Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Hellblinki, Button-Flies, Alien Organ and more: RFC 49

Episode 49 of Radio Free Charleston, “The Concept Shirt” is online now. This episode features eclectic music from Asheville, North Carolina’s The Hellblinki Sextet, and Charleston/Huntington’s The Button-Flies, plus more relaxing animation, and a preview of upcoming shows by The Ghosts Of Now, The Concept, and Under The Radar.

We recorded both our musical guests July 25 at The Blue Parrot, and we want to thank Annie Lane from Doctor Senator for alerting us to the cool evening of music, where we were able to record three bands for the show. You’ll see RFC faves Doctor Senator in a few weeks on RFC.

This is our fourth show in four weeks, a personal best for RFC. We shot host segments on the deserted campus of West Virginia State University. All four of the RFC Big Shots attended State, back when it was a College, and eagle-eyed viewers might spot, in a nearly subliminal way, the unofficial motto of the West Virginia State College Communications department, circa 1983. You can also catch my gaffe about this being our first show featuring a band with a trumpet. I forgot about 69 Fingers, who appeared on our Christmas show last year. However, this is our first show with two bands that include trumpets!

Our first musical guest is The Button-Flies, a group that includes two guitars, bass, drums, banjo and trumpet. Dave, Andrea, Max, Lorenzo, 2 Tone and Michael straddle the worlds of music and art, and we’re all the richer for it. I first saw this group opening for The Diablo Blues Band a few weeks ago, and I got a kick out of Dave and Andrea’s art at the Hansford Art House exhibit that we featured back on episode 46. In fact, we used music by The Button-Flies for the 120-second art show on that episode.

This band is one of the area’s most entertaining new acts, and I’ll be keeping you posted on their upcoming shows here in PopCult. You really need to see them perform live. The song they do on this episode is “Butch Bottom,” which showcases their trumpet player, Max, who ran all over The Blue Parrot tooting his horn during this song.

Our second musical guest is The Hellblinki Sextet, from Asheville, North Carolina (Rodney, seen at right, who trades off on bass and trumpet, is from Hurricane, and is a veteran of the Charleston music scene. Like almost every bass player in town, Rodney was once in Crazy Jane). Rodney trades off bass duties with Brad, who plays percussion or accordian when Rodney is making joyful noise on his stand-up. The song we feature on this episode is an Italian revolutionary folk song that shows off the extraordinary voice of Valerie, who also plays several instruments in the band (and she’s quite the illustrator, too). “Bella Ciao” is a tour-de-force that displays the versatility of this band.

Most of their songs feature vocals by the band’s leader, Andrew, and the sound is not unlike that of the early Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo–as I say in the intro, it’s “mondo-bizarro cabaret music.” In October, we’ll spotlight Andrew as The Hellblinki Sextet return with “Don’t Go Into The Woods.” They don’t play here often, currently they’re on the West Coast, but when they come back to town, I’ll let you know here in PopCult.


Our animation this time around is “Alien Organ,” another of my brother Frank’s “LAX” series of meditational-relaximacating videos. You’re supposed to stare at it until you go to sleep.

In this show we also plug some upcoming shows: Under The Radar will play before the West Virginia Power game Friday evening at Appalachian Power Park. They’re supposed to start around 5:30. Melanie and I plan to catch the band, and then not eat at the Power Alley Grill. Later Friday night, around 10 PM, friends of  The Concept, Pittsburgh band, The Composure, play the Blue Parrot, with Meuwl and B Rude in tow and members of The Concept in the audience. Saturday there’s an all-day rockfest in Saint Albans. Our old friends The Ghosts Of Now headline. The Ghosts go on around 8 PM, but the hard rock mayhem starts at 4 in the afternoon at the Saint Albans City Park on Observatory Drive. I think you have to buy a ticket to the game to get into the park. Cover at the Parrot is five bucks, and Jammin’ In The Park is free.

You can also catch Under The Radar on episode four of Radio Free Charleston, which is now available at the RFC TV Archive page over at MySpace. That’s where you can see the early episodes of the show, coming back online, with one more classic gem posted every weekend.

That’s it for episode 49 of Radio Free Charleston. In one week…….


  1. Elvis Capone

    Alien, Oregon? Is that like UFO, Montana?

  2. Longtime Listener

    Jesus, I don’t know how you keep doing it. Two more amazing bands that I never would have heard of otherwise, more wild animation, and a vital shout out to help the Charleston music scene.

    I can’t wait until next week~

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