Dare to Be Different (2017) Movie Script

KEN ECKHART: A part of the daily routine
of many Long Islanders has come to an end.
Those who regularly tuned in
to 92.7 on their radio dials
to listen to the station WLIR
will no longer
find that station broadcasting.
Loraine Foley explains why.
LORAINE FOLEY: As the clock
neared 6:00 last night,
the WLIR DJs were saying their
last farewells to their listeners.
It was the Garden City radio
station's last day on the air
after losing a five-year battle
to keep their 92.7 frequency.
Definitely accept
no imitations.
Remember, there is only one WLIR,
the original new music station.
It's a groovy thing.
We are off the air,
as we know it.
And now, the end is near
And so I face
The final curtain
I'm not a queer
I'll state my case,
of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I've traveled each
and every highway
And more,
much more than this
I did it my way
BONO: There wasn't that many, wasn't that
many people playing, playing our records
on the radio, then just college stations.
Things like WLIR and stuff.
They introduced bands that nobody in
the country was playing, not on radio,
not on television, nowhere.
I don't think MTV would've been
possible in the way that it was
if LIR hadn't preexisted it,
because what they did,
especially in the New York area,
was they identified
an audience for MTV.
And I know that for a fact.
And, you know,
it's just one of those things
where, you know,
what came first,
the chicken or the egg.
In this case, it's clear, you know.
LIR came first and they played music
that nobody would play.
They were finding the records. They were
finding the bands and taking chances
and putting those bands
on the air.
If I had found
LIR when I was 13,
I would've felt
that I had found Disneyland,
but it was a radio station.
This is studio C.
This is studio B.
Sharon's a virgin.
It's her first time
on the airline.
highly classified information.
where it all happens.
BEN MANILLA: I know, we can have fun.
We can have fun without him.
Yesterday I got so old
I felt like I could die
Yesterday I got so old
It made me want to cry
If you were to ask me which
bands LIR broke in this country,
that is a very long list.
Echo and the Bunnymen.
SEYMOUR STEIN: The Pretenders.
And The Replacements.
BEN MANILLA: Talking Heads,
The Smiths.
We were the first to play Madonna.
Spandau Ballet
and Go West.
U2, I mean,
the station had impeccable taste.
DENIS MCNAMARA: We broke Adam Ant.
There's no question about it.
RAY WHITE: Psychedelic Furs.
Wang Chung and ABC.
Nobody else
was playing these bands.
BOB WAUGH: Human League.
MAX LEINWAND: We played Prince
before anybody else.
Wall of Voodoo with, you know,
(SINGS) I'm on the Mexican Radio
XTC and Gang of Four.
SEYMOUR STEIN: Depeche Mode.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Joan Jett and the
Ramones, they were like our house bands.
First Erasure
then Assembly, Yaz.
RICK SHOOR: Squeeze.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Big Audio Dynamite.
Paul Young, Howard Jones.
DENIS MCNAMARA: First station
to play Roxanne by The Police.
Pet Shop Boys,
West End Girls.
I Want Candy.
ANDY GELLER: 99 Luftballons.
Tin Tin, Kiss Me.
ANDY GELLER: Rock Lobster.
Rock the Kasbah.
Electric Avenue.
We're gonna rock down to
Video Killed the Radio Star.
Don't Change.
Light that Never Goes Out.
ANDY GELLER: Blue Monday.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Burning Down the House.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Talk Talk by Talk Talk.
ED STEINBERG: Girls on Film.
Pride In the Name of Love.
Hi, this is Dave Garvin.
MALE VOICE: Depeche Mode.
Chris and Neil
of the Pet Shop Boys.
BILLY IDOL: Billy Idol.
MIKE SCORE: Flock of Seagulls.
JOAN JETT: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
ELVIS COSTELLO: Elvis Costello.
- FRED SCHNEIDER: Hey, this is Fred of B-52's.
ROBERT SMITH: This is Robert from The
Cure and you're listening to 92.7 LIR.
you were listening to LIR
and then the next day you went
to turn it on and it was gone.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Once you get over the bridges
and the tunnels and you come to Long Island,
up until just recently, this was all
farmland. This is where vegetables
and fruits were grown for WWI and WWII.
After WWII, people started to migrate
from the city
out to the suburbs.
LIR was a very prestigious FM,
the first stereo FM on Long Island.
The "LIR" actually stood for
Long Island Radio,
and the station, it was in
Hempstead, in a very low-income area.
BEN MANILLA: Now this is Thomas Alva
Edison's original copy machine here.
This is the ladies' room.
Let's see if we can get lucky.
JOHN DEBELLA: What made LIR great
was we didn't have anything.
We had nothing.
We had old turntables...
Now I'm picking up the tone
arm, putting it on the LP...
We had a console
that had knobs.
We had old cart machines
and tape recorders,
all that stuff,
and it forced you to be more creative
because all of this equipment
was working against you.
We were truly underground. You had to,
like, really tune the radio station
just to get the darn thing.
We had this tiny clock radio in our
kitchen. And I'm fiddling around
with the sta... With the, with the
radio, you know, and you hear all static
And suddenly, real static-y,
I could hear Bananarama singing,
Really saying something
I was like...
And I'm fiddling around,
fiddling around until
I got to hear a clear signal,
and I looked. It was 92.7.
Bop bop shooby doo wop
It's always a joke to us like,
especially East Villagers.
We had to do all these crazy things to
just get the station in, to tune it in.
You're running it
up your like, TV antennae,
got it covered
in aluminum foil.
Sometimes you had to tilt
your radio
to a certain angle to get it.
It depended on the day,
the night,
the clouds,
the moon, location.
I found a picture of you
It was kind of like a sport.
How and where can you hear LIR?
My friends at Montclair State
University, they would vie
for the eastern dorms because in those
eastern dorms, that's where you had
the LIR reception. So you were actually
more popular of a college student
if you got
one of those eastern dorms.
We spent many hours listening to
LIR, thanks to that antenna.
I grew up in New Jersey,
so I couldn't always get the signal.
There'd be times in the city I would
actually get the signal. There'd be times
on the Jersey Shore where I
would actually get the signal,
but the signal kind of would
always be coming in and out.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Mick told me he could
only get it in the shower and he had a,
a radio you could listen to in the shower.
And I'm thinking
there's Mick jumping around the shower
trying to pick up the radio station.
DENIS MCNAMARA: It was a small signal.
It was a Class A, 3,000 watt signal.
But in the biggest media
market in the world,
stations like
WAPP The Apple, WPLJ
and WNEW.FM, they would've had the
equivalent of 50,000 watt signal
and LIR wouldn't have
had that advantage.
And we faded back in again.
Hi. This is Part 2
of the tour of WLIR.
I'm Ben Manilla...
And you're not.
That's not a new joke, is it?
BEN MANILLA: Come this way.
BEN MANILLA: Have you met
Larry "The Duck" Dunn?
He's our latest
disc jockey here on WLIR.
Is Dianne Ikerd of East Meadow there?
This is Larry the Duck
from LIR 92.7.
DIANNE: Oh, my god! Larry!
DONNA DONNA: And this Tuesday night,
it's the Donna Donna Spotlight Dance Dance
at the loop from the station that
dares, LIR 92.7, good morning.
MALIBU SUE: At 92.7 WLIR.FM, it's the station
that dares to be different. I'm Malibu Sue.
Long Tall Andy here.
Delphine Blue.
...and I'm Bob Marrone.
BEN MANILLA: I'm Ben Manilla.
BOB WAUGH: ...and I'm Bob Waugh.
NANCY ABRAMSON: You're with Nancy...
DJ BIRD: I'm DJ Bird...
I'm Barry Ravioli with you...
MAX LEINWAND: My name is Max...
Steve Jones with you...
I'm Denis McNamara.
Billy Idol is telling us some truths
here at WLIR 92.7.
How's it going, Bill?
It's goin' all right.
involved in music, who were the,
the people you respected the most? Who
were the, heroes, the people whose music...
Denis McNamara at LIR
had a real vision. You know,
that was the thing that changed radio.
It was a vision.
JAY JAY FRENCH: One thing about
Denis McNamara, what his voice meant,
it was the Walter Cronkite of rock,
you know. Like, you had to hear this guy,
if he said you're okay,
you're okay.
JOAN JETT: Denis, you're a music
guy, you know, and you can tell.
And I think it's
really something
special to say that you know,
so many of these songs,
people heard
because it came
through your station.
Without guys like Denis McNamara,
that whole New Wave thing
with The Police, and The Go-Go's and R.E.M.
and XTC, that, that wouldn't have happened.
I first came to
WLIR in late '74,
I was 22 years old.
I started out as a part-timer,
as you did back then on the Overnight,
and that would run generally
from 1am to 6am.
I can remember
getting in the car and going,
"Oh, my God, I'm gonna be on the radio,"
even though I'd been on the radio
in NYU and all that,
I was gonna be on a real radio.
I was hired by Elton Spitzer.
He had become the owner
of the station
a year or two previous,
'72, '73.
I got there in '74 and really,
I owe Elton everything,
for having the faith in me.
has LIR been on the air?
19, 1959, it came on.
It was the first stereo FM station
from Long Island in history,
and it was really,
you know, an MOR station,
I think they called them
at the time,
"middle of the road." So it
played a combination of show tunes
and light, classical music.
In the early '70s,
they changed format
and became a progressive rock
station, the first one in Long Island.
And they played you know
the Beatles, the Stones,
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young,
Joni Mitchell...
It was a pretty,
I won't say traditional rock station,
but it was a rock station.
We called ourselves
"Long Island's original
rock station."
That was our signature tagline
at the time.
If I had my way...
We used to make fun of it, call it
Atlanta Northeast because the station
really championed a lot of Southern
rock, whether it was Charlie Daniels
or The Allman Brothers,
or Marshall Tucker Band...
You'd find stations
in America that would play
nothing but
Stairway to Heaven all day.
You couldn't skip a channel without
hearing Stairway to Heaven again.
And you know, it's not that I have
anything against the song, but it was,
it was literally
on every channel all the time.
And Bruce Springsteen
sort of had taken over
almost the entire
country's airwaves.
And there wasn't really
anything much new being played.
I started hearing about this
music coming out of England
and I had to
get my hands on it.
I had to hear
what it sounded like
and also figuring
which ones we could play,
but it wasn't easy to get
a hold of the records,
and also,
it wasn't easy to fit it in
with what else we were playing at
that time and make it stand out.
I told Denis McNamara
we gotta change the format.
I can't stand listening to,
to Bruce Springsteen,
Charlie Daniels, The Beatles,
The Monkeys...
These 100,000 watt radio
stations were taking away
all the advertising dollars
from, from little LIR.
We had to do something, no question.
I mean, we were screwed.
Hey! Ah... Eighties,
I'm living in the Eighties
DEBELLA: There are a lot of radio
stations in New York, right?
INTERVIEWER: You're talking
like, Clone Zone...
DEBELLA: Clone Zone, all those
radio stations up top the dial...
- DEBELLA: ...who are all playing the same five records.
I don't know, I haven't listened lately.
DEBELLA: I know.
A record like this one here, like REO
Speedwagon, Roll with the Changes.
INTERVIEWER: Roll with... Yeah.
You wanna see what I think of REO
Speedwagon, Roll with the Changes?
the new music station.
All aboard!
Broadcasting from the heart of
Long Island, starting now!
This is the new 92.7 LIR.
On the floors of Tokyo
Or down in London town
to go go
With the record selection
And the mirror's reflection,
I'm a-dancing with myself
When there's no one else
in sight
In the crowded lonely night
Well, I wait so long
For my love vibration
And I'm dancing with myself
When they changed format
in the middle of 1982,
it was a huge change.
It was an earthquake
seismic activity.
Oh, dancing with myself,
oh, oh.
If I looked
all over the world
The sort of mainstream American
music was very much caught up in
what was now the end of a decade,
the '70s, and kind of it had turned
into almost Muzak to us.
It was, it was all
very lightweight rock,
you know, R-O-K as well,
it wasn't rock and roll. It wasn't sexy.
It wasn't, it wasn't breaking new bounds.
It wasn't saying anything dangerous.
It wasn't... It had no new fashion
sense, it was all caught up,
and very much... This is the early
days of the '70s and you were watching
that burn out really, and it was boring
us to death. And there was someone
like WLIR willing to sort of
put uson their radio playlist,
and open our music
up to a load of young kids who would
then come to New York and say to the DJs,
I wanna hear Dancing With
Myself by Billy Idol,
or I wanna hear
Homo Superior
from Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks.
I wanna hear this new music.
I wanna hear Joy Division.
I wanna hear Human League.
It was all very much being fueled
in the sort of English dance clubs
and there it's being reflected in
American dance clubs on radio playlists.
At the few radio
stations in America,
that were playing
post-punk music like WLIR.
I think it fueled the beginning
of the '80s and set the pace.
The two biggest bands in the world
were The Beatles and The Stones,
and they were sort of,
the hallmark of any radio station,
and we took that idea and changed
it to The Clash and The Police.
ERIC BLOOM: It was sort of a stab
in the heart for our kind of music,
because we had a great relationship with
LIR and it just went out the window.
They played our kind of music,
and then they didn't.
It was like a betrayal.
"Did you hear what LIR did?
They went over to all that shit music."
You know? That's the way our
fans felt about it, you know.
But you had the younger generation,
the younger kids they thought that was it.
They didn't wanna listen to their, their
parent's music or their older brother's music.
They wanted something
for themselves.
Two dozen other dirty lovers
Must be a sucker for it
The difference between radio in England
and America was quite a difference.
We grew up as kids through
the '60s and the '70s
with one radio station,
the BBC.
We had Radio 1 for young people,
Radio 2 for older people,
Radio 3 for even older people and
Radio 4 for even older people.
So there was one radio station
you pretty much cared about.
There was the sense that the BBC,
which was really an institution in Britain
was pretty much governed by a
half-dozen sort of middle-aged
you know,
programmers and producers.
In a way, it was a sort of
government-backed monopoly.
And Radio 1 on the BBC
and Top of the Pops,
which was the weekly TV show,
basically ruled the charts.
I mean, you couldn't have a hit
without getting on Top of the Pops.
Getting radio airplay, of course,
in a UK context was really very difficult
because if you were in the Top
30, you could get on,
but you know, back then
most people will be
three or four records before you
could maybe get a Top 30 success.
We didn't have money to buy airplay,
which is what the majors did.
We, we had to rely on
enthusiasm and good ideas and,
and, hoping that someone would actually like
our record and want to actually play it.
I can remember walking
around London literally
with these plastic bags
eating into my hands, full of
records, because I wouldn't say no.
Sunday nights at 10:00, I would host
Off The Boat which was an import show.
And the little secret in that was
there was a record store in London
that we did same day
shipping from Heathrow to JFK.
We'd meet the plane
on Thursday afternoon...
Well, we would go to the airport
to actually meet the plane bringing
in the imports, and we'd also
use Dutch East Importers.
SETH RUDMAN: Quite often, I was given
test pressings of upcoming releases
from a lot of the major labels, which we
forwarded as soon as we could over to LIR.
And a few times
we got in trouble because of it.
The Top 40 stations
weren't gonna touch that stuff
until it was released domestically,
and that could take months.
Nowadays, that, that concept
of imports it's, it's not as,
it's not as important anymore, because on the
internet you find anything. But back then,
you know, you were literally waiting by
the shores for the records to come in.
And we were able to play
that first.
The respect LIR had in England was so
amazing. Many of the record executives,
especially if I went to visit there, would
play me the new records, they'd pull out
test acetates of, of songs
and they'd give them to me.
And we would get it
and we would play it.
highlight was ever playing live.
The second one was making
a single for Mute Records.
The third one was hearing
your record on the radio.
You know, it was
It was like,
you heard it and you go,
you know, you want your mum to be
there because you haven't taped it.
You haven't recorded it.
So you have to just tell her,
Yeah. We really did get played, you know.
There's an American station,
I mean, we live here
3,000 miles away.
There's an American radio station
playing our friggin' record.
We knew we'd had to have been getting
some airplay before we got here.
So we were coming right into these markets.
We weren't too aware
of what was going on.
We were just greenbacks.
We were super naive.
You know, we were just South London kids
making a, a go of things.
And what happened was
we got an underground
dance hit here.
So we were brought over to
really do that in the clubs.
And at that point we realized also that, that
there were these radio stations that bore
no resemblance to the kind of formal,
national programming that we had in,
in the UK.
1981, we landed in New York for the
first time, and I can honestly say
I've never been so excited.
When we saw the skyline,
it was all of our dreams coming true.
We, grown up loving
the whole New York scene.
That whole thing
was so exciting to us.
And when the limo turned off and it said
Manhattan this way, Long Island that way,
our hearts sunk just for a little
minute as the skyline disappeared in,
into the distance.
But then we got to the
Holiday Inn in Long Island
and there was all kinds of stuff there we'd
never seen. There was a vending machine
that had the weirdest things
you could buy in there,
so we spent
all our few dollars
just pressing the machine and
getting ridiculous things out of it.
We were in New York just going, wow,
let's get some pizza. Let's do this...
Everything that you could do
that was American.
First thing we did, I think me and my
brother was walked down 42nd Street
just to see how crazy it was.
And then we put on HBO, because there
was TV all night here and there wasn't,
I think, in England at the time,
TV stopped at like, 11 at night.
LOL TOLHURST: We were 21, and our only
experience of America in any shape or form
was from Marvel Comics. So the first
thing we did when we got to New York
was go into like, a little grocery
store and buy a Hostess Twinkies bar,
because that's what they advertised
on the back of Marvel Comics.
We'd never seen them
and we took one bite
and we realized
why we didn't really want
to eat those anymore.
LIR was really my first contact
with the American record scene.
I've been waiting
for so long
And there was a moment
I clearly remember it.
Stuff had just started to
take off for me in the UK,
I'd New Song,
went to number three.
We got this request to do, you know,
a call from this station on Long Island.
Then I spoke to Denis, you know,
and he was so enthusiastic about New Song
and stuff that was just about
to come out.
And the amazing thing
about LIR was that
everyone was in there and making
this radio. And it, it was incredible
and you felt so at home
when you walked in.
I just thought,
this is the way radio should be.
You know, Denis McNamara
and Malibu Sue
and Larry the Duck, you know,
they became like friends.
It was the launch pad for me
for the whole of America.
Howard Jones was
an incredibly unique artist.
I mean, how many single artists
that would be on stage,
with just him and then he had
a mime with him, Jed.
I mean, that was just,
when you, if you decide
to call somebody up and people,
"Well, can you tell me about the act?"
Well, it's about,
they have three semis worth of equipment.
It's just Howard on stage with
some keyboards and he has a mime.
You could almost hear people,
like hanging up on you.
Give it to me one time now
It was changing
and it was changing fast.
Record labels always
wanted us to play
what they told us to play,
when they told us to play it.
They had
a very specific marketing plan.
You couldn't break something too
soon because a tour was happening,
on this day and you had
to follow that.
Well, most radio stations had
to follow that, but we didn't.
Relax, don't do it
When you wanna go to it
Relax, don't do it
When you wanna come
Relax, don't do it When
you want to suck it, chew it
Relax, don't do it
When you wanna come
Frankie Goes to Hollywood
was the perfect example.
The scene was exploding in the UK
and Island Records was gonna bring
that domestically to the United States,
and they had a very specific plan.
"In four months, they're gonna
do this and six months later,
"the band is gonna come play and that's how
we want the radio stations to fall in line."
Well, we didn't do that. We got the
import when it was breaking in England.
It had to be about a year,
or half a year to a year before the,
the label's plan in the,
in the United States. Pissed them off.
But we were buying the records.
They couldn't stop us from playing it.
But shoot it
in the right direction...
There are politics behind the
scenes in this game that exist
between the record industry
and radio.
The running joke,
because Epic stood for
"European Product
Ignored Completely". (LAUGHS)
MIDGE URE: LIR went against the flow
of what everyone else was doing,
to take a huge chance like
that on this alien music
that was coming in, pre-MTV.
Denis was very careful about
the songs that got in there.
They had to be really, really
strong, and he had good taste
and he had a good ear and he surrounded
himself with people that had good taste.
What attracted me to the way Denis
operated is he wanted to know
what I thought, so we'd jump in a
car and we'd drive around in the car,
popping in cassettes and we'd hear
25 songs to find that one gem.
RAY WHITE: Some of the new
things that were coming out,
that were way ahead of their
times, that were just starting
to be released in England
or Ireland or somewhere.
And I got this album, Boy, with this great
picture of this kid on it and I went,
okay, and he goes,
this is a garage band,
a band that's been together
since high school from Dublin.
I will follow!
RAY WHITE: Loved it. I Will Follow to this
day is one of my very, very favorite songs.
You could just sit and listen to this,
this band that just was different.
They were fresh, the energy,
the whole production, everything.
Did 10 years with U2,
which was a great thrill,
and I remember very distinctly
hearing, I Will Follow on LIR.
First U2 song I ever heard,
and I went,
"Wow! Who's that?"
Music stations in, in Manhattan,
the FM stations, were WPLJ
and WNEW,
and I remember that
neither of those would play U2.
They were really
quite conservative,
and so it was really vital
for us that WLIR was around.
They were about the most
traditionally set-up band
that you could possibly
imagine, you know.
Bass, guitar, drums
and an arrogant singer.
In the best possible way,
a showman.
RAY WHITE: To see U2 playing on a foot-and-a-half
high stage was unbelievable, you know,
and they were loud, they were good
and they were just... Wow, they were,
they were just...
You just knew they were great.
And this was a band that everyone
should've loved, but it took albums,
I mean, it took until The Joshua Tree
before people really came around.
Not the LIR listeners.
All I remember was Bob Waugh
really championing U2,
and personally, I remember saying,
nah, I don't really hear it.
I mean, they sound kinda weird, you know.
It's not, it's not this or that.
It's, it wasn't really...
We all know what happened at the end.
DENIS MCNAMARA: We believed in U2 right
away. By the time they came into, you know,
Pride (In the Name of Love)
and After the War album,
they had become so much bigger
than we had anticipated.
And they weren't just playing
clubs like the Beacon Theater,
they were headlining.
One of our bands was headlining the Nassau
Coliseum, and they sold it out in a second.
Bono, you know,
went on stage and actually thanked WLIR.
It was awesome, because all these kids
were cheering and I, I have to admit,
I had tears coming down my cheeks
because there's this guy who, you know,
since he, he hangs out with presidents, popes,
he goes to Africa to cure AIDS, I mean,
he could do anything he wants,
and what is he doing?
He's giving credit to us
for helping them.
BONO: In 1981,
we played at a small club here,
it's called the Malibu.
There was
a few hundred people there.
I hope those few hundred
people are here tonight.
There wasn't that many people playing
our records on the radio then,
just college stations,
and things like WLIR and stuff...
The next day, I had the
soundboard recording and put it
on the air every hour,
(LAUGHS) of Bono saying, "...like WLIR..."
and you hear
the entire coliseum explode.
And having a small, tiny piece
of the beginning of U2's story
and to see where they got now,
it's just so awesome. It's so humbling.
We learned quite early on how
important radio was in America.
We didn't really have
a hit record in Europe
until 1985,
with The Unforgettable Fire,
so any radio presence
we had in New York
was coming from WLIR.
U2 was absolutely launched
out of LIR in New York.
Everyone knows this.
Once I had a love
and it was a gas
Soon turned out
Had a heart of glass
One of the things
about the New York marketplace
that was important was that
it really was at that point
the center of the sort of the sort
of punk rock, new wave movement.
DEBBIE HARRY: It was very important for us,
you know, mentally and inspiration-wise,
to know that there were people, you know,
legitimate people, with a view to the,
to the public, and,
and appreciation of music.
And to be brave enough
to support unknown idiots,
you know, just to go with it.
There was a time when the playlists
didn't really have a lot of girls
or girl musicians, even.
I mean...
While the Beatles knocked it out, you know.
I mean, we had the Supremes
and all those bands prior,
prior to the...
Well, there was R&B,
that was... Yeah.
...prior to that, and then
it, then it turned,
turned into the boys' club
for a while.
For, you know, 15, 20 years,
whatever it was.
DENIS MCNAMARA: There was almost a
bias against female vocals, you know,
Janis Joplin had been there maybe,
or Grace Slick, and then we were
perhaps different because we were championing
you and Joanie, but it was people like you
that kind of brought that sound
and that ability to come
to female vocals
in radio
and rock radio and in radio stations
that might not have played other artists.
Adorable illusion and I cannot
hide I'm the one you're using
KATRINA LESKANICH: You didn't have
any problem looking for role models
if you're a woman like me looking
to other women as role models
because there were only a couple,
and for me it was Deborah Harry
and Chrissie Hynde. They were tough.
They were cool. They were still sexy.
There was a deception
during the day
that women can't rock.
Wrong! That is
exactly a deception.
Madonna brought,
not only a whole new genre
of pop dance music,
but you talk about Joan Jett...
That woman is a guitar goddess,
and local.
Do you wanna touch? Yeah!
Do you wanna touch? Yeah!
Do you wanna touch me there?
JOAN JETT: Whether it was us introducing
you to people that you met, musicians
that add to that kind of music that
sort of changed the direction of LIR,
I think it's, first it's, it's awesome
that you would listen and that you would
do that and be the person
to bring the music
to people first.
But I'm not surprised,
because you always had a great ear.
DONNA DONNA: And another New York
person is live on the air right now.
Please say good morning, folks,
to Joan Jett.
JOAN JETT: Hi, Donna.
DONNA DONNA: How are you, Joan?
JOAN JETT: I'm okay.
How're you doing?
DONNA DONNA: Good, thanks.
Would you like to introduce this record?
JOAN JETT: Yeah, this is what started it
all. It's called, I Love Rock 'n' Roll.
KENNY LAGUNA: So when we finished
the I Love Rock 'N' Roll album,
we went right to the radio station
and we took the actual master,
which is unheard of, you know,
and started playing our new album.
Then about halfway through,
and they said,
"Neil Bogart's
on the phone."
one of the tycoons of our business
and he said, "You take that off,
"that tape recorder right now,
or your career is over."
INTERVIEWER: Nice. And we were
sitting there in the radio station
with the actual master.
It wasn't even like we had a copy.
It was the master
we were playing.
So that was the debut of
I Love Rock 'N' Roll.
Singin' I love rock n' roll
So put another dime
In the jukebox, baby
I love rock n' roll So come an'
take your time an' dance with me
It was, I guess
ecstasy, I suppose.
It's what you dream about
when you're a kid, dreaming about
hearing your record on the radio.
It's exactly that feeling. It's like, wow,
I've made, I've accomplished something.
It was really
a magical feeling.
We're going right on
to the next number.
kinda changed my life.
And seeing the Ramones
and signing them, and that
lead, thanks to Johnny,
Johnny Ramone,
I saw the Talking Heads,
who, who opened for them.
I can't seem to
face up to the facts...
We were very fortunate to be in New
York at a time when a lot of people had
I think sort of the same idea.
Bands like The Ramones
and Television and
Patti Smith and Blondie,
but there weren't very many radio
stations that would play the music.
One exception to that
was WLIR.
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far
Everything that wasn't mainstream
fell into the alternative category,
and it could be Jamaican reggae,
it could be punk, it could be funk.
I will always believe Talking
Heads broke up too early.
Talking Heads was just one of the
greatest American bands, no question.
I mean, they were tonnage.
Live, they were amazing.
The records, every record was
creative and crazy and different.
CHRIS FRANTZ: We didn't really
fit the punk mold so much,
so Seymour was able to say,
"Oh, but Talking Heads, they're not punk.
They're New Wave."
I call it New Wave because
what does punk have to do with,
with the Talking Heads,
or with Television,
or Soft Cell,
or any of these bands?
You know, it was a New Wave and I
looked at it as a new wave for New York.
Who coined the phrase, "New Wave,"
that's a very complex subject, actually.
New wave means different things to
different people. I think that...
I think it originally starts with French
new wave cinema, and the idea that
we're getting something new,
but it's this wave that's coming on us.
In some ways,
it's synonymous with '80s music.
It really is a very
complicated term
and nobody has really settled
on what it means.
Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach
We can hitch a ride
to Rockaway Beach
KING ADKINS: A band like The Ramones is
almost really New Wave, in some ways.
They get labeled "punk" quite a bit,
but they're a very pop-oriented band.
They're playing songs that, that wouldn't
be so different from a Beach Boys album,
and if you slowed down
The Ramones,
you get something that sounds
very much like The Cars.
I mean,
was Blondie New Wave?
I guess so, especially
on a fashion standpoint.
But when they went on stage,
they rocked like hell.
I think there are several ways
to separate New Wave.
One of those ways is to think about the
difference between what's going on in America
and what's going on in Britain.
In Britain, they are dealing
with post-punk,
because punk was such
a major influence in the UK.
For the American new wave, it really
gets filtered through the art movement,
and so these sort of "Art bands"
are really where new wave takes off,
and I don't think you can
underestimate New York,
but particularly the influence
of Andy Warhol on all of this.
I mean, he is the central figure who has
come up with this sort of post-modern idea
of what art should be
and what art can be.
Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo
Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo
You're living in your own
Private Idaho
You're living in your own
Private Idaho
Underground like
a wild potato
We were sort of part of the punk
scene, the tail-end of the punk scene
before new wave was really happening.
We just wrote our own kind of music,
I mean, we classify ourselves as new
wave or punk or anything like that.
We were our own
Southern-fried, original music.
You're living in
your own Private Idaho
You're living in
your own Private Idaho
We were a dance band
and at the time no new wave
band wanted to be called
a dance band, I guess,
but we just got people dancing
and we attracted
all kinds of people from
the school nerds, the gays.
Well, everybody actually,
there'll be even frat boys.
We just did our own thing
and you can't really say,
oh, that's an '80s song,
or The B-52's are this or that,
and we just did what we
considered great songs.
We never referred to the music
as New Wave.
We never called ourselves
a new wave station.
It was always, "The new
music station," and why?
We didn't wanna pigeonhole
My view on it was I didn't want it
used or connected with the station
because I thought it was like the word
"groovy." I thought that it wasn't something
that would, would work on a
long-term basis, and I was determined
that LIR would be for a long as
long as we could survive the thing,
and so I preferred
"New music."
MALIBU SUE: I always used to laugh when
the interns would talk about their key
to the building
because it was a hanger.
There was like a big gap,
glass doors and a big gap,
they just would, stuck the hanger through
and I pulled the handle down to get in.
And our security in the
building was a picture
of a German shepherd
in the window,
but it was like, literally, like, this.
Like, dog, like...
You know, "Beware of Attack
Dog" I think it said on it.
Wow, the elevators are
exactly the same.
MIKE GUIDOTTI: Not really, the buttons are
different now. It has, it has, it has those,
those neon
square bogus buttons.
We're going up to seven.
But really, seven was six, right?
No, seven was seven.
Seven was seven?
Seven was seven.
We were at the, the penthouse
of our building,
which was a nice way to say,
"Tin shack on the roof."
MAX LEINWAND: The station was pretty much
a corrugated metal addition to the roof.
It was a garbage can.
It was terrible!
This was the way to LIR.
This was it.
This was the front door.
I think it was, I think it was
marked by a bumper sticker, maybe.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Yes, it was,
which always got stolen. (LAUGHS)
And then you can see the glory.
Oh, this is... Come here, we got...
we gotta get this.
This is, this is
unusually crappy
DENIS MCNAMARA: Every famous
artist in the world who came to LIR
came up these stairs.
I remember sitting here with a hangover,
talking to Malcolm McLaren
on these stairs.
I never actually worked at WLIR
and I never made a nickel there.
I just interned there for way too long.
I think that almost everybody
you spoke to would tell you
that the station was a shithole,
But there was
something charming about it.
And to me, it seemed amazing
because I was so into music
and you walked into this place and it was
sort of cool. You know. You, you walk in,
you'd look in one door and there'd be
like, two guys just listening to records,
and you go in another door,
there'd be a guy like, editing tapes
and smoking a cigarette and
so the place was, I, you know,
I just thought
it was really cool.
The place was held together with duct tape.
I mean, that's, the carpet was fraying.
We'd replace the duct tape.
We wouldn't replace the carpet.
Where we sat, it was between
a wall and a file cabinet.
And on the file cabinet, I think it was
held together with LIR bumper stickers.
this is Larry Dunn's junk.
BOB WAUGH: Larry Dunn's junk!
It was very casual there.
It was like, you're gonna
visit someone's home, really.
Beer and wine and other
things popping around...
You'd sit down,
have a chat, have a drink...
DENIS MCNAMARA: When we had a famous
artist on here, what would happen is,
the fans would figure out how to get
past the immense security in the lobby.
And then, they would literally
pile up here
in front of the door and wait
for the artist to leave so they
could you know, take their picture
or shake their hand
or whatever.
And also, we didn't always
announce who was coming on the air,
so sometimes there'd be a burst
of people would hear, you know.
Duran Duran on the air or whatever
and then there'd be a burst of people
who'd come up here
and stand outside.
The best things about doing a
morning show was that you could be
the first person to the bank on
Friday, because the, the checks,
you know, by the time...
You didn't wanna be the
last person to the bank.
If you were the first person,
your check would be good,
but by the 10th or 12th...
Oh, lunch time there was a
caravan out of the parking lot!
LIR stood for
"Low income radio,"
so we did it
for the beer, actually.
MALIBU SUE: We had very imaginative
promotions, for sure, you know,
we didn't have a lot of budget to work with,
or zero budget to work with, actually,
so we had to be very creative and
we did some really cool contests.
Yeah, and also...
And cool prizes,
Julie Price.
"You've won a trip
to Jamaica... Queens."
What are you gonna
do with the money?
One of the airliners I worked
with, Lee Cunningham,
she and I were sent out to pick out
movie tickets. It was in the winter,
it was icy and snowy,
and they sent me in the LIR van
that had no brakes.
There was a red light, tried to stop,
and we slammed right into this car.
The guy was ecstatic that
he was hit by the LIR van.
The roof was, in some ways
just the sacred resting ground
to take the artist, because the inner
plant of LIR, there were no meeting places.
But the roof was like, it was cool and
then for a band coming from England
for the first time or whatever,
it was a nice viewpoint and all that.
This never worked
in the old days,
this fire exit
emergency thing.
This door was never locked, Mike, right?
I mean, this door was always open.
If I push this and the alarm
goes off, well, we...
We'll calmly walk to the elevators, go
down, and act like we were somewhere else.
(LAUGHS) And that's
why he's a genius.
Some things don't change.
Maybe I'll go to congress
and have them outlaw
Ramones records.
I don't think
that's a good idea. That'll just make
these kids who dare to be different
even more vile. I think you should try
some reverse psychology and endorse
The Ramones. Urge every man,
woman and child in America
to call WLIR airlines at 4850927
and vote for the Ramones
for Screamer of the Week.
Brothers and sisters
Pump up the volume
Screamer of the Week, they would
play, I believe it was five songs
And it was new songs that week.
Everybody called in to vote
what was their favorite song.
I always liked the original
screamer was (SCREAMS).
(SCREAMS) I couldn't
even repeat it.
It's awesome.
I don't know of any other station that
sort of picked out a song to make,
as their special song of the week.
And so I know a lot of stations do it now,
but people weren't doing
it then.
I told my staff, I said, you gotta have
LIR tuned on 24/7 when you work here.
They had three or four
in the running every week,
you had a certain period
of time to vote.
Each of the jocks had to select a song
out of a set of new songs each week,
and we fought over those
sometimes, yeah.
Yeah. Did we have to rush to do that?
Like, first one in...
You know, there, there came a time
when I think Denis had to tell us
that we weren't allowed to sneak in or call
in or pick after midnight or something,
because people, were you know, getting the jump
on other jocks and there was a lot of battling
going on about it.
And all week long we'd promote
it on the air. So every time you,
you played the record, you say, "And by the
way, that's my pick for Screamer of the Week.
"Make sure you call and vote. You can vote
early." But on Thursday was Screamer day.
DENIS MCNAMARA: This could be history. Depeche
Mode could win the most Screamers in history
this evening, passing the Thompson Twins who
they are tied with at this point in time.
However, in their way,
is a gentleman named Lou Reed.
You broke my heart
And you made me cry
You said that I couldn't
dance But now I'm back...
As the voting progressed,
it reached a crescendo at 10 p.m.
We'd tally the votes and anoint
a new champion every week.
And then that song just went into the
highest rotation you possibly could.
...Suzanne, you do
anything once
MAX LEINWAND: Record companies like
Sire Records. I mean, they would choose
their next singles based on what
the Screamers of the Week were.
LIR was selling records. Their
Screamers, you couldn't compare the kind
of exposure that a band would get
having a Screamer of the Week on LIR
to anything else that was going
on in the area, promotion-wise.
You always wanted to get the
Screamer of the Week you know,
and your local Capitol Records
rep would always be saying,
"Well, we're hopeful that we might,
but we don't know this time..."
Screamer of the Week in,
on LIR was a big deal.
We had 11 Screamers of the Week.
We had 13 Screamer,
13 Screamer of the Weeks?
One thing that kind of ties
myself, my band, The Rattlers,
and my brother and WLIR together,
The Rattlers had a song called,
I Won't Be Your Victim, which was
nominated for Screamer of the Week.
My brother used to call up quite
frequently, like, every five or ten minutes
and vote for The Rattlers.
Three weeks in a row we were nominated,
but by the third week,
my brother had been calling so often,
that the receptionist
finally answered,
"Joey, is that you?"
Ooh yeah, yeah
Said you're gonna punk
Your punk your punk
I did Punky Reggae Party,
which in '81, '82, '83
Sunday nights was
a reggae-orientated,
Dare To Be Different show.
It's a punky reggae party
New wave
And what I did was,
I played reggae songs
that could enter
into the main format.
Wo, wo, wo, yeah
Oh yeah
And it just became an alternative,
even though it was reggae
or punky reggae, acts that, you
know, there was a lot of bands now
coming out of England
that were doing punk reggae.
Can I take you to a restaurant
That's got glass tables
You can watch yourself
While you are eating
... ammunition
Police and thieves
In the streets, oh, yeah
If you wanted to hear a reggae format like
mine, you would hear it on a college station.
There were no commercial
stations, no commercial stations
in America doing a reggae show.
I say Pass the dutchie
On the left hand side
Pass the dutchie on the left
hand side It a gonna burn,
Give me music make me jump
and prance It a go done,
Give me the music make
me rock in the dance
Musical Youth, which had a
song called Pass the Dutchie,
which was, you know,
it became a Screamer of the Week.
You could feel it 'cause
it was the month of June
So I left my gate
and went out for a walk
How does it feel
When you've got no food?
As I pass the dreadlocks' camp
I heard them say
How does it feel
When you've got no food?
Pass the dutchie On
the left hand side, I say
Pass the dutchie On the
left hand side It a gonna burn
Give me the music make me
jump and prance It a go done
Give me the music make
me rock in the dance...
We went ahead and we helped
Blondie's management get her
a rock steady song called,
The Tide is High,
which became a
pretty big song for her,
thanks to Denis McNamara
and LIR.
The tide is high
But I'm holdin' on
I'm gonna be your number one
I'm not the kinda girl
Who gives up just like that,
Oh no
Free Nelson Mandela
Free, Free,
Free, free, free
Nelson Mandela
We were messengers
for the musicians
and we were taking the message
to our listeners.
Free Nelson Mandela
Well, you know,
we were playing Free Nelson Mandela
and people thought
we were nuts.
Shoes too small
to fit his feet
His body abused
But his mind is still free
Are you so blind
That you cannot see
Free Nelson Mandela
Well, you know what, our audience picked
up on it. They made it a Screamer,
they agreed with us and also, it was cool.
It was musically hip, it was reggae, it was,
and also, you know what,
it was wrong.
What was going on in South Africa
was wrong and it woke us up to it.
Probably the best example
I could give though,
of how people really were caring about
things and the music was presenting it
to them was Live Aid.
BONO: We're an Irish band.
We come from Dublin City, Ireland.
Like all cities
it has its good,
but it has its bad.
This is a song called Bad.
It was great that someone like
LIR did broadcast the audio
from the concert,
because a lot of people
didn't get the visual feed
from the first half of the concert in
the, the UK because
of the time differences.
And, I believe that a lot of television
here in America
chopped it up
into chunks, I mean...
Money speaks louder
than what was going on then,
so the commercial breaks ended
right in the middle
of performances,
so a lot of the performances
that were coming
and being fed from all around the world
weren't actually broadcast very well.
So with LIR broadcasting the
audio, that's fantastic,
that people actually got a chance
to, to hear what was going on.
Live Aid took place
on July 13th, 1985.
It was a big date for us.
And it was a dual concert
set up in Philadelphia and in
England at Wembley Stadium,
and it was a fund-raising concert
for famine relief in Africa.
Share the light of love
Share the light of love
DENIS MCNAMARA: It was Sting and it
was Paul Young and it was the Durans.
It was such a blur.
What I can remember is the promoter,
the famous Bill Graham coming up and saying
like, "You know, you gotta get on there.
"The presenter is gonna come up to
you and he'll have a word with you
"and then he'll go on." But he
didn't say who the presenter was.
It was Jack Nicholson. And we were
like, wow... So I remember the main...
I think we only played 20 minutes Live
Aid, but I think I spent
the first 18 thinking,
"Jack Nicholson."
You know I would if I could
I would let it go
DENIS MCNAMARA: It was put together by Midge
and Bob Geldof who were friends of ours,
because you know, Midge was Ultra
Vox, Bob was the Boomtown Rats.
Both of them
played on the concert.
It was something that we could be
proud of that those were our artists.
Those were the people
that we'd championed,
and they were doing
something good for the world.
Throw this lifeless
lifeline to the wind
For me, a good lyric
was often inspired by
just the irony,
the subtext of a headline.
Back then, one of the big influences
for me was the sense of impotence
between Margaret Thatcher
and Ronald Reagan.
They were the big
champions of capitalism
and this easy credit was coming in
and it was like the first sedative.
Put people to sleep with instant
gratification whilst we can march around
and just change
the whole political map.
With Margaret Thatcher, that was
definitely the undoing of British society,
where people started to treat
each other as competitors,
instead of neighbors.
There was the imbalance of
the extra-rich and the not so,
and they really like, you know,
almost like two different wars going on.
The content of punk music
affected us lyrically,
in the way
we sort of wrote songs
and what we talked about, because it
was now acceptable to get out there
and just complain
about stuff.
I remember when Reagan got
reelected, I played The Ramones'
I Wanna Be Sedated 15 times
in a row.
All around me
are familiar faces
Worn out places,
worn out faces
Bright and early
for their daily races
Going nowhere,
oing nowhereg
CURT SMITH: I think we played
our first gig as Tears For Fears
the day the Falklands War started.
It was the first time
that I'd ever experienced something
that was like a war to me.
Hide my head I want to drown my
sorrow No tomorrow, no tomorrow
I think it was pure,
beautiful coincidence
that I Ran happened to be
our song at exactly the time
that the Iran situation
was happening.
And I ran
I ran so far away
And I, I think that a lot of people
listened to that song in the first place,
because that's what they thought it was
about. And then when they'd listened
to it a couple of times, they went, no,
it's just a good, good song, you know?
It was a grand opportunity that you
could sing about that sort of stuff,
whether it was
about social politics
or whether about
gender politics.
But I guess there was that whole,
you know, with Top 40 radio stations,
there was that whole
kind of macho,
kind of like,
rock band, kind of image,
and we didn't necessarily
fit into that.
VINCE CLARKE: Andy's always been very
honest and upfront about his sexuality.
And I've always supported him. You know,
that, that's what we are. That's who we are.
We've never tried to hide or shy
away from that, from that fact,
or tone it down
for the sake of Top 40 radio,
for instance.
I hurt inside out
Oh l'amour
Broke my heart
I'll stop the world
and melt with you
You seen the difference
and it's getting better
all the time
When you hear I Melt With You by
Modern English, it brings you back.
But who knew that it was
about making love
when a bomb is coming
at you from Russia?
DAVE WAKELING: But it was, really,
just starting to form the opinions
of that whole generation of students,
who now are a whole generation
of vice presidents and presidents
and executives, who are going to be
the ones in the next year or
two who will make that change,
because social change takes
ages, doesn't it, you know.
You're meant to be young and impetuous
and then think that it's all for nothing
and we didn't change the world and oh, what
happened, and it felt like we were going to
but anywhere from 15 to 25
years afterwards, you start
to see the social implications of
the way people had an opportunity
to look at
the world differently.
When I'm standing here
lookin' at you What do I see?
I hear music today and I
hear the influences of that,
some of our artists have on artists
today, like The Killers and The Strokes.
New Order is a big influence
on some of the bands today,
as is Joy Division
on acts like Interpol.
If you ask them, they'll, they'll
say, "We listened to Duran Duran.
"We listened to The Replacement and The
Clash," and you can hear the influence.
The '80s music had an element of fun to
it, and when the late '70s hit,
to me that's the best time in music,
when the switch happened, you know.
Hearing things like Gary Numan or Elvis Costello
or getting into Devo and things like that.
We would say why does
everything have to be separate?
Why can't we put things, let's just take
the rock and roll world, the dance world,
the funk world, the gospel world,
let's stick it all together.
It just had something so different.
Adam & The Ants, I mean,
Kings of the Wild Frontier,
that record is probably
my favorite record
that's ever been made.
That music's lost its taste
So try another flavor
I still think to this day
it's adventurous and different,
and who makes
a American Indian/ pirate/
Try and categorize
that record and you can't.
And there was a lot of things
like that back in that time,
and I think it was a rebellion to the
stagnation of, of sonic approaches
that had been taken
for the decades past.
You've got to think outside the box to
try and make something that's different,
that's radically different
from what has been before.
Rock music hasn't really changed
an awful lot since the 1950s.
We still use guitars.
We still record them the same way.
We're still making noise.
Jimi Hendrix made a feedback-y
noise with his guitar.
We still do it today so it hasn't
really evolved an awful lot.
And so to do something
radically different,
it's not just
the instrumentation
that's important,
it's how you think.
And the instrumentation,
all of a sudden, synthesizers
became accessible.
Synthesizers were coming out at the
time too, which the punks hated,
because it wasn't just crashing on a guitar,
but to people like me that was atmosphere
and that was really
what we were after.
I walk along the avenue
I never thought
I'd meet a girl like you
Meet a girl like you
People that were interested
like, that were like, going, wow,
you're not like a
"rock band" rock band.
You're this strange
combination of things.
And they would be interested in
just seeing how it was put together.
How do you integrate synths
and lead guitar?
They didn't understand
how it worked.
And we always used to get people
after shows coming up and going,
"How did you workout
what the synth's gonna do
"and what the guitar's gonna
do?" And of course, we'd just go,
"It's easy, when I can't play
a bit, he'll play it."
This is Depeche Mode.
Right behind me you will see New Life.
I stand still stepping
on the shady streets
And I watch that man
to a stranger
There is no question that
we emerged at the same time
as the synthesizer emerged as this
incredibly important instrument.
It was a movement in technology,
and the difference between
what Vince Clarke or Martin Gore,
as opposed to what Keith Emerson could do,
was completely different. The battery
of keyboards that Wakeman and Emerson
had to have on stage, I was the
biggest Yes and the biggest ELP fan,
so I loved the sound of the Moog synthesizer
but that was not a portable situation.
It took up a wall.
You know, these things, you had to be
a brain surgeon to operate these things.
You had to be a scientist
to figure out how
to patch it up.
...your shadow's red Like a
film I've seen, Now show me
For Depeche Mode,
when they first did
their earliest gigs in Basildon,
those guys used to stick their keyboards
under their arms, and they were lucky to be
able to afford them. But they could stick them
under their arms and take them to the local club
and play gigs. And that's how they started,
and that's why they were able to
change music in the way that they did.
And it's not like music just changed,
it's not like Depeche Mode just came along,
or the Human League just came along and
everybody said, "Oh wow, look at the future."
They were despised, and laughed at,
and ridiculed by almost everyone.
There was a real backlash, you know.
I mean, it's kinda interesting
that, you know, for a lot of middle
America, the lack of guitars and big hair
and stuff like that was a problem.
You know, they would say,
they would describe, this as wimpy.
You know, they would say, well, it,
it's not real music if it's done with
electronic instruments and so on.
And we sort of laughed at that
really, and pushed past it.
Back then, anything that didn't
have a guitar in it was considered
not to be music by some people,
you know. (LAUGHS)
They did a piece on me that
said, oh, Howard Jones
doesn't need to turn up to his shows
because he just sends the equipment.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Quite often, people
would say synthesizers were too wimpy.
It's true that some of them
were really cheesy-sounding.
It was like, homogenized.
The drum machines, the exact bass drum,
the exact snare drum,
everything was homogenized.
Drum machines
was called quantized.
They had to quantize everything to
get it to sound a little bit live,
but it wasn't happening.
There wasn't like a John Bonham who
played a little behind the beat.
You know, everything was right on
it, just sterile.
And they had a very different
take on what music should be.
It was all about creating
the imagery, the atmospherics,
the cinema elements of,
of the music.
Our sound was intergalactic space
music, basically.
Space love songs and it was
a, it was science fiction.
This produced most of the drum
sounds for the early records,
and it would be one sound
at a time.
Daniel's big thing was making
kick drum sounds out of it.
And it used to infuriate us,
because he'd be like, all day
and he'd be...
and he'd be change... and we'd think...
And nothing would change,
as far as we were concerned.
It was just the same sound.
He would drive us crazy.
DENIS MCNAMARA: Depeche Mode, of course,
and that was led by Vince Clarke.
In another life, Vince might've
been Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton
if he played guitar,
only he happened to play synthesizer.
MICHAEL PAGNOTTA: Vince Clarke writes,
you know, in Yaz and in early Depeche
and certainly in Erazure,
you know, has written pop songs
as simple and beautiful as
any '50s pop song
you have ever heard.
It's a completely different
process now.
Anybody can do it, I mean, any kid
with an idea can turn on his laptop
and his little Casio,
and make a record, and that's a
wonderful thing the flip side of that is
not everybody who has
a Casio and a keyboard,
should be making music.
But you know, but at the same
time, who are any of us to judge?
Dance and alternative music.
Two rooms, two DJs.
Malibu, Lido Blvd.,
Lido Beach.
If music were a religion,
Malibu would be its cathedral. Malibu.
Everybody, it's a good thing
Everybody wants a good thing
Everybody, ain't it true that,
Everybody's looking for
the same thing
Ain't it true,
There's just no doubt...
DENIS MCNAMARA: Every generation of kids wants
their own music. I mean, it doesn't mean
they hate their parents, but they enjoy
getting music to piss off their parents.
They want their own,
they want their own stuff.
Ain't it true as the sun
that shines
DENIS MCNAMARA: These clubs opened
and they became this really cool place
where you can go meet friends,
hang out, fall in love
and dance, but most importantly,
hear more of that LIR music that you
were loving so much on the radio.
DENIS MCNAMARA: And we really started
working with the people at the clubs
and I started hiring people who
were legitimate club spinners,
so there naturally became
a symbiotic relationship
between the clubs and LIR.
They'd advertise with us.
We'd do special nights there.
And together
we created a scene
that wasn't precedented
on Long Island,
because the radio station got
the word out to the masses.
We were grassroots.
Everybody loves to be turned on to
new music. Now, for the first time,
they were hearing the new music on the
radio, they were buying the records
and then they were coming to see them live.
And we all made some good money
from it you know, and,
and we had some great times too.
And we also had
some disasters. (LAUGHS)
Oh, sure,
that was...
The radio stations that played
the music we wanted to hear
weren't radio stations. They were clubs.
And then all of a sudden LIR came out
and like, there was a station that
was actually playing the things
that we were dancing
to at those clubs.
We started going to Spit every
Wednesday night and every Friday night.
I loved it. I lived it.
I dressed it. I slept it.
You had your Monday night thing,
your Tuesday night thing,
your, your Wednesday night
I went to Paris, New York,
I went to Spize.
We went to Spit only you know, Wednesdays
and Fridays were the nights that.
Sometimes Sundays
in the summer.
Yes. It was sometimes
Sundays in the summer.
I went to Malibu... uh,
I went to Spit,
I went to Thrush,
I went to 007.
My first club experience
was at Spize.
We were too young
to be in there.
We'd have a couple of drinks in
the car before we would go in.
In the glove box,
we used to have a pint of vodka,
a knife and
some lemon wedges.
And we would drink, and we would go
in, and we would just party.
Yup, and then we'd have
all the boys buy us drinks.
You know, it was like, "Oh, 007's. I'd love
to go there if only I wasn't afraid of it."
The girls would come with their poufy
skirts and their hair spiked up.
Pale face, red lipstick, I was
out the door. And I was good.
Great hairstyle, I used to have
back then you know, whatever.
And it's like, "Oh,
I used to wear those pants."
I went to a place in the city,
in the Village, and they, they shaved
one whole side of my head,
and the other hair, half was just kinda
hanging over the front
of my face.
I want Candy
I want Candy
The first thing I get to hear
people say when they remember me
from the '80s is, you know, "You had
a great Mohawk." You know, and I said,
"Yeah, I had a lot of colds too with
that Mohawk," because I used to get
a lot of colds with no hair. You,
lose 10% of body heat through your head.
People, you lose 10%
if you wanna go baldy.
We had short hair.
We had straight trousers.
Hair changed.
Shoulder pads got wide.
I used to have the hair
spiked up and the tails,
and I used to have balloons
holding my tail up.
I want Candy
BETH FRIEDMAN: It was the time of
like, the tank tops with like,
the off-the-sleeve sweatshirt.
I had my poufy hair...
CYNDE DANIELS: We would spike our
hair up like Flock of Seagulls.
We'd go into the city and you
know, go to like,
Unique Clothing and Zoot and get,
you know, like the Morrissey shirts,
you know, that looked like something
Morrissey would wear and...
We definitely dressed like Madonna
with you know... Yeah, yeah.
We would wear our hair like Tom
Bailey from the Thompson Twins.
We seemed to be something of a magnet
for the misfits and the freaks,
who wanted to come out and wear their
fancy, you know, weird looking clothes
because they saw in us
some kind of kindred spirit.
We wanted to make the bands
of the '70s look outmoded.
We wanted it to be
an instant change, that,
that it was very obvious
this was a new decade.
Fashion's not about wearing
something and just looking perfect.
It's wearing it
the way you wanna wear it.
Life is so strange
when you don't know
How can you tell
where you're going to
You can't be sure
of any situation
Something could change
And then you won't know
You ask yourself
Where do we go from here
If you got a record
added to LIR,
it was guaranteed
that it would break nationally.
That's just the way it was.
I don't know
what this all means to me
Because you're dealing
with a really targeted,
passionate, loyal audience
that did everything that
the station said to do,
which is the power
of radio at that time.
That was a lifestyle, LIR.
It wasn't just a radio station you put on,
say okay, I'm gonna hear the Top 40 songs.
People just lived it.
I guess it doesn't matter
Life is so strange
KEVIN MCPARTLAND: Well, the record stores
started to move product all of a sudden.
They're not supposed to be moving this
product in this marketplace at that point.
All of a sudden,
they're selling a ton more records
and LIR became, I mean, they were,
you were their best friend all of a sudden
because you opened up
this new marketplace for them.
Now all of a sudden,
this little radio station
in the number 11 market
is getting a 1 share,
a 1.1 share, a 1.2 share
in New York City. We're taking
millions of dollars' worth
of advertising away
from these big radio stations.
LIR was plowing right ahead,
moving forward with the times,
and everybody else was like, well,
uh-oh, what are we gonna do now?
LIR and KROQ were
the first wavers,
and once they had success,
there were radio stations in
Asbury Park, New Jersey
and KQAK in San Francisco
and 91X in San Diego.
They became the second wave.
They said, wait a minute,
I see what they're doing.
It's working.
If the promo people can say,
"You guys and LIR
are the only stations
that are playing this music.
"You are all we have
right now."
And so that's how I knew
how important WLIR was.
People were just lined up to get
anything that had WLIR on it.
They sell tickets
because their listeners
are fan...
They're fanatics,
true fanatics.
They had an incredibly loyal fan
base that just grew and grew.
I mean, Yaz sold out
Madison Square Garden.
You know, how does an act like that
sell out Madison Square Garden?
We had such a great audience.
Ratings go way up.
The audience loyalty factor is
unbelievable. Not only do we feel it,
you see it in the business. You know,
the concerts were all selling out.
The clubs were all filling up.
The labels liked us.
Even the car dealers are
selling cars to our listeners.
I mean, money is coming in,
but we had a big problem.
Denis would do staff meetings.
And he called a staff meeting together
and I didn't see this coming at all.
He announces to the staff that he just got
a letter from the FCC that we were
gonna have our FCC license pulled.
And in the next breath he said,
"But I know how we can beat it,
"and I know how
we can get around it."
The way it was explained to me,
when I got there as an intern,
was that it was a paper work snafu and Elton
was going to get this whole thing figured out
that it was really just a mix up and
once he got this whole thing figured out
you know it'd be done. I think I found
out years later that he'd might not
have ever really had a license.
It was always so hard to decipher.
There was the battle for the interim
license before they figured out
who would get
the permanent license
and Elton had applied for the interim
license. And that would be the license
of who would run the station while they
did the search for the permanent license...
That was secretly talking a group that would,
that applied for the interim license.
There were four claims in the
petition to deny against WLIR.
One was the unauthorized
transfer of control.
One was that the station had changed
its format without notifying the FCC.
Three is that the station's ascertainment
of community needs was somehow deficient
and four, that the licensee did
not have appropriate character
because they had
"stolen Mr. Wolfe's tapes
and because Mrs. Rieger had
"put in for unemployment
when she was employed."
The FCC license.
Oh, yeah, that's confusing.
Here's what kinda happened.
The trouble started in 1972.
The station was owned
by a man named John Rieger.
John's wife, Dory, had
a debilitating illness.
John wanted to
take care of her,
so he tried to sublet the
radio station to someone else.
The FCC didn't like this.
To complicate matters, a man who recorded
a weekly show for the station, Franklin
Wolfe, had a beef with John and Dory,
something about taping over
his audio tapes.
He was so mad
that he tried
to get LIR's license revoked
and given to him.
in a karmic twist of fate,
Franklin Wolfe went to one of
Long Island's beautiful beaches,
and a gust of wind blew
a beach umbrella into his head,
severely injuring him, and he dropped
his challenge for the license.
But the FCC decided to
pursue the case anyway.
For 15 years, Rieger and his
partner, Elton Spitzer
fought the FCC,
trying to get the license back.
But in 1987, WLIR went
off the air for good.
I kind of came in to, I hate to
say, like a sinking ship,
but it was like, "Hey,
everybody!" and they're like,
"You know you're
on the Titanic, right?"
The notice came over the AP wire
that we had to cease and desist.
It was you know, very scary.
You know, they actually said,
"Cease and desist."
And like, in a moment, I looked
at the phones in my office,
because I was standing in the
hall, now they're all lighting up.
Part of the daily routine of many
Long Islanders has come to an end.
Those who regularly tuned in
to 92.7 on their radio dials
to listen to the station WLIR will no
longer find that station broadcasting.
I'm not a queer
I'll state my case,
of which I'm certain
DENIS MCNAMARA: The last song
that was played on WLIR was My Way
only it was
the Sid Vicious version,
and it was a "Fuck you"
to the FCC.
I've traveled each
And every highway
REPORTER: So what happened
here today?
Well, WLIR is leaving the frequency 92.7.
After a legal battle
of about 15 years,
it's all come to an end, finally.
We've lost the license
for this frequency.
REPORTER: Who did you lose
the license to?
We've lost the license
actually, to Jared Broadcasting.
We didn't even really lose it to them. This
is the man to, to ask those questions to.
REPORTER: Would you tell me
about Jared Broadcasting?
I don't know much about them.
They're a company that won the award
for the station after... They also
had a five-year battle to win it.
REPORTER: How did it feel to,
after how many years, go off the air today?
It's very sad for us.
It's funny because today,
it's like a ray of
sunshine in the clouds.
We were just told by a trade
publication called The Gavin Report,
which is a tip sheet for not just
this format of radio, but all formats,
adult contemporary, Top 40,
that we're now nominated
for Station of the Year.
That's one in five stations
across the country.
That's a great honor. I mean,
whether or not we win it,
it's irrelevant. The fact
that today of all days, right,
we found out that we're nominated
for Station of the Year.
It's just hard to close this
chapter because this battle has been
so close to us for so long and this
station has been so close to our hearts.
Everybody that works here
loves working here.
Nobody works here
just because they like radio,
they'd rather work in the city.
It's WLIR that means
a lot to us and this music.
BOB WAUGH: It was a sad day,
and it really was emotional for me
and I remember walking out, thinking,
"I'll never have this again."
We were devastated.
There was a huge void in my life
when WLIR, so to speak,
not, well, folded.
I guess folded.
It was a happy time.
It was a great time and hearing you know,
if I hear a song, it just brings me back
to the LIR days. It, it does.
There's, there was nothing like
it. I don't think there will
ever be anything like it ever again.
It was just, it was that good.
There's no other stations that, you
know, we didn't have the internet,
so what am I gonna listen to? There's no
other stations that even come close to WLIR.
When WLIR went
off the air,
people cried,
and I mean, cried.
We all did.
It was a very sad day. I remember being
in high school and everybody talking
about the day that LIR went off the air was...
That's all you heard. I can't believe
they're leaving us and, and,
and what are we gonna listen to?
I had to pull off on the side
of the road and catch my breath.
If I had a paper bag,
I would've been hyperventilating.
I was truly upset. I cried.
The other radio stations
were playing very processed,
commercial Top 40 music or hair bands.
They weren't focusing
on all this incredible world music that
they brought to these kids in Long Island.
This is what LIR did for people.
It made them say,
"Of course you could do it.
Who cares if you look like a freak?
"Who cares if people make fun of you?
You can do it." And we did.
There was a time where people
were fighting
to get the LIR license
in every unethical way possible,
hiring these
expensive lawyers
to go in and manipulate politicians
and, and to manipulate
a political governing force
known as the FCC, the scary,
you know, thing that oversees
all of communication on the public
airwaves, and it's total bullshit.
That is an agency that's been
fraught with stupidity
and really ignorance about the
business that it's involved with,
and at the same time, it's gone
hand-in-hand with major corporations.
Look what happened
to radio in America.
What are they,
two people that own almost
every radio outlet in America?
That's wrong.
These are public
airwaves, and also,
it has cut down
on the diversity of sound,
it has basically made
for this horrible,
formulaic state of radio
that is...
You know what, under-financed,
over-valued and,
and loaded with commercials, and now
people have gone out of their way to find
other things to replace it with and you've
got an era now, where we've got Pandora.
You're gonna turn to that instead
of using the public airwaves and,
radio in America has always been a
great artistic culture, and it still is
in many countries in the world
that have not had the kind
of corruption that has existed in this
country, and the kind of corruption
that brought down WLIR.
I think the legacy of LIR
speaks for itself really.
You know, all the artists
that were around at that time
who went through that experience
and rose up through the ranks
of alternative radio
realize the importance
of what Denis did.
LIR was important as it picked
up imports from Britain.
It picked up unknown bands
and it championed them
on the airwaves and
we really need that again.
Rock and roll needs that to,
to move through this period where
it doesn't maybe have the
same impact it used to have.
I think a lot of people want to know
where the roots of music have come from.
Where did what's
happening today come from?
Where, where did the ideas
of today, even the technology that's
working today, where did it come from?
How did it begin?
What, what got us here?
I think people always
want to know that
and they always want to know what the
triggers were, what the mechanisms were,
what the thing that pushed the wheel
of life forward, the wheel of history,
the wheel of
musical history forward
and kept it going to where
we're still excited.
We're still dancing
and going out of our minds
to great music somewhere.
And if we're not, we're thinking
about how to make that happen.
They were doing the same thing that the bands
were doing, where just by being different
and outrageous,
they were saying,
"Hey, guys, move out of the way.
We're here now."
Maybe that's an interesting way
of looking at it.
They were using the same kind of
dynamics as the bands themselves,
to say it's time for a change.
It was a fantastic
period for music.
We generated en masse
some fantastic songs
we had great songwriters.
We were doing revolutionary
things with record production.
So you can look back
at that period
and just about anyone who has
played on LIR, you know,
whether it's Depeche Mode
or The Cure,
they all had something that was
different from the generation before.
They all created something that was
really new and exciting and vibrant,
and I think part of that was that,
that what happened at the end
of the '70s,
early '80s, was...
The punk era had
kind of set the attitude.
You know,
you can do it yourself.
You don't need the big
record companies to do this.
You can go and you can
pick up a guitar,
learn three chords,
get a few mates and make a band.
And that was the attitude.
I think that early '80s period was just
as important musically as the early '60s
was with The Beatles, and The Stones,
and The Who, and Gerry and the Pacemakers
and all of those bands, the first,
kind of British wave that came to America,
I think the '80s did the exact same thing,
but in a very different way, because those songs
are still being played on the radio today.
Those songs don't go away.
WLIR, you know, had soul.
And corporations, they don't have soul.
And as long as you understand
that, it'll all make sense.
I don't think Sire would've
been the label it became
without WLIR.
I'm very, very grateful.
You know, the tagline, "dare to be
different" is a really important thought.
And this radio station embodied that,
lived it, encouraged it's audience
to do that, and that's important in life.
It was expressed through music,
and a love of music, and a connection
to music. But if you look at that
as a philosophy,
it's a philosophy worth sharing.
JOAN JETT: The Long Island
Music Hall of Fame
pays tribute to one of
its own board members.
He's the man whose voice
we all remember...
I love this man.
Music in America would not be
the same without Denis.
I am proud to call him my friend.
Denis, congratulations!
No one deserves this
more than you.
The crazy thing was, we thought we
were gonna survive, all together.
Elton had plans to move
to another station.
We are, at this time,
working on getting a new station for WLIR.
We will continue to be known in
1988 as WLIR when we come back,
as we move up
the FM radio dial.
We just filed
for a station today.
It's out in River Head,
Long Island.
It's now commonly known as WRCN,
and when we take over the license
and when it's approved by the
FCC, it will be called WLIR.
It should be pretty
much the same station.
We'll have the same nutty
crew, the same records,
the same kind
of an attitude towards music,
and it should be
good old WLIR.
Hopefully, we'll be on the air.
I think that's around the time
we'll be on the air.
Can you imagine
if we won Station of the Year,
and we weren't on the air yet?
I don't think that's ever
happened in broadcasting history.
How can you make a station,
Station of the Year and not be on the air?
Rock and roll has definitely
fallen out of favor, somewhere,
but who knows man, it can make its evil comeback
and that's what we're always waiting for
something loud, smelly
and nasty! Yeah!
Wanna play,
won't be the same
I'll go with all the rest
Just playin' a game
INTERVIEWER: What does 92.7
mean to you, Joan Jett?
92.7 is WLIR, and...
Hold on...
Hold on...
I'm waking up.
I'm waking up.
Well you can rock
or you can roll
Well you can break the rules
or do what you're told
INTERVIEWER: What does 92.7
mean to you, Joan Jett?
92.7 is... Shit.
I keep fucking it up, man.
You've just got
everything to gain
So let's dare
to be different
INTERVIEWER: What does 92.7
mean to you, Joan Jett?
92.7 is WLIR
and waking up every morning
with John DeBella.
Well take a chance,
don't be afraid
You just got one shot
so let's be brave
Take aim, take aim,
let it fly
You only lose
when you don't try
So let's dare to be different
Let's go against the grain
There's no point,
it's no fun
If we all look the same
Look alive, jump at life
Just ain't no kind of life
Don't walk in step
with anyone
You must be true
Just be you
And do what you want to do
Take my advice,
it's more fun
To dance to your own drum
Now I know that it ain't easy
But you got what it takes,
I hope you believe me
'Cause right now
it's your time
You got nothin' else to do
but shine
So let's dare to be different
Let's go against the grain
There's no point, it's no fun
if we all look the same
So let's dare to be different
Let's go against the grain
There's no point, it's no fun
If we all act the same
I'm a heartbreak beat
Yeah, all night long
And nobody don't dance
on the edge of the dark
We've got the radio on
And it feels like love,
But it don't mean a lot
And it feels like love,
And it's all that we've got
There's a heartbreak beat
playin' all night long
Down on my street
And it feels like love
Got the radio on
and it's all that we need
There's a heartbreak beat
And it feels like love
There's a heartbreak beat
And it feels like love
Well, the beat don't stop
We talk so tough
MALIBU SUE: The guy who truly dared to
be different, who owned the radio station
and allowed us to just run amok with
it, let the lunatics run the asylum.
I'm sure you all know
his name: Elton Spitzer!
This is the man who gave us the
freedom to do WLIR, Elton Spitzer.