Noise annoys

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Q102 ran the four-plus-hour show in its unexpurgated entirety--as did most stations around the country--because, as music director Redbeard explains, "you either go with it and let the chips fall where they may, or you shy away from it and hope you don't miss something cool." Andy Lockridge, the station's program director, says the only complaints the station received were from people who couldn't get Vedder on the Seattle phone number he provided during the broadcast.

The higher-ups at the "alternative" Edge, however, chose to air the program on a seven-second delay, inserting a dead-air pause in place of the expletive. "I'd rather not get an FCC fine just because I would not like to deal with the government," says Alan Smith, the station's assistant program director and morning-show host. "And two, we just don't think that young people today need to hear that kind of shit."

So far, the FCC has not contacted any of the stations that broadcast the program and has not indicated it will, which is interesting in that Howard Stern has been fined $2 million over the years for making references to anal bleeding and saying "penis," but never violating any direct FCC statute. Don Buchwald, Stern's agent, says he was unaware of Pearl Jam's broadcast and that the disparity in enforcement "speaks for itself [because] Howard has never, in his career, said one of those words on the radio."

Unedited or not, Pearl Jam's broadcast was an amazing experience--a sloppy and exhilarating pastiche of Eddie's favorites (from Daniel Johnston's "Walking the Dog" to Sonic Youth's "Teenage Riot" to Crunt to Gas Huffer) to spoken-word pieces (including Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna's answering-machine message to Mike Watt accusing a "big rock star" friend of his of raping a friend of hers) to live performances from bands never heard on commercial rock radio.

Though it bordered perilously close to jerk-off self-promotion (PJ guitarist Stone Gossard played some awful bands on his new Loose Groove label), it was worth it to hear Hanna disavow herself from the "little white rock-boy fuckin' hall of shame [filled with] big white-baby-with-an-ego problem thing."

"I mean, get over it, it's so boring," she shrugged, suggesting a lot of these fellows get jobs as lifeguards. Then, she asked Mike Watt for her Annie sound track back. Yeah! Stick it to the man!

Seminal or seminary?
In the "Reverend Horton Heat" message group located on America Online, stuck between postings about Jim Heath's drinking habit (all the headings read "Re:gin") is one most intriguing message. From "[email protected]"--that is, George Gimarc, author of Punk Diary and one-time host of KZEW-FM's "Rock and Roll Alternative"--comes this missive dated January 10:

"Between 1986 and '89, I took Horton into the studio and cut about 35 smokin' original rockabilly tracks. Very few of the songs have ever re-appeared anywhere else. Why is it that Sub Pop or Interscope won't even take my phone calls? These ought to be released! I think it would make a tasty pre-1990 album. Call it 'Horton Heat--The Seminary Years.'"

Gimarc says, via telephone, both labels have turned down the proposed album, which is composed of tracks Gimarc recorded for his radio show, "without even listening to it," and that he plans to shop it around--with, he adds, Jim Heath's blessings.

According to a source at Sub Pop--which released Horton's first two records (Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em and The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of...) and owns some rights to last year's Interscope debut Liquor in the Front--the label did indeed reject the record because it felt the songs belonged to Jim Heath and not Gimarc. Sub Pop, says the source, considered the desire to release the record a "cash-out move on Gimarc's part."

Scott Weiss, Horton's manager, says he has spoken with Gimarc about the project and that the band doesn't feel it would be appropriate to release a pre-Smoke 'Em collection now--if, indeed, ever. He explains that the quality of Gimarc's recordings is not "world-class," and that there's not enough interest in Horton yet to merit an "early-years retrospective."

"Right now is not the time to be doing stuff like this," Weiss says. "The work is not thoroughly representative of Horton now, obviously, and Jim's still supporting their major label debut. He's 60 to 90 days away from focusing on writing for the next Interscope record, and his energy is on supporting this record and writing the next record. The timing is not right for the early work to surface with any kind of stamp of approval...It may surface as an indie release, and I'm not even sure Jim would authorize that. I know he wouldn't authorize it now."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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