Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Wild West Show with Richard and The Wolverine

Punk broadcast system.
Kudos to Jill Razer for re-uniting me with some of my old fliers. 

After MTV went on-air or more like found its way into my house, Jimmy and I put in many hours of being tortured by the likes of Journey and Toto at the hopes of catching a new wave video by bands like The Vapors and The Cars. Before MTV, Public television station KBDI way out in Broomfield had its’ own late night video program called FM TV (later changed to Teletunes). Their programing was more edgy, broadcasting videos more digestible to our music palate. A good night would include: The Residents, Big Boys, and our very only local heroes, The Lepers.  

Our most important discovery was the Wild West Show on Boulder’s KGNU public radio station courtesy of a flier I picked up at a show. This would be our punk rock academy of exposure to new bands. Richard (Aguliar) and his sultry sounding co-host, The Wolverine, hosted the three-hour program and would play sets of hardcore between the likes of Einstürzende Neubauten and King Kurt every Saturday night. Richard and The Wolverine kept listeners abreast on band news, gossip, upcoming shows in the Denver/Boulder area in addition to holding giveaways. I scored all sorts of goodies from the duo: promo posters, records, concert tickets, and Adulterers Anonymous, a book of poetry by Exene Cervenka and Lydia Lunch, which would eventually inspire me to start writing long before discovering Charles Bukowski. Those were the benefits of being a listener member and forking over a month’s worth of allowance every year during pledge drives.  

This happened often. 

Saturday nights were a double score; immediately following the Wild West Show, Little Fyodor‘s show Under the Floorboards played anything and everything unconventional, experimental, esoteric, and deranged sounding catering to those looking to be spooked after midnight. Jimmy and I made sure we taped both shows on my GE ghetto blaster, fuzzy reception or not until we dosed off or ran out of cheap blank tapes we bought at Skaggs.    

The Wild West Show would also play a more significant role in my early teens; it would be my friendships with the hosts. They were an odd pair, more so after meeting both. Richard was in his mid-thirties and his day job was a disc jockey at Christian radio station in Denver. When the Wolverine finally left the show for good, he stopped hosting the program and sold me his entire record collection for next to nothing. He was even cool enough to stop by my house to pick me and drive me to a Black Flag show. We exchanged a couple of letters, which he often included twisted magazine clippings that were definitely not from Christian publications. I always thought Richard had a slight hearing problem, it was confirmed by the Wolverine, who got her moniker when Richard misheard her real name, Doreen. 

The original flier I picked up. Click here to download a segment from the show, at the end you can hear how bad the tape gets.  

Doreen and I became incessant phone pals as a result from all my pestering calls to the station. We had intense conversations and touched on all sorts of taboo subjects and shared our deepest secrets for a little over a year. She was my ideal punk girl, actually the first girl I truly connected with, part of the attraction was her depth of music knowledge; all the cool shit she knew about bands and especially her no-nonsense biting commentary on just about everything. Our friendship was unconditional and non-judgmental. We’d only meet once, ironically at the Aurora Mall. She drove all the way down from Boulder and I waited for her outside of JC Penny’s. It was an awkward encounter; we walked around for a short while before she drove me home. Doreen came up to my room and thumbed through my small record collection telling me how big her parent’s house was compared to mine. She found a couple of Clash singles she wanted to borrow. The entire time I was hoping we’d click like we did over the phone; maybe part of the awkwardness came from that I was at the beginning my teenage years and she was on the verge of ending hers. Not much later, she called me one afternoon with excitement in her voice; she was going to marry Sam The Record Man (of Trade-a-Tape fame) and move to San Francisco. I was taken back by the news, months earlier she said marriage was stupid. We exchanged a letter or two after leaving Boulder and lost touch.

Doreen told me many stories; one of my favorites was when Linda Ronstadt covers an Elvis Costello song against his wishes. His response to thanking her was to take the royalty check and burning it on her album and sending it back to her. The Dead Kennedys song Stealing People’s Mail was about Jello and his friend Sam the Record Man. 

Special thanks to Ana Medina and Monica Zarazua for editing 

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