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Friday, September 26, 2008

John Watch

posted by on September 26 at 9:30 AM

Another installment of our new morning pasttime—fretting about the mental health of KEXP DJ John in the Morning based on his playlist and wondering if his recent move to NYC has unhinged him.

I woke to “Panic” by the Smiths (“hang the DJ, hang the DJ”). Then:

*”The Biggest Lie” by Elliott Smith (a suicide!).

*”Dear Prudence” by the Beatles (which Lennon wrote for Mia Farrow’s sister, worried that she was depressed since she wouldn’t come out of her room while they all stayed with the Maharishi).

*”Sleeping In” by the Postal Service (about escaping the inherent horribleness of the world and its inhabitants).

He’s on to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and James Brown now, which is a good sign.

But he did say he’s been having trouble sleeping—he wakes at 2 or 3 in the morning and stays awake. It’s a little late for jet lag, John. Have you got an internal alarm clock etched in iron?

Or is it your subconscious sending out a cry for help?


“I need a vacation something fierce? [Long, loud sigh.]”

Should we be Live-Slogging this shit?

RSS icon Comments


I have no pity for a man who makes six figures playing whatever he wants on the radio. This is the dumbest blog thread ever, please stop.

Posted by scharrera | September 26, 2008 10:23 AM

How about you stop speculating, pick up the phone and call the guy?

Posted by Jeff | September 26, 2008 10:23 AM

@2 - My sentiments exactly. Or e-mail dj@kexp during his show?

Posted by Levislade | September 26, 2008 10:33 AM

Brendan Kiley subscribes to Cat Fancy magazine and collects porcelain kitty figurines.

None of this is based on actual facts or any real reporting, but I have a hunch.

Posted by Jeff | September 26, 2008 10:46 AM

Well, Jeff, if you were using samples of Brendan's work to support your hypothesis, then you'd have an analogy on your hands. Try again.

Posted by Eric Grandy | September 26, 2008 10:50 AM

Holy shit, John played Superman by REM this morning.

Aparently, it's not just depression, it's MANIC DEPRESSION!

Or something like that.

Posted by Sean | September 26, 2008 12:08 PM

I don't listen to KEXP regularly, but every time I've overheard it and the DJ has started talking, they sound like a depressed 20-something hipster mumbling on too much coffee. How is this different behavior?

Snarking aside, if he's got a problem, reach out to him.

Posted by EmilyP | September 26, 2008 12:12 PM

John in the Morning leaves a lot be desired. That pathetic show is an embarrassment to Seattle.

Posted by Catman | September 26, 2008 12:52 PM

KEXP leaves a lot to be desired. The way KEXP throws around money is an embarrassment to Seattle.

They have a lot to answer for to their constituents -- donors & supporters. Like this: why did they move Richards & his family to NYC? How much did it cost? What were they trying to accomplish? How is their "takeover-NYC" plan progressing? Jesus christ! Why did Richards REALLY move to NYC? I for one would really like to know. I'm pretty sure we're being lied to as to what the real reasons for the move were.

As for what he's playing on his show? Who fucking cares?

Posted by vick ely | September 26, 2008 12:59 PM

This is obviously passe, but I like KEXP. Try living in another city and see how you feel about the local radio stations, whiners! You Seattlelites (and I've been one for 5 years) don't appreciate ANYTHING.

Posted by newradio | September 26, 2008 1:18 PM

For those who John bash:

If he and his life and his job upset you that much, maybe you should explore your emotions. What is going on in your life and your job that illicit such feelings?

If you don't like John's show or KEXP, don't listen, don't give. You don't have to. End of story.

John's worked hard, he's done well. Dislike him all you want. Dislike the station all you want. You don't have to give. Listen to Clear Channel and your Ipod.

John fights the good fight for radio, whether you know it or not. He gives smaller bands a chance to be heard by a large number of people. He and KEXP champion all musical formats.

And if you have this much resentment for John Richards, how do you feel about commercial radio stations? You must really really hate them.

Posted by seattle musician | September 26, 2008 1:35 PM

Ugh. When isn't the dj on kexp depressed?

Posted by john | September 26, 2008 2:08 PM

I know it's cool to hate, but doesn't it ever get old for y'all? How about something positive in the world in a time that shit is FUCKED UP!

Stop bitching and make sure every single person you know is registered to vote and then on 11.04 go Vote!

No start killing me. Ha ha.

Posted by Steven Severin | September 26, 2008 2:24 PM

Holy fucking shit, that was awesome.

Posted by Chris Estey | September 26, 2008 2:54 PM

There was this period in August when John wasn't on the air. Then, oh, 2-3 weeks ago, sometime between 8:45-9:30 (which is when I usually listen while commuting, and I remember being in the car and parking in the deck), he played... I can't remember, I just remember it was a cover and one from a movie (not "Mad World"). And after it was over he starts telling this story about how he'd been off the air because he was depressed but during that time would have this song booming out of his stereo while he was watching the sun come up in his NYC apartment.

And it was a soaring sort of song, but I cannot for the life of me remember it. But I do remember the story.

Does anyone else know what I'm talking about?

Posted by dw | September 26, 2008 2:59 PM

Hey Seattle Musician @11, how's it going? I'm a Seattle Musician too! We have a lot in common!

But you're deluding yourself (and please: keep my illicit feelings out of this!). I'm not claiming Richards hasn't worked hard. And sure, he's done well (for himself mostly, but hey!). I don't listen to KEXP with much regularity anymore and I don't donate to them anymore. Why would I? They are a corrupt organization that takes money from well-meaning members of the community (like you) and misuses it. To do things like move Richards and his family to NYC for... for what reason again? To try to prop up John's ego? I would love to know what they are doing in NYC and how that plan is progressing.

And I'm NOT talking about my subjective feeling that Richards's and Waters's taste in music tends to the middle of the road (read: bland). I really don't care what DJs play on the radio.

What I care about is that KEXP is a PUBLIC RADIO STATION that begs its "community" for donations every quarter (every month seemingly) and then wastes that money moving the family of its rock star DJ across the country for no good reason that I can see.

I also care that KEXP is a public radio station that its rock star DJ uses to promote bands that he has a financial interest in. For anyone who lives under a rock, that'd be The Blakes -- a band that Richards hypes to no end that he also manages ("co-manages" if you read their PR). Yeah, that's ethical.

Sure, John Richards "gives smaller bands a chance to be heard". There are half a dozen DJs at KEXP who have been there longer than Richards (who in some cases are still VOLUNTEERS, for christ's sake) who could easily do a better job on that front (exposing small local bands, that is) than Richards himself. These DJs I'm referring to -- some of them have been there since KCMU days. Do you know what KCMU is? It was the UW's cool little radio station that got kinda fucked up in the early 90s and is now a beloved little local radio station called KEXP.

I'm not merely "John bashing". I want to know what the fuck KEXP thinks it's doing and I want some rationalization and justification for doing crazy shit like moving the Richards family to New York. I simply don't think they're being accountable to their supporters. They're a public radio station -- they should be accountable to the public. That's all.

I'm sure Richards has his problems, as we all do. If he needs help, well shit -- people should help him. I'm sure he has friends. He certainly has enough money to pay for therapy as someone around here suggested.

And Seattle Musician: Here's what I think about commercial radio: They don't pretend to be something they aren't. Yeah they're fucked up (also) but they rarely pretend that they aren't fucked up. It's unbelievable to me that in Seattle KEXP has become this untouchable golden child to so many (including The Stranger). Why can't we call bullshit when there's bullshit to be called?

Severin: It's not cool to hate. I don't want to hate. I just don't like being lied to. Hmmmm, being lied to.... what recent events does that bring to mind? I'll think on that one.

Yeah, shit in the world is fucked up and YES we need some positivity. But ignoring some fucked up shit because there's some other (admittedly more important) fucked up shit going on? That's fucked up.

Steven, you seem like a nice enough guy, but you defending Richards and KEXP (if that's what you're doing) has a faint whiff of business conflict in it. KEXP is part of the rising tide that raises your ship, so -- though I am quite certain your words are well intentioned -- your defense of these folks only goes so far since you're also part of "the biz". Sorry.

And yeah I'm voting. I'm also giving money I would be giving to KEXP to the Obama campaign. I can think about politics and KEXP at the same time. More and more they seem like two peas in a pod.

Posted by vick ely | September 26, 2008 4:40 PM

VICK ELY, you're a dick.

Posted by Vick Ely has no life | September 30, 2008 8:05 PM

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