A release party for The Best of LCD: The Art and Writing of WFMU takes place tonight with editor Dave the Spazz (and special guests Ellery Eskelin, Kenny G.) at Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn (143 Seventh Avenue, between Carroll and Garfield). Bronwyn C will broadcast her WFMU show “Killing Time” live from the event.
Text by Shaun McCormack
WFMU has always been like big-budget porn for discriminating music fans. The Jersey City station first broadcasted in 1958 (a bit of a mystery; nobody at the station really knows anything about it) and has since been operating pretty much the way it does now, as a jungle of underground brilliance, deviance and experimentation. It’s got a psychopath DJ named Kenny G who isn’t a white jazz asshat. It’s got call-in shows with twisted hosts who orchestrate scavenger hunts for Thanksgiving turkeys and matzah balls throughout New York and New Jersey. It’s got a game called Dead Air Chicken. Dead air, for those of you who don’t know, is exactly what it sounds like: silence. The most feared sound in radio. Andy Breckman and station manager Ken Freedman made a game out of it. Genius.
And now 91.1’s got a new book: The Best of LCD: The Art and Writing of WFMU. LCD refers to “Lowest Common Denominator,” the name of WFMU’s station guide back in 1986 that lasted for a couple dozen issues. Round about 2002 (give or take a few months), FMU stopped publishing LCD. It was just too expensive. And so a few years later, David Abramson a/k/a Dave the Spazz assembled this greatest hits collection of artwork, station lore, tidbits of radio history, contributions from station DJs and other well-read writers (sometimes they’re one and the same). Bonus: Jim Jarmusch wrote the forward.
“LCD always had an amazing array of talented writers and artists as contributors,” says the Spazz, who’ll be hosting a release party for the book tonight. “I edited two issues in the early ’90s and always thought that a best-of collection would be a great idea. I couldn’t sucker anyone else into this massive project, so I thought I’d give it a shot.”