The ‘80s generation I grew up with actually believed the notion that Rock Music was “White people music”. Black kids were SUPPOSED to listen to Hip-Hop and maybe Michael Jackson. Cultural and friendship divisions were drawn along these musical lines.
Only a few “cool White boys” listened to Rap. I felt guilty being someone who liked The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. The fear I’d be branded a “sellout” was real. I never knew of their Blues roots (or mine for that matter) until at least 1990. Eddie van WHO played on “Beat It?”…….. Whatever.
93.9 WXRT… was The Station, above all others in Chicago, that fully defined Rock music for its listeners. While the other local stations fell in line with the customary “demographic-hits-only” programming, XRT maintained a shining veneer of non-conformity. Their playlists comprised a free-form selection of favorite recordings which reinforced the air of individualism. The first time I heard Bob Marley on the commercial airwaves was WXRT. It was kind of a surreal experience that had me double checking the dial. I’ve been a fan of the station ever since.
Creators of music seldom acknowledge artificial, cultural barriers but among the unwashed proletariat they are often accepted as law. In the ‘80s “The Establishment” had truly won. Music separatism was riding high on the wave of Steve Dahl’s glorified Klan rally. Lines were drawn in the sand as he enthusiastically detonated Disco records at the baseball field. MTV was excoriated for their segregation by none other than “Ziggy Stardust” whose music featured prominently on WXRT, along with James Cotton, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters… WXRT’s importance lies in their willingness to program the hit makers alongside the artists who influenced them.
WXRT’s Local Anesthetic previews “The Lick” by The Drastics f. MC ZULU.
The Drastics have a unique, heavy sound that pays tribute to Reggae’s DUB style of music. They take it a step further with Jazz chords and an almost academic knowledge of where certain rules can be broken. Listen to their new album entitled “Noir” and definitely show your support.