Freakshow! – 1/21/10

January 22, 2010


Apparently all we wanted to do this week is rock, so our second episode of the season is a little more heavy on the punk angle than usual.  But if you think we’re simply being a one-trick-pony here, you’ve obviously never listened to a Freakshow! before, as we’ve still got a ton of amazing music carefully assembled to prove that this “harmonious dissonance” thing we’re always going on about isn’t just annoying marketing term!  Furthermore, we guarantee that if you don’t learn something new about at least one of the songs or bands in this show, then you’ve either listened to this episode live and heard all this before or are actually Freakman John!  If it’s the latter is the case, he would like you to kindly get out of his head, thanks.

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Freakshow! – 1/14/10

January 18, 2010

Freakshow! 1/14/10

For our triumphant return to the airwaves, Freakshow! kicks off its third season in style with some old stand-bys, some new classics, and a smattering of songs that run the gamut of the garage, punk, and psychedelic rock we love so very, very much.  Playing it a bit safe, perhaps?  Arguably, but when your set’s as good as ours, does it really matter?

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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…


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.

Going Out With a Bang

December 11, 2009

It's DY-NO-MITE!The final Freakshow! of 2009, semi-coinciding with the year anniversary of the test episode that catapulted the show from a potentially bad idea to WTBU wunderkind, will air on Monday December 11 at 10 PM EST.  In case you couldn’t tell by the poorly-Photoshopped picture of the dynamite plunger above, we’re taking this “explosive finish” motif a little seriously, as this Freakshow! is going to be one of the most unique shows we’ve ever done – the kind that can only be spawned from the clash of love and disdain (but more on that later) – so it would be most unwise to miss it, as I’m sure you can tell.

As always you can listen at

PS: the site’s going to get updated again really soon.  I promise!

A Special Thanks

September 16, 2009

The strange thing about doing a one-man show at WTBU is how isolating the experience usually is.  Yes, I know this sounds like something that should be painfully obvious, but hear me out for a second here!  You’d think that a college radio station would be bustling with all kinds of crazy characters: the music junkie looking for a fix; the starry-eyed intern that is so stoked to be on the air that he’s selectively forgotten that he’s had to sacrifice three hours of extra sleep only to be told to play a couple rotation songs by his DJs; the e-board member who may or may not have office hours and just wants to relax in the station, pridefully monitoring their fief like a hawk.  Alas, nine times out of ten, I’m the only one in the station when I show up just before ten, the only one in the station when I’m wandering around at various points throughout the show to stave off the dementia of solitude, and the only other person in the station when I’m turning the reigns over to Overpowered by Funk at noon.

It made sense last semester; after all, only an idiot or an unlucky bastard would be stupid enough to be up at six in the morning blasting music and causing a ruckus, even if said music is “the best in garage and punk!™”  Since I unsurprisingly fit both those categories to a T, that shift was the perfect fit for me; but I digress.  The point is, there’s something kind of renegade about being in the station all by your lonesome so early in the morning.  It’s an altogether different story when it’s the past the point of the day beginning for the majority of people.  Then it’s just kind of eerie.

Well, much to my surprise, there was someone else in the station during my show last week.  And that man was Josh Friedman.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him – he’s one of the heads of Underwriting (read: advertising) at the station, and is the DJ of Taken Out of Context, which is on Thursdays from 8-10 PM on WTBU, and you should really listen to it because it’s awesome.  Well, it turns out that Josh really liked the show.  So much so, in fact, that he gave me this obscenely nice shout-out and plug at the end of last week’s TOoC:

The nicest fucking shout-out ever.

To say that this was generous of him would be a painful understatement, as would be saying that I was elated to hear this.  Taken Out of Context is a fantastic show and Josh is a fantastically talented DJ.  Just listen to his show and then to mine and I think it’s pretty clear that this guy is a DJ whereas I’m just a music snob with an eclectic taste who likes making setlists and occasionally talking into a microphone when the mood moves me.  I would absolutely love to take him up on that offer to work together sometime, and maybe something will come out of that someday.  But for now, all I can really do is thank him from the bottom of my heart.  As much as I try and get people to listen to this damned show – if only to validate how much of my free time I put into making it – I’d never say that I do this show for any kind of recognition or fame.  I love music, I love sharing my music with people, and I have fun creating these sets.  That’s all Freakshow! has ever been and all it ever will be.  But even though I might never attempt to pursue this show as a career, it doesn’t make these sips from the nectar fountain of peer recognition any less sweet.

Freakshow! – 9/10/09

September 10, 2009

Freakshow 091009

For week two, we decided to go a little louder and faster than the wildly eclectic season premiere.  But of course, with a couple improvisations, a bit of interesting, insightful talk (well, as interesting and insightful as we can be), some off-air confidence boosters (more on that in a later update), and more awesome music than you can shake a stick at (including what we will go as far to say are, as of this writing, some of the best sets we have ever assembled), this episode proved that Freakshow! is not just back in full form, it’s better than ever.  This ain’t the Freakshow! you used to know; this is Freakshow! 2.0, baby!

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Freakshow! – 9/3/09

September 10, 2009

Freakshow 090309

In what can only be described as a vicious mission statement to our newfound audience and returning fanbase, we kicked off this season of Freakshow! in full force, with some setlist staples and awesome additions to the Freakshow! catalog, ping-ponging from decade to decade and boldly going where no show (or even Freakshow!) has gone before.

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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!!