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Eye on the Scene

This Is Your Constitution On The Radio

First Amendment Radio is now being broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Located at 90.9 FM, the 100 watt community station doesn't officially have a license. But it is operating under the premise that the airwaves belong to the public, and so they have a right to be there.

Its coverage around Knoxville is surprisingly strong, if spotty. You can hear it in the center city and surrounding neighborhoods, but there are some blind spots—i.e. it's tough to hear in Sequoyah Hills and parts of Fort Sanders, but you can hear it as far out as Cedar Bluff.

Although the programming is somewhat inconsistent, the station holds lots of promise. For one thing, you never know what you'll hear when you turn it on.

There's lots of hip hop and prose poetry. Or, you might hear "Counterspin," a syndicated program that critiques the national media. There's good bluegrass and old-time music. Even some death metal and industrial music. You might hear some old WUTK programs—such as Communist Radio, a show devoted to good punk music of all eras. Or, you might hear Tom Petty's entire Into the Great Wide Open CD—not exactly a blow to the establishment; we would have picked Petty's Damn the Torpedoes or Hard Promises. But the diversity is refreshing, and we hope programming gets even more unpredictable and unique.

You can help it diversify by getting involved or starting your own show. Email [email protected] for more information.

Local CD Review

Southeast eXports III

The new local/regional compilation disc from FM-rock WNFZ's Southeast Exports radio showcase offers powerful, galvanizing evidence that the Knox-area music scene is as vibrant as ever, the scarcity of venues and a dearth of public interest notwithstanding.

Most of the bands featured on eXports 3 exist on the heavier end of the sonic continuum, yet there's still an enormous diversity of material here, from the exhilarating punk/power-pop of local fellows such as Joey's Loss ("Without You") and the late, lamented Kidsnack ("Circus Tricks") to the throw-back '80s charms of Knoxville's Senryu ("Kitty") to the lascivious shock-rock of Charlotte, N.C.'s Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 (their menacing contribution "The Witch Is Dead" is one of the disc's many highlights).

And while eXports carries more than a fair-sized portion of the stultifying modern metal that constitutes much of WNFZ's day-to-day playlist, local contributors such as Straight Line Stitch and Fallen and the ferociously charming Element 8 at least flog those dead horses with sufficient energy and conviction to hold your attention through the end of a track.

Not surprisingly, most of the best tracks on eXports 3 are those that stray farthest from the bludgeoning norm; melodic post-grungers Copper offer both harmony and finesse on their well-crafted contribution, "Miss December", and local hero Todd Steed's Ape Life provides an always-welcome dose of the singer/guitarist's goofy wit on a cut entitled "North Knoxville."

Southeast eXports 3 concludes with a funky, funny hip-hop/reggae ditty from Jackson, Tenn.'s five-piece Taco and Da Mofos: "Summertime in da JTC." The bongo backdrop and breezy vibe of "Summertime" are wholly at odds with most of the mosh on the rest of eXports; and for that reason, it's the perfect resolution to a very satisfying and affirming local anthology. Kudos to WNFZ.

And you can offer your own thanks to WNFZ (and DJ Mel, the wonderful woman who spearheads the disc each year) at the CD release show on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Blue Cats. Five dollars not only gets you in the door, it gets you your own CD as well. Headlining will the Frankenstein Drag Queens with Straight Line Stitch, Coma, and Evil Twin rounding out the homegrown bill.

Dear Diary,

My favorite drag queen blew through K-town last weekend. By all accounts, the show was a blast! But, diary, you don't have to take my word for it—Supermodel of the World RuPaul wrote all about the trip in her online weblog at Thankfully, Knox Vegas treated Ru right, with the exception of a goofy morning show duo who just didn't get it and some over-zealous airport security. But she did find some great things to love, like the great cakes at the Old City's Cup O' Joe and the selection at Lost and Found. Oh, dear diary, maybe one day I'll be as pretty...



Thursday: Knoxville Symphony Orchestra at the Tennessee Theatre. This Masterworks concert features the work of some famous Russians. And, remember, good music is good music, whether it's heard in a club or a concert hall.

Friday: Poetry Slam at Barley's. I haven't been to a good slam in a while—and this monthly gathering usually makes for an interesting evening.

Saturday: Downtown Hoedown at the Tennessee Theatre. A great show for those lucky enough to snag tickets to this throwdown that features the Dan Tyminski Band. The rest of us shall comfort ourselves with beer and 'cue.

Sunday: Uptown Comedy Jam at The Platinum. It's about time Knoxville had more comedy nights—and this one is gearing up to be one of the funniest.

Monday: Celebrate the King—no, not Elvis, you goob.

Tuesday: Einstein Simplified at Patrick Sullivan's. A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants—improv-style.

Wednesday: Mustard with Senryu and Room 101 at Blue Cats. Taste the rock-styling of Mustard. You know you want to.

—Emma "Sticky Fingers" Poptart with Joe Tarr and Mike Gibson

January 17, 2002 * Vol. 12, No. 3
© 2002 Metro Pulse