just mushroomed from there. See, I didn’t have a lot of money to buy records so I relied on the Blows radio show to be my record store. My job in high school was a Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper route and, well, profits weren’t stellar from that so I didn’t have much disposable income. My Dad worked in a factory so I didn’t exactly have a trust fund to pull from either ya hear.
Speaking of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, that is how I first heard the radio show. I’d get up at 5 am every morning to deliver papers and I’d be done by about 5:45. One morning in the Fall of 1987 I got home about 5:45 am and turned on the trusty grey boombox I had in my room. I happened to tune the radio to 89.3 FM WCSB and heard some punk playing. Cool, I thought, I get to hear this new kind of music I like even early in the morning! At the end of the set, the DJ announced that their show was moving from this early morning slot to Wednesday afternoons at 3. It turns out that DJ was Matt Dudas and the show I happened on a whim to hear about was Blows Against The Empire. Fate perhaps? Had I not turned on the radio that morning who knows how long it would have taken me to hear through the grapevine about Blows. No one in my burg listened to punk, everyone was into Metallica and had the Master of Puppets patch on the back of their jean jackets to match. So I definitely wasn’t going to hear it about from them. No one at high school was going to tell me about Blows either, since I wasn’t “in” with the punk kids and definitely not the skate punk kids. I guess I looked too normal and they probably didn’t believe I was into both punk and skating. Oh, the injustice of high school! LOL
So here was my routine, especially during my senior year of high school in ’88-’89. I did not participate in any extracurricular stuff so as soon as school let out on Wednesdays I’d hop on the RTA #23 bus to get home (no driver’s license yet, and even if I did, I surely was not going to be able to get a car). I’d probably get home about 3:15 or so and immediately turn on the trusty grey beast of a boombox. The boombox was already pre-tuned to 89.3 of course. I’d miss the first 15 or so minutes since it started at 3 but then I’d listen through the rest of the show until they went off the air at 5:30. I’d have a tape in the cassette deck ready to tape anything I especially dug by having Record and Pause depressed at the same time. My one regret is that I didn’t tape more complete Blows shows for posterity’s sake. But who was thinking of that back then?! Plus I didn’t have a lot of blank cassette tapes, I used to re-purpose old Cure and Def Leppard cassettes that I had laying around. But to tape a whole 2 1/2 hour show, each week, would have gotten expensive since cassettes were either 60 or 90 minutes. Luckily I taped select portions of some great shows they aired in ’88 and ’89, like the “12 Days of Hardcore Christmas” show from December of ’88 and the “Misfits Blitz” show from June of ’89. Plus former Blows DJ Mike has hooked me up big time this year with digital rips of some old shows he had thankfully taped back then. Listening to these old shows really takes me back 25 years ago, to sitting in my bedroom listening to Blows on the old boombox while either paging through the latest issue of Thrasher magazine or fine-tuning the bolts or trucks on my old Dogtown Eric Dressen Street board (the one with the cross drawing on it).
TO BE CONTINUED…