'90s Week on 90.9: Staff and Contributor Favorites
It's '90s Week here on 90.9 The Bridge, and we hope you've been relishing this trip down memory lane as much as we have! Our staff and contributors wanted to share some of their top albums, tracks and musical moments of the era. Tune in on Saturday and Sunday (June 6-7) to hear some of these picks, plus interviews with some of the decade's most influential bands from Kansas City. Here's our lists, and some of the '90s content we've done throughout the week!
Michael Atchison, Host of Revival
Radiohead – ”OK Computer” (1997)
The Magnetic Fields – “69 Love Songs” (1999)
Lucinda Williams – “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” (1998)
Lauryn Hill – “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (1998)
Oasis – “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?” (1995)
Nirvana – “Nevermind” (1991)
Massive Attack – “Blue Lines” (1991)
Bob Dylan – “Time Out Of Mind” (1997)
Tom Petty – “Wildflowers” (1994)
Wilco – “Being There” (1996)
R.E.M. – “Automatic For The People” (1992)
A Tribe Called Quest – “The Low End Theory” (1991)
Everything But the Girl – “Walking Wounded” (1994)
Liz Phair – “Exile In Guyville” (1993)
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Ragged Glory” (1990)
Son Volt – “Trace” (1995)
Jeff Buckley – “Grace” (1994)
Blur – “Parklife” (1994)
Sinead O’Connor – “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” (1990)
The Loud Family – “Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things” (1993)
Today, we're focusing on brand new music from a revered Kansas City band. Shiner is dropping "Schadenfreude," its first album of new music since 2001! On Mornings with Bryan Truta, Shiner's bassist and producer Paul Malinowski joined Truta to chat about the album, the band's history and what's coming up.
Michelle Bacon, Content Manager
Radiohead – “OK Computer” (1997)
Sure, it’s expected, but no other album on my list stayed with me quite like this one. I credit “OK Computer” with guiding me toward a musical path. I was somewhat musical as a kid, but there’s an intersection between this album’s accessibility and innovation that captivated me, harmoniously complex arrangements and layered instrumentation that I wanted to recreate myself (spoiler alert: I couldn’t).
Elliott Smith – “XO” (1998)
I was an angsty, brooding teenager looking a somber solace in music. I hit the jackpot with the late, great Elliott Smith. His album “XO” presented a fuller sound than his previous works, feeding my compulsion for Beatles-esque melodies and the devastating lyrics that embodied my developing sense of identity.
Fugees – “Ready Or Not” from “The Score” (1996)
The Fugees was my introduction to the hip hop that really stuck with me. “The Score” was a collaboration of three deft emcees with a fluidity and a social consciousness I hadn’t really heard in the party rap that dominated radio. It opened up an entire new world to me, leading me down a rabbit hole to the masters of rap, neo soul and reggae.
Smashing Pumpkins – “Siamese Dream” (1993)
I probably listened to “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” more, but from front to back, “Siamese Dream” is the greatest Smashing Pumpkins album. It was epic, tragic and euphoric all at once. It was the vexing arena rock of my generation.
“MTV Unplugged” from Nirvana (1993) and Alice In Chains (1996)
“MTV Unplugged” undoubtedly influenced my burgeoning love of live music. These two shows saw poignant and fragile performances from their frontmen, allowing viewers an authentic glimpse of pain and artistic brilliance. That’s what made these so special. Interesting fact: Alice In Chains’ “Unplugged” performance, taped in April ‘96, was one of Layne Staley’s last performances. His final show — July 3, 1996 at Kemper Arena in KC.
No Doubt – “Tragic Kingdom” (1995)
Now for something completely different. “Tragic Kingdom” was pure pop ear candy from the first time I heard “Spiderwebs” in freshman homeroom. In the ‘90s third-wave feminist movement, Gwen Stefani’s feminine baby-doll image was scrutinized against more serious rockers like Alanis Morrisette and Courtney Love, but she made 13-year-old me feel just as empowered.
2Pac – “All Eyez On Me” (1996)
September 13, 1996 is forever etched in my mind. I had just started high school, awkwardly attending an eighth grade/freshman mixer. Outside of being a bashful wallflower, the only other thing I remember from that night was hearing that Tupac Shakur had been gunned down. Though I was only a casual fan at the time, that memory is crystal clear. From then on, “All Eyez On Me” found a comfortable spot in my CD changer.
Pixies – “Motorway To Roswell” from “Trompe Le Monde” (1991)
I’ll admit that my love for the Pixies came later, after discovering bands directly influenced by them, like Radiohead and Nirvana. “Trompe Le Monde” was the band’s final album before Kim Deal left the first time. It’s no “Doolittle,” but it's a bombastic alt-rock record with true pop potency.
Frogpond – “Talk To Me” from “Count To Ten” (1996)
I’m ashamed to say that KC’s music scene evaded me in the ‘90s, mostly because I grew up in a culturally-deficient suburb and listened to commercial radio that wasn’t playing local music. Frogpond was about the only KC band I was aware of, and it fit right into my penchant for wistful melodies and grimy guitars. May the gods bless Heidi Phillips and her assuaging voice.
TLC – “Crazysexycool” (1994)
If you weren’t totally titillated by TLC’s “Red Light Special” music video, I guess you weren’t going through puberty in the ‘90s. And if "Waterfalls" didn't move you to tears because of its depiction of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the war on drugs, you probably weren't paying attention. Rest in peace, Left Eye.
Tool – “Ænima” (1996)
Until I heard Tool, I didn’t know that rock/metal drummers could sound like Danny Carey unless they drove me insane. I didn’t know if Maynard James Keenan was real or a brilliantly troubled apparition. This band was sonically and thematically different than anything I'd ever heard before and anything I'd listen to after. I loved every minute of it.
Green Day – “Dookie” and Weezer – “Weezer” (1994)
I was a little too young and musically sheltered to jump on the early ‘90s grunge bandwagon, so albums like these were more characteristic of my adolescence. They also happen to be the first two CDs I ever bought with my own money. I don’t care to listen to anything Weezer’s done past the early ‘00s, nor do I have much affinity toward many bands born out of this pop-punk era. But I still have a special relationship with both of these albums, enough to remember how much time I spent poring over the lyrics and liner notes.
Check out a few other KC albums I’ve discovered, regretfully far too long after they came out:
The Guild – “Codes and Cyphers” (1999)
Shiner – “Lula Divinia” (1997)
Season To Risk – “Season To Risk” (1992)
The Creature Comforts – “The Politics of Pop” (1998)
Pamper the Madman – "Pamper the Madman" (1995)
Grumpy – "No Respect For Gravity" (1994)
The Gadjits – "At Ease" (1997)
Pamper the Madman – "Mutter" (1998)
Molly McGuire – "Lime" (1996)
Steve Tulipana of Season To Risk. | photo: John McGrath, courtesy of "Burnin' Down the House" To kick off '90s Week on 90.9, Steve Tulipana joined Mornings With Bryan Truta by phone on Monday, June 1.
Sarah Bradshaw, Host of Freeform Friday
In no particular order:
Tool – “Ænima” (1996)
Nine Inch Nails – “The Downward Spiral” (1994)
Poe – “Hello” (1995)
Foo Fighters – “The Colour and the Shape” (1997)
Bjork – “Post” (1995)
System Of A Down – “System Of A Down” (1998)
Meat Puppets – “Too High To Die” (1994)
Fugees – “The Score” (1996)
Type O Negative – “Bloody Kisses” (1993)
Cranberries – ”No Need To Argue” (1994)
Nirvana – “Nevermind” (1991)
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – “Ghost Of A Dog” (1990)
Soundgarden – “Superunknown” (1994)
Alice In Chains – “Dirt” or “Jar of Flies” (1992/1994)
Juliana Hatfield Three – “Become What You Are” (1993)
Rage Against The Machine – “Evil Empire” (1996)
Fiona Apple – “Tidal” (1996)
Stone Temple Pilots – “Core” (1992)
Cake – “Fashion Nugget” (1996)
Hole – “Live Through This” (1994)
Pearl Jam – “Ten” (1991)
Sarah McLachlan – “Fumbling Toward Ecstasy” (1993)
Better Than Ezra – “Deluxe” (1995)
The Breeders – “Last Splash” (1993)
They Might Be Giants – “Flood” (1990)
In the early 1990s, Kansas City's music world was as dynamic as ever. Bands like Season to Risk, Sin City Disciples, Molly McGuire, Giants Chair, Shiner, and, from Lawrence, Kansas, Kill Creek, Stick and Paw helped define the somewhat mythical Kansas City sound - a broad, dynamic pastiche of punk, post-punk, metal, blues and a touch of grunge.
Chris Haghirian, Host of Eight One Sixty
Frogpond – “I Did” from “Safe Ride Home” (1999)
The Appleseed Cast – “Moment #72” “The End of the Ring Wars” (1998)
Mates of State – “Leave Me at the Tree” from “Mates of State / Fighter D” split 7-inch (1999)
The Get Up Kids – “Holiday” from “Something To Write Home About” (1999)
The Gadjits – “Tell Yourself” from “At Ease” (1998)
The Mongol Beach Party – “M - For Show” from “Toast: reburn” (1991)
Shiner – “Christ Size Shoes” from “Lula Divinia” (1997)
Season To Risk – “Mine Eyes” from “Season To Risk” (1992)
Dirtnap – “Resign (Charlotte mix)” from “Below the Speed of Sound” (1997)
Pamper The Madman – “Preoccupation” from “Pamper The Madman” (1995)
Sin City Disciples – “Go Work!” (single, 1992)
Jon Hart, Music Director
Indigo Girls – “Galileo” and “Joking” from “Rites of Passage” (1990)
It’s impossible for me to pick just one song from the Indigo Girls because it would mean choosing between Emily songs and Amy songs. So, for Emily, “Galileo” — a song at least partly about science deniers and the lengths to which they’ll go — with backup vocals from Jackson Browne and David Crosby. “Joking,” an Amy song, gets stuck in my head quite regularly. My subconscious letting me know how much I love it.
John Prine – “Lake Marie” from “Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings” (1995)
The album was produced by Howie Epstein, bassist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Largely recorded at Howie’s house, with Prine more often than not performing in the hallway. The second time around with Epstein as producer, this wasn’t nearly as positive an experience as the first (“The Missing Years”). The sessions did, however, produce some great songs, including “Lake Marie,” one of the most powerful in Prine’s catalog. Bob Dylan, a fan predating the release of Prine’s debut album, cited it as his favorite Prine song.
Warren Zevon – “Mutineer” from “Mutineer” (1995)
Always a Zevon fan, I didn’t initially gravitate to this song. I’m guessing it’s because I felt the synths on the record weren’t a good fit for the material. My head got turned when I noticed how many people were covering this track as a tribute following his death from brain cancer in 2003. Now, it’s a favorite.
R.E.M. – “Man On The Moon” from “Automatic For the People” (1992)
Radio has burned out a lot of the R.E.M. catalog. I apologize for my industry. Luckily I didn’t spend much time on the stations that committed that particular crime. I love Michael Stipe’s voice. I was lucky enough to meet him once at Starlight Theatre. Best eye makeup on a human being ever. Ever. So throw a dart at their ‘90s catalog. This dart lands on “Man on the Moon.” I believe they put a man on the moon. I believe the COVID-19 virus is real. Not so sure Andy Kauffman is dead.
The Rainmakers – “Another Guitar” from “Flirting with the Universe” (1994)
Bob Walkenhorst has written songs with far greater lyrical depth, but when I’m alone in my car, you might just catch me belting this one out along with the band. If someone else is in the car with me, I’ll choke back the urge out of respect for their ears.
Patty Griffin – “Mad Mission” from “Living with Ghosts” (1996)
The Bridge didn’t come along until 2001, so music discovery was tougher for me then. I first heard Patty when Jackson Browne played “Living with Ghosts” over the PA before one of his shows. I’ve loved her ever since.
10,000 Maniacs – “These Are Days” from “Our Time In Eden” (1992)
Natalie Merchant gave the band two years notice that she’d be going solo. This track, from their last album together, is one of the most optimistic songs in her catalog.
Buena Vista Social Club – “De Camino a La Vereda” from “Buena Vista Social Club” (1997)
I wonder how many people heard this album and started looking for ways around the travel ban to Cuba? I sure did, although I didn’t pull the trigger. Ry Cooder did more than give us great music with this collaborative effort; he reminded us of what we lose when we fight.
Radiohead – “Fake Plastic Trees” from “The Bends” (1995)
This is the song that erased the one-hit wonder status they earned with “Creep.” The earlier track may have gotten everyone’s attention, but “Fake Plastic Trees” is the foundation Radiohead is built on.
Ben Harper – “Steal My Kisses” from “Burn To Shine” (1999)
The lyrics cast this track into the realm of the romantic, but Ben took his inspiration from the kisses he gave his baby boy.
Chris Lester, Flatland Managing Editor
Magnetic Fields – “69 Love Songs” (1999)
Primal Scream – “Screamadelica” (1991)
Lucinda Williams – “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” (1998)
Matthew Sweet – “Girlfriend” (1991)
Bob Dylan – “Time Out of Mind” (1997)
Liz Phair – “Exile in Guyville” (1993)
Beck – “Odelay” (1996)
Everything But the Girl – “Amplified Heart” (1994)
U2 – “Achtung Baby” (1991)
Blur – “Parklife” (1994)
Pulp – “This is Hardcore” (1998)
Massive Attack – “Blue Lines” (1991)
Guru – “Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1” (1993)
Moby – “Play” (1999)
Sin City Disciples – “LIVE” (1998)
The Hollow Men – “Sad Hippie Thing” (1993)
Misti Mundae, On-Air Host
For me, the '90s were a decade of youth, growth, sparsely decorated apartments, friends and music — so much music. Cassette tapes, CDs and concerts on every level from the local VFW hall (completely kismet to see the main one I used to visit from The Bridge studios) to arenas and stadiums. I would scrape together literal change for gas money and spend dollar bills on new albums, tickets and merch. My priorities were crystal clear. I was also fortunate enough to find a group of music lovers and performers from my immediate circle of friends, willing to join me nearly every night of the week to see a favorite artist or seek out a new one. Whether it was Memorial Hall, Kemper Arena, Lawrence (seems like a much longer journey now), a hours-long road trip to see one song or Westport, live music was a huge part of defining a decade that I still can’t believe was only 20 years ago. Editing down a list of music that I love to roughly an hour has been beyond challenging. I figured I'd include some of the defining artists of that time, a few who created a life-long fan with the desire to journey to see them and a few local, regional and national favorites I saw at my home away from home, The Hurricane. Enjoy favorites from a decade that brings back great memories and a lot of money well spent.
Marvelous 3 – “Freak of the Week” from “Hey! Album” (1998)
Son Volt – “Drown” from “Trace” (1995)
Outhouse – “Welcome” from “Welcome” (1995)
Live – “Selling the Drama” from “Throwing Copper” (1994)
Bakers Pink – “Watercolours” from “Bakers Pink” (1993)
Beck – “Devil's Haircut” from “Odelay” (1996)
Soul Coughing – “Super Bon Bon” from “Irresistible Bliss” (1996)
Hal Ketchum – “Past the Point of Rescue” from “Past the Point of Rescue” (1991)
Beastie Boys – “Intergalactic” from “Hello Nasty” (1998)
Soul Asylum – “Misery” from “Let Your Dim Light Shine” (1995)
Black Crowes – “Jealous Again” from “Shake Your Money Maker” (1990)
Veruca Salt – “Volcano Girls” from “Eight Arms To Hold You” (1997)
Counting Crows – “Anna Begins” from “August and Everything After” (1993)
The Refreshments – “Banditos” from “Wheelie” (1994)
Skylar Rochelle, Host of The Z Show
Pavement – “Shady Lane” from “Brighten the Corners” (1997)
Neutral Milk Hotel – “Naomi” from “On Avery Island” (1996)
Cocteau Twins – “Cherry-Coloured Funk” from “Heaven or Las Vegas” (1990)
Stereolab – “Super Falling Star” from “Peng!” (1992)
Bikini Kill – “Rebel Girl” from “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” (1993)
PJ Harvey – “Down By the Water” from “To Bring You My Love” (1995)
Pixies – “Winterlong” from “Dig For Fire” (single, 1990)
Yo La Tengo – “Center of Gravity” from “I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One” (1997)
R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion” from “Out Of Time” (1991)
Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence” from “Violator” (1990)
Erykah Badu – “Appletree” from “Baduizm” (1997)
Kate Bush – “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” from “Hounds Of Love” (1985, 1997 master)
Elliott Smith – “Say Yes” from “Either/Or” (1997)
Daniel Johnston – “Silly Love” from “Fun” (1994)
Mazzy Star – “Fade Into You” from “So Tonight That I Might See” (1993)
Bryan Truta, Senior Director and Host of Mornings With Bryan Truta
Ask any radio music consultant and they’ll tell you that a person’s musical preferences are set during their high school years. They’ll say that the soundtrack that orchestrates the hormonally-charged, hot-running, highly impressionable years of first loves, first flirts with freedom, and first glimpses of personality is the musical accompaniment for the rest of your life. For me, that time fell squarely in the 1990s.
The ‘90s were a strange but great confluence of styles. They could be simplified by saying the decade ushered in the death of glam and the rise of grunge, a laying to rest of artifice and the birth of “feelings.” To me, it was much more.
That decade marked the first time radio was segmented and formatted. It was the end of the shared listening experience. For the first time we had 200 channels of TV and 40 radio stations. Later, there would be precursors to the world wide web and deregulation of radio/TV ownership, further diluting the pond.
Niche formats would grow that could plumb the depths of various genres — not that this was entirely a good thing. True, there were pioneers. Then there were derivatives. And bad copies of copies. But it was my decade. My soundtrack. And here are my faves (in no particular style/order):
Ben Folds Five: OK, I lied. Ben Folds HAD to come first. No ifs, ands or buts about it — Ben is my all-time favorite artist. Maybe he drew me in because I played piano as a kid and couldn’t fathom how someone could use that instrument to such a degree in a ROCK band. My entree to Ben Folds Five came while I was working in Home Audio at Best Buy (95th and Quivira, store #39, baby!). The department was responsible for selling every audio device from the Walkman to boomboxes to high-end home theater systems. My co-workers and I were fond of bringing in our own mixtapes to show off the features of Aiwa shelf systems and Technics receivers. One night, my buddy Sean Dumm came in and said, “Dude, there’s this band you have to hear.” In went the cassette tape and out came the first strains of “Underground.” Whoa. This IS underground. It’s so hissy. Is this a professional recording? Who is this guy playing the piano? Why is he yelling??? I always thought the best music created more questions than it provided answers. Twenty-five years on, Ben still has me asking.
Pearl Jam: While “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was the first CD I bought with my own money, “Ten” was the first album I asked for and received as a gift. Yes, “Alive” and “Jeremy” were all over radio and MTV but “Black,” “Even Flow” and “Release” were game changers. A few years later, “Vs.” was released on an afternoon I was riding in the car with a group of friends, driven by an older kid who had skipped class to pick up the cassette. We cruised around listening to “Elderly Woman,” “Go” and “Daughter” on repeat the rest of the night. I was in heaven.
Nirvana: I have to admit that at first blush, Nirvana was too hard and too loud for me. Yes, yes, I know. Maybe it was the Dan Foglelberg effect still being felt in our house. I actually came to “Nevermind” by way of “Something In The Way” and stayed for “Polly,” “Lithium” and “In Bloom.” It was then that I realized this: if it’s too loud, you’re too old.
Dr. Dre: The summer of 1992 brought something exciting to our car radio. One night the DJ on Kiss 107.3 said they had just received an early copy of a new rapper from southern California, then played “Nuthin’ But A G Thang.” My jaw dropped to the floor. From then on I would visit The Doctor when I needed a dose of something so outside of my experience, so dangerous, so visceral as “The Chronic” (the album, that is).
Counting Crows: When I was 14, I won a lifetime subscription to Rolling Stone in a radio contest (I was always winning stuff off of the radio). In landlocked Kansas, that rag became my cultural north star. “Mr. Jones” first showed up on a sampler album included with one month’s edition of RS and I was so intrigued that I had to visit the Musicland at Oak Park Mall for the full album. One by one, the songs pulled me in deeper — “Rain King” to “Omaha” and “Perfect Blue Buildings.” As perfect an album as I can think of. Changed the way I heard music.
Frogpond: A real turning point in high school life was making friends with older kids who had wheels. The all-ages clubs held great appeal, notably Gee Coffee in Olathe. Gee was shuttered and resurrected in numerous places, presumably when landlords would catch on to the late-night traffic, loud noise and tremendous crowds of frenetic teenagers. One night, a friend and I watched this girl bring the house down. We were drawn to her charisma, and the tunes were catchy as hell. Later, as we were looking for the bathroom, we busted through a door and caught the band hanging out on the back stairs after their set. That was the first time I got to tell Heidi Phillips that her band, Frogpond, really kicked ass.
R.E.M.: Freshman year was when I first played music for people in public. As a member of student council, I found myself behind the decks for a freshman mixer. Knowing that I could turn and twist and bend the crowd with just the push of a button, the playing of the right song, was a power I relished. My DJ career began there, playing “Everybody Hurts” as a slow dance. “Automatic For The People” was all over MTV then, especially “Man on the Moon,” but I was more taken by “Drive” and “Nightswimming,” which might be one of the most beautiful songs ever.
Hip Hop: I fell in love with beats at an early age. I was the kid who had “Raising Hell” on vinyl. And in the ‘90s, the tenor and tone of hip hop really went to the next level. I’m not talking about Biggie and Tupac, East vs. West — that would come later. My love affair began in the early ‘90s, thanks to MC Hammer, Naughty by Nature, Onyx and Ice Cube. It was on our eighth grade trip that I finally nailed down all of the lyrics to Cube’s “It Was A Good Day” (remember, this was before we could Shazam songs or Google their lyrics). Most of those artists were commercial and put out what I considered to be “party rap.” My real education came from KKFI 90.1. While I don’t remember the exact day of the week — Monday? — KKFI aired this cutting edge (and uncensored!) hip-hop show from 10 p.m. to midnight. From that show I heard A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, Arrested Development — hip hop with a conscience — as well as Master P, Lil Kim, Wyclef Jean, Nas, Lauryn Hill and more. They are ALL on the list.
I can’t go on and on so here’s a list of other artists, places and people who meant something to me during the ‘90s:
The Breeders: led me to the Pixies, for obvious reasons
Beck: my friend became a DJ and performer just to be like Beck
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: let us not forget that moment ska had in the ‘90s
Cracker, although I liked Camper Van Beethoven a wee bit more
Everclear: I saw them so many times in the 90s, I swear they would play the opening of an umbrella. Once heard their drummer play a bag of chips during an in-studio performance on 105.9 the Lazer from Lawrence - the studio was too small to fit a drum kit.
Live: I actually made some hay-trading tapes of their MTV Unplugged performance
Liz Phair: OK, can I say she is my all-time artist crush?
Beastie Boys: “Ill Communication” was another album I received as a gift — my birthday, since it came out during the summer. The first time I played it in the car made my mom rethink her present.
Foo Fighters: I initially thought Foo Fighters were a hokey Dave Grohl side project after the greatness of Nirvana. Boy, I missed the mark on that one.
311: not the first time a guy has to like a band because of a girl
Rusted Root: thanks, James Jordan, another Best Buy alum
Dave Matthews Band: “Under The Table and Dreaming” was bliss
Concrete Blonde: discovered, thanks to the movie “Pump Up The Volume” with Christian Slater. Also discovered because of that movie? Leonard Cohen and The Descendents.
Juliana Hatfield: shout out to the beauty of the “Reality Bites” soundtrack
Blur: I didn’t even get to delve into my love of all things British and britpop
Hole: Courtney Love enthralled the crowd at Lollapalooza
Spin Doctors: first big concert at Sandstone
Green Day: again, driving around listening to “Dookie” was everything Adam Sandler — I learned humor from the comedy albums of my parents, like Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Joan Rivers. Adam gave me comedy gold for my generation.
7th Heaven: Once I got into hip hop and started to learn about “crate digging,” I would make my mom drive me to their 76th and Troost location. Like a trooper she would sit in the car while I went in to browse the record racks. I had no idea what I was looking for, but I had a great time.
Music Exchange: the greatest record store of all time. First was their tightly packed store on Westport Road that was heaven on earth for a young music fan. Then came the warehouse feel of their Broadway location. Stacks on stacks on stacks. When the store was closed and liquidated, they held a two-day sale in the West Bottoms. To this day I wish I had more time and money at that point in my life. Love Garden Sounds — became my record home in Lawrence when I went to KU KPRS Hot 103 Jamz — contributed a lot to my love of hip hop in the early ‘90s, in addition to the KKFI show. Also gave me insight into the local scene and an early listen to this new local artist named Tech N9ne.
105.9 the Lazer: maybe the greatest radio station ever. Named one of the 10 stations “That Don’t Suck” by Rolling Stone, and actually lived up to the hype. There was no slick production and you could tell by the way everyone talked that their building was a dump (see my Everclear anecdote above), but they had solid hosts, great music and really encapsulated Lawrence at that moment in time. 107.3 the X — also a favorite listen, but tended to get heavier and didn’t play as many local bands as The Lazer.
The Rhumba Box: all-ages club in what was then a sketchy downtown area Memorial Auditorium — so many great 90s artists played there
Spirit Fest: KC threw this amazing party each year on the lawn of the Liberty Memorial; sometimes it was on Memorial Day weekend, sometimes on Labor Day. Amazing artists like Paw would play right next to national acts like Billy Idol, Huey Lewis and yes, Coolio.
“120 Minutes”: MTV was still cool, and still actually played videos, but waiting to see the latest Smashing Pumpkins video in between Brandy and En Vogue clips was a little frustrating. “120 Minutes” was just that — a two-hour block made for the alterna-kids. Opened my eyes to the roots of (then) modern rock from Depeche Mode to Public Image Limited, Sonic Youth and more.
plus: Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, The Urge, PAW, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Porno For Pyros / Jane’s Addiction, Radiohead, Moby, Soul Asylum, Gee Coffee (music venue in Olathe), Mildred's Coffee
Reminisce with us with a seven-hour Spotify playlist, and don't forget to tune in this weekend for more!