(originally posted on KEXP.org)
One Friday in February 2013, KEXP Morning Show host John Richards decided that one Clash song wasn’t enough, and so International Clash Day was born.
This year we also celebrate all of the world governments that have declared International Clash Day an official holiday: The City of Seattle, The State of Washington, The City of San Francisco, The City of Vancouver, BC, The City of Austin, and more!
Read Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s International Clash Day proclamation and make plans to join KUTX and KEXP at the ABGB Tuesday, February 7th starting at 6:30 p.m., with Rick Broussard’s Two Hoots and a Holler, Migrant Kids, a dub DJ set, and special guests. Below, KUTX’s Clash expert Paul Carrubba talks with KEXP’s John Richards about the celebration and the Clash’s enduring legacy.
photo by Theresa DiMenno
Texas radio icon Jody Denberg was among 10 music industry stalwarts inducted into the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame last month in recognition of his longtime support of the Texas music industry and his role in making the state “the fertile music landscape that it is.”
What better way to kick off our Five Questions series than by sitting down with Jody.
Five Questions with KUTX Host Jody Denberg
What musical experience most set you on the path to a career in radio?
My seminal musical experience was seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964; the next day I went down to our neighborhood record store in The Bronx to buy the 45 rpm single for “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The Beatles set me on my musical course; radio was something I accidentally fell into because of my love of music!
What’s your favorite Austin music experience so far?
I can’t pick just ONE favorite Austin music experience. Here are a few: Helping to raise $2 million for the SIMS Foundation; going to the Cactus Cafe and Austin City Limits tapings for more than 35 years; singing onstage with some of my musical heroes, including Pete Townshend, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane, Billy Bragg, Loudon Wainwright, Shelby Lynne, Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Steve Forbert and others; interviewing Yoko Ono at SXSW in 2011 (and co-authoring a book about her); and live on-air interviews and/or performances with the likes of Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, R.E.M., Willie Nelson, The Band and and and …
Why public rather than commercial radio?
I spent 29 years in commercial radio in Austin; my path has now led me to public radio and KUTX 98.9. It almost seemed pre-ordained as I graduated UT in 1981 and 30 years later, voila! – I’m on public radio. Following the deregulation of ownership at commercial radio, budgets shrank and the need for revenue and ratings eclipsed any mission for sharing a wide variety of music with a listening community. Public radio seems the last bastion for broadcasting to a higher target than the lowest common denominator. I am so blessed I found a place where I can serve our community.
How do you spend your time when you’re not spinning records on the air?
When I am not spinning on air I love to hang out with my wife Barbara, our cats, family and friends, read books and watch movies, walk on the treadmill and in the park, go out on the lake, eat good food – and still listen to plenty of great music, live or on shuffle.
Finish the sentence: “Austin Music Is ….”
…the lifeblood of our city!
Jody hosts music on KUTX 98.9, The Austin Music Experience, 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays.
Say hi to Jody on Twitter @JodyDenberg
photo by MARTIN DO NASCIMENTO
A new show hosted by local hip-hop super-fans Confucius and Fresh joins the KUTX 98.9 airwaves Saturday nights.
“The Breaks,” a live show from 11 p.m. Saturdays to 1 a.m. Sundays, highlights the best hip-hop and R&B from local and emerging artists, alongside mainstream acts. “The Breaks” replaces late nights with Katie Bradley.
“I’m really excited about bringing ‘The Breaks’ to KUTX 98.9. Confucius and Fresh bring great knowledge and energy to the air and – with their hometown roots – they’re the perfect messengers to bring more attention to the Austin hip-hop scene,” said Matt Reilly, KUTX program director.
“Austin has seen rapid growth of the hip-hop scene over the last several years and reflecting this scene is a part of our core mission of delivering ‘The Austin Music Experience,’” he said.
Austin natives and hip-hop super-fans Confucius and Fresh honed their broadcasting skills hosting the long-running podcast “Those Damn Comic Book Guys.”
“The Austin scene is still in its infant stages simply because no one had made it out on a major level in terms of success,” said Confucius, who is also a local DJ. “The scene needs more outlets and ears to finally get the respect it deserves – with our help, hopefully.”
Tune in for “The Breaks” Saturday, Jan. 28, to discover the best music from the local hip-hop scene alongside insightful commentary from two of Austin’s biggest hip-hop champions. Hop-hop artists are encouraged to submit their music to “The Breaks” by e-mailing a .wav file to [email protected].
Sunday nights at KUTX are getting more local too.
Beginning Feb. 5, “World Music” with Hayes McCauley re-joins the KUTX 98.9 lineup from 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays. The show aired on KUTX until 2014 when it moved to the KUTX.org stream and KUT HD 3 to make way for “Alt.Latino,” the NPR Music-produced Latin alternative and Spanish rock music show. “World Music” will follow “Horizontes” with Michael Crockett, to create a five-hour block of locally produced music featuring eclectic sounds from around the world.
“Alt.Latino” fans can listen to the show on KUT HD-3 24/7.
On April 20-23 2017, Driftwood, Texas will become a mecca for Roots & Americana music thanks to the Old Settler’s Music Festival. Single day tickets are now available along with the full lineup, and it’s better than ever. Shakey Graves, Los Lobos and The Del McCoury Band are just a few of the headliners, while festival mainstays such as Shinyribs and Sarah Jarosz are back once again. Keep it locked to KUTX as we get closer to the festival, but for now, check out the lineup and videos from some of the performers!
photo by Martin do Nascimento
Hear Confucius and Fresh on THE BREAKS every Saturday night 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Welcome to the KUTX family! So, you survived your first show. What was it like?
CJ: For me, it was a bit nerve-wracking only because it was live and I was scared I would mess up the call signs, which I did. But coming from a DJ background the spontaneity of it was welcoming.
Fresh: It was nerve-wracking for me as well, but exciting nonetheless. I was afraid that my speaking wouldn’t be up to par for live on-air programming. Jitters got the best of me, but I kept pushing it and the night was great.
CJ: Not too many because Jack Anderson trained us pretty well leading up to our first show. It wasn’t so much surprises that overwhelmed me but just being alone to do it for the first time that was the main thing.
Fresh: Not really. It was all pretty much what I expected. Like CJ said Jack trained us up to our debut. Coming from podcasting I think we were more comfortable than we felt.
This may be your first time hosting a live music show but it isn’t your first time in front of a microphone. What kind of experience do you bring to The Breaks?
CJ: Honestly our personalities and years of friendship. We bring ourselves to the microphone. We know how to feed off each other and bounce back and forth. We did it while we were podcasting (Those Damn Comic Book Guys) and also just in everyday conversation. We also did radio online in Houston a couple of years ago so we understand the ebb and flow of it all.
Fresh: I think Confucius just summed it up for the most part. We just bring ourselves. The way you hear us talk on the air is how we talk to one another on a regular basis, maybe just a tad bit less cursing.
How did you hear about KUTX? Where did the idea for a hip-hop show come from?
CJ: I’ve lived in Austin all my life so I’m pretty familiar with KUT and KUTX. Doesn’t help that my mother is a UT alumni so she let it be known early on that UT had a radio station in town. And the idea for the show simply came from Fresh and I wanting a show that represented both hip-hop and the local scene proudly. A show people from out of town and in town could be proud of and brag about.
Fresh: Like Confucius, I’m born and raised in Austin, so I knew of KUT and KUTX. As CJ pointed out we just wanted to create a show that people in the city could be proud of. The hip-hop scene in the city is growing and we wanted to show that. We wanted to be some real voices in Austin.
What do you think about bringing a hip-hop show to a station that hasn’t traditionally played hip-hop?
Fresh: What he said. It really hasn’t sunk in yet that we are really doing this. There have been so many attempts at what we’re doing from others I honestly thought KUTX was going to brush us off and say that hip-hop in this city doesn’t need the radio.
What are we going to hear on The Breaks?
CJ: Two handsome men who were born, and breathe, hip-hop and want to impress massive amounts of women and create one of the best hip-hop radio shows in the country.
Fresh: Haha! All of what he just said as well the best Hip Hop and R&B that there is to offer from mainstream artists, as well local and emerging artists.
What is the state of Austin hip-hop?
CJ: I would say still in its infant stages simply because no one has made it out on a major level in terms of success. The scene needs more outlets and ears to finally get the respect it deserves with our help hopefully.
Fresh: I’d say it’s growing. I won’t say infant because, no there hasn’t been anyone who has made out on a national stage, but there have been artists who’ve gotten great coverage and has made ways for the scene. I agree with CJ there does need to be more outlets and ear to help push the scene to where everyone wants it to be.
Where can we see hip-hop in Austin?
CJ: It depends. Alesia Lani is an R&B artist here and she had a residency at Stay Gold Bar for a minute last year. Empire Control Room is a good place to catch it too and the historic Victory Grill is the seminal place as well for local talent.
Fresh: All those places as well as Grizzly Hall and Emo’s over on Riverside, you have the open mic event Austin Mic Exchange that has become a staple in the Austin hip-hop scene, you also have Flamingo Cantina, Vulcan Gas Co on 6th Street, and a host of other places.
Do you remember the first hip-hop song that made you pay attention?
CJ: Not really. I was born into the genre so no particular song stands out but I will say the first group I remember buying and listening to, was Kriss Kross.
Fresh: Yes I do, it was KRS-ONE “Loves Gonna Get You.” My older brother introduced me to hip-hop and as kids, we were infatuated with old school hip-hop.
CJ: Spawn. He was the first black superhero I had ever seen on a major level and I was obsessed with everything about him back in 1997. I actually own a graded copy of the first issue of Spawn to this day.
Fresh: Favorite superhero for the longest part of my childhood was Spider-Man, but I then was introduced to Black Panther, and as a black kid growing up in East Austin I thought the idea of a black man who runs his own country that is the most technologically advanced country in the world and is richer than God, intelligent, and the country is the only country not conquered by Europe was amazing. I own Black Panther’s first appearance.
CJ: Applebee’s. They have great drink specials. If you take a date there she might make a funny face but with the cheap drinks, she might eventually enjoy herself.
Fresh: I LOVE Short Stop, BEST burger joint in town! Also Roland’s Kitchen, they have some great soul food, as well as Alamo Draft House.
Anything else you want us to know about you or The Breaks?
CJ: Just listen. Our show is music first and personality second. We play music that no other hip-hop show in the city will play and are also backed by the best radio station in the city. We are also personable and out and about in the city so we are of the people, from the people.
Fresh: Everything CJ just said.
What is the best way to submit music to The Breaks for consideration? Anything people should know before they send it in?
Email our DROPBOX at [email protected] and make sure the file is in .wav form. The best advice I can give is to put your best foot forward and make a great first impression.