March 2nd, 2007

weird science, Eye: RCA Magic Eye, tech

Last comment on KMAX, I promise.

Really, it is. I've given this radio station changeover more LJ attention in the last few days than I usually give global warming, civil rights, world hunger, or the latest big comic crossover.

However, two things come to mind:

Yes, KMAX was the only station in the area with that kind of eclectic music mix -- but what really hurts is losing "J.J. Maxwell", the entirely-fictional mascot who "ran the station". He was portrayed as this charming old fuddy-duddy who'd Been Around, there in the background of rock history like Forrest Gump. He'd just pop on to blather during the station breaks, dropping names and talking about old times, but he was amusing and likable and, in his own way, as entertaining as the music -- the moreso because his bits were so brief.

You know the Rush song, "The Spirit of Radio"? It opens with the words, "Begin the day with a friendly voice/A companion unobtrusive..."

That was "Max".

It's silly, but it's like losing a friend.

A friend who'd stolen my CD collection to play on the radio.

My car radio is now tuned back to K-Fox (KUFX 98.5), which plays "Classic Rock". It lacks the variety and the edge of "'70s, '80s, or whatever we feel like", and if I called and requested Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)", they'd probably ask me if I meant David Bowie's "Space Oddity", but it falls into the envied position of "sucks least" on the radio dial.

For years now, KUFX's morning DJ has been Greg Kihn, the one-hit wonder who gave us (and Weird Al) the hit single "Jeopardy". Kihn used to be really entertaining -- he was just big enough that he knows everyone in the rock world, and when he doesn't have guests and phone interviews, he's full of name-dropping anecdotes about the business.

A few years ago, though, he lileksed into The Crotchety Old Crank, waving his guitar and shouting at the neighborhood kids to get offa his damned lawn. He hasn't been too bad the last couple of days, so maybe it was just a phase.

As I was listening to him in the car yesterday, though, I realized something.

..."J.J. Maxwell" was a Greg Kihn parody.

Requiem in pace, Max. We hardly knew ye.

(Update: J.J. Maxwell was voiced by actor John O'Hurley. I now know where to send fan mail.)