Back in the very early 80’s, when I was a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, bought nickle bags of pot from Rastas at a corner store, marched with a million people against nuclear power and the weapons which at that time were actually threatening to destroy life as we knew it, and spent two years walking the streets of New York barefoot, there was a sea change in the music world. Overnight, a sound which was dubbed New Wave appeared on the scene, combining the edginess of Punk with the danceability of Disco, and, naturally, stealing from African traditional music too.
That isn’t what I came to write about, though. The cafe I frequent had a 70’s classic rock station playing this morning. The playlist was full of Toto, Journey, and the like. It reminded me of WLIR radio from Long Island, which I listened to back in my art student days. Sometime around 1981 or 82, WLIR announced that they would only play new music (read New Wave), and ran a promotion in support of the change. Anyone could call in and give the name of their most hated 70’s band, and the DJ would destroy it on the air, scratching the needle across the record and smashing it.
Now, I am sitting here enjoying a Jackson Browne song that I likely delighted in the destruction of 35 years ago. It strikes me that Donald Trump, our Rancid Mango Tweeter King, is doing to our Nation what WLIR did to 70’s music. He is smashing all the hits to pieces to the delight of his fed up and jaded audience. The difference is, WLIR didn’t smash the master discs, or even all the copies of any record, and we can still listen to them any time we want. They also had a new, exciting, and wonderful replacement for the music they were getting rid of.
It’s not surprising that WLIR’s ratings went up, while Trumps are plummeting. He isn’t New Wave, he is the garbled noise you hear when you get put on hold.