We may only be ten years old but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some stuff. Here are 10 of the wildest moments in KUTX history…so far.
1.) Robert Plant joins Patty Griffin in Studio 1A
We’ve had our fair share of rock stars come through Studio 1A, but none inspired a full stationwide work stoppage the way Led Zeppelin’s golden-voiced singer Robert Plant did when he appeared with Patty Griffin in 2014. It’s one of the only times we can remember the audience letting out a collective gasp when a performer walked into the room. Even the usually unflappable John Aielli appeared starstruck when he asked to feel the rocker’s signature long, golden locks.
2.) MapJam #1, #2, & #3 – A walkable, bikeable music festival at unique venues and businesses on Austin’s eastside
This was KUTX’s first signature event as a new radio station and we went big. A free day-long music festival spread out across businesses and venues on Austin’s eastside. Stops included businesses like Delta Millworks and Tillery Street Plant Company as well as legendary venues like Scoot Inn. Concertgoers were encouraged to leave their cars at home and walk or bike between performances. It’s also where we discovered longtime local favorites like Walker Lukens and Golden Dawn Arkestra.
3.) ChkChkChk moons the engineers
!!! frontman Nic Offer got a little carried away during his Studio 1A performance in 2017 and ended up giving the engineers in the control booth a bit more of a show than the rest of the audience. Unfortunately, our cameras missed the moment but our engineers aren’t soon to forget.
4.) Charles Bradley in Studio 1A
R.I.P. The Screaming Eagle of Soul (1948-2017)
Charles Bradley was a force of nature that never seemed to do things halfway. From his bedazzled suit to his heartbreakingly earnest vocals, everything about his performance was ratcheted up to 11, even when it’s only three songs for a tiny studio audience at a local public radio station. Throw in one of the tightest backing bands (the Daptones) and it will probably be one of the most energetic and inspiring performances we’ll ever see.
5.) Running Shakey Graves’ van into the Four Seasons parking garage
Exactly what it sounds like. A tight load-in schedule left Shakey Graves’ van idling in the Four Seasons driveway right before the band was supposed to perform. Not one to miss an opportunity to sow chaos, a particularly helpful KUTX producer offered to move the van so they could get on stage in time. That friendly gesture quickly ran afoul of the hotel garage’s low clearance and the van’s extended fiberglass roof. Crunch! Luckily, the producer had a 30-minute set to let the embarrassment and shame completely consume them before breaking the news to the band.
6.) Black Pumas appear at Rock the Park
Maybe the biggest band to come out of Austin since Stevie Ray Vaughan, and they got their start playing our family-friendly concert series, Rock the Park. Shortly before the band’s debut album exploded onto TV commercials, shopping malls, and radio stations all over the country, the Black Pumas played to a much smaller crowd at Austin’s Mueller Lake Park in 2018.
7.) That time we told John Aielli his guest didn’t wash his hands after going #2
Maybe not the wildest, but definitely one of the funniest pranks we ever played on a coworker. John Aielli may have loved collecting stuff (i.e. junk) but he was exceptionally fastidious when it came to personal hygiene. Knowing this, a certain staffer who will go unnamed convinced John that his upcoming studio guest didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom. John was MORTIFIED and almost refused to do the session. We eventually talked him down but we’re not sure he ever got over it. Sorry, John! Miss you!!!
8.) When Tony Kamel saved an early morning SXSW broadcast and earned a permanent spot on our speed dial
When an international touring act arrived at the Four Seasons for an early morning live broadcast during SXSW without a critical piece of equipment we started a frenzied hunt for the missing part. At 7:30 a.m. During SXSW.
Enter Austin singer/songwriter Tony Kamel. Not only did he answer his phone at 7:30 a.m. but he actually had the part we needed and DROVE over to the Four Seasons to deliver it in person. All after his own band had played a showcase the night before.
Our guest performer fixed their instrument, went onstage on time, and gave a great performance. All thanks to our man Tony.
9.) Lizzo performing backstage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival
This one is wild to look back on 6 years later. A true “we knew them when” moment when Lizzo joined us backstage at the 2016 Austin City Limits Music Festival for a performance of the future smash hit “Good As Hell.” Watching her sell this song to the cameras in a hot pop-up recording booth with festival acts blaring in the background is a testament to her massive talent and incredible work ethic. It’s no wonder she would go on to become one of the world’s biggest pop stars.
10.) The God of Hellfire visits Studio 1A
Last we checked in on Arthur Brown, he was living in a yurt in Portugal. One of the original rock ‘n’ roll wildmen, Arthur Brown is best known for his 1968 single, “Fire,” a number one hit that played all over the world and still airs to this day. Arthur’s flamboyant and theatrical style was a significant influence on various big names, including George Clinton, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Marilyn Manson, Bowie, and Peter Gabriel among others. In 2014, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was celebrating its 46 years with a tour, “Crazy World”. At the time the seventy-one-year-old was busy putting together one last and final album, Zim Zam Zim with the help of donations from fans.