Episode 121 of Radio Free Charleston, “Thrilling Detective Shirt,” is online now, right at the top of this post. This installment of RFC features a double-dose of Beaver Knievel, a quick blast of folk/punk stomp from Dennis Hopper’s Army, plus vintage animation from Frank Panucci and a visit from Robot Commando.

Host segments were shot at Haddad Riverfront Park, and the show’s title shirt comes to us courtesy of Retro A Go Go. Soon you should be able to find their cool shirts and other items at The Salvage Yard in The Charleston Town Center.

Before we jump into the show proper, just know this: Robot Commando wants to help you. He really does.

Opening and closing the show, musically, this time is Beaver Knievel. You heard them last week running through the song “Get Loose” during a soundcheck. This week you get to hear them tear up the whole song. They also kick in with “I’m You’re Man.”

Beaver Knievel is Zackula on lead vocals, Bobby Balboa on guitar,
the Cololnel on bass, Sex Viper on guitar and Guy on drums. If you’ve been around the music scene in Charleston for a while, you’ll recognize some former members of The Pistol Whippers and The Big Bad in that line up. That makes them a veritable Kanawha Valley punkabilly supergroup!

We recorded the band at The Blue Parrot a few weeks ago, with an able camera assist from Lee Harrah and Johnny Rock. We’ll keep you posted on their next show, and you can be sure that they’ll turn up on Radio Free Charleston again in the future.

Our animation this time is another stroll down memory lane into the vast untapped childhood archives of Frank Panucci. “The Mugger” was a series of short films Frank made way back when he was barely an embryo with a Super 8 camera and a pad of typing paper.

This cheerful educational series of cartoons was quite popular with the folks at Dunbar High School, who asked Frank to show his work to his fellow students on many occasions. The uplifting messages clearly touched a chord with the school administration, who were known to applaud loudly and shout “Again, Again” as each real would come to an end.

These cartoons are proof that the once-feared modern age of television and pop culture did nothing to taint the wholesomeness of the well-adjusted children who grew up immersed in it.

Rounding out the musical line up this week is Dennis Hopper’s Army. I’m at a bit of a disadvantage here. I don’t know much about these guys. I know that Dave Frazier, from The ButtonFlies, is a member now, and can be seen in this video, but I’m really bad with names, and can’t resort to my old trick of looking up a band’s MySpace or Facebook page to see who they are, because these guys don’t seem to have any presence on the web.

And I’m too lazy to email Dave right now because I want to finish these production notes before the OSCARs start.

What I can tell you about these guys is that they sound great and have very impressive lyrics, which reminded me of Joe Strummer. Also, I will hunt them down and have them back on the show soon. They’re part of the Monday Night Jam scene at The Empty Glass, and after we overcome the awkwardness of me admitting that I forgot their names, I’m sure everything will be cool and they’ll agree to be back on RFC.

The song they perform here is “Used To Sing,” an original by the band. When trying to cheat and find a page for the band via Google, I discovered that James Vernon Brown recorded them performing the same tune and posted it to YouTube in December. You can see his clip here.

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James was on RFC 120, backing up Sierra Ferrell, who I think can be heard singing on his version.

That’s about it for this episode of RFC. Next week we continue our sprint through the mighty backlog of music that I’ve accumulated with a show featuring Drop Ded Phred and Roger Simms of the band Short Of Cash. Plus there will be other stuff. In the coming weeks look for music from Qiet, Andy Park, Sasha Colette, Tofujitsu, Slate Dump, OVADA, The Nanker Phelge, Spurgie Hankins Band, Dugan Carter and Friends, Duo Divertido, and tons of other talented folks.

Oh, and Robot Commando wants to help you!