I panicked the other day when my Tascam DR-05 digital recorder suddenly didn’t work. Pressing the Power/HOME button for a few seconds had no result ; the recorder seemed dead !
After downloading and reading the manual, I realized the HOLD switch had been mistakenly turned on, and this prevents the recorder from starting up ! It seems like I must not be the only person who has run into this, so for the common good I have created this blog post.
Here is a list of things I’d check. Good luck !
Check the HOLD switch, it should NOT be in the direction of the arrow.
Swap in new batteries.
Check battery orientation.
Try powering it with the USB cable.



cubase image

Using Cubase 10.5 for a large project, I was sometimes annoyed by dropouts in audio during mixing/playback, and by the maddening “Audio drop out detected” message during recording.

This is because of CPU overload. Real-time playback can be an issue because your mix, plugins, midi, etc. take a lot of processing power. If your export of a 3-minute song takes 3 minutes, you can imagine that it’s hard for Cubase to do in real time.

You can monitor CPU usage in Windows by clicking CRTL-SHIFT-ESC and then selecting CPU.

There are several categories of solutions, as you can see in many posts on-line.

  1. This is rarely mentioned in other posts, but the first thing to do is to remove tracks (even muted) that you are not using. Right-click and Remove Selected Track. I had a bunch of unused takes, previous versions of midi drums, etc. Removing them dropped CPU usage from 75% to 40% on one project.
  1. Increase the ASIO buffer size in your audio device control panel. I increased it from 1024 to 4096, which reduced CPU from 90% to 80% on one project. Studio Setup/VST Audio System/device/control panel.
  1. In Studio Setup/VST Audio System, set Audio Priority = High, ASIO Guard = On, Steinberg audio power scheme = On. Experiment with these.
  1. Last resort – Freeze midi channels or other channels that are taking lots of CPU. Check the manual for details. If you are not modifying the channels while mixing, they don’t need to be computed in real time.

[FR : Utilise un site indépendant pour ta campagne de crowdfunding pour éviter que Facebook enregistre et exploite (1) tes actions et (2) ta carte bancaire.]


Friends have been using the Facebook donation/fundraiser machinery. This is a bad idea for numerous reasons. Here are three big ones.

1. Facebook records, and will then exploit, every click you make concerning a charitable donation. What’s more, they do not share all this information with the charities.
2. Your personal data is not safe with Facebook. This includes your donation propensities. Need proof ? Just google “facebook data breach”.

data breaches
3. Facebook insists on capturing your PayPal or credit card information. You may not have noticed this, but they say “CONNECT PayPal” and “ADD new card”. This means that your PayPal or card information will be retained by Facebook “to facilitate future transactions.” You are not given the option (like on most sites) to not capture the info. Do you want Facebook to retain your card information ? (See #2 above.) So Facebook’s “kindness” in facilitating charitable donations allows them to harvest personal data (#1 above) and credit card information for free.

add new card

When I run into this situation, I send the money to the person directly with PayPal rather than going through Facebook donations.

Organizing a crowdfunding or fundraising campaign ? There are numerous independent sites that can be used instead, while still publicizing your campaign on FB.

When I want to donate to a campaign that is on one of these sites, I do not click through Facebook (which will capture my activity) ; I go to the fundraising site in a new window, navigate to the fundraiser’s page and make my donation.

Here are some more articles on this subject.

Please note that I am not responsible for any damage you do to your theremin as a result of my blog. Hack at your own risk ! If you don’t know how to work on electronics or wood, ask a friend.


This blog concerns the Moog Etherwave theremin. It deserves credit for being the pioneering modern “professional quality” theremin. It unfortunately suffers from a few errors in its design.

My girlfriend has played this theremin in our punk band, Human Toys, for about 10 years. Experience has proven that the Moog was not designed for use “on the road”. So I had to fix five problems, as explained below, which I did not expect to encounter in a €450 device made for professional use. Booo !!!


(1) A key problem is that the output is “line level”, not “guitar level”. So, if you connect your theremin to a guitar amp or play it through guitar effects pedals, the level is much too high, and you will get clipping and distortion. Booooo !!! I suspect many Moog theremin players are not aware of this.

I would say that this was an unfortunate engineering decision on Moog’s part. It presumably improves the signal-to-noise ratio, but at the cost of compatibility with standard devices.

In order to connect successfully to a guitar amp or an effects pedal, we need to reduce the output level. I give a big tip of the hat to the Big Briar service manual, which explains precisely what to do. Resistor R33, 4.7K, needs to be replaced with a 47K resistor. I went a step farther and installed a 47K pot in series with R33, allowing adjustment of the level between line level and guitar level so I could experiment. Finally, I wound up leaving the pot at its maximum resistance anyway. So I’d say just put a resistor, don’t bother with the pot.

PS If you are not using pedals, and do not want to modify your theremin, you can safely use amplifiers that have a “line” input.


(2) On this €450 device, Moog saved $1 by not having a power indicator. This is essential so that a musician on stage can rapidly verify that the power is working. How many times have Etherwave users set up on stage, found that there was no sound output, and wondered whether it was the power supply or something on the output side ? Booooo !!!!!!

I added a 12 volt LED across the power supply. (Black and green wires to front-panel pots.) I chose a 3mm LED and drilled a hole in the front panel for it. Wonderful ! Now you get an immediate indication on stage when the unit is powered on. Of course you can pay €70 more and get the Moog Etherwave Plus which does indeed have a power indicator.


(3) The power supply connector is a three-pin DIN, although only two pins are used. Perhaps this was done intentionaly to discourage people from plugging in other power supplies, but a DIN plug, with its small pins, is more fragile than the standard low-voltage connectors. Also, the mating power connector on the theremin is hidden inside the case behind the wood, making it difficult to orient and connect on a dark stage (or even a well-lit one). Boooo !!!

theremin power connector.jpg

Much worse, the power connector on the theremin is simply soldered to the circuit board; there’s nothing to hold it in place except its three wires. So after a few years of constant use, the wires break and the theremin does not work. Booooooo !!!

I replaced the connector with a surface-mounted one that is screwed into and supported by the wooden case, so it is not fragile. And, being on the exterior, you can see the positions of the pins, making it easier to plug into.


(4) After about 250 gigs, the threads on the microphone mount on the base of the theremin had literally worn away and did not hold on a mic stand any longer. I could not find an alternative that’s the same size, so I replaced it with the same poor-quality part, Atlas Sound AD-11B, available on-line for about 10€. (Actually I got AD-11BE, black.) I suppose I’ll be replacing it again in 10 years. I wish Atlas had not made it from cheap pot metal. I wish Moog had selected a better-quality part. Booo !


(5) The last area of concern is the wooden case. My girlfriend dropped her theremin off a 6-foot (2 m) stage, bringing to light certain design deficiencies.

Moog’s case design is clever because, with four screws, you can take the upper box off and then operate/test the unit when it’s open (see first photo at top of page). But the short sides of the lower box (where the antennas are attached) are not supported on their top edge by the case, even when it’s closed, so they are exposed to stress when the antennas move, or when it’s dropped. So the side panels crack. Boooooo !

What’s more, the short sides of the lower box are made of wood (rather than plywood) which cracks along the grain, precisely where it has been drilled for the antennas. If Moog had chosen plywood, this would be less of a problem.

wood cracks.jpg

Strangely, the front and back of the upper box are attached to the top with special screws and threaded plugs, rather than being grooved and glued. Presumably this was an attempt to make it stronger. The correct way to make the upper box strong is to complete the upper box with 2 more panels with glued dado joints on the inside (see photo below with post-it notes taking the place of these panels). If Moog engineers had paid attention in Wood Shop 101, they would know this. There is room for these panels to pass on the two sides of the PC board where the metal plates are. These two panels do not have to extend all the way to the base : they could pass above the metal plates. The upper box would be very strong. And they could save money on those funky threaded plugs. Booo !!!

upper part.jpg

However, those cool threaded plugs would find a much better use holding the top part of the short sides of the lower box, which support the antennas. I used wood screws instead. Now the side panels are supported at the top when the unit is closed. I glued the cracked side panels, which seem to be holding up fine. If I had needed to replace these panels I would have done it with plywood as explained above.


Also, one of the wooden “feet” fell off. They are glued and nailed with tiny nails. A grooved joint (or screws) would have made them much more solid.

There you go ! Now we have a more usable, sturdy theremin that’s ready to go on the road !



[FR : Quelques tuyaux pour bricoler votre Silvertone… à vos risques et périls !]

I love my Sears Silvertone 1457 guitar. Cheaply built almost 60 years ago, and apparently stored in a damp closet for a while, it deserved a little “tune-up”. Here is what I did. (Note: I have no training in guitar repair. I will take no responsibility for the content of this article or its consequences. Proceed at your own risk!)


I drilled a new hole and moved the strap button to a better position so the strap doesn’t fall off all the time. (Click on photos to enlarge them.)


I removed the strings, the knobs, and then the pickguard (careful, it’s fragile and the electronics are attached), and cleaned the electronic components with a cleaning spray. I cleaned the crud off the pickguard and knobs.


I used very fine (400) emery cloth, lightly moving along the fret (not up and down) to clean the crud off. I masked the rosewood with masking tape when sanding each fret to avoid damaging it. I then cleaned the neck and fretboard with a guitar-cleaning product.

IMAG1753 IMAG1748 IMAG1749 IMAG1750 IMAG1752

The tuning pegs did not turn smoothly. I removed the tuning pegs (a couple of screws and they come out neatly) and cleaned them, and then applied lithium grease to all friction points: on the gears and on the plates.


The original rosewood bridge saddle was badly worn, with repercussions on the guitar’s sound. I found an original new-old-stock saddle on the Internet. There are also modern replacement saddles available. Another approach would have been to replace the bridge with a metal adjustable one.

IMAG1746 IMAG1743

I wanted to lower the action (height of strings above the neck) but the top end of the bridge is held up by 2 wood screws that could not go any deeper in the body. Tightening them further would have made them pierce the body and stick out the back. The bottom end of the bridge is also held by a wood screw and in order to keep the strings tight against the saddle, this one must go in further as well. So, I used a metal saw to remove a few millimeters from each screw, allowing their heads to go lower. (This could have also been accomplished with a bench grinder or perhaps by changing to shorter screws.) I put a washer under the bottom screw to raise the bridge slightly, making more space for the balls on the ends of the strings to catch under the bridge, so they don’t slip out.


Having replaced the saddle and lowered the bridge, it’s time to set the intonation. Here’s how I do it; I don’t claim it’s correct.

  • Tighten the screw on the back of the saddle so you can still move it a little bit. Position the saddle in a reasonable place and mount the bridge.
  • Put on low E string. Stretch it. Tune it. Now fret at the octave position and adjust the left side of the saddle to tune to E.
  • Put on high E string. Stretch it. Tune it. Now fret at the octave position and adjust the right side of the saddle to tune to E.
  • Tune low E string, verify intonation of both strings and correct if necessary.
  • Put on B string. Stretch it. Tune it. Now fret at the octave position and adjust the right side of the saddle to tune to B.
  • There are now enough strings to hold the saddle in place, it should not move easily any more.
  • Tune all three strings, verify intonation of all three strings and correct if necessary.
  • Put on, one by one, A, G, D, and tune all strings each time.
  • Verify intonation.

You can now set the height of the pickups using the screws on the back of the guitar. I put them close to the strings for more volume, but not too close or else they will buzz.


I have heard that it’s good to put some graphite on the slots in the nut when changing strings to help the strings slide, especially since the beautiful angular arrangement of the strings puts a lot of lateral stress on the string as it passes through the nut.


Also, I have a theory that the low E string should be wound around the tuning peg in the opposite direction, to reduce the angle and make it look better. If you try it, you will see that it’s logical. Yes, this means you turn it the opposite way to tune it.

A couple of years later, I became friends with a guitar maker and asked him what he could do to improve the Silvertone.


First, he made two cutouts in the bridge saddle so that it follows the intonation better.


Then, he fabricated a nut out of bone to replace the very worn aluminum one.

Finally, he did a proper setup.

The guitar looks and plays much better now. Good luck with your own Silvertone/Danelectro.

[FR : en bas]
switchJust a detail. In the film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” when the cop arrests Johnny Five, leaving Llewyn Davis alone in the car with the (dead?) jazzman Roland Turner, there is a brief close-up of the ignition switch. It is left on “OFF” and not “LOCK”.

In that case, on those old GM cars, you could start the car without the key. My grandpa had one.

bezelSo Llewyn could have driven away, but he didn’t. Did he know? I’m sure the Coen brothers do.

Juste un petit détail… Dans le film “Inside Llewyn Davis”, quand le flic embarque Johnny Five et laisse Llewyn Davis dans la bagnole avec le jazzman (mort ?) Roland Turner, on aperçoit en gros plan le contact de la voiture. Il est en position “OFF” au lieu de “LOCK” (verrouillé).

En ce cas, on peut démarrer les vieilles voitures General Motors sans mettre la clé. Mon grand-père en avait une.

Du coup, Llewyn aurait pu s’en partir en voiture, mais il ne l’a pas fait. Est-ce qu’il l’a su ? Les frères Coen le savent certainement.

[FR : Autobiographie d’un criminel américain qui fait aussi le portrait des bas-fonds solidaires dans la société américaine fin 19e.]

This autobiography of a career criminal is also a fascinating portrait of the American proletarian criminal class and their associates at the end of the 19th century, from hobos hopping trains and being beaten mercilessly by railroad “bulls” to Salt Chunk Mary, an incredible character and the best fence for stolen property in the West. Black pops in and out of jail while continuously improving his connections with a widespread and mutually-supportive underworld. When one is in trouble, friends all pitch in: a socialist model in stark contrast to the prevailing mentality in America.

In passing, he profits from his experiences to provide first-hand social criticism that was surely radical at the time, and still bears up.

I’ve read a number of books of this type; Edward Bunker’s “Education of a Felon” is an interesting comparison. During my reading, I was increasingly disturbed by a nagging doubt: was the book genuine? The lack of documented detail [1] and Candide-like structure were capped by the classic “exploitation” formula: a final chapter of the form “I hope my story will serve as a warning to stay away from the criminal life.”

Does this make me more of a skeptic (or less gullible) than William S. Burroughs, who cites the book as a key influence? Perhaps. But now we have the Internet. Some searching led me to on-line archives of the San Francisco Call, the newspaper run by Fremont Older, a progressive with faith in the inner goodness of Black who bargained him out of jail and set him on the good path.

I discovered something marvelous. The timidity of Black to set out the gory details of his criminal life did not affect the reporters who covered the police blotter for the SF Call. [4] Quite the opposite. Here are a few examples that make for entertaining reading, and that also removed any remaining doubts about the authenticity of Black and his adventures. I suppose we have to take into account the vast differences in society and what has become allowable in literature since 1926, but imagine if he had let loose with all the nasty details that even the reporters didn’t know! Whew! What a book that would have been. [2] (Links below.)

It was not long after Black landed at Ingleside [jail], five years ago, that he became a power within the walls. He set himself as the commercial king and sold the most sought after commodity — “dope.” It is known that when in his cell Black sold “shots” of morphine through the wicket to other prisoners at 10 cents for each hypodermic injection. He would insert the needle in the customer’s arm, inject the “shot” and collect his fee.

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 36, 5 January 1912

Black was the wealthiest man in the county jail, not excepting the officials. He was known as the “king of the opium ring,” and made a small fortune in the sale of morphine and cocaine to the other prisoners who desired the drugs. It is known that several days before his departure he had $2,700 of his own money strapped about his waist in a money belt. Two weeks ago he told a grand Juror who was inquiring into conditions in the jail that his “bank roll” amounted to $2,000. Among his other possessions he had diamonds, unset, solitaire, clustered, and watches and other jewelry. He was abundantly supplied with expensive clothes of the latest fashion.

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 36, 5 January 1912

When the officers attempted to place the suspect under arrest Black drew a revolver. Before he could make use of the weapon, however, the detectives closed in on him. A desperate struggle ensued, and Black was not subdued until beaten almost into insensibility.

San Francisco Call, Volume 95, Number 138, 16 April 1904

A remarkable detail is the prevalence of opium sales and consumption by Chinese people, who seem to have their own separate underground society. In one scene, Black is in an unfamiliar town and needs a hit of “hop” (opium) [3]. He simply looks for a Chinese laundry, in the way that someone today might look for a McDonalds, knowing in advance what is on the menu.

Another recurring theme is corruption in the criminal justice system, and the book finishes with an appeal for its reform. Black repeatedly buys himself out of situations in the most matter-of-fact way. At least today these practices are more concealed.

Overall, an interesting read in spite of my regrets over what this book could have been. Thanks to my friend Phil for recommending it, and to my old neighbors AK Press in SF and Amok in LA for putting it out.

[1] For example, when he steals a (fake) ruby, he says “strangely, it never made the papers.”

[2] The book’s excellent Afterword, written by Bruno Ruhland, lifts a phrase from an article without crediting it, while nevertheless citing the wrong date (1906). “Black, in 1904, caused a reign of terror in the Mission district during the course of a number of daring robberies and holdups.” (cf. SF Call 24 December 1912)

[3] Now I know where the fifties (?) term hop-head came from!

[4] Here are links to these articles, which are well worth reading. [5]
5 January 1912
24 December 1912
16 April 1904
18 April 1904
19 April 1904
20 April 1904

[5] The catastrophically bad Veridian OCR software for on-line newspapers apparently does not perform even the most elementary heuristic cleanup on the scans, leaving things like numbers and capital letters in the middle of words. It relies on “crowd sourcing” (cf. Wikipedia): the kindness of strangers to come in and fix up the lousy scans. As a public service, I located as many articles as I could about Jack Black and manually corrected them. Example:
A. Kriox, ;a /Valencia Street Gf roceiy ; Identifies ;. Him as ;tlie:Man^hat Held Him Up
-> A. Knox, a Valencia Street Grocer, Identifies Him as the Man That Held Him Up

Radio Days


[FR : Mon parcours musical, à travers les émissions de radio qui m’ont formé, et celles que j’ai créées moi-même par la suite. Écouter : KALX WMBR]

Sorting through endless boxes of crap after the third move in 4 years, I decided it was time to trash the many hundreds of audio cassettes I had been dragging around for 2 decades. A friend told me: “If you haven’t seen it in a year, you don’t need it.” I don’t think I had listened to a cassette since 1999. It was just dead weight.

Starting in the 70s, I had taped all my favorite albums and made many dozens of compilation tapes with favorite punk and 60s music. I would listen to them at home, in the car or on band tour in the van. There was also a bunch of tapes I’d saved with radio shows I’d hosted.

But let me tell a little story.

I grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 1960’s. It turned out to be a great time to be born, but a lousy location. My favorite toy was my battery-powered transistor radio. I listened to the Top 40 AM radio stations in New York and Philadelphia. My earliest memory is listening to the Supremes on a car radio. Another great memory is me and my friends singing along with Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” on the jukebox in our school cafeteria in 1972.

Check out the audio on this page, in particular 1964-1968. This is exactly what I listened to constantly on WABC, 770 AM, New York. Since these links are “airchecks”, they do not contain the full length of each song: they are edited to mainly show what the DJs used to say, introducing the songs, talking over the beginning and end of songs, doing hokey commercials, being stupid, taking phone calls on the air, etc. I thought they were so cool! Maybe one day I could be a DJ.

I recommend that you listen to this one because it is not edited like the others, many songs are full-length. It’s a show from 1967, with DJ “Cousin Brucie”. According to the site, it was also broadcast to American soldiers in Viet Nam, and pointedly includes Victor Lundberg’s “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son”.

Top 40 was literally (after taking bribery and manipulation into account) a list of the top-selling 40 singles for the week, in the country or in a particular market. They would be broadcast all day and night on these stations. But that was not a problem: in the 60s, it was all incredibly great. In my neighborhood chain store, they had 40 wooden bins for the 40 hit 45s, arranged in order. I would save my allowance money and buy my favorites.

In the 70s, pop music changed for the worse. And simultaneously, I started to become aware that I did not need to listen to the crap that was being fed to me on commercial radio, as I had done happily for years. I was looking for something else, but didn’t really find it. I started listening to electric blues (John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Lowell Fulsom…), in particular on the University of Pennsylvania college radio station in Philadelphia, WXPN. I dug the first George Thorogood album too. When he played in Philadelphia, I made it in the door of the club by wearing a big hat and a heavy coat with a collar that went up to my nose, since I was way under age. There was a teeny punk scene in Philadelphia at that time, but I was unaware of it.

I left suburban New Jersey for Boston in September 1978 to attend MIT. Soon after arriving, hanging out in my dormitory, and with my habit of listening to WXPN, I decided to see what the college radio station of my own school was playing. It changed my life.

WTBS (soon to sell that name to Ted Turner for $50,000 and be renamed WMBR) was (arguably) the best college radio station in town, and maybe in the US. It was a crossroads for the burgeoning punk scene in Boston. Numerous punk shows featured all the latest records and tapes by local bands as well as national and international acts. Don’t forget that, at that time, these records were extremely difficult to obtain. Newbury Comics, a little comic book shop opened by an MIT dropout, had innovated by placing a cardboard box of punk 45s for sale next to the cash register. It soon turned into 2 boxes, and then more.

I listened constantly to WTBS, as well as the other college stations in Boston. I started going out to shows, motivated by the “concert report” on the radio. Blaine, my neighbor in the dorms, taught me to play guitar (in 5 minutes). I practiced along with the first Ramones album for a few weeks (top tip: turn the “balance” knob to cut out the original guitar or bass), and then started a band. I began DJing at WMBR about a year later. Newcomers had to start on the 7am shift playing 60s music (Top 40 as well as garage, although I snuck in some other stuff). The show was called Sleepwalk, and it was the first show of the broadcast day: we turned on the transmitter. The Pebbles series had recently started appearing, sparking renewed interest on the part of punks for our garage predecessors. Nuggets was still available for cheap in cut-out bins. The Lyres, who played their first show in January 1979, were one of the first current-day bands to get into this style.

MIT students were few and far between at the station (most DJs were community members with much more musical and radio experience than the students; also, the average MIT student did not care about music or any other cultural or social notion), but it was station policy to favor students by putting them in positions of responsibility. This enabled me to make a rapid climb up the station hierarchy and after a while I was Program Director, in charge of choosing what shows went on the air. My friend Mick was Station Manager. As reckless youth will do, I threw numerous “boring” shows off the air and put on a wide variety of additional punk shows in their place, as well as 60s shows, an anarchist political show, etc.

The best and most legendary punk show on WMBR was (and remains today) the Late Risers Club. It’s the show I heard when I first arrived at MIT. I was never a permanent DJ on that show, although I did a couple of fill-ins. I founded my own weekly show called No Fun, with my friend Don, based on the concept of only playing “old-school punk”: records from before 1980 (including 60s garage punk). This concept was ahead of its time, as it was only 1982! I also filled in on Media Blitz, which featured California bands, and Who Are the Mystery Girls, which normally featured Sheena and Spencer, two charming and unpredictable hostesses who could play or do anything. We took over the venerable Night Owl show and turned it into an all-request punk program.

College radio stations and shows like this were instrumental in the rise of punk music in the US in those pre-Internet days, keeping people informed about new music, local bands, upcoming concerts, etc. I was proud of that, and still am. DJs would compete with each other to stay on top of the latest music by reading zines, and would order records by mail from far-flung labels and bands to play on the air. (The dearth of college radio in France was surely an impediment to the rise of punk in that country.) When I moved to San Francisco, I formed Disorder Records, a not-for-profit mail-order business which lasted a few years. With the help of Frank, Kenny, Max and some other friends, we drank beer every week in my living room and sent great records to people from Nebraska to Singapore who had no other way to obtain them. (Customers: if I still owe you money, let me know.)

While making my own mail-order purchases in the 80s to get records I was passionate about, I would not have believed that one day you would be able to listen to any song you wanted instantly and for free by clicking a button, record stores would be closing, and yet the Misfits records I was getting for $3 would sell for hundreds of dollars on EBay. While playing “Whole Wide World” on WMBR in 1981, I would not have believed that 30 years later I would “Friend” Wreckless Eric on Facebook (and be accepted, yay!)

A little anecdote… One of the jazz hosts I threw off the air at WMBR was Melanie Berzon. She went on to a long and successful career on other public radio stations. Years later, after moving to San Francisco, I participated in the Maximum Rock n Roll radio show on KPFA in Berkeley and did many shows along with Tim and the Gang. However, Maximum Rock n Roll was eventually thrown off the air by the KPFA Program Director…Melanie Berzon. Years later, I was at the dentist in San Francisco. He gave me some headphones to listen to music, to make my visit more pleasant. It was tuned to KCSM, a jazz station in San Mateo. Melanie Berzon was doing a show and it was time for the pledge drive, so when the dentist finished, I borrowed his phone and called in a pledge. I wonder if she recognized my name.

After almost five years at MIT, I managed to graduate despite myself and moved to San Francisco in 1983. I started volunteering at KALX, a community radio station in Berkeley. I met a lot of good friends there, including Dr. Frank, already legendary for his brilliant radio show, and soon to start the Mr. T Experience. I worked my way up the ladder at KALX as well, and did about 10 years of shows before retiring. The KALX format included the requirement to play current music (as you can see, hardcore was in the air) and a variety of styles. It’s remarkable to see the quantity and variety of great new stuff that was coming out in the mid 80’s. Frankly, when was the last time the likes of the Dead Kennedys (1981) or Minutemen (1985) were seen in the “new record bin”?

A peculiar aspect of the KALX shows is that radio station policy required DJs to play a certain proportion of “current black music”. I don’t want to reopen that can of worms, but while I genuinely liked the songs I played in this context, they don’t always fit with the rest of the program. They have been removed for your listening pleasure.

So back to the cassettes. Before throwing them out, I copied some to the computer. Here they are:

listen to KALX archives 1985-1987

listen to WMBR archives 1980-1982

There are also some recordings of other peoples’ shows.

I apologize in advance for my lousy attempts at humor, my stilted mic breaks, my bad engineering, etc. On the WMBR shows in particular, I talk too much, a direct repercussion of being weaned on WABC. The 1985 Punk Awards can be best understood as my version of the 1967 WABC Top 100 with Dan Ingram (listen). As time went on, I learned to shut up and play the music. Hope you enjoy these shows despite everything.

(aka Rock ‘n’ Roll Meeting Place/Stay Free/Fifi’s Bar)

Photos updated August 2016.

Go to the Shimo-kitazawa station.
(You may need to change trains/lines. Just keep asking people.)
(The fares are complicated. If you don’t understand them, just buy a cheap ticket; you can pay the difference when you exit.)



Go to the South exit of the station.









At the bottom of the exit stairs, turn left and go through the tunnel. Keep walking straight after the tunnel.



At the supermarket, turn right.


At the second corner, turn left.


There is a Chinese restaurant on the ground floor.


Go up the exterior staircase to the 4th floor.


Now have a drink. The walk takes about 4 minutes total, starting from the station. The bar is open most nights starting at about 8pm (20h) and closes when everyone leaves.

In the 80’s and 90’s in San Francisco, I copied a ton of my favorite films (mostly exploitation) to video cassette. The list, below, does not constitute “my favorites”, but most of them are really good.

Dans les années 80-90 à San Francisco, j’ai copié une tonne de mes films préférés (la plupart dans les genres d’exploitation) sur K7 vidéo. La liste, en bas, ne constitue pas “mes favoris”, mais ils sont généralement très bien.

2000 Maniacs
All You Need Is Cash (The Rutles)
The Ambushers
Astro Zombies
At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul
Bad (Andy Warhol)
Bad Taste
Beneath The Valley of the Ultra-Vixens
Beyond The Valley of the Dolls
The Big Bird Cage (tape unplayable)
Black Devil Doll from Hell
Black Lizard
The Black Magic with Buddha
Black Sunday
Blade Runner
Blast-Off Girls
Blood Diner
Blood Orgy of the She Devils
Bloodsucking Freaks
Bloodthirsty Butchers (tape unplayable)
Blue Sunshine
Brain Dead
Bunny Yeager’s Nude Las Vegas
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Clubfoot Orchestra)
Carnival of Souls
Chained For Life
Change Heat
Color Me Blood Red
The Curse of Her Flesh
Darktown Strutters
Deadbeat at Dawn
Deadly Weapons
Death Race 2000
Desperate Living
Disco Godfather
Dr. Butcher, M.D.
Dracula (Andy Warhol)
Evil Dead 2
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Female Trouble
Forbidden Zone
The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow
Girl Gang
The Gore Gore Girls
The Gruesome Twosome
High School Confidential
The Honeymoon Killers
The Horror at Party Beach
The Human Tornado
I Drink Your Blood
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies
Just for the Hell of It
The Karen Carpenter Story (CBS)
The Legend of Dolomite
Leningrad Cowboys Go America
Let My Puppets Come
Love and Leather Pants
The Mack
Mad Monster Party
Mantis in Lace (tape unplayable)
Meet The Feebles!
The Monster and the Stripper
Motor Psycho
Ms. 45
Multiple Maniacs
Night of the Living Dead
Nosferatu (Clubfoot Orchestra)
Petey Wheatstraw
Pink Flamingos
Plan Nine from Outer Space
Reefer Madness
Reform School Girls
Repo Man
Richard Kern Shorts
Rock & Rule
Rock ‘N’ Roll High School
Rude! (Rudy Ray Moore)
The Sadist
She Devils On Wheels
Soul Vengeance
Spider Baby
The Stuff
Super Soul Brother
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story
Switchblade Sisters
Three the Hard Way
The Thrill Killers
Touch of Her Flesh
Trader Hornee
Twisted Brain
Up In Smoke
The Vampire Lovers
White Lightnin’ Road
Wild Guitar
The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield
Wild Zero
The Wizard of Gore