Though I’ve used my Touch & Go10th anniversary coffee mug faithfully for 21 years, this Blue Note plaque is another story (not that one is likely to get as much "use" out of a wooden plaque). It was around the same time, 1991 or so, that my friend Les, the music director at KFJC, mentioned that he'd just secured a plaque from the fine folks at Blue Note. I told him that sounded cool, so he promptly gave them a call, and the next thing I knew: I had one of my own.
I met a few stinkers during my time at KCMU,* but Les wasn't one of them (he now works at Interscope). He also set me up with a t-shirt featuring this logo.
* Like the notorious Elektra representative with the coke problem, who left a long, expletive-filled rant on my answering machine. The band in question? The Happy Mondays. The label failed in their attempt to break those Madchester funsters in the US—better music might have helped.
What it's supposed to look like
Unfortunately, the plaque broke shortly after I received it, possibly when I moved from the U. District to downtown. It’s been sitting at the bottom of a Peaches crate ever since (I also have a few crates filled with records and CDs). I can’t remember whether I ever glued the parts together or not. If I did, then it fell apart again, because when I checked this morning, I found two pieces. Someday, I'll glue them together, and hang this thing on my wall, but that day is not today.
At the time, my friend Glenn was working at Sony. He wasn't a jazz fan, like Les and myself, but he knew that I was, and sent me the book above. It's like he read my mind, because I've always admired Blue Note's graphic style as much as their musical one. I don't have the Blue Train poster, but I suppose I should, as it's long been one of my favorite cover images. Of the newer labels, I believe Sacred Bones does the best job at keeping the cohesive album-design tradition alive.
When I met Glenn, he was the music director at WXYC. At one point, he roomed with Superchunk bass player and Merge co-founder Laura Ballance. Glenn later worked at Island and Caroline. After years working in New York and Los Angeles, he returned to Chapel Hill where he owns and operates the club Local 506.
Scott Griggs, Glenn, and I at Mama's. Note the Mother Love Bone t-shirt.
As you can see, a few of my former radio associates went on to careers in the music biz, whereas I took the path of least financial remuneration. Most of the time I'm okay with that, but whenever the bills start to pile up too high, I have my regrets. As for Glenn, we're still in contact, but I lost touch with Les several years ago. Come rain or come shine, though, I'll always have my Blue Note souvenirs.