I remember music as early as my earliest thoughts. Between the ages of 2 and 3, I remember my parents playing country records by Alabama, Kenny Rogers and The Oak Ridge Boys. A couple of years after that, I started moving the radio dial on my own and found the rock stations. The first songs I can remember that were big for me were things like “Jump” by Van Halen, “Mr. Roboto” by Styx, “Down Under” by Men At Work, “Cum On Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot and most anything else that charted between ’83 and ’85. I used to put on lip sync shows in my family’s garage on random Saturday nights and people would actually show up! Very shortly after that, I made friends with my next door neighbor, Sean. He was almost 10 years older than me but he treated me like his own little brother and he became my music mentor. It was because of Sean that I got into Prince, KISS, Ozzy and The Ramones, just to name a few.
My first favorites by a mile were Prince and Van Halen. The big singles from the 1999 album were still huge but then Purple Rain came out and I made my mom buy me not only a copy of that album but all of the 45s that were put out in conjunction with it because they had B-sides that weren’t on the album. That same year, you got Van Halen riding high with the 1984 album and for my money, it’s still one of the greatest albums of all time. I suppose I had it in my mind at an early age that I was going to play guitar and what better heroes to have than Eddie Van Halen and Prince? I also responded a lot to David Lee Roth’s showmanship and colorful personality as well. I took his side in the split up.
One of the many things that I really like about your Rock Strikes Ten podcast is the fact that you play so many different genres of music on it. What sort of criteria do you use when deciding what bands/artists to play on Rock Strikes Ten?
Thank you very much for the compliment. Well, first and foremost, it has to fit the theme for the week, which is either chosen by me or by one of the listeners. After that, it boils down to my favorite songs or acts that tie into said theme. I would like to think that every single show is a completely different experience than the previous one, even if I play a band that you are super familiar with or a band that I played on a previous episode. For instance, I did this all metal episode a couple of months ago and one of the 10 songs that I played on that show was something off of the new Anthrax album. Fast forward to a few weeks after that and I am recapping my favorite albums of 2011 and I play yet another song off of the new Anthrax album. On this episode though, instead of 9 other metal bands, you heard songs by
the Beach Boys, Tom Waits and The Beastie Boys. Variety is key in being a long time music fan. Sooner or later, too much of the same thing will cause burnout, so you’ve got to mix it up. I credit my friend Logan (who was on my metal show a couple of months ago) with opening my mind up a lot more musically. He was my boss when I first started working at the old record store and he got me into Waits, ABBA, Nation Of Ulysses, Helmet and countless others, including some really good jazz.
Are any of the songs that you’ve played on Rock Strikes Ten sourced from vinyl or cassette as opposed to CD or mp3? If so, what song(s) and why?
So far, I have used a few tracks here and there that I have converted from vinyl. I’m sure that something from all of my cassettes will make it’s way in eventually. 99% of the tracks that I use for the show are from CDs because I still buy physical CDs (I worked in a record store for 7 years!), so I damn sure better use ’em. I only download off of iTunes if it’s absolutely necessary.
Do you have a preferred format for listening to music? If so, what format do you most prefer? If not, why not?
Currently, it is a 3-way tie between podcasts, the iPod and Sirius/XM satellite radio. I am constantly juggling those as my musical sources and it really does feel like information overload at times because I want to listen to everything! It’s like Diamond Dave once said, “Not enough hours in the day. Give me a 72 hour day and we’ll play catch-up”.
Discuss your radio and broadcasting experience.
CNJ Radio is my first radio venture. I regret not going to broadcasting school. I do have a degree in record production and engineering though and I am using the experience that I gained from that when it comes to my show but I do wish that I could do more with it. Unfortunately, big studios have died off a lot in the last decade so there aren’t as many opportunities to do it full time anymore.
You’ve mentioned on a few different episodes of Rock Strikes Ten that you used to work at a record store. Discuss that.
There was a CD Warehouse that had opened up in the area and I was one of their regulars. I probably went there at least 3-4 times a week. It had been open for 6 months and I was burnt out on my current job doing gopher work, so I point blank asked them for a job in front of the manager and district manager and was hired on the spot. Those were the days when you were only filling out your employment application on your first day on the job as a formality.
It was such a great time in my life selling music to the people. I learned so much working there and I made so many great friends that I still have today. It’s funny because I have never, EVER been the most popular guy in the room but that job taught me how to come out of my shell and it helped me to learn not only how to talk to girls but people in general (learning how to talk to girls is very important though). All kidding aside, I first met the lady in my life because of that job and that one thing makes the entire experience absolutely worth it. It’s just such a damn shame that good record stores are so few and far between now. People like to blame the internet for the demise but they only get partial credit. The greedy record labels get the other fifty percent.
You’re an oddity (in a very good way, I might add) in the rock music world in that you’re Straight Edge (doesn’t drink alcohol and doesn’t take drugs). How has being Straight Edge and being a part of the rock music world been for you?
Well, the soda tap is never out at the bar, that’s for sure (haha… JOKES!). But anyway, I look at it as an advantage. I always remember the concert experience the day after and I always drive the car home, which is fine by me. I prefer being at the wheel and in control all of the time
both literally and figuratively. Some advice for the guys that are out at the shows for the girls – drunk girls WILL sleep with sober guys. Now I have just saved you a lot of time on the chase plus your bar tab for the night. Go forth!
Are you a fan of any Straight Edge bands/artists? If so, what bands/artists?
For sure. The ones that have always been “out” such as Frank Zappa, Gene Simmons and Henry Rollins to name a few. Of course there is Minor Threat, who recorded the anthem “Straight Edge”. More often than not, I prefer the bands that mention it outside of their music and who aren’t overtly preachy about it. Same goes for politics. I take extra inspiration from Gene Simmons because he is proof that you can still be a super cool rock star and not be a cliche rock & roll parody of a junkie. You know, I’m sure that there are more Straight Edge musicians and singers out there. I just think that they are mostly closeted, which is sad.
How do you feel about older Straight Edge bands reuniting whose core members (particularly the singers) are no longer Straight Edge?
I would say that if their band was based solely on their personal convictions, then it is a farce or a money grab. I will also say that any band that can still pull off a show wasted or sober has the right but sober will keep you consistent. It’s only the 1%, like Keith Richards and Lemmy, that have managed to have longevity despite shaky health choices.
Feel free to discuss anything here that hasn’t already been mentioned above.
I am just excited about the future of https://www.cnjradio.com because Rock Strikes Ten is only the beginning. We are going to be adding more and more content of all things entertainment. I’m thrilled to say that the original C’n’J program, the Wrestling House Show, is also coming back full time sooner than later and there are two brand new but completely different types of music shows launching this year, so stay tuned. My best friend and broadcast partner Chris deserves an extreme portion of my thanks because he helped me get this thing off the ground and he keeps it from falling into the internet abyss. Lastly, I would just like to say thank you Andrew for the opportunity to promote https://www.cnjradio.com to your readers. Easily the best thing about doing Rock Strikes Ten is the interaction that I have had with the listeners. You are all friends of mine and I appreciate each and every one of you. ROCK N ROLL!