To all the fine people at WKLH and OnMilwaukee.com that suggested I write a blog, I would like to respectfully say, "What, are you nuts??"
Sure, I am flattered. But I have a pretty intense full-time career in commercial real estate at CB Richard Ellis. I also do six fact-filled radio shows a week on 'KLH. And in between I work out every other day, have a son, take care of a needy house, serve on some charitable boards, go to Brewers, Bucks and Packers games, stay on top of all the shows I DVR, attempt to obtain actual human contact in an ongoing search for a non-ex-wife, and get a little bit of sleep here and there.
So, why not add a blog?
One of the things I find myself saying a lot lately, as people ask about the ongoing technological advances in media, is that I have stupidly found a way to have technology make my life harder. If I can use technology to download a sound clip I would like to add to a broadcast, maybe I can then find five of them. And of course, one will be impossible to easily find and then I won't give up until I waste an hour locating it.
But there are some things that I totally embrace. Texting, for example. I love it. No long phone calls or awkward tangents. And since I figured my texts are so awesomely clever, why wouldn't everyone want to read them. Until I realized they aren't and I elected not to Twitter. But I do read everyone else's.
Then there is Facebook. I hate to burst the bubble of one person at WKLH and the eight of the station's 25,000 friends that actually take interest in something I post ... but it is not me. I won't go on Facebook. Someone else does it for me.
Again, I love to voyeuristically look at what other people are saying. But I am to Facebook what Colonel Parker was to Elvis.
Did you ever ask yourself why Elvis, the most popular money making machine in an entire decade ... managed by a guy who obviously could care less about artistic credibility ("Clambake," "Viva La Crosse" and few other awful movies) ... would never let E go overseas? Did you know that? Never did a tour in another country. Do you really think the 1958 Sturgeon Bay Booyah Boil would bring in the kind of merchandise sales that one concert in London would garner?
The story is that Elvis' manager, the aforementioned Colonel (and I bet the neighbor on "Mr. Ed" was a more likely Colonel) was either wanted all over the world or had a fake identity and couldn't possibly go overseas. That is why Elvis never toured outside the U.S.
Oh yeah ... me and Facebook? Like Private Parker, I have too many skeletons to solicit the attention of people who have forgotten how many mistakes I have made. That, and the fact that I can't say no. From what I understand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might invite me to be his buddy.
The one thing I like even more than the efficiency of texting, is the intimacy of e-mail. Next to the iPod and the Victoria's Secret retail store (where I can stand around acting like I am bored, annoyed and can't wait to get out while I am enjoying every minute of it), it is the best invention ever.
Here is one example ... Rendezvous. Some of the best ribs in Memphis. Endorsed by the Rolling Stones and many other rock stars that go through that city. I suspect if Keith Richards and Ron Wood and Mick Jagger visited there more often, you wouldn't see their ribs. I can go on their Web site, e-mail an order of ribs to be delivered the next day, (no charge on weekdays), have the UPS guy leave them at my front door, come home late, throw them in the oven, eat 'em AND never have to talk to anyone (while I listen to myself talk on the radio during the 3 a.m. red eye replay of Legends of Rock on WKLH).
Lest you think I don't like to interact with people, please don't get me wrong. I just don't like the phone (and the crazed former girlfriend now in prison in Utah with Internet access that soured me on Facebook). But e-mail is AWESOME. I return every one I get. So, as you may remember I can't say no, when I acquiesced to this blog I had to figure out how to do it in a way that I would both enjoy and embrace. Then it hit me. I answer every e-mail anyway, so why not share them with you.
Music questions, business questions, rib questions, comments, advice, confessions and anything in between is fair game. Hit me with whatever is on your mind at email@example.com, and this can be a lazy man's reactive blog.
So let's start with something that insures we don't set the bar too high. A question I can't answer ...
Hey Steve, I am hoping you can help me with something that has been driving me nuts. In the movie "Caddyshack" there is a scene where Chevy Chase is singing and playing the keyboards. The lyrics go something like, "I was born to love you ... I was born to lick your face ... I was born to love you ... but you were born to rub me first" or something like that. Any way you can tell me what song this was based on? I heard a song on the radio Sunday that I thought for sure was the origin of the lyrics he sang in that scene. At this point I am wondering if such a song exists? My co-workers think I am crazy but I know what I heard. I figure if anybody can get to the bottom of this it would be you. Thanks, Kyle
Kyle, I, like most males of our species, share your recognition of the importance of understanding every scene in the textbook for life also known as "Caddyshack." I gotta say you have stumped me. I know that the hot girl's name in the movie is Lacy Underall, the gopher sound is actually a dolphin, and that as a lifelong Milwaukeean I am proud of the brief appearance that Milorganite makes in the movie. But I guess I just always assumed that the song was just Ty being Ty.
Hey, Steve! You simply have one of the best radio shows on Sunday mornings in this entire province. I like the wide array of artists you pay special tribute to each week, but yours truly would genuinely appreciate special attention to the importance of The Byrds and their solo ventures -- particularly those of (Roger) McGuinn and the late, completely underrated Gene Clark. These guys contributed so much to the music we hear these days on your station and beyond that, it's just a crime for them to go on unheralded in the annals of rock history. One listen, and anybody can appreciate these guys, either collectively or solo-wise. I would appreciate your looking into these guys, because it's a lot of (though not all of it) fabulous stuff. Totally huge Byrds nut -- especially Gene Clark. -- Lisa
Lisa, beyond the fact that I know Gene was the third of 13 children, I am not familiar with his work. Just kidding. The Byrds were really an important link to the infancy of rock music to the sophistication that we take for granted. Did you know that Roger McGuinn of the Byrds was exchanging tapes with George Harrison of The Beatles, giving each a preview of how they were growing musically? That was in the day when tapes were tape and they had to actually be mailed. In fact, they even had to call it Air Mail if your friendly neighborhood mail carrier couldn't walk it to you.
Most of the British invasion was based on American R&B records that came in to ports in Great Britain. Then later, the 70's British rockers like Clapton and Zeppelin were taking American Blues and speeding it up. But the Byrds were giving birth to country rock. I once did a show in Cedarburg with Roger McGuinn and John Sebastian. I was asked to come on stage first and let the crowd know a little about them. I met Roger and told him how much I admired his work, his efforts testifying in congress trying to get song royalties in the hands of the artists who write them, and how important I thought the work of The Bryds was in the '60s to influence the fusion of country into rock music. I told him that is what I wanted to say and he gave me his blessings. Then I talked to John and relayed to him that I wanted to point out that while Roger was doing his fine work on the west coast, on the east side of the USA John and his band The Loving Spoonful were crafting folk sensibilities onto pertinent sounds.
From his appearance at Woodstock to his proximity to Dylan, songs like "Summer In The City" gave us the understanding that folk wasn't limited to Michael rowing his boat to shore. John, as nice as he was, I think was a little gun-shy about DJs referencing "Welcome Back Kotter" ... and he politely said, "Hey, could you just say ladies and gentleman, John Sebastian?" Oh great.
Well, I wasn't willing to give up my McGuinn soliloquy, so I got out there, talked about how great The Byrds were, and then said, "here's John Sebastian." Later people asked me if I liked the Byrds that much or didn't like John? I always liked The Byrds and the late Gene Clark wrote most of those great songs.
Two responses came back, including one janitor position. Steve took the other: the opportunity to hang out at WUWM.
After that, he worked at WAUK, then WQFM, then WZUU, then back to WQFM ... and finally worked afternoons at WKLH for a little while.
"I gave up Eddie Money to earn money in 1986," says Steve, who eventually entered the world of commercial real estate.
"But 23 years ago WKLH offered me the chance to wake up early every Sunday morning," he says. "I mean every Sunday morning. I mean like 5:30 am. I mean no matter what I did on Saturday night. Live every Sunday morning. I love it."