Our debut Volunteer Spotlight shines on Doug Flummer, host of “The Galaxy.” You can catch Doug on the air every Sunday night, from midnight until 2 a.m.
The Blogapus: How long have you been with WDBX?
Doug Flummer: I’ve been with the station since the very first organizational meeting with volunteers. I had bumped into a buddy that I had shared College of Education classes with while grocery shopping (Kevin Antonovich, RIP), and he told me about the meeting. I attended the meeting, thought it was a great idea, and told Brian what my idea for a show was (the “Galaxy” concept had been in my head for several years, inspired by a show on KDHX in St. Louis, called “The Galactic Cat,” that alternated between hardcore/punk and experimental noise). He told me to write it down, so I went home and came up with a detailed 10-page proposal that essentially detailed everything I do today. Brian loved it. We went on air in February (1995?) with an abbreviated schedule, and “The Galaxy” premiered a month later, I’m thinking March 3rd.
TB: What makes a good episode of “The Galaxy” for you?
DF: There are a lot of ingredients that can, by themselves, result in a good episode. A show with a nice flow of music and a multitude of ideas is quite pleasing to me, where the music is swinging and I’ll get the urge to sing along or play air drums. But the show is also essentially an educational venture for me. So if I can plug in something that is intellectually stimulating, or something that has striking beauty – that sort of thing also strikes a chord with me, even if I have to devote an entire show, or even multiple shows, to one particular piece of music. Finding beauty in contrasting styles of music also strikes a similar chord for me. Of course, if a listener calls in to complement the music, that is also quite satisfying. I should note here that this happens with multiple musical styles – I’ve had listeners call about artists and composers ranging from Sun Ra to Gustav Mahler to Sigur Ros. So it is nice that people are listening to the range of ideas that I’m putting out there, rather than just looking for one idea that I tend to frequent (i.e. metal).
TB: Due to an unfortunate yacht outing, you’ve been stranded on a tropical island with five albums and a functioning hi-fi stereo. What albums constitute your island library?
DF: I would be in real trouble – I would have trouble choosing. One of them would be a good set of Bach organ works – I have a very nice compilation by the organ master Gustav Leonhardt. But it would be hard for me to go without my somewhat recent acquisition of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavichord, and I have also more recently acquired a 1950s recording of The Art of the Fugue, also by Leonhardt. I would also probably have to have one of my Sigur Ros albums, but I’d have trouble choosing between () (from 2002) and Takk (2005). Helmet’s Meantime (1992) would probably have to be a choice.
I would probably have to make a Beatles album a fourth choice, but I’d have trouble choosing between Revolver (1966) and the Past Masters compilation. The choice for the fifth album would lie between my John Coltrane Village Vanguard 1961 box set, and my Charlie Parker Live at the Royal Roost box set. The latter was one of my first ever jazz purchases, a tape copy of two of the sets presented in this box set, one of which featured Miles Davis in his days as a sideman. It helped cement my love for jazz, and for years afterwards I pursued a cd copy of these recordings, leading up to when they issued the complete collection of Royal Roost recordings in ’98. Yet the Village Vanguard set is equally key, with Coltrane and Eric Dolphy duking it out over the course of three nights– Dolphy’s bass clarinet can be mind-blowing at times.
Unfortunately, all of this limits me from selecting anything from OMD, and their 1981 Architecture and Morality album would also be a good choice. Of course, the reality is that 1) If I were asked to actually make such a choice, my head would probably explode; 2) If I were ever going on a yacht, I’d probably have my iPod with me anyway. The problem with that is that I do not keep classical music or jazz on my iPod, owing to the length of the music.
TB: What’s your favorite WDBX memory?
DF: It would either be my first show, with the smell of construction still fresh in the air and my first use of the intro from Richard Strauss’ Also Sprache Zarathustra as a theme song for the intro, or it could be our first WDBX Valentine’s Day Ball, when most everyone dressed formally. Of course, every show, for me, is a new favorite memory waiting to happen, and every V-Day Ball is loaded with potential (the food was absolutely divine last year).