Friday, October 12, 2007

Emptying the notebook

Driving home from work tonight, I listened to Alice Cooper's syndicated radio show for about 10 minutes. It's something I've done many times before since moving to a market that carried his show, but it wasn't until tonight that this notion crystallized:

This is a good show. A very good radio show.

Now, I'm not saying it is as good as this cat, but as far as the other alternatives in the vast wasteland of pussified mainstream radio, Cooper rises far above his counterparts.

His show has a laid-back feel, much like a Charlie Rose interview. Cooper is pensive, thoughtful and intelligent. He tells insightful stories and anecdotes, and it's obvious he's got a knowledgeable catalog of rock-n-roll history in his brain.

Stuff that no one else has the knowledge base, time nor inclination to share with listeners. And I think it's important to note he's sharing stories. He's not talking at his listeners, he's having a conversation with them. It's an important distinction.

You won't find him going into offbeat artists the way Little Steven's Underground Garage often does. But he will slip them in; I heard him play some Old 97s the other day. You will also hear him play songs from popular artists you'd never hear anyone else playing.

A few weeks ago, he played Bruce Springteen's "For You."

Tonight, he had a nice anecdote after "19th Nervous Breakdown" about the Stones playing that during their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which was also their first in-color appearance on American television.

It's that sort of bit that I appreciate.

Elsewhere, I'm "spinnin' round a deal dial," listening to too many yahoos trying to be funny or wacky, snarky or witty. All dumbed-down garbage, watered-down Stern.

Cooper is a refreshing change.


I'll admit that it took me a while to become a regular visitor to Fox Sports' Web site, even after the network hired Mark Kriegel, one of my favorite columnists, a while back.

But I'm in a groove visiting the site, and that has everything to do with the fact Kriegel is in an excellent groove.

He's back. Look out, Lupica.

In recent weeks, Kriegel has weighed in with some good one-liners on the baseball playoffs, a column on Red Sox fans turning into what they hate, a column on white cornerbacks going the way of the do-do bird and more.

Rock-solid work all around.

It's too bad thin-skinned Lupica whined so vociferously about his evisceration on that Leon Carter had to chase Kriegel out of New York.

It's really a shame because Lupica used to be a great columnist. Then he started caring too much about cultivating his "image" and writing fill-in-the-blank October columns off his couch.

Maybe if he would have concentrated more on his work, his act wouldn't have been so tired and Kriegel would still be in New York.

Either way, it's been a long wait and it's good to be back into a Kriegel routine.


When Mrs. VFR and I interviewed at our current location, one of things touted about this area was the wealth of local live music. This appealed to us, big time.

It took 10 months, but we finally got off our arses and heard some tunes.

Last week, we went to The Ark, a small 300-seat place to see The Samples, an excellent veteran rock band based in Boulder. The Samples are a big deal throughout the west. Year after year, they regularly sell out Red Rocks' 9,500 seats.

Here? We were privileged to be among 60 or so people to see them on a rainy Midwestern night. And they put on a hell of a show. They did everything from rock out to meander through some of their more piano-driven songs to perform a heartfelt acoustic tribute to frontman Sean Kelly's mom, who died 15 years ago this month.

At least from the perspective of a fan in the seats, it made it more intimate that it was such a small crowd in a small venue. I don't know that the experience would have been the same elsewhere.

They could have mailed it in given the circumstances. But they brought their best stuff, showed they are still aces after 20 years on the road, and their efforts were much appreciated by those who were there.

The whole thing also made Squawking VFR a little homesick.

It became acute during the song "Indiana," which contains the following lyrics:

I remember the first time I drove
Through Indiana
Watching semis hauling grain
To the west
They're gonna make it all the
Way to Colorado
Where the mountains touch
The sky and rivers bend

The bout of homesickness has lasted a few days now.

Especially since Mrs. VFR enjoyed a short trip back home last week for a wedding shower.


We'll be back with a review of "Magic,"Bruce's new album in a few days. And we promise we'll wrap up our two-part series on our nation's airport shortly after that.

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At 6:05 PM, Blogger Todd Cohen said...

When I saw the Rockies clinched the spot in the World Series, I immediately thought that you were the one thing holding them back.

Now they're sure to make the World Series every year.

Which is more than I can say for my Yankees.

One month till Browns/Steelers. I'm guessing the Steelers will be scoring a lot that Sunday.

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Joependleton said...

Cat, on a management salary, can't your afford Sirius or XM? I highly recommend it. Of course, my ride home from work is about 45 minutes, and to hear the replay of the Stern show at 2 a.m. is priceless.

I'm take the fifth on your other subject.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Pete said...


My commute takes about 10 minutes, and there are plenty of options for the ol' tape deck.

As far as you taking the fifth, my apologies. I should have put a disclaimer on that for anyone affected.


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