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Keep Dallas Observer Free
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Russ Martin: Alive and (Sorta) Well

So guess who I bumped into Saturday afternoon? Hmm. Perhaps I gave away a tad too much in the headline?

The former Live 105.3 FM shock jock is alive. I'll let you decide if he's well.

Martin - who gets the Dallas Observer cover treatment in our July 16 issue - took a break from collecting his seven-figure salary for doing nothing to host a car show/concert at his Russ Martin Automotive in Plano.

My exclusive interview with Russ went something like this:

Me: "Russ, Richie Whitt of the Dallas Observer. I know on the advice of your attorney you don't want to be interviewed but I just wanted to introduce myself as the guy who's writing the story about you."

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(Handshake.)

Russ: "Cool. Well, thanks for coming out."

As for the event ...

I don't consider myself a Martin fan. Never really "got" his show. But in researching his story I'm fully aware of what a pampered (and given his ratings and revenue, perhaps deservedly so) prima donna he evolved into. In light of that, I'll admit it was both sad and satisfying to see a guy who not long ago had hundreds of thousands of listeners hanging on his every syllable now reduced to carrying a box of plaques and playing guitar in the 100-degree heat on the back of a flatbed truck before a "crowd" of around 150. Maybe 30 cars entered the contest, which benefitted his Russ Martin Listeners' Foundation and was held on the boiling parking lot adjacent to Sam's at Coit and Bush. By the time the Russ Martin Band rifled through "Footloose" and "Time Warp" and "YMCA", there weren't 25 people watching. Though Martin, booted off the air - but still being paid - by CBS back in December, isn't likely to return to radio before his contract expires in April 2011, Saturday he signed autographs, posed for pictures and provided a glimpse that he hasn't lost his unique, unprecedented edge. In his first 15 minutes on stage he blurted into a microphone "damn," "bastard" and "bitch." "Oops," he said at one point, surveying his audience. "Kids." Martin's trial for misdemeanor assault is scheduled for July 27. This morning a judge will hear his attorney's motion to suppress the arrest warrant from the proceedings. To be continued ...

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