Liveblogging! “It’s Too Damn Early,” 10/30/10

I’m highlighting some Eddie the Rat albums today. If you missed it, I posted a live phone-in set of Eddie the Rat bandleader Pete Martin the other morning, right here on The Blogapus. I’ll be playing a lot of other cool stuff as well, so let’s see where today’s show takes us!

Sounds like Halloween came early! If there’s a more frightening song played on Halloween than Univers Zero’s “La Faulx,” I’ll be surprised.

Blue Sausage Infant — Gezundheit! (from “Flight of the Solstice Queens,” on Zeromoon)

Dr. Mint — Duel in the Deep (from “Visions and Nightmares,” on pfMentum)
Eddie the Rat — March of the Haydevil (Don’t Apologize for Universal Law pt.2) [from “Out Behind the 8-Ball,” on Edgetone)
Eddie the Rat — Slither At the Stem
Eddie the Rat — Dance of the Puzzle Pieces
Eddie the Rat — Farewell to Edgar
T.D. Skatchit & Company — Carnival of Skatch (from the Edgetone release “T.D. Skatchit & Company”)
T.D. Skatchit & Company — From Beyond
T.D. Skatchit & Company — Popcorn Skatch
T.D. Skatchit & Company –Gargoyle

Eddie the Rat — Anamnesis #1 (from “Once Around the Butterfly Bush,” on Edgetone)
Eddie the Rat — Mu (Unask the Question)
Eddie the Rat — Dim
PAS — Song for Deep Bass (from “The Lyre Speaketh”)
Univers Zero — La Faulx (from the remastered “Heresie,” on Cuneiform)

Univers Zero — Jack the Ripper
Eddie the Rat — Cannibal (from “Food For the Moon Too Soon,” on Edgetone)
Eddie the Rat — I Ovulate In Mode
Eddie the Rat — Spiritual Amnesia
Eddie the Rat — Food for the Moon Too Soon Pt.2
The Telescopes — The Hypnotic Pulse of the Motor Driven (from “#4,” on Antenna Records)
The Telescopes — Link #1


Coming up on the Galaxy for midnight, 10/31 (or 11/1, if you look at it that way)

The Ninety-Five Theses of German monk Martin L...

A print of Luther's 95 Theses (Image via Wikipedia)

Coming up this weekend, we will be observing a special holiday.  No, not Halloween, although the observance does fall on October 31st.  Not All Saints Day, either, although in fact history suggests to us that this occasion happened in part because of its proximity to All Saints Day.  We will be celebrating the October 31st anniversary of Reformation Day, the day in 1517 in which Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Of course, Martin Luther was not only a priest and professor of Theology, but he was also a prolific songwriter.  Just as the Reformation changed the course of world history (and helped spur the development of America as the bastion of religious freedom that we know it to be), Martin Luther’s post-Reformation hymns also sparked a musical revolution, completely altering the structure, development and usage of liturgical music.  Luther’s numerous hymns became a major inspiration to the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote a number of arrangements of Lutheran songs, and whose compositional advances served as a key influence on the development of music in the Western World.  Many of Luther’s songs are still sung in churches around the world (surely you’ve heard of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”).

Certainly such an auspicious occasion like this demands some sort of appropriate observance.  We shall do so Sunday night, at midnight, on The Galaxy, on WDBX.  91.1FM.  Community Radio for Southern Illinois.

The Galaxy – October 25th, 2010 (catching up on my most recent show)

Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich (Russian: Дмит...

Image via Wikipedia

There is an undercurrent flowing through certain circles in American society, a sort of backlash against what some consider to be a sense of elitism.  This has lately taken the form of questioning the value of higher education.  “What purpose does it serve,, some ask, “when I be just as smart without a diploma?”  That debate came to my mind Sunday night as we were listening to a wonderful piece by Dimitri Shostakovich, his String Quartet No. 3 in F Major (Op. 73), written in 1946.

Shostakovich’s story is an interesting one, as he was continually vilified and attacked by Josef Stalin and his “apparatchiks” off and on throughout his career for the manner in which he wrote his music.  Socialist composers were supposed to write music that was deemed to be universally acceptable.  Soviet composers such as Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian were to write works for massed choirs, operas on revolutionary subjects with happy endings, instrumental pieces with an implicit socialist agenda (similar attitudes were held in Nazi Germany).  Abstraction was discouraged, as was dissonance.  Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony in E Flat Major (Op. 70) was actually censured by the Soviet authorities for its “ideological weakness”, and eventually banned in 1948 (it was removed from the banned works list in 1955, following Stalin’s death).

The String Quartet No. 3 essentially serves as a response by Shostakovich to the reception of the Ninth Symphony.  Shostakovich essentially used his string quartets as a place to pour out his feelings, things that he was forced to repress when writing his symphonies.  Whereas he was often accused of “formalism”, in his string quartets he felt free to utilize various traditional classical forms – and to stretch them out, revise them, bend them to his will.  He does all of these things in this wonderful string quartet – in the space of 5 movements, we hear whimsy, unrest, agitation, sadness and mourning, all within a space of under 30 minutes.  Shostakovich playfully utilizes various traditional classical music forms (a fugal developmental form in the First movement, a Passacaglia used as the basis for the morose Fourth movement, the Fifth movement cast in the form of a Rondo), while at the same time discarding the traditional four movement format of standard string quartets for five movements.

The result is an absolutely wonderful piece of music that clearly defies Soviet attempts to define artistic endeavors in their own limited, Socialist terms.  It too was denounced, like his other works, and some critics even accused Shostakovich of hiding coded subversive messages in it.  But in this brilliant piece of musical expression, Shostakovich created something beautiful, a work of art that has managed to withstand the test of time.  This task is something that his Soviet critics were themselves unable to match.

Now, the question may have come to mind, “Why does Doug associate this piece of classical music, a product of the Soviet Union, with a modern debate being waged on modern American soil?”  The fact is that the sort of persecution endured by Shostakovich and Prokofiev is just part of a pattern of persecution that one can find in the history of Nazi Germany, and in the People’s Republic of China.  The overt subjects of this persecution may be artists and intellectuals, but the real target is education.  Former Southern Illinois University chancellor Walter Wendler said it very well in a blog posting dated Thursday:

“[Martin Luther’s] idea — squeezed out of his faith and insight — to create an appropriate sense of self- determination was more basic than had been previously known.

This is without qualification the work of the university – allowing lives to be defined by aspiration and passion rather than acquiescence and passivity.

At a university, the power of free thought, and engaging it through scholarship and learning, faith and experience, is so central that I can say with confidence that institutions neglecting it do not fulfill their mission to their students.

Free thought is indeed a dangerous presence for those who are driven by the need to control thought, and this was the quandary felt by the rulers of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and currently by China and North Korea.  Indeed, the persecution of artists like Shostakovich, Prokofiev and others reveals the targeting of free thought, and the labeling of such as an undesirable commodity in that particular society.

However, while free thought can often lead to contrarian ideas, it can also lead to great ideas and magnificent accomplishments, the sort of which we are used to seeing come out of these United States.  Dr. Wendler is indeed correct in saying that the encouragement of free thought is by nature one of the essential roles of higher education.  I cannot help but think that by questioning the importance of higher education, we place the long term prospects of our nation at peril.

The following is my playlist for October 25th.

Douglas Flummer

The Galaxy – October 25, 2010

Fun in the archives: Pete Martin, LIVE set for WDBX

I thought it might be fun to dig through my archives, and haul out some live sets from past episodes of “It’s Too Damn Early.” Today, I’m presenting you with a live phone-in set featuring Pete Martin (from Eddie the Rat) recorded back on January 23rd, 2010.

Phone-in sets are a recurring feature on “It’s Too Damn Early,” they’re a great way to hear live material from artists who haven’t had a chance to make it out to Southern Illinois. But they come with a price– huge variations in recording quality. Quite often, performers find themselves playing into a cell phone. In this case, Martin’s set was not only compounded with the usual difficulties (hearing each other, working with a cell phone) but he was also performing in a closet, attempting to keep the volume down in his apartment building while suffering from a cold!

After two live pieces, we have a short interview about Martin’s usual live performance setup and plans for future albums. You’ll also hear his own introduction to “Food For the Moon Too Soon pt. 1,” from the phenomenal Edgetone Records release of the same name. I see that Edgetone is currently having a nice deal if you pick it up with “Out Behind the Eight-Ball,” which I once described as “something like a post-trepanation Les Baxter album.” There’s a reason why I always get calls when I play these albums!

Download the live set here. Enjoy!



Jazzman Jay

Editor note: This entry is part of “Roots Rockin’ Reggae” host Bongo’s continuing series of WDBX and music-related memories. Click here to see previous entries. If you’re digging these, be sure to tune in this Thursday from 6:30-8 p.m., and give him a call at the station to let him know!

One evening I was filling in for a DJ in the jazz genre. Me no know nuttin’ bout jazz. I run to the library and find a tune called Kiss My Ax, with a photo of a shiny sax on the front that ran twenty minutes. Great, a quarter of the show, and I send it out over the airwaves.

A neatly dressed black dude walks into the studio in the middle of the song. He wore a neatly trimmed white beard and said he was a retired insurance salesman who always wanted to be a DJ. I asked him what kind of music, he said jazz.

“Great ” I said, and sent him to the library, and he returned with half a dozen CDs. After he played a few songs I asked him if he wanted to introduce a song and say something about it. He was a little timid and balked at talking over the air. “Look, there’s lots of white in your beard, and it’s your dream. If you wanted to learn how to swim, you don’t need to read a book on swimming, you need to get in the water.”

He smiled, I turned on mic two and his career as a jazz DJ at DBX was launched.

Jessica’s Jukebox 10/26/10

Satan Is My Motor – Cake
Sheep Go To Heaven – Cake
Hell – Squirrel Nut Zippers
Stolen Car – Carina Round
Ten Pills and You’re Fine – The Capitol Steps
Little Red Riding Hood – Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
Benny & the Jets – Elton John
Monster Mash – Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & the Cryptkickers
Turn Things Around – Gray Cox
What’s The World Got In Store? – Wilco
I’ve Seen All Your Good People – Yes
George Bush Speaks – The Capitol Steps
Brain-Mouth Connection – The Capitol Steps
Christ for President – Billy Bragg & Wilco
American Jesus – Bad Religion
Sweet Transvestite – Tim Curry, from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Bye, Bye Baby – Janis Joplin
Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
All Things Must Pass – The Beatles
Obama Meets Osama – The Capitol Steps
Up On Cripple Creek – The Band
Ripple – Grateful Dead
Black Water (BP version)
Making Out – No Doubt
Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show
Lirty Dies – The Capitol Steps
What’s Going On? – 4 Non Blondes
(Nothing But) Flowers – Talking Heads

Whirled Peas Café Radio Playlist: October 25th, 2010

Musical Comfort Food with a World of Spice

This weekend my FaceBook lit up with responses to posters visible throughout the campus of Southern Illinois University. More than one of my FaceBook friends had posted on the topic. One thread in particular had 38 responses at my last count this afternoon. Obviously this is speaking to the community zeitgeist. Speech Communications is hosting a performance this coming weekend at the Kleinau.  The work reflects original research done by PhD candidate Elena Esquibel that was in part inspired by the book Sundown Towns authored by Illinois native, James W. Loewen. Esquibel interviewed residents of Southern Illinois and used the oral histories as the basis for the work. Much of the thrust of the FaceBook and face-to-face discussions spawned by reaction to the posters dealt with how we deal with a past that we can neither change nor ignore, how that has lasting effects on those living in those communities today, and how we might move past the hurt to a safer space.  I look forward to seeing the show and participating in the after-presentation discussion. I hope to see you there.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a guest on Native Voices. Morningstar has a mix of music and talk. Her Sunday afternoon slot allows for a heavier emphasis on talk than my morning show. We indulged in an hour and a half of dialog and storytelling on the subject of how to have conversations about difficult and/or sensitive subjects like race, privilege, power and religion. You know, all of those topics we were told to avoid growing up. Thank you for the invitation and thank you to all of those calling in and coming by.

I also would like to thank my Special Guest this morning, DJ Melia of Mixed Plate, who also happens to be my daughter. It was a way for us to continue discussion on the topic with some personal perspective. We had just moved to Winona, MN about ten years ago when both of my daughters and I were selected and asked to participate in a special workshop/training at the high school. There had been some racial/class motivated violence in this relatively sleepy college town, and the episodes had shaken the community to take action at the urging of a local socialite and a bold group of professors. As a mediator trained and certified in Oregon where we had just moved from, I was asked to fill out the paid facilitators roster. Kiri and Melia, my then-high-school-aged daughters, had been separately selected for participation by another process entirely. It was quite an interesting introduction to our new community, to say the least. But it is also an experience that we still call on for inspiration in our current lives. Professors, current and retired, as well as community members had become trained in Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed as developed by Augusto Boal based on the philosophy and pedagogy developed by Paolo Freire. Through the tireless and amazing work of local sustainable farmer and community advocate, Doug Nopar, the three day seminar was not only a success, but it had a lasting transformation on all who participated on both an individual and institutional level. One of the direct effects of this event was the formation of a Youth Action Theatre (PTO) to enhance the work done at the high school. It also offered a direct means by which the community-based Action Theatre could mentor the high school aged actors. It forged a connection between community, college, and the high school that resulted in many of those participants going on to highly acclaimed college programs.  The former high schoolers that I am still in contact with have grown into adults who are consistently giving back to their own communities. Melia helped me pick out tunes today and stroll down memory lane, remembering different trainings and experiences over the ten years we’ve been utilizing the techniques learned through the trainings. One of the highlights of course is Doug’s coups in getting Augusto Boal to personally come to WSU for a seminar training.

If you would like to learn more or become involved in developing a PTO in Southern Illinois, please contact me or Melia through email at whirledpeascafe(at) We are currently seeking “players” of all ages and backgrounds to become involved through NonViolent Carbondale, a project of the Human Relations Commission.

A Night In Tunisia/ Dizzy Gillespie

My Heart Skips a Beat/ The Secret Sisters

Many Moons/ Janelle Monae

St Teresa/ Joan Osborne

Elysian Persuasion/ Ozomatli

Ain’t No  Reason/ Brett Dennen

Tolerance/ Michael Franti & Spearhead

Brown Eyed Girl/ Van Morrison

Proud Mary/ Ike & Tina Turner

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ IZ (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole)

Tell Me What We Are Going To Do Now/ Joss Stone

Force of Nature/ Lenka

Anything You Want (Not That)/Belleruche