Dancing with the bones of the Elephant Man!

No, there's no clever pun in my use of this album cover as the header. I just really like this cover.

Oh hi guys, I didn’t see you there.

Maybe you remember me.  In case you don’t, let me refresh your memory.  My name is John.  You can call me “Freakman John.”  I do a little show on Boston University’s radio station called “Freakshow!”  It’s a garage, punk and psychedelic rock show.  It’s pretty cool if I say so myself.

Did you know I’ve been back on the air for about three weeks now?  No?  Well I have.  And boy did WTBU fuck me over this time by putting me on at 8 in the morning which was cutting my show short.  It’s not been very good, honestly.  In fact, I don’t blame you for not knowing that this happened.  I did a pretty good job of not telling people I was back while spiting WTBU and trolling them on air and playing curse-laden Ice Cube songs for a half-hour straight.  I am proud of myself for that.

This blog entry totally has a point; just bear with me here, folks.

Now that we’ve gotten that all out of the way, I have a few announcements to make.  First of all, starting Monday, February 7, we are rebooting Freakshow! To put it another way, we have changed time slots and we are calling a do-over on this season and doing right by it.  Freakshow! now airs every Monday morning from 8 – 10 AM on WTBU, and you should listen to it live because it’s awesome.  But if you suck and can’t do that, we have you covered: every episode is going to be recorded and uploaded to the Freakshow! blog. I think I’ve figured out how to get around WTBU’s usual tactic of not having their shit work, so this shouldn’t be a problem anymore as it has been in the past (and by the past I mean two weeks ago, where my first show is stuck in one of the station computers.  Seriously!)

But the most important announcement of all is that the Freakshow! blog is moving to an actual for-realsies domain.  Sometime next week, you will now find us at http://freakshow-radio.com, where we will have the same goofy content as well as some other fun stuff I have planned.

Lastly, like the good abandoning father to you all that I am, I’m showing up after my long period of absence with gifts.  At the bottom of this post you will find every single Freakshow! episode I have recorded and saved on my computer. Bear in mind, some of them are going to be rough as I haven’t done clean-up on them (including the most recent episode, which I am literally just burning over from the CD and putting up here).  Also, I have some more episodes floating around somewhere that I will be sure to upload once I get the chance, so keep checking during this weekend for more fun!

This season’s been a bit rough-going so far, but it’s going to get better and it’s going to be awesome.  Mark my words and keep tuned in, because we love you more than you could ever know.

-“Freakman” John Maxwell

Freakshow! – 1/14/10
Freakshow! – 4/1/10: Pax Freakout – A Retrospective
Freakshow! – 4/15/10
Freakshow! – 4/22/10: Can Music Save the World? An Audio Essay

Freakshow! – 2/3/11

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New Day RisingIt’s a “new day rising” for Freakshow!

As we enter the final stretch for this season, we’ve decided that instead of us keeping up what we’ve been doing – giving you the best in garage and punk interspersed with as much madness and mayhem as we can muster – we’re going to mix things up for this ultimate month.  We’ve been teasing doing some special shows since the end of February, but now the time has come, and we’re ready to reveal the first two of this unique series of shows we have planned:

APRIL 1: PAX Freakout: A Retrospective – the first ever PAX East convention – a love-in for gamers and geeks of all walks of life – was held at Hynes Convention Center last weekend, and we were there!  In honor of this, the entire show is dedicated to the best music to ever come from a video game, as well as interviews from the show floor with people such as John Davison (Editorial Director of Gamepro), Michael Wilford (CEO of independent game developer Twisted Pixel), Jeff Gerstmann (co-creator of Giant Bomb) and random con-goers.

APRIL 8: Can Music Save the World?: An Audio Essay – inspired by the 2009 film Fish Story, in which a punk song saves the world from ultimate destruction, we attempt to analyze popular music’s ability to affect and reflect on social issues and the subsets of society they speak to and determine music’s place on the world stage, the political forefront, and in our hearts and minds.

Suffice to say, these two episodes are unlike anything we’ve ever done before.  But just like any of our bizarre sets that shouldn’t work on paper yet somehow come together to form a brilliant blend of harmonious dissonance™, we’ve got a great feeling about these and the other shows we have planned.  Unfortunately, the stuff we have planned for the other shows isn’t quite set in stone yet, so we’re going to hold those close for a little while longer.  So keep checking this space because we’ll be letting you know soon enough.

And if that is not reason enough to keep checking the Freakshow! blog, what if we were to tell you that we now have the WTBU studio recordings for the majority of episodes from the last month-and-a-half and we will be uploading them, as well as the missing set lists, throughout the week?  Because we do!  Don’t say we never did anything nice for you!

Dearest denizens of Freakshow! Nation,

recently, a comment was posted by show superfan Mike Lau about how I have been neglecting the blog again.  And the truth is, he’s right – I have.  But I have a semi-good reason for it, which I will now share with you, because I believe in being up-front with you people and that is how I roll.

There have been two Freakshow!s since the last update: one on February 25 and one on March 4.  You may notice that neither of these shows have been jotted down for the site.  The reason why is pretty simple, actually.  For the February 25 show, I simply don’t remember what I played.  My laptop crashed the night before the show, and I have since lost every setlist for every single episode of Freakshow! from this season.  Thankfully, all but one has been backed up thanks to this blog; but the only way to get that one back, simply, is to go to the WTBU log computer, hope that there’s a recording of this episode, and listen to the entire thing.  And since I need to do that anyway, I’ve decided to sit on posting the set for the March 4 episode until I can get the recordings for both those episodes (and the two other missing recordings) onto my now fixed laptop.

So no, I have not forgotten that this blog exists; I’ve just had to deal with all sorts of things getting in the way of this season of Freakshow! being the best it can be.  But I will soldier on and provide you with the best I can give you, because that’s what I do.

Importance Message

February 7, 2010

Just so you know, there’s a bit of a problem with the raw audio of last Thursday’s episode.  It means I might have to rerecord some parts, or that the episode is completely unsalvageable and there won’t be a recoding to go with the blog post.  Point is, regardless of whether or not the episode gets uploaded, I’ll try and have the setlist up in the next day or so.  Sorry for the delay, folks!

We now return you to the deafening sound of radio silence (already in progress).

It Begins Again

January 11, 2010

High Time

After a month’s break, we are proud to announce that Freakshow! is back!  The best in garage and punk will be returning to the airwaves of Boston’s best student-run radio station – WTBU – this Thursday.  As for when, we are happy to say that the new airtime for Freakshow! is…

THURSDAY MORNINGS AT 10 AM TO 12 PM EST!!!

Hard to believe, right?  Well, while not ideal for any of us on the show (we are, of course, very much running our use of the royal “we” on this blog through the ringer with this statement), it’s better than the alternative of not being on the air at all, right?  And let it be known that we will not be deterred from our usual tactic of the best music on the planet interspersed with topics of the most sublime and ridiculous variety as chosen by master of ceremonies “Freakman” John Maxwell.  In fact, we suggest you not miss this week’s episode, as it is already gearing up to be one of the episodes of Freakshow! we’ve ever done!  It’s gonna be great!

And on the off-chance that you cannot catch this week’s episode, fret not!  One of our New Year’s resolutions for this year is to stop neglecting the Freakshow! blog as we have been wont to do in the past, so if you come here on Thursday night or Friday afternoon, expect to find the full setlist for your viewing pleasure.  And we don’t want to promise too much, but complete episodes for download might be in the cards, too.  Just saying.

So mark your calendars, folks: Freakshow! will air this Thursday, January 14, 2010, and all subsequent Thursdays from then on out unless otherwise specified, starting at 10 AM on WTBU.  To listen, just point your browser towards the WTBU site, hit one of the buttons conveniently marked “LISTEN LIVE!”, and you’re good to go!  And while you’re at it, be sure to check out friends of the show Night on Disco Mountain hosted by Dan Ernst from 2 – 4 PM and Taken Out of Context hosted by Josh Friedman from 8 – 10 PM.  It’s the least you could do.

Doing Freakshow! full time for four months has been quite a eye-opening experience.  That’s not to say the show went poorly.  Quite the contrary, actually; I think that I really knocked it out of the park plenty of times, which is especially great for a show that came out of nowhere and was brought up into the majors at the zero hour.  That said, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can improve Freakshow! for its (hopeful) return in September, and I thought why not share it with you guys, the loyal fans who probably don’t even know this site exists follow every aspect of the show closely and whose feedback would be invaluable.

The mantra I’ve always held to since I started toying with the concept of a radio show two years ago is that the show is going to be all about the music.  A lot of shows primarily focus on having a strong, charismatic DJ that commands the airwaves and spends most of his time endlessly ranting between sets about incessantly boring or asinine topics; the show’s voice is that of the DJ instead of the type of music, and as such most of the music becomes completely interchangeable with every other show.  Perhaps in part due to my apathy for having to use too much brainpower at six or seven in the morning after sleeping for something like four hous, I wanted to break away from this cult of personality that surrounds the man on the microphone and bring it back to what matters – what people are listening for.  And so Freakshow! became about assembling the best, most interesting and varied sets of stuff I like interspersed with a couple minutes of talking about the last songs and whatever else comes to mind before immediately retreating back into music haven.  And I think it went incredibly well; I put out some absolutely awesome sets, and you shouldn’t be surprised to see some of those sets reused or reconfigured for future shows.  Yet, I think I went too far.  The setlists became longer and longer, until I had sets that took up half the show, and the required time I would need to talk would prevent me from even finishing the show without going over the two-hour time limit.  Planning the epic three-hour season finale was a sobering experience, as I crunched the numbers of my planned sets to find that not a single one clocked in at under an hour before I tried trimming as much fat as I felt I could; it was one of those moments where I felt like Dr. Frankenstein, throwing my hands into the air and crying “what has science wrought?” from the horror of my creation. And then, when I went on the air and everything seemed fine, I found that I kept getting the same complaint: the music was great, sure, but people didn’t understand why I wasn’t talking.  Maybe it was just that they got to me, or maybe I was enlightened or something, but even I started to get bored halfway into sets and started taking way more talking breaks just to stop the steady, neverending flow of music.

So that brings us here: what comes next for Freakshow!?  How do I take the lessons I’ve learned from this inaugural season and put them to improving my show in the fall?  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Pre-determined set lengths.  The show will aim to have 100 minutes of music, broken up into either four twenty-five minute sets or five twenty minute sets.  The remaining twenty minutes will be used for show openers and closers and talking time to be used as I deem fit.
  • Not so surprisingly, I want to talk more.  By forcing myself to talk on-air, even when I don’t want to, I’ll improve my radio persona and ability to command the mic with confidence and skill, and I’ll be able to get the confidence to try new things for the show, like skits or other random crap.  As for topics, I don’t think I need to have pre-determined sections (much as I enjoyed “The Drop” and the running gag of Kidz Bop 16, there just simply isn’t enough albums or concerts coming out per week to have a section discussing cool new releases), but I should definitely find interesting things to discuss and have at least some idea of what I’m talking about.
  • Reach out.  Obviously this includes advertisers, as WTBU would very much like it if I brought them some money, but I also want to reach out to bands I like and other talent that I think people should know about and bring them on the show.  Outside of feeling like a creepy stalker, I have no problem hanging out after concerts and talking to Electric Six and the Giraffes – why not ask them to step up to the mic for a one-on-one recording session?
  • And finally, and perhaps most importantly: I need to stop neglecting this site.  The age of John neglecting his blogs ends now!!

Thoughts?