Monday, June 14, 2010

Radio Days vol. 2

After my nervous and fumbling introduction to live radio broadcasts, it was time to set up a meeting with The Guy - the one responsible for Flazz (creative spelling of dandruff, which is a known side effect of long hair - which is what the rockers were supposed to have). I was told he would be in the studio taping next week's show the coming Friday, so after school I once again got on the bus and took it up to Flatåsen, which was the name of the suburb where Studio 45 was located.

I remember being nervous, and my jean jacket was replaced with a grey and pastel yellow coat for the occasion - which is significant, as it had pockets that could be zipped up. I entered the control room, where The Guy was going over the plans for the show with his engineer, but something seemed off... There was something with the eyes of the engineer that didn't look quite right, and there was a dog in the studio - with a white harness. It was a seeing eye dog - and the engineer was Steinar Stjerna, who was blind, but really taught me all I needed to know about engineering.

I think this is an aside worth mentioning, because Steinar really taught me to rely upon my ears rather than my eyes when doing any kind of sound engineering. While this may seem self-evident, it is very common to look at the VU meters to try to keep them fairly level throughout a broadcast - but what that does not take into consideration is the dynamics. Someone talking does not have the same fullness or body as a band playing together, and this fullness also translates as higher volume (also, different pitches played at the same volume registers at different volumes by the human ear) - meaning that even though the VU meter may be nice and steady hovering around the same reference point, the subjective experience is that the music is played louder than the people talking. This is what Steinar effectively taught me - it was a "use the force, Luke" moment, when I was able to move away from relying on instruments and rather focus on what I could hear.

Anyway, The Guy turned out to be a high school student, already sporting his trademark mustache (which now is gone). He was 4 years older than me (which would have made him 17 at the time), and we quickly developed a friendship that still is strong. His name was Jon Inge Lund, and after getting the initial information as well as some more information about what music I liked, he pointed to the angular rectangular bulge in my coat pocket and asked what tapes I had brought with me. I pulled out two cassettes I had borrowed from Jan Are, probably that same day, and they were Whitesnake's Love Hunter and Ready an' Willing. Seeing that I had two tapes from one band, he quickly asked if I knew anything about them - we could maybe do a special show on Whitesnake? Unfortunately, I didn't know a whole lot, so the plans for a Whitesnake special was shelved. However, I did join Flazz, and I quickly adapted to the show's special feature: Heavytoppen, which was a hard rock top 10 (or maybe 6, I don't remember the number of songs) where we invited listeners to both nominate songs and vote on them. It was a rather ecletic list, with Mercyful Fate's Night of the Unborn, Accept's Fast as a Shark, and, later on, one of my favorites: Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers.

On that note, I think it is time to finish up this installment of Radio Days. As usual, I will leave you with a little music. For those of you who only know Whitesnake from their late 80s music (Still of the Night, Here I Go Again, Is This Love etc.), it is worth knowing that they started out as a very blues based outfit, right from the ashes of Deep Purple. It has always been David Coverdale's band, and he eventually grabbed first Jon Lord, then Ian Paice from Deep Purple for some of his late 70s and early 80s recordings. One of my favorite Whitesnake songs was on the very first album, but I loved it from their Live... From the Heart of the City album: There Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City.

Then, straight from Heavytoppen, Deep Purple with the title track from their 1985 comeback album, Perfect Strangers: