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Kill Ugly Radio Presents: Stranger Than Fiction

February 25, 2007

Around 1980 I discovered that, late Thursday nights, some DJ was playing strange, alien music. My appetite was whetted by Devo, Pink Floyd and strange bands I had read about in Heavy Metal magazine (having nothing to do with the genre of music that would later take its name) and I wanted more. The discovery of KBOO’s Stranger than Fiction completely opened the door to new, exciting music for me, and I’ve never looked back. The hosts of STF – the enigmatic Mr. B and Equinox – played a combination of New Wave, skinny-tie pop, novelty music (Barnes and Barnes, Bonzo Dog Band, etc.) and lots of acts that straddled Prog and Post-Punk (Gabriel, Fripp, Hammill). Thier show was like a complete education in alternative music and it really saved me in those lost years of being a weird, alien-feeling teenager, even if it meant that my friends would never let me play my mix-tapes at parties.

Eventually, Mr. B and Equinox expanded the program to handle early and late shifts, Mr. B starting at 1:00 AM, playing mostly newly released import singles and Equinox taking over duties at 3:00, playing lots of ambient music, prog and space rock until morning. I used to go home from school on Thursdays and go right to sleep so that I could stay up all night drawing comics while the show was on. I even taped a lot of it, but the tapes sound horrid now. As the eighties gave way to rock video, STF’s programming went a little too mainstream for my tastes and I was getting into hardcore punk by then. I don’t even recall when they finally went off the air.

the tracks I chose for this mix were songs that were either played often on their show, or played once and really made an impression on me.

I dedicate this mix to all late night DJs out there, playing new, weird music for alienated kids.

Playlist:

  1. Godley & Creme – Freeze Frame
  2. XTC – Senses Working Overtime
  3. Lene Lovich – Lucky Number
  4. The Normal – tvod
  5. Robert Fripp – Disengage
  6. Fad Gadget – Ricky’s Hand
  7. Karel Fialka – The Eyes Have It
  8. The Fabulous Poodles – Mirror Star
  9. Gary Numan – I Dream Of Wires
  10. Robert Palmer – I Dream Of Wires
  11. The The – This is the Day
  12. Peter Hammill – Now More Than Ever
  13. The Silicone Teens – Memphis Tennessee
  14. Fred Frith – Dancing In The Street
  15. Hawaiian Pups – Baby Judy
  16. Midnight Oil – Tin Legs and Tin Mines
  17. Public Image Ltd. – Pied Piper
  18. M – Pop Muzik
  19. Peter Gabriel – Games Without Frontiers
  20. Boomtown Rats – Whitehall 1212
  21. The Psychedelic Furs – Pulse
  22. Laurie Anderson – Sharkey`s Day
  23. Morgan Fisher, et. al. – Excerpt from Miniatures

Download (90 mins. 82 megs.)

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17 comments

  1. Ok, this is frightening…..we seem to be one and the same. Back in the late 70’s I used to stay up and paint while listening to WKSU “Fresh Air” which introduced me to Peter Hammill, Godley Creme, Ken Nordine and a ton of other fantastic groups…..and this mix you listed is almost exactly like tapes I used to make back in the day. Of the 23 tracks I would have used 18 and what makes it more eerie is that even the songs are what I would have used. Are you my kidnapped at birth twin?


  2. That IS Stranger than Fiction!
    Lots of tunes had to be excised for length. There should of been some Eno, some Bowie and maybe some Nina.
    A lot of what I mixed was from memory of an actual show that I had taped and listened to over and over, although The The, Hawaiian Pups and that particular version of the Karel Fialka song didn’t appear until later on.
    I think we all share a similar mutant lineage, even our respective DJs -a thousand miles apart – seem to be on the same psychic wavelength.
    I am overjoyed that it struck a chord with a twin!


  3. Wow, that list is a blast from the past! Is Karel Fialka related to Gerry Fialka of Zappa fame?


  4. Glad it struck a chord, Roscoe!
    I don’t think so, his bio on WikiPedia says:
    “He was born in Bengal, India, to a Scottish father & Czechoslavakian mother.”

    I remember that guy from the Barfko videos, giving us a tour of the Zappa warehouse.

    I don’t know if he’s related or not.


  5. Wow, I don’t know what possessed me but I started searching the web with old lyrics in my head. My brother was a big KBOO STF fan which of course hooked me. I just found the Crucifucks song “By The Door.” When I first heard that, my young mind couldn’t comprehend. I am so glad to have found it and this site. I plan on looking up a bunch of the songs you recommended. STF also got me into Depeche Mode and a few others I listen to this day. I am just looking for those random songs that are stuck in my head so I can re-live them again.


  6. Check out my historical Blog of Fresh Air Progressive Rock Program on WKSU BEFORE terry gross stole the name…

    http://xerographicoppossum.blogspot.com/


  7. Wow! This was the radio program I used to stay up on school nights for. I remember taping as much as I could – the program really shaped my future musical tastes! Thank you Mr.B!


  8. Glad to have found a few STF fans with this post.
    I too used to stay up all night listening to that show and would invariably end up nodding out through the last half of the school day.
    But the music on there kept me sane as more and more of my fellow students were turning into plastic robots.

    I am friends with someone who is in touch with both of those guys. I am thinking about either seeing if they are receptive to the idea of a reunion or perhaps being a part of a potential special on the history of late-night collage radio at KBOO that me and another DJ are working on.

    LMSmith, do you still have tapes of that show?


    • To everyone that has posted here – Thank you ! Equinoxe and I loved doing the show for everyone. Be good to each other. ~ Mr.B


      • THE Mr. B!


      • Hilarie – Send me your email address and I can try to send you some mp3s. ~B~


      • Other than posting it here, how do I send my email address?


      • Mr B ~ Would love to chat sometime!! We met at the David Bowie Glass Spider tour (I was one of the 2 silly girls sitting behind you.) Hope all is well! Mepasogirl at yahoo dot com


  9. […] Shared :::KILL UGLY RADIO:::. […]


  10. I do have some tapes of Stranger Than Fiction. I wish I had just kept the tape running the whole time, but I have some great snippets — songs and dialogue. Often wondered what happened to Mr. B…. Playlists would be great too, so we could recreate the mood. It was definitely something I stayed up late on a school night for too, and learned all about great, widely varied music. I knew it was great then, but didn’t realize what a treasure (and time period) I had at my disposal. Ah, memories!


    • I have some still but the sound quality is horrid, having taped over them dozens of times and the abysmal signal KBOO had back then, which barely made it to my house before it petered out.
      You could digitize them and put them up somewhere!



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