Okay, I held off on this one for an extra day so I could wallow in more nostalgia. This week’s art is a flyer for the Earth Day 1990 concert that Radio Free Charleston sponsored, along with the group Project Earth on the campus of West Virginia State College (before it grew up and became a University). This was a high-water mark for the radio incarnation of RFC. I had to pull off promoting a concert on short notice with absolutely no support from the station management. By this point, the acting general manager was openly hostile towards RFC, and the program director was more interested in sacrificing the show so he could wrest the GM’s job away than he was in helping the station actually make money.
But we pulled off a huge event. Seven bands took the stage at the Davis Fine Arts building. In between we had speakers and low-level bottom-feeding politicians, some of whom brought their own hecklers (whatever happened to David Grubb, anyway?). Campus security told me that, by their count, close to two thousand people drifted through the Davis building during the course of the eight-hour show. I was interviewed by WCHS TV (by a very young Tim Irr, in fact, back in his cub reporter days). Somehow we managed to provide free Gino’s Pizza and Pepsi products for the audience–who got in free.
I look back and wonder how we wrangled it. It was an incredible day of music, good vibes, bad political theater and in retrospect, it was a bit of a last hurrah for RFC. The show was cancelled two weeks later. That wasn’t really a huge shock. I was miserable working at the radio station by that point. Management was so antagonistic towards RFC that they actually refused advertising for the show. The only way I was able to promote this concert on other disc jockey’s shifts was by mislabelling the promo carts. Which I did, to excesss! I apologize once again to the innocent bystanders in the traffic department.
Anyway, the concert was a triumph. You’ve seen some of the musicians who performed that day on the new video version of RFC. Three Bodies has been on the webshow twice, including just a couple of weeks ago on episode 39 with Strawfyssh (they changed the spelling after this Earth Day show). Sean Richardson, from Strawfyssh, has been on the show so many times that we’re getting mail for him. Go Van Gogh has been on our webcast, and their frontman Stephen Beckner has contributed to the show as a solo musician, animator, and filmmaker. Clownhole has appeared via vintage video. Most of the Swivels wound up in The Feast Of Stephen, who had a whole episode dedicated to them last year. And Spencer Elliott and Dan Jordan from Some Forgotten Color are currently in Whistlepunk, along with Brian Young, from Three Bodies.
With so many lasting friendships dating back to this special day eighteen years ago, you can see why I wanted to take this week’s art to look back.
Of course, the day could have been even bigger. Had I put in my request a week earlier, the show would have been headlined by Peter Buck, of R.E.M. I’d gotten friendly with his manager, who steered a few other acts on his roster my way during while I was doing the radio show. This concert came together on such short notice that there was no way I was going to be able to land a big name. I did get to hang out with Peter a year later, the night before R.E.M. appeared on Mountain Stage, but that’s another long rambling nostalgic story.
Anyway, this was a great day, and it was nice to go out on a high note. Within a month, RFC was off the air, I left Project Earth after it was taken over by agents of the Jim Humphey’s campaign (the attraction that the group held for me was that it was non-partisan, when the group was seized by people who wanted me to work the phones for a politician whom I couldn’t possibly hold in lower regard, I was out the door). I don’t even know if the group is still around. But that night….it was worth it. We had a huge party for the RFC crowd, raised awareness of environmental issues, and it was the 21st birthday of Little Susan, the official little sister of RFC. Good lord! That means she’s 39 today. Happy Birthday, Little Susan, where ever you are.
Oh, and we didn’t litter too much either. That would have been bad.
I’m not putting this week’s art up in the MMA store, so you can still go support Emily Gunter-Haynes by ordering stuff that I designed for her benefit.
All the proceeds from the Monday Morning Art Store will go to Emily and her husband, Jeff, as they deal with her debilitating illness. In addition, the PopCult Store will become a storehouse for the pieces I previously created for her benefit, and all proceeds from the PopCult Store will also go to Emily and Jeff until further notice. You can read more about the awesome day of music and art for Emily here. So, now you have an added incentive to check out the Monday Morning Art store, and The PopCult store. And click on the image for a larger version, even though it’s not in the store and you can’t buy it or anything.