White Hot

We feel that we owe Russ Martin a pre-emptive apology because, well, we think he's a nice guy. A strange gesture, perhaps, but there's hardly a more damning compliment than that of "nice guy" for someone in talk radio. Martin is the afternoon drive-time host of KLLI-FM 105.3, Dallas' alternative talk station, so anything short of a love/hate relationship with his audience is a dangerous predicament. It's certainly in the best interest of a host and crew to piss off a few people from time to time in order to keep things interesting. Martin does his best (for instance, he suggests that women shouldn't expect an orgasm during sex since anatomy naturally hides their most sensitive of parts "too far inside the garage"), but his listeners tend to laugh with him rather than rail against him. The term "shock jock" is antiquated in our times, but it's still a formula for success. Surely the idea of Martin being a nice guy will signal the kiss of death for a radio program. Except not. The Russ Martin Show consistently rules the ratings for its time slot, and it all comes down to the fact that he, news director and cohort J.D. Ryan and all involved with the show's daily production are reliable friends to those tuned in. The show has a serial quality to it with the hosts' social lives being discussed frankly, especially since Martin's penchant for being able to say what others only think has led to an army of devotees.

So it's not like just any other event when the radio show and its hosts present the annual White Trash Party on Friday at Cowboys Nightclub in Arlington. It's like a reunion of old friends. From a pop-culture standpoint, there's hardly anything that's more played out and picked over than the ironic phenomenon known as "white trash." But Martin and company get a pass, considering their long-standing affinity for the trailer-park tradition and the fact that they have proven they throw one hell of a party. Thematically correct food and drinks will be provided along with entertainment by the Southern rock swagger (and chain saw mastery) of Jackyl, a tribute to AC/DC with Back in Black, local artists Billy Lee Davis and DF Dub, and a psychic named Da Juana Byrd. Dress the part or just come as you are, but you'll have to go a long way to outdo the host: As of press time, Martin hadn't decided on whether he'll be sporting the now-legendary mullet or going with the slightly less predictable cornrows. We'd recommend the 'rows, as it's a bit of a Kid Rock-ish curveball, and, if there's any fashionable justice in the world, the style ultimately will be viewed as "the black man's mullet." If nothing else, it's good to be an equal opportunity offender. "Nice guy" accusations notwithstanding, Martin consistently delivers the best radio show on our dials, so anyone looking for an evening that'll go down as good as a grilled cheese sandwich should get cleaned up and trash out with him and the crew this weekend.

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Matt Hursh

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