At first, we thought that maybe this "homage" to everything we fought against in our careers was "ironic." I whispered to Dennis, "Didn’t Eddie from ‘Eddie & The Cruisers’ die?"


The Annual Radio-Fest Grind Continues

Ed. Note: When we last left Ivana B. Adored [aka Karen Glauber], the HITS PoMo Goddess was deplaning, migraine-free, from a quick jaunt to Chicago, where she attended (in a manner of speaking) the Q101 Jamboree (or whatever they call it—check last weekend for specifics). This weekend, our neurotic li'l frequent flier is at it again, jetting off to not one but two of these interminable radio shows. By the way, don't feel sorry for the anonymous drone who was forced by his slave-driving bosses to interrupt an idyllic three-day weekend in order to edit and post Ivana's account. At least said drone didn't have to schlep across the country to see a bunch of crummy bands.

Part One: Judging Ivana

If it's the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, then I'm headed to Boston to judge the finals of the WBCN Rumble, just as I have for the last 12 years. For those unfamiliar with the legacy and legend of this event, the Rumble is a yearly "battle of the band" competition that cuts a wide swath through Boston's varied music scene. WBCN PD Oedipus is the only one among the five of us with a perfect attendance record—judging the finals of all 22 annual Rumbles. The rest of us: Grand Royal President Mark Kates, Island executive and former WLIR PD Dennis McNamara, Reprise President howie klein',390,400);">howie klein',390,400);">Howie Klein and me make up the rest of the "panel of experts."

We gather for a pre-Rumble dinner, as we always do, joined by Reprise legend Andrew Govatsos (guess who I call to get an unbelievably low rate at the Boston Four Seasons, during Graduation Week, no less?). Stuck in traffic on the way to dinner, I had a chance to peruse the new issue of the Boston Phoenix, with its cover story about the band Half Cocked. A contender in last year's Rumble, they've signed with Andy Gould and are heading to L.A. to record an album for Powerman 5000's label. I read on: "Half Cocked have provoked some extreme reactions in their time: they made it to the final of last year's Rumble (as a wild card) but got blown off by one judge (namely Hits magazine's Karen Glauber) as ‘45 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.' Some people just don't know how to have a good time."

So Brett Milano doesn't think I know how to have a good time? So that I never have to read my name and his together on the same page EVER AGAIN, I vow to temper my opinions, especially those that were never intended for print. It won't be the first time I'm on a Boston band's shit list (Tribe is another band that comes to mind), and after this year's Rumble, it certainly won't be the last.

This year's "wild card" band is Rocket Science. They start out really strong, and I spent the rest of their set trying to "will" them into being better than they were. Of the all the judges, Oedipus liked them the best, but the rest of us were politely ambivalent about their performance. I had high hopes for the next finalist, primarily based on the recommendation of WFNX MD Laurie Gail, whose taste in music I trust. This band was called Waltham, named for the town that's home to both Brandeis University and Waltham State Penitentiary. Coincidentally, Laurie's boyfriend, Frank, is the lead singer of Waltham. I teased Oedipus at dinner, telling him I was "selling" my vote for future adds at WFNX.

What Happens When Bad Bands Happen To Good People?

Nothing prepared us for Waltham. As they started to play, we stood there in the crowd, our mouths agape. At first, we thought that maybe this "homage" to everything we fought against in our careers was "ironic." I whispered to Dennis, "Didn't Eddie from ‘Eddie & The Cruisers' die?" I recognized melody lines from .38 Special and Loverboy, shuddering at the way this band skillfully reminded us of a time when "Corporate Rock" reined supreme. howie klein',390,400);">howie klein',390,400);">Howie Klein scribbled on his ballot: "I should be disqualified from judging Waltham because I grew up hating their music." We collectively vowed that if the next band had any attitude and passion at all, they'd be our unanimous choice for this year's winner.

Luckily, Darkbuster were a great punk band, in the same tradition as The Dropkick Murphys, and as an antidote to Waltham, we probably gave them higher scores than they deserved. While waiting for Darkbuster to be announced as the Rumble winner, I was introduced to Waltham's singer, and he couldn't have been nicer.

Things To Say To Bands You Hate:

  • You guys looked like you were having fun up there!
  • You really played your instruments!
  • The crowd loved you.
  • Your music is timeless [as in, I couldn't have less time for it].
  • Of all the bands I've ever seen, you were definitely one of them.

Fortunately, Laurie Gail isn't holding this against me, as we're bonded by something stronger than men or music: our mutual love of shopping.

Next: The WHFStival.

Redrawing the Mason-Dixon Line (5/23a)
Ladies' choice (5/23a)
They're in the money. (5/23a)
Let's agree to disagree. (5/23a)
The latest action from the live sector (5/22a)
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
No, not that one.
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