ZXQ Universe: The Hair Show (Re-Do)

Here are highlights from the imaginative ZXQ Universe radio show, spun around the theme of “hair.” FloydsTonic_AdWe’ve transplanted “hair” from ZXQ shows #2 and #3 into a trim, half-hour head piece with commercials for Floyd’s Tonic; Grace Jones Under Pressure; Hairy Palm Itchell; Digital Ernie’s Techno-Hut; TV Guise; Professor Noodle; wiggy songs include Big Hair (Nick Lowe), While Growing My Hair (Egg), Hair Pie (Captain Beefheart). Also an excerpt from The Mooney Honeycutt Show with Jerry Modjeski. Internet Archive logoGuest engineering by Greg (Technological Retreat) Carr. ZXQ Universe was produced by Mark Masyga, Brian Anderson & Chuck Isle.
Originally aired January 10 & 17, 1990 on KFAI (Minneapolis-St. Paul). Listen: https://archive.org/details/TheHairShow

 

Mechanical Spider Christmas

Santa_spiderTurn back the crock exactly thirty years to KFAI-FM’s digest of silly satire, The Mechanical Spider Clinic, featuring holiday-themed advertising, Consumer Survival Biscuit, Lazlo Morbid, TV Guise, and a satire about the over-commercialization of Christmas (inspired by Jerry’s idol, the late Stan Freberg’s Green Chri$tma$).

Stan Freberg (from Jerry's 1977 sketchbook)

Stan Freberg (from Jerry’s 1977 sketchbook)

Bonus: The Elvis After-Xmas, After-Life Sale at Chez Bob’s Detail Recount Store, also Consumer Survival Biscuit and TV Guise tributes to the King from January 3, 1986. Bat Lenny and The Toy Lovers team up for a sound composition Gangbusters Christmas.

Featuring the talents of Mark Masyga, Chuck Isle, Rob Shapiro, Diana Swan, Bob Rynkiewicz, Leigh Bowser, Andy Schultz. MSC Theme by Bat Lenny.  Listen: https://archive.org/details/mechanicalspiderclinicchristmas

Thanks to Mark Masyga, Wayne Modjeski & Chris Waterbury for assistance on this post.

Internet Archive logo

ZXQ Universe

ZXQ_Universe_Guys-ed (1)Chuck Isle, Mark Masyga & Brian Anderson (pictured) hosted ZXQ Universe, a KFAI show that substituted for Little City in Space (in temporary hiatus for several months). On radio in 1990 there was nothing like ZXQ: these excerpts from their maiden voyage include hilarious monologues by a parade of original characters (Alabama Neptune, Professor Noodle, “Wildman” Slim, Rev. Mild Astonishment), and hypnagogic sound compositions with guest-engineer Greg Carr (Technological Retreat). Special features: TV Guise sponsored by Mrs. Leatherneck Syrup /  News of the Possibly True / Beyond the Unknown / Hillbillies fer Buddha / Commercials for The Kitchen Mohican; Chez Bob’s Detail Recount Store / The Church of the SubGenius Minute of Slack / ZXQ Studios: The Big Dive / records by Buddy Emmons (1937-2015), Johnny Gunn, Les Brown & Vic Schoen. Brian created original music fanfares & ambiance for ZXQ. Listen to ZXQ #1: https://archive.org/details/ZXQ010390

Abridged ZXQ Universe #3 with Chuck intro, Jerry Modjeski guest-engineer, co-controlling horizontal & vertigo with Brian & Mark for TV Guise. Internet Archive logoOther vivisected highlights: News of the Possibly True / Level 99 (commercial) / Professor Noodle / special guest appearance by Peter (Little City in Space) Stenshoel /Gil Goose commentary (“Video Games”) / SubGenius Minute of Slack. Listen: https://archive.org/details/ZXQ011790

Thanks to Stu Mathews, Chuck Isle & Peter Stenshoel for assistance on this post. Hear more ZXQ Universe at Brian Anderson’s website.

Battle of the TV Guise

img003Wacky word jazz describing idiot box imagery with the Mechanical Spider Clinic‘s four vidiots, Peter Stenshoel, Chuck Isle, Mark Masyga & Jerry.

Chuck

Chuck

Jerry reads; Mark laughs

Jerry reads; Mark laughs

These half-wits matched wits on the air February 27, 1987 (KFAI, Minneapolis-St.Paul) and met again at a house party a year later February 13, 1988 as the tape recorder rolled capturing the event (photos) before a gathering of their friends (pardon some of the overripe sound levels). Listen: https://archive.org/details/battle_of_the_tv_guise

MSC Theme by Bat Lenny; additional background ambiance by ZXQ Studios. KFAI’s Elizabeth Thurber can be heard giving the radio show a promo.SKM_284e15100314530_0001img004

 

Sound Inspirations: From Freberg to Firesignals

Creative inspiration for some members of LCS’ Post-Void Radio Theater originated listening to record albums by The Firesign Theatre and Stan Freberg. The recent passing of FT’s Phil Austin, and the death of Stan Freberg (wrote & starred in network radio’s last great comedy series–replacing Jack Benny who left radio for TV) prompted discussion between Post-Void participants investigating the why of radio as means of expressing themselves. What were the listening influences of Peter Stenshoel, Damon Mathews, Jeff Pike, Stu Mathews & Jerry?

Peter: Old time radio was already in my blood. Along with Freberg. 50974-fullFirst album heard was Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, the year it was released! (1961) And Bob & Ray.

00314926Damon: Bob & Ray forever! Bob & Ray were, still are, and probably always will be my shining stars. I took an interest in old time radio so far back you had to get episodes on LP records. But cassettes arrived about two minutes later & I was off & running after that.

Jerry: No Stan Freberg…no Bob & Ray…no Jerry! They blew my mind discovering them. (We sadly note the recent passing of Bob Elliot, of Bob & Ray)

Peter, Damon, Jerry

Peter, Damon, Jerry

Jerry: My buddy Mark Masyga and I started taping OTR on cassette around 1972 when re-runs were programmed on commercial radio: Lacrosse, Wisconsin AM radio ritually re-broadcast The Shadow, Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee & Molly. Then-current CBS Radio Mystery Theater was text book “here’s how it’s done” and I kept a log of each episode title for quite a while. Now you can listen to them at archive.org.

Peter: Miriam and I discovered CBS Radio Mystery Theater on Far East Network the 3 months living in Tokyo. A really fun ritual!

Stu: I think I was just seven, maybe eight years old (’61-‘62) when my grandmother Jewell Vowel thrilled me by sending me a “miniature” transistor radio for my birthday. I found out that I could put the radio under my pillow, and then, laying my head with my ear directly over the speaker, I could keep it low enough. That’s when I had my most fascinating listening sessions…listening to places like Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago. It’s where I first heard the Motown sound and the girl groups that were popular, including the first time I heard The Supremes.  To me, it didn’t seem like these sounds were coming from a specific place.  The experience seemed so mysterious to me that I felt these songs and the announcers were just “out there,” like voices from outer space (imagine that).

Jerry: Also KAAY-Little Rock. Freberg’s 1957 network radio show re-played on WCCO-FM, I strung a copper wire across the kitchen ceiling & on good nights in Winona listened intently.

Damon: Stringing wire in the kitchen to get WCCO is such beautiful music to my ears! I spent a good chunk of childhood fascinated with both the content and technology of radio.

Peter: I got a crystal radio set for my birthday when I was ten. That was just awesome. Later, the famous Jim Gilbert was my then not-famous science teacher who started a ham radio club with a few of us radio heads. Again, superb fun and thrills. My Morse code got good enough so I had my own “rig” in my room and I was WNOBJX.

Damon: That’s great that you got to be a ham in the days when it was really unique to connect to other countries. I had a Heathkit receiver that I built when I was about 9.

Peter: I also “built” a Heathkit receiver (my Dad did most of the soldering!) which was part of my rig. Bought a used transmitter…so cool! My Heathkit receiver allowed me to hear shortwave radio. Voice of America played Frank Zappa’s Concerto for John Luc Ponty.

Jerry: Looking for the elusive & interesting radio signals in the old days…like spelunking in a dark cave! The heart would race when happening upon something interesting!

Peter Bergman (d2012), Phil Proctor, Phil Austin (d2015), David Ossman

Peter Bergman (d2012), Phil Proctor, Phil Austin (d2015), David Ossman

Stu: Now that Peter Bergman & Phil Austin have passed away, I feel compelled to emphasize that, although I consider the Post-Void Radio Theater to be our own, there’s no use in denying how brave this foursome was to commit to their muses and boldly go where no comedic group had gone before, and not give a damn whether people approved or not. For me, they were The Beatles of a new kind of unfettered creativity that could be called as much Performance Art as it is Comedy. It is so vivid to me, my memory of the evening that Peter & David Stenshoel invited me to listen to a double-vinyl album they had acquired, called Dear Friends. We lounged around in their parents’ bedroom listening to four full album sides of four guys just doing whatever the hell they wanted to do, on the radio! I would never have been inspired to actually try to be funny – live – on the radio if I hadn’t heard Dear Friends, the only Firesign vinyl album that is just them goofing around on the airwaves. It was magic. It was more than magic. It changed my whole life paradigm. And I haven’t been the same since.

Jerry: I was living in Waverly, Iowa working at a radio station, off-hours at home could pick up Rochester, Minnesota late night FM playing whole sides of rock music albums without interruption, they played FT’s Nick Danger from their second LP.

Peter: I was speaking with a fellow at NPR West & he pointed out FT pre-dated Monty Python. FT credited The Goon Show as inspirations. $_35Maybe 1966 first heard The Goon Show and so I was well-primed when my brother David woke me up to hear the very surrealistic second side of FT’s Waiting for the Electrician. You didn’t have to be literate to enjoy it although you could understand more references if you were. FT’s David Ossman really admired the European avant-garde of the ’20s. And the ’50s. Ionesco, Beckett.

Jeff: Being absurd on the radio is so much more effective than almost any other medium. Radio triggers the imagination so easily. They pitched it at this low-brow level with TV, mystery novel references.

Peter: We could all instantly understand something of what they were doing, and yet there was always a mystery to it too. That absurdism translates beautifully in that medium.

Jeff: Funny, without being heavy-handed, that’s what Firesign Theatre really did. Obviously we were influenced by them. They were so unique, and they mapped out these huge terrains. I’ve gone back and bought all their albums.

Stu: If The Firesign Theatre had not happened, The Post-Void Radio Theater–and Little City in Space Show–would not have happened.

 

Little City in Space: Peter, Paul and Miriam

Late night radio fun with longtime friends Peter Stenshoel, Paul Zaiser and Miriam Stonehill on the Little City in Space from aircheck of July 5, 1989 taped by listener Brian Anderson. Features include News from Nowhere, Sports, Paul Bunny commentary, Joblines; ads for Smilin’ Simon’s Attitude Adjustment Capsules, Post-Modern Flakes, Swekkmakk’s Bleeper Pad Lounge. Records by Ted Heath, Yashiro Aki, The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils. With the talents of Bob Zander, Mark Masyga. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpace070589PPM

From July 19, 1989 excerpts of a solo-hosted LCS show by Peter, with guest appearances by Jack Swekkmakk, Halvor Johansen, Paul Bunny; sponsored by Smitherweenies and Gnarly School of Ash and Sack Cloth. Also featuring the talents of Mark Masyga. Listen at https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpaceJuly19th1989Internet Archive logo

Peter, Stu, Miriam & Paul

Peter, Stu, Miriam & Paul

LCS ’89: Altering Realities

img0011989 was a busy year marked with experimentation on the Little City in Space show. Substitute players like Brian Anderson, Chuck Isle & Mark Masyga helped keep things aloft–Post-Voiders Peter Stenshoel, Stu Mathews & Jerry maintained the weekly KFAI radio commitment while logging many hours off-the-air tape recording the syndicated LCS series. img001 Early ’89 they (with Bat Lenny) threw a mad space-jam party in downtown St. Paul during a blizzard; The Post-Void Radio Theater appeared on-stage at Minicon for The Philip K. Dick Van Dyke Show; on KFAI, the LCS Universal Top 12 became 10; the show’s first hour format was tweaked (to match the hour-long national show under construction) and the second hour, Little City in Space Farther Out, allowed for diverting, more mysterious excursions outside any boundaries: from sound collage & spoken word to Golden Internet Archive logoCage/Radio Mortuary, it was anything goes.

We’ve collected more highlights from 1989 shows: The Best of Little City in Space Vol.2 with Peter, Stu & Jerry features special guest Mark Masyga: the pie-chute mystery of Stan Baxter‘s disappearance and re-appearance begins here! Tribute to Mel Blanc (d.1989), music by The Crash Dummies, The Toy Lovers. Sponsors include Old Dotage Fig Paste and Moot Point Resort. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LCSBestOfVol2

June 28, 1989: Jerry with Mark Masyga, Brian Anderson; the trio’s Farther Out portion is one of LCS’ all-time best; also Nowhere News, sports, joblines & Gil Goose editorial; ads for Screaming Phoenix Edible Bi-Product Dispensation Outlet; Deja Food. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpace1989-06-28

September 20, 1989: Jerry with Chuck Isle, Brian Anderson; ads for The Samuel T. Party Gompers; Mom’s Maply Syrup; Geek Weekly; Hi-Fiber Cellulogs (#2). Music by Zoltan & Squidley, Snakefinger, Gaby Pahinui. Conspiracy theorist Alabama Neptune‘s commentary on Stan Baxter. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpace1989-09-20

img003The Void-Posts (#3 and #4) were published from the Post-Void in 1989. #3’s hot pink reflects some mind-bending visions for the eye. Art by Ernie Bushmiller (left) and (above) Wayne Modjeski.

Little City in Space: NPR Pilot

Created for National Public Radio, this audition was designed to help introduce first-time listeners to many popular locations of satellite LCS-1 guided by Stu, Pete & Jerry. With regular features such as Nowhere News, Sports, The Paul Bunny Report and Joblines, there’s the most popular songs in the entire universe. Of special note: TV spoof called Secret Reagent guest stars Charles Brin and Alice Phoenix. Listen: https://archive.org/details/LittleCityInSpaceNprPilotIiSecretReagent

Internet Archive logoAlso featuring the talents of Blanche Fubar, Bob Rynkiewicz, Chuck Isle, Mark Masyga, Elizabeth Thurber, Joe Shalita, Rob Ordahl, Lola Mathews. Produced & written by The Post-Void Radio Theater.

Tarzan’s Iowa Adventure

Tarzan_Jane_IowaThe legendary jungle-man finds himself in strange surroundings. Television gets skewered (The Schlockford Files). Also visits with Lazlo Morbid, the bad samaritan lurking next door to you. Commercial parodies include The J. Edgar Hoover Vacuum / Bash-A-Limb Contact Limbs / The Uneven Arms Alarm Clock Palace / Clobber City.  Listen at Archive.org.

Voices by Kay Kirscht, John Darling, Mark Masyga, Chuck Isle, Peter Stenshoel. Thanks to Mark for visual (above).Internet Archive logo Material from broadcasts of The Mechanical Spider Clinic and Another Flask of Weird (KFAI, Minneapolis-St. Paul). MSC Theme by Bat Lenny.

Random Electric Froth

p30_m3_098_lWeird ads, TV Guise, collages, songs from Twin Cities bands featured by Chuck Isle & Jerry on KFAI’s  Random Access; also with Peter Stenshoel on Electric Coffee; The Mechanical Spider Clinic.

Commercials for The Wagner Power Composer / Uncle Mammy’s Blacktop & Skillet Shakers / Colossal Rick’s Cafe / Screaming Tad Beer / Geri – Todd / Doctor Bohr’s Balms / Chef Vortex / Pronto – Lloyd / Jingles Pavlov’s House of Spin / Piping Hot Mc Laughlin’s Nut Mc Coffee / Rude Hound Cassettes / Hand Baskets to Hell / The Lady Morpheus Plan / The Civil Apes Taiwanese Checkerboard Set. Listen in two volumes: Random Electric Froth, and More Frothing at the Beaker 1984-1985

Contributors include Mark Masyga, Marc Myers, Keith Lindberg, Brian Woolery, Andy Schultz, The Displaced Crustaceans, The Eyes. Internet Archive logo

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

NoSpam

All comments are moderated. Spam won't show up here.
%d bloggers like this: