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Notes From the Underground

Bad Reception:
Free radio movement sullied by immature antics

Regarding the recent high-profile eviction at that house on Campbell Street, which has since been reduced to splinters: Even if the landlord neglected the place as badly as the tenants did, the behavior of the residents was juvenile and pathetic and it annoys me that the public associates them with Free Radio Santa Cruz.

I support the free radio movement because I believe people of all types should be able to broadcast their views--uncensored--to anybody in their own communities who cares to listen. Locally, I think Free Radio SC has done at least some interesting political stuff that can't be found elsewhere, plus a lot of really good music. It's the only station here--apart from a few shows on KZSC, KAZU and KUSP--where you could hear genuine punk rock, hardcore hip-hop, experimental noise and other non-mainstream music. And there are no commercials, which is the main reason commercial radio sucks (other than the fact they play crappy, generic music and the DJs are annoying).

Regrettably, however, FRSC is often publicly associated with (and is at the moment virtually controlled by) a small group of people who pretend to be anarchists or something similar. But rather than focusing their energies on improving any community, these characters mainly preach to the converted and loudly assail those who disagree with them in a fashion that completely eludes credibility. They refuse to pay rent on their ramshackle Campbell Street house and refuse to leave when the landlord has it condemned.

When the cops come, the residents make a big media event out of it. They play Waco, barricade the joint and throw jars of urine at the officers. I have little love for the man in blue, but these cats practically begged the cops to beat the shit out of them.

Do they really want anarchy? I doubt it. Real anarchy, as a friend of mine notes, results in oppression of the weak, sick and elderly by whoever has the biggest guns. Everyone deserves a voice, but the importance of the free radio movement goes far beyond FRSC's core of wannabe activists, whose childish antics are a knife in the back of the thoughtful people who care about seeing the movement succeed.

Tape Review--Better Dead Than Red

The Speen-A-Zine/Mishap Records kids have released an eclectic cassette featuring a bunch of barely known local acts like Endorphin, General Handywork, Mung, Mike Garlington, Pope John Paul III, the Phillistines and the Mishap Crew, plus other Bay Area bands. (There's one groupcalled Rad on here--rad name, eh?) The comp is called Better Dead Than Red, as opposed to Epitaph/AK Press' new comp, Better Read Than Dead. This tape is musically convoluted, artsy, unusual and occasionally sick--with everything from hard rock and punk to weird jazzy tunes, acoustic stuff, joke songs, rap and silly electronic music. Some funny lyrics in there and I liked a lot of the local stuff, although most of the rap would get laughed right outta Oakland, and I could do without PJP III's fairly weak acoustic tune. But Ebony Bone's "Necrophiliac Nymphomaniac Pyromaniac Sex Fiend," made up for it. Anyway, you should hear this, just for the experience (write to Mishap Records, 500 Marion Ave., Ben Lomond, CA 95005).
Michael Mechanic

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From the September 5-11, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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