Phoenix Punk Rock Days: Browbeat

by Derrick Bostrom


"Browbeat was, to my knowledge, the first xerox-punk fanzine in the United States. It was David and me and Greg. And Sharon Ehle too. Debbie Dub/Durham was gonna be a part of it, but I think she was out of town that spring and summer. We were totally ripping off Sniffin' Glue from England. We had copies of those in hand, probably from even their first issue, maybe. Browbeat grew out of boredom. I don't remember how many copies we printed but it was something like 200, 250, 300 — it wouldn't have been anywhere near as many as 500, and I was paying the xerox bill, 'cause I had a job. I can't imagine I had more than like $50 bucks in all of life to piss away."

"Although Phoenix was a bit behind the curve when it came to exposing a fluid punk/underground culture, it is interesting to note Bart Bull's claim that he and David Wiley from the Consumers created the world's first xerox-copied punk fanzine called Browbeat in June 1977. It's first and only issues predates L.A.'s Flipside #1 by a month or so. I am not quite sure who was featured or what was written. The Browbeat name lived on years later as the name of Wiley's local music column that appeared in the Phoenix New Times."

"There's no question that David and Greg and me created Browbeat in direct imitation/competition with Sniffin' Glue... but first, way before us and, really, more important, if only because it was first and even less anchored to any apparent existing reality, was KDIL Blues Licks."

Bonus:

BROWBEAT: A COLUMN

Gothic thrashmongers TSOL crashed into town last Saturday for a packed and rowdy summer's eve show. It's the best time of year, spring air in the bloodstream, young men anxious to lock horns, let off some steam. Aggressive music breeds aggressive behavior, yes, but why not fight the things that matter.Take on apathy, the power structure or the media for starters. Throughout the recent local past nobody — but nobody — has manipulated more attention than THE FEEDERZ. Just when their music, a cleverly crafted hodgepodge of infected styles, was reaching an international level of acceptance, commander-in-chief FRANK DISCUSSION has announced that neither the band nor the concept nor that upcoming EP exist. A final performance is being considered. Frank then plans on selling his history-laden equipment and exiling himself from music for the time being. Other members will continue with their own projects.

Last week's debut of PARIS 1942 was every bit as interesting as it promised to be, with each member turning in virtuoso performances of their extraordinary brand of rock'n'roll. Yes, rock'n'roll of the droning, hypnotic variety, oozing with life. As tired a cliche as 'rock'n'roll' is, there are those determinedly dedicated to redefining the term, two examples here in this group and openers MEAT PUPPETS. Commenting afterwards, MO TUCKER was pleased with her first live performance in over a decade although she said no one could hear anything onstage. "It was like a swirl of music," she laughed over the phone as young voices demanded her attention in the background. The group plans one or two more local shows before heading to the West Coast for a pair of dates.

Big news this week is that THE CLASH and THE ENGLISH BEAT suddenly decided to include Mesa Amphitheatre on their upcoming cross-country tour, Sunday, June 13. Stay tuned . . . Two days later another English outfit, THE ANGELIC UPSTARTS, will be paying a visit for a special Tuesday show at the Dog. These guys were one of the original skinhead hands. . . In the meantime there's still much to choose from. This Friday JFA, SOYLENT GREENE and FATAL ALLEGIANCE do the Dog and Saturday CONFLICT and MEAT PUPPETS at the same place. Sunday a holiday Merlin's appearance by VITAL SIGNS.

ALSO COMING UP: From Texas, THE BIG BOYS and THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS . . . BATTALION OF SAINTS, San Diegans of the thrash variety, June 5 at the Dog. . . DREAM SYNDICATE and pholksinger PHRANC . . . instrumental rock lunacy from AFRICA CORPS with performance artist DEVIATION SOCIAL. . . THE MINUTEMEN and THE DESCENDANTS, two of the most unusual uptempo bands . . . a definite July date for controversial SF rockers DEAD KENNEDYS.

BRIEFLY: The KILLER PUSSY record party was a stunning success complete with a tiered pink poodle cake, freshly cut bouquets and copies of the EP that is available around the Valley and selling well. Over in L.A. it's slipped into influential station KROQ-FM's regular daytime playlist. The band is currently planning some followup live dates there . . . Circus Circus in Las Vegas (where else?) set the scene for guitarist PAUL B. CUTLER and effervescent vocalist DINAH CANCER performing the proverbial marriage vows (the bride wore black?) . . .45 GRAVE begin working on a debut album this week. . . Another month for the MEAT PUPPETS LP; the work is complete, now rabid fans will just have to wait. Meanwhile, one selection will be appearing on an SST Italian compilation . . . Songbird BONNIE SOLDER has flown to California, opting sand, surf and Big City Life for up-and-coming primate rockers THE VERY IDEA OF FUCKING HITLER, who plan to continue as a trio. . . New faces: CAUSTIC WEAPONS, CONSTANT COMMENT, THE SECRET IDOLS with PIK RORTER and someone named VANYA from Finland. . . The Tucson cassette compilation "Valley Fever" is out and about, along with new tapes by JACKET WEATHER and a former member of SERFERS, whose name escapes me at the moment, all on Iconoclast Intl . . Local electronic strategist DAVID OLIPHANT has released a cassette, with some unique packaging, of various works including a sampling of DESTRUCTION. Seek it out. . . Lastly, linear avantjazzrock comrades KNEBNEGAUGE have moved to the Bay Area. Greener pastures some would say, but when was the last time they looked in their backyards?

-David Wiley (New Times Weekly, 1982)

Browbeat

Browbeat

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Browbeat

Browbeat


Champions On Parade

by Derrick Bostrom


Whatever happened to the grand livestock of yesteryear? The one's we'd to proudly parade up and down the central arteries of town? The ones for whom only our fanciest ranching duds would do? The ones we'd pose our children in front of? The ones our popular local photo magazine would so graciously feature in four colors between its covers? Long since eaten I'm afraid, and their decedents relegated to the evil confines of some factory farm hidden out of site up in the hills somewhere. The only time they get their pictures in a magazine these days is if they're lucky enough to have some PETA spy smuggle a camera into one of their torture sessions.

I joke, of course. The Arizona National Livestock Show continues to this day, going strong, "supporting youth and promoting livestock and agriculture since 1948." In fact, you can go see it this year from December 28 through January 1 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Bring your camera (hidden or otherwise).

But if you can't muster the effort to head down there (I know I can't), you can check out these glorious pix from yesteryear -- the October 1968 edition of "Arizona Highways" magazine, to be specific.

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade

Champions On Parade


"Love Workshop" Box Set Now Available!

by Derrick Bostrom


Say what you will about the convenience of the cloud, there are still some people who prefer the greater perceived permanence of a piece of plastic that they can stick on their shelf, toss in the back seat of their car or stash in the back of their closet. Those folks will relish the following piece of news: the Love Workshop Box Set is finally a reality!

Yep, Andy Olsen at Radio Free Phoenix has finally put final touches on his six-disk compilation of KDKB's legendary comedy program from 1976. And now, he's offering this labor of love to the public for less than what you'd pay for a tank of gas these days. Andy and his shopping cart and standing by right now, waiting for your purchase:

http://radiofreephoenix.com/loveworkshopcd.html

Whether this makes the shows archived here, at WFMU's Beware Of The Blog and at Archive Dot Org more or less of a valued public service depends, I suppose, on how you stand on this whole getting-your-entertainment-for free-from-the-Internet issue. It's moot point to me, since I received my copy for free anyway (I was, after all, a contributor). But if I hadn't, I'm sure I'd buy one just the same.

Be sure to visit the Bostworld "Love Workshop" tribute pages for more info on this great program, including audio from the show, articles from the period and a lengthy exclusive interview with one half of the "Love Workshop" creative team, Russ "Wonderful Russ" Shaw.

(Now, if someone would come forward with recordings of "Bunkhouse Capers...")


Postcard Collection: Greetings From Arizona, Part Two

by Derrick Bostrom


Several years ago, I submitted a travel article about northern Arizona to an auto club magazine where a friend of mine worked as an editor. But before I could complete the second draft, I realized I didn't actually WANT people traveling into my state! After some soul-searching, I graciously withdrew my submission. It's a pretty bad piece of travel writing (no family bargains are revealed), but it serves as a decent enough accompaniment for the beautiful postcards you'll find below.

At five million visitors a year, Arizona’s Grand Canyon ranks as one of the most popular – and populous – attractions in the country. Its spectacular views and awesome scale make it an ideal destination for both casual tourists and serious outdoor enthusiasts. Let’s face it: if you’re visiting the state, you gotta see the Canyon.

But the Grand Canyon is not the only thing worth seeing in the area. Ask any native Arizonan: the northern part of the state is full of exciting, beautiful and interesting destinations. If you’ve got another couple days, it’s worth it to budget the time to experience Arizona via the back roads that wind their way up from Phoenix to the Canyon.

The trip north really starts at Wickenburg, an innocuous little town on Route 60, the Carefree Highway. A painless 40 miles northwest of Phoenix, Wickenberg also commences State Route 89. This relic from before the days of modern superhighways winds its way north following the old stagecoach trails, which in their time followed even older Indian trails. What you lose from interminable switching back up and down the mountains, you gain in historic resonance and off-the-beaten-path scenery.

At the top of your first set of switchbacks along Table Top Mountain is Yarnell, sitting at an elevation of 4700 feet with a population of 1300. An abandoned mining town, Yarnell is the home of the Shrine of Saint Joseph of the Mountains. Commissioned by the Catholic Action League of Arizona, the shrine depicts in white washed concrete statues the Garden of Gethsemane, the Last Supper and the Stations of the Cross. A perfect leg stretch after an hour of driving, the shrine offers a short hike through the Weaver Mountains and an exceptional view across the valley of the bucolic, homespun neighborhoods nestled among the boulders that make up the natural terrain.

The trip from Yarnell to Jerome takes you through Prescott National Forest and into the town of Prescott. Happily, our trip takes then takes us north, and over the Mingus Mountains, thus avoiding the grim reminder that Prescott Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in northern Arizona. East of town, the natural landscape has been rolled back to make way for more highways, strip malls and housing developments that serve the population’s urge to escape the rat race in Phoenix by building another rat race an hour north.

At the summit of the Mingus Mountains, you get a gorgeous view of the Verde Valley basin with San Francisco Peak looming behind it. And just when you think you’re going to be sick from traveling back and forth over steep, hairy switchbacks, right around the next corner you suddenly find yourself in the town of Jerome.

Nowadays, Jerome is an arts community entirely dependent on tourism, but a hundred years ago, it was one of Arizona’s boomingest mining towns. It’s hard to imagine the area in its opulent heyday, out in the middle of nowhere, mud streets jammed with early automobiles.  But, perched precariously on the side of a mountain wormy with mining tunnels, Jerome is without a doubt the richest historical landmark in the state.

For most of the last half of the Twentieth Century, Jerome was a ghost town. When we were teenagers, we loved to wade through the rubble of the dangerous abandoned buildings isolated amidst the crumbling foundations perched cliffside on the outskirts of town. The Jerome of today has received somewhat of a makeover, but its funky picturesque beauty remains. Today you can spend the night in any number of the town’s accommodating bed and breakfast facilities, all of which will transport you back a hundred years as you awaken to a spectacular Verde Valley sunrise.

Recently, the town’s famous Jerome Grand Hotel was renovated and reopened after a fifty-year dormancy. Originally built as a sanitarium for miners suffering from to black lung disease, it was on the cutting edge of engineering back in its day. Designed to withstand both fire and nearby dynamite blasts, the hotel stands at 5240 feet above sea level. The Jerome Grand also maintains the country’s oldest self-service elevator still in operation. This elevator was one of the very first of its kind, and remains as it was when it was installed eighty years ago.

Our abrupt return to the present is just minutes away, along a newly completed highway connecting the burgeoning towns of Cotttonwood and Sedona. Once a mere fork in the road where one could gas up and get a cup of coffee and not much else, Sedona is now a veritable tourism Mecca, as well as haven for the new age movement and wealthy expatriates from Phoenix. The town itself sprawls throughout some of the most beautiful red rock formations in the state, rivaling the Grand Canyon itself.

The road from Sedona proceeds north through still more breathtaking natural splendor along yet another old stagecoach trail, as State Route 89a winds upward through Oak Creek Canyon. The road levels off at Oak Creek Canyon Vista, where travelers can soak up the awesome view before continuing on to Flagstaff. From there, it’s just an hour’s drive to the Grand Canyon itself. Let’s face it: you gotta see the Canyon. But for my money, it’s what you'll find along the way that makes it worth the trip.

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona

Greetings From Arizona


Postcard Collection: Greetings From Arizona, Part One

by Derrick Bostrom


It's finally starting to cool off around these parts. Soon enough, I'll able to once again take actual road trips to parts of the state I haven't seen yet. But the internet still continues to offer an adequate substitute for real experience. I've recently found a few great sites that are new to me at least.

Aaron Walton's Western Mining History site is probably my favorite, if only for the sheer perversity of its presentation. Clustered around its prominently displayed Google ads, the site's photo galleries offer exquisite views of dilapidated small towns throughout the western United States. Its brief tour of Miami, Arizona is a real treat. The town's hovels, back alleys and shuttered buildings are lovingly exhibited without commentary or any trace of irony, as barren as the streets of Miami themselves. Meanwhile, Globe and Bisbee look positively opulent by comparison.

I had varying degrees of success finding photos of the others towns in my personal pantheon of destinations. I enjoyed Jeff Knapp's photos of Superior, even if they were all in black and white. The Library of Congress American Memory page has a lot of great pictures of Tombstone from the mid-20th century, before the place was tarted up for the tourist trade. But you've got to use their cumbersome search engine to find them. All I could find about Yarnell were pages about the Shrine Of St. Joseph, of which this one is my favorite.

None of the above, however, can match Prescott's Sharlot Hall Museum site for sheer volume. Stretching from the mid 1800s to the present day, exhaustively documented and annotated in most cases by by accompanying articles, the collection has no rival that I've found. The also voluminous Arizona Memory Project, to which the Sharlot Hall Museum is a major contributor, comes awfully close though.

Readers as equally bitter as I am about the modern state of things might enjoy whiling away a few hours lost amidst these fantastic photo collections from Arizona's past. The rest of you can get a quick fix from my latest batch of postwar postcards from the fine folks at Curt Teich:

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!

Greetings From Arizona!


Love Workshop - The Wonderful Russ Interview

by Derrick Bostrom


In this exclusive interview, Phoenix broadcasting legend and real estate celebrity "Wonderful" Russ Shaw reminisces about "Love Workshop," the comedy show he co-created in 1976 with Tod Carroll for the progressive rock station KDKB-FM. He also shares stories about the early days of free-form radio in Phoenix and the various local luminaries he met along the way. he also talks about pirate radio, doing stand-up and selling houses.

Non-Phoenicians who maintain enough interest to keep reading this rather long interview to the end might gain context from this article about KDKB radio, as well as the KCAC Lives! blog, where surviving staff and fans share their memories of KDKB's predecessor, the short-lived KCAC-AM. Honorable mention must also be made of the online station Radio Free Phoenix, Andy Olson's tribute to the classic progressive radio format of the seventies, and KDIL-FM 666, the home of Phoenix's infamous pirate station. Meanwhile, you can dig Russ firsthand on the Bloodhound Blog, which is predominantly - but not solely -- about his adventures in the real estate trade.

And don't forget Bostworld's own "Love Workshop" page, which collects all of our content about this historic and awesome program, including rare scans and many hours of audio.


D: You’re from Phoenix?

R: Born here. Lived here all my life.

D: You were born in 1946; is that correct?

R: that’s correct.

D: How did you get started in broadcasting?

R: It was sort of a fluke at the time…I belonged to a record club, I don’t remember which one it was…Columbia House or one of those…and I was getting albums sent to me, and I forgot to send the card back, and wound up getting a record – it was a Lee Michaels album – that I didn’t really want. I hadn’t opened it; it was still in the shrink-wrap. At the time I had been listening – and I just started, believe it or not – to [Bill] Compton and Hank [Cookenboo] over on KCAC…

D: Uh huh…

R: And I wound up calling, and got Hank, and basically started chatting with him, and had several extensive conversations with Hank when he was either on the air and so forth…normally when he was on the air he didn’t mind having an extended conversation ‘cause he was sort of into doing fifteen or twenty things at once…

D: You mean on the air conversations?

R: No this wasn’t where I was on the air, this was while he was doing his show. And one of the questions I asked him was could he trade me the album. Like, could I give him my Lee Michaels album still in the shrink-wrap for something I might like better. And he said he’s see what he could do. And because he was so slow in taking care of this, it took…oh, if I tell you…maybe four conversations, maybe five, before I could ever actually set up a time to get together with him. And it was gonna be one day when he was getting off the air, if I would bring the Lee Michaels album down, that would be great…So I wound up, uh, going down to KCAC. At the time I was in the life insurance business…

D: Sure.

R: …and he wanted me to pull a gag on Bill Compton. And I’d talked to Bill, I think, once on the phone. So Bill would have known me at that time over the phone as Wonderful Russ.

D: Okay…

R: So I go in. I’d made my record deal with Hank and that’s out of the way now. So when Bill walks in to go on the air – I can’t remember what time of day it was. I wanna say…I think he went on the air at three…but it’s ten minutes to air when he walks in, maybe eleven.

D: Okay.

R: He walks in the station, opens the front door, the room was filled with hippies all sitting around, most of ‘em completely stoned. Anyway, he comes in, and I said, “William Edward Compton? Bill Bragston, FBI. I need to see you.”

D: [chuckles] Okay…

R: So he buys it. He’s startled, but he buys it. ‘Cause I’ve caught him off guard. He doesn’t miss a beat. He has the presence of mind to say, “it’s gonna have to be quick; I’m on the air in ten minutes.” So I say, “Fine. Right now, then.” As though I’m bossing him around in front of everyone. Just hilarious to me at the time. So anyway, we go to his desk, which was this small little wooden fucking thing that mighta had two drawers on the side, it was just stacked with crap…

D: Was this when it was out of a house?

R: It was over on 24th Street. It was probably originally a house when the building was first built. That building’s still there. I think now it’s an architectural firm. It was where KCAC was when it closed. And this would have been 1971.

D: Right.

R: So in any event, I go to his desk -- and again, I’m still impersonating an FBI agent – and I say, “Before we get started, clean this crap up,” pointing to the stack of different tapes and papers on his desk. Now at this point, he’s startled, like he can’t believe that anyone would talk to him like that. And so he looks up, uh, he stopped cleaning and he’s no longer nervous; he’s actually now kind of perturbed. And he goes…uh…oh! And he points at me: “You’re Wonderful Russ!”

D: [chuckles]

R: He’s got me! So he thinks this is so funny that as soon as he starts on the air, he puts me on the air. He has a conversation with me where I’m sitting there and he’s sorta interviewing me on his show. And that was the first time he did that, the first time I met him. And then Bill and Hank would simply interview me any time I would come down to the station. They would put me on the air. Not where I was running the controls, just sitting there where they would talk to me.

D: What would you talk about?

R: Just stuff that they apparently thought was funny. And I thought it was funny, whatever it was. They weren’t really trying to get information from me. It was more like entertaining.

D: That kinds goes to my next question, which is how you fit in with that crew, which I assume was a typical early seventies progressive radio crew of, like you said, hippies.

R: They were hippies. I didn’t come off as a hippie, but I think because I was so into the music, and so over the top in so many other ways, they couldn’t quite believe it and because I was blessed by Bill, everyone had to accept me whether they liked it or not.

D: Well, he gave you the thumbs up of approval, so they didn’t think you were a narc.

R: Correct. So, once that started like that, when KDKB got there, I just became part of the deal there. The first commercial I ever did was for The Beans, which is the band that preceded The Tubes.

D: Sure.

R: It was removed from the air for being filthy. But that was my first commercial. And then later, Marty [Manning] asked me if I would like to do the Leppla Moving and Storage, and that was my real start, so to speak.

D: So that was the first official thing you did besides just coming in and chatting?

R: Yes.

D: You never actually did any deejay work or anything?

R: I couple of times they let me do a show, but I was never a disc jockey there.

D: Had you had a lot of exposure to progressive rock music or the underground scene or whatever?

R: No, I just picked it up from them. I’d never heard music like that before…

D: So, what kind of bands did you like at the time?

R: Well, I think pretty much the stuff they were playing. I don’t know that I had any unique…uh

D: You liked their play list, basically.

R: Oh my god, yes.

D: You were a KCAC fan.

R: Actually, I was a fan of the music, but it was really Bill Compton…

D: Yeah…

R: Because, I just never heard anything like that on the air before, and really, I was drawn to him, and then it became, maybe secondarily, into the music. And once I got into the music, I was just flipped out. I’d never heard music like that before, and it was incredible. Pretty much, if they were playing it, I was interested in hearing it.

D: So, was there a big difference between KCAC and KDKB? Had KDKB existed before KCAC ended?

R: Well, no. It’s not a long story, but it’s a little bit more complex. KCAC had lost so much money for so long, they shut down. The people who owned the station – it was on AM, daytime only.

D: Oh it was. Okay.

R: Sunrise to sunset station. And it was over. Nothing would have save it. It couldn’t be saved.

D: So it went out in seventy-one or two?

R: Summer of seventy-one. Uh, Dwight [Tindle] and Eric…Dwight’s passed away now; just a few months ago…

D: Yes.

R: Dwight and Eric Hauenstein met at Woodstock…

D: Right, I remember that!

R: As strange as it might seem. Dwight became a millionaire when he was twenty-one. He inherited about 1.1, 1.2 million.

D: God, I remember all of that…

R: And that was a lot of money back then.

D: Yeah.

R: Dwight and Eric -- Eric was a time salesman from a station in Cincinnati – they decided to do a radio station. Of course, Eric was deciding to do it with Dwight’s money, since he didn’t have any…scouring the country for stations that they could buy and possibly get FCC approval…

D: Okay.

R: So they bought this station here in town. They were already coming here anyway. And because there was a progressive rock station here, Dwight gravitated to it.

D: KCAC.

R: Right. He was infatuated with Bill, and was probably going to hire Bill and Hank. After KCAC shut down completely, to Eric’s dismay – Eric was the general manager at KDKB – Bill went up to Dwight’s house, got him high, and got Dwight to agree to hire all of the staff of KCAC.

D: Nice!

R: That was Bill. That was just a normal thing for Bill to do something like that. Because of that, it seemed to the public like the station changed from KCAC to KDKB, because all the old crew from KCAC wound up on KDKB. But it had nothing to do with anything, other than Bill Compton’s magnanimousness.

D: So it pretty much started right up as the old station dropped?

R: It was a few months later. I think it was October when KDKB went on the air. Bill’s last show on KCAC was August 14th, 1971. I was there at the station when he did that. And then Bill just simply got all the old people jobs there at KDKB. Which was a source of constant friction between the air staff and management. Because Eric tried to make rules, and people would go to Bill and say, “what do you think?” Because they didn’t have to listen to Eric, he wasn’t really their boss. That’s how that happened.

D: Were you into comedy when you were younger? Was there anything that inspired you to create your on-air persona?

R: I don’t even…if I said, uh, working in my uncle’s furniture store. He would go out and refer to himself as “John Gobens The Great.” So when I was a kid, I used to say, “Russ Shaw The Great” and stuff like this, just mimicking my uncle. And then I think that, uh…when I worked at Chic Meyer’s House of Television, and I was there about five years – went to work there when I was seventeen, and lied and told them I was twenty three, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired me. And I think it was just sampling there, and trying out different things on customers. Found that if I said “Wonderful Russ,” it got a better response than any other adjective I could use. If you asked why, I’d say I have no idea, but that’s where that started. I was working at Chic Meyer’s House of Television, and I would tell the customers I was “Wonderful Russ.”

D: So basically, you’re main influence as a humorist was salesmanship.

R: You could almost say surveys. I didn’t think of it that way at the time, but I was doing sort of a survey to see what would make someone respond the best. It would be like testing different jokes to focus groups almost. And so if there was a thing that I did, it would have been that.

D: You sold yourself to Hank.

R: Yeah, we sort of were two peas in a pod. We wound up becoming very, very close friends.

D: Tod Carroll used to have a show on KCAC called “Bunkhouse Capers” with another fella?

R: With Barry Friedman.

D: I have never heard that program, only heard of it. Was the format similar?

R: Almost the same type thing; almost exactly. It was called “Buck and Barry’s Bunkhouse Capers.” And Barry Friedman at the time had been a writer for the New Times. It’s sort of funny now, ‘cause Barry’s almost unknown. But at the time, if I tell you that Tod was the one no one knew who he was, and everyone at the time would have known Barry Friedman. That sounds almost funny now. It seems almost unbelievable.

D: Did he move to the coast to make his fortune?

R: The last I knew, Barry owned a furniture store in Prescott.

D: I read that the show busted up when Barry moved out of town.

R: I had nothing to do with it. It was a finished thing. They had finished whatever they were doing. Tod got the idea of doing a show with me. He went to Bill Compton, got Bill’s agreement, and said he’d like to do another show with Wonderful Russ, got Bill to say okay. By the time Tod came to me – I hardly knew Tod; I’m not sure I knew him at all, actually –

D: Okay…

R: I mean, I just knew him from that show. By the time Tod came to me, it was a done deal. He had gotten the advertisers, he had the sponsors lined up, he had the taping dates set up, he had the script …Tod called me up, said, “I wanna do a show; I’ve already cleared it with Bill; when can I come by and talk to you.” I said yes, he comes by, he literally announces, “here’s the deal, we’re gonna make this much a month off of it,” and he split the deal with me fifty-fifty. He did all of the work. He arranged the show, he was the producer, the writer, he did all the post-production editing…I mean he did everything…

D: He was a radio guy?

R: No! He had some kinda engineering job, like an artistic engineering job, uh…at Motorola when I first knew him.

D: Was he not connected to KCAC or KDKB before “Love Workshop?”

R: He had the “Bunkhouse Capers” show.

D: But between those two shows, he wasn’t in radio.

R: No. Not at all. His skill was really as a writer, but he was very versatile. I mean, Tod was a very talented guy. So he just wrote the whole thing and all I ever did on that show – which was sort of fantastic, but it’s the very thing I wound up not liking – is I just showed up. All I had to do was show up, and he’d hand me a script.

D: Well, he definitely based a lot of the concept of the show around, at least, his conception of your personae, which you’d developed.

R: Correct.

D: So, was the recording easy? Did you have to do a lot of rehearsal?

R: No rehearsal ever.

D: So you were able to do just cold reads of this stuff?

R: Yep. We recorded on Sunday nights at KDKB. I would show up and be handed the script, and we usually started recording around seven or eight-o-clock on Sunday nights. And all I ever did was show up, and he split the money with me fifty-fifty. In that sense, there was nothing to complain about. What is ironic, is I had actually decided to stop doing the show, ‘cause he was…no one knew who he was. And everything that was being said, was as if I had thought it up to say it.

D: Yup.

R: And some of the stuff, I honestly thought was…it wasn’t that it…(sigh)…it just was mean-spirited. For me, some of it crossed a line, yet there I was saying it, and he had an invisible quality.

D: Right. He didn’t have to live down what he wrote.

R: Yeah!

D: But you did!

R: There you go! And so, I had literally said to him, “You’ve gotta tone this shit down.” And the next time I come in, it’s more of that just vicious, you know fucking women whose husband’s in prison and Vietnam war camps and stuff like that. So I said, “Let me try to explain this in terms you’ll understand: put one more thing of this nature – and you know what I’m talkin’ about, so I’m not gonna try to explain it – put one more, just one, in a script. I will hand it back to you; I will leave; that will be the end of it. I don’t wanna do that kinda shit, I’m not interested, so please don’t put me in that position.” So from that point forward, until the show was cancelled…but it wasn’t him canceling the show…

D: Uh huh…

R: It was already winding down. When Bill Compton got fired, the very first thing Hank did was cancel “Love Workshop.”

D: Was there a reason the show was cancelled, that you’re aware of? I remember when the station was bought; this was before that, wasn’t it?

R: No, it was bought after that. There’d been a falling out between Hank and Bill and me and Hank so much earlier that it was just old, old water…

D: Obviously, there were things on the show that would have rubbed certain people the wrong way.

R: And the manager of the station, the advertisers didn’t like it; the sales staff constantly bitched. The only reason the show was allowed to stay on the air, was because of Bill! Because no one had the right to take it off the air if Bill said it stays.

D: And Bill died in a car accident after he was fired.

R: Right. And the first thing as soon as they fired Bill, Hank was made program director, and either he’d already decided or at Eric’s behest, “get that god damned shit off the air.” But it was already winding down anyway.

D: So you and Tod Carroll didn’t hang out together, you weren’t friends…

R: No. We never hung out. We just didn’t have any of that kind of stuff in common. Like, the only time we ever saw each other was in connection with the show.

D: ‘Cause there’s a good rapport that’s built up on the show.

R: Yeah. Honestly, I would say my delivery on the stuff was good, but anything that would be…any credit on, uh, “look how nice this is, or how great that’s done,” I’d give him all the credit.

D: So, you didn’t work on any of the dialogue? None of it was extemporaneous?

R: Oh, I don’t know that I would go quite that far.

D: I mean, you’d almost have to be riffing during some of these purely conversational ones.

R: Yeah, and if it was stuff that I wanted to modify…I mean, he wasn’t some asshole to work with in the studio; in fact, far from it. If there was some deal where I thought I could make a line better, I just made it better. But it wasn’t me enforcing it, or him trying to stop me. As a working relationship in terms of actually recording together, I would have to describe Tod as a joy to work with. I mean, he was incredibly talented. There was nothing there that I had any disagreement with. It was just some of that mean-spirited stuff. You know, if you look at Steve Martin’s material, or Ellen DeGeneres, they’re not actually degrading anyone.

D: There’s nothing quite as mean-spirited as some of these routines.

R: Yeah. And that was my only disagreement. Not with his level of talent. He went on and wrote several screenplays, and as far as I know, he retired wealthy.

D: But you thought the shows were good though?

R: I thought the shows were fantastic. It’s just that…the stuff that honestly really got to me was that stuff on, like the Vietnam veteran held in captivity…

D: You mean when you seduce the guy’s wife?

R: Yeah yeah, that stuff. It just grated me. And I did it! And that’s probably the part that I felt the shittiest about. That wasn’t funny to me. It was outrageous, but it wasn’t funny to me. I didn’t really give a fuck about, what if someone got mad at me.

D: Sure.

R: It wasn’t that kind of thing. Because I have willingness to tell just about anyone to go fuck themselves. That’s really not the point to me, that well, someone might not like it. Let ‘em not like it. But it didn’t feel right to me.

D: And yet, some of the episodes in which you’re talking about insurance or discussing the value of Pepsi are just as good if not better. My favorite show is when you talk about insurance.

R: Well, I can’t remember the show but I’m glad you like it! [laughs]

D: It’s called “Focus on Rapping” and you’re talking about when you buy insurance you’re buying a piece of the company…

R: Oh yeah yeah yeah!

D: …and you can go up to the building and demand to be let in.

R: Yes yes! See but that’s more my style. That’s the kind of stuff where ya go…see, I like that. I really liked that kinda stuff. Because it’s just…it’s inane!

D: Well there’s an awful lot of targeting of what we now call “protected groups” on the show. Like the “Coon Line” routine…

R: I actually like that one.

D: Sure! But still you can imagine it upsetting people.

R: Oh yes! [laughs] I played that on KSLX when I was doing a show with Bob [Bell], oh, I’m gonna say ’90 or ’91, and Jeanne Sedello kept trying to tell ‘em to take it off the air; it was offensive and disgusting. And she left the room!

D: Times change. In the seventies there was climate of that kind of humor, with the “National Lampoon” and whatever, and the whole idea of pushing boundaries of taste…

R: Yes.

D: But that continuity’s been lost. The average person today may not understand the context.

R: Yup. I agree.

D: You remember “Animal House” of course.

R: I’ve probably seen it less than twenty-five times.

D: Right! It was kind of similar to your show. And of course it had a very specific kind of point to it, it spawned things like “Porky’s” and what not, which wasn’t anywhere near as satirically sharp, that just ended up kind of, uh, celebrating the very sort of thing that “Animal House” was satirizing.

R: Yes.

D: I just wondered if, for instance, if you thought people were “getting” Love Workshop.

R: I don’t think that I my level, honestly at the time, and I’ve never really thought about it since to be honest, I don’t know that I ever thought about it at those levels. It was more, “was it funny.” And that was the standard. I don’t mind – didn’t mind – being shocking. It’s easy after the fact to go “oh, here we were trying to make this statement.” I think that’s a certain amount – at least for me, and I think what Tod and I were doing at that time – would be sort of intellectual bullshit. Because really, we were just looking, like “was thing funny?” We thought it was funny if it was outrageous, if it was just completely over the top. I think we were just looking, was this something that would make someone want to tune in the following week to see where we were going next? It was more at that level.

D: So, do you recall when Tod was approached by the “National Lampoon?”

R: Oh, I not only recall it, he got the meeting, indirectly, because of me, because I had gotten Tod involved.

D: I remember Tony Hendra came to town.

R: But Tony didn’t come to see Tod. That’s how it looked after the fact. I didn’t like Tony Hendra; I thought he was a dickhead. Tod and Tony couldn’t have bonded faster or better. Tod was at that meeting because I actually invited him. And it’s kinda funny. I said, “You might want to come to this.” And he shows up. I had gotten Tod interested in “Razz Revue,” which was Bob Bell and Dan Harshberger’s magazine.

D: Sure.

R: And so Tod did a couple of articles begrudgingly for “Razz Revue.” So Bob gets Tod over to that Tony Hendra meeting. That’s how that happened. It was because of Bob Bell.

D: So, Hendra came to town to talk to the “Razz Revue” fellas?

R: Correct! He came to town to meet with Bob Bell. Bob had already done two articles for National Lampoon.

D: I remember those.

R: Bob has been one of my dearest friends since we met. Bob and I are very close. So it was the relationship that Bob had -- this is not to take anything away from Tod – but it was the relationship that Bob had with Tony Hendra…

D: This is what I recall as well.

R: And then, at the meeting …I don’t think Hendra liked me at all. But what was funny is that he didn’t seem to give a fuck about talking to Bob or to Daniel either. But Tod and Tony Hendra were sorta like soul mates.

D: So when Tod came into the room it was love at first sight then.

R: Yes! Quite literally! They were two peas in a pod, and what they both had in common was that unbelievably high-volume passive aggressive quality. Which is not true with Dan and Bob and myself.

D: Right.

R: And that’s why Tony Hendra didn’t like me, and why he didn’t really give a shit about Bob any more, because if you were to sit and talk to Bob Bell, the first thing you’d spot is that he’s really a nice guy. Period. Tony Hendra had that mean-spirited quality to him. And so did Tod. And that’s what they had in common.

D: Your analysis jibes with how it seems to me as well. So basically, it sounds like Tod wanted to come out of that meeting with a job offer, and he made damn sure he got it.

R: Yeah, but it wasn’t like anyone felt used.

D: No, not at all! It was an opportunity.

R: It was an opportunity, and I don’t think it…It wasn’t that my relationship with Tod disintegrated, like it was some beautiful thing. He was always the same way. So it was just a match made in heaven for them.

D: Sounds like it was just the right time.

R: Yeah yeah. But I didn’t go, “Oh shit, he took advantage,” or “he got the good deal.” It was Tony Hendra, who just simply, genuinely liked him.

D: Did he move out of town?

R: He did after he got the Lampoon deal.

D: At the time, I wasn’t clear whether the show ended because he got that opportunity, or if it was cancelled.

R: It was over. It was off the air. It had nothing to do with that Lampoon meeting. In fact that happened well after the fact.

D: You didn’t really keep in too close contact with him after that?

R: Nope. But it’s not like we were having some kind of a fight or anything.

D: Yeah. But he’s nowhere to be found these days.

R: No, he’s under the radar, but that’s on purpose. He’s wealthy; the last time I talked to him was at a KDKB reunion. At that time, he owned a house in the south of France. He owned a house up on the coast in Vermont or something like that. And he had married a woman that I think he was very much involved with. And he just sorta rode off into the sunset. But I never had a contentious relationship of any kind with him. My only disagreement was with that stuff on the show.

D: Did you ever get any indication from him that he had any regrets about the program?

R: No.

D: Was he completely proud of it?

R: I don’t, uh,…I think he was….There’s parts of it I’m proud of.

D: I still think it’s a tremendous program.

R: I mean it was some funny stuff. That’s what we were trying to do at the time, and I think we did it. If I had it to do over again, in spite of anything that happened that I don’t like, in spite of anything I didn’t want at the time, if I had it to do over again, I’d do it again.

D: Well, any time you’re trying to fill a weekly show, you’re going to be trying different things, and you’re going to feel that some of it worked better than others.

R: Yeah.

D: Has there been any interest in Love Workshop over the last 30 years?

R: Oh god, I’ve been approached so many times…

D: What, just from fans?

R: You know, people, “can I get a copy of this, a copy of that…” I tried first giving the things to Andy Olsen, and Andy’s a nice guy. He’s a really nice guy. But I just thought, he’s got a certain slow molasses quality, and I just wanted it to be…Obviously, I had cleared this with Tod years back. If people wanted the show or wanted to get copies of it, did he want any kinda rights or money from any of it, and his position was, “hell no.” Didn’t give a crap. He had plenty of money, and whatever little morsels that could have been gotten from selling copies of that crap, he didn’t care.

D: This is why the Internet is so fun. You can let people hear it for nothin’.

R: Yeah! I wasn’t lookin’ like, “Hey, this is a quick way to make an extra five dollars” or something. So, for me, it was, anyone who wants them. So for years, what I’ve been doing – and it was just a pain in the ass – was personally, manually, making a copy and sending it to people.

D: Yeah, I’ve had to do the same thing. I like just offering it on the web a lot better.

R: Me too!

D: The greatest thing about doing this site is the way people have been coming out of the woodwork.

R: It makes me happy, not for the notoriety, just so that anyone who wants them can have ‘em.

D: Tell me about your work with KDIL.

R: That was nothing but fun for me. The guy’s name was Scott…Nelson, I think.

D: They have a web site as well.

R: He has a web site??

D: Yeah. Kdil.com.

R: I have to go to that right now…”FM-666!”

D: That’s it. I don’t know if they broadcast, but it’s a lot of the old fanzines they did...

R: Yeah! I was, uh…the title I gave myself was Executive Director for Mass Distribution for the Western Hemisphere of the KDIL Blues Licks. We used to Xerox them and I would go to the Dennys on 7th Street and Camelback, and walk around yelling out, “The KDIL Blues Licks is hot off the press!”

D: I never heard it. I’ve just seen the fanzine. Was it broadcast out of a truck or something?

R: Well, we would broadcast wherever Scott was living at the time. What we would do when they were going on the air – because it was a true underground station – to get an audience, Scott would start calling people. We would all call our friends and tell them we were going on and here’s the frequency we’re gonna go on at.

D: God…

R: Then, we would call various supermarkets and tell them we were gonna be having a contest, and if they would play it over their loudspeaker in the grocery store, they could win a crisp one hundred dollar bill. And this was one of my jobs was to come in with these liners --- this would get played at least every ten minutes: “A crisp one hundred dollar bill!” But it didn’t go to anything! It didn’t say what you had to do to win; it didn’t say when the contest was. All we would do was say over and over, “A crisp one hundred dollar bill!”

D: [laughs]

R: And, we would never use profanity on the air. I mean never. We were never saying anything that would cause someone to complain to the FCC, or anybody else. What was the genius of the station were the commercials. And there were lots of them. Again, this was a station that didn’t have any real advertisers. They would take – and it was mostly Scott – real commercials off the air and redo ‘em. The stuff that was my favorite was like a Lou Grubb commercial, back when Lou Grubb was a relatively young man, and he would talk for like three or four minutes on a commercial…

D: Oh, I remember!

R: Back when you could just have a commercial that was almost a free-form chat from Lou, right on teevee. So what Scott would do is he would tape those right off the teevee and then he would remix them with these lunatic jungle rhythms, but not do anything other than occasionally turn the African rhythm up so high it would drown out Lou’s voice. And that was it!

D: I’ve heard some of those.

R: Just insane!

D: So, you got out of KDKB after “Love Workshop” was cancelled. I assume there were no more ads?

R: I still did ads, like Discount Tire would call me and so forth, but I didn’t do anything at KDKB after that.

D: You worked with the companies directly by that time.

R: Yes.

D: You were an insurance salesman; when did you start doing that?

R: I was in the insurance business from 1969 to 1975

D: So, you stopped selling insurance and started working in real estate?

R: Actually, I phased out of insurance kind of gradually. I left in about 1975. About 1974, I went to work full time for the Church of Scientology. I was already a Scientologist, but I became a staff member, and I still had some income – which allowed me to do it – from the insurance business coming in, and I still had some income from the radio commercials I was doing, and even from “Love Workshop.” I was there on staff the whole time I was doing the “Love Workshop” show. So I worked full time from 1974-75 until about late ‘77 early ‘78.

D: What did you do?

R: I ran the public division. I ran, like basically introductory type lectures. That kinda thing.

D: Okay.

R: Then I just ran completely out of money, and didn’t have any income. And I knew I didn’t want to go back to insurance. That’s when I started in the real estate business. I went to real estate school in 1977 and started in ’78.

D: You also did standup in the 80s and 90s?

R: Yep. I had been doing stuff on Bob Bell’s show, and I saw an ad in the paper for some kind of a comedy competition. And I thought it was all amateurs! What I didn’t know was that professional comedians from all over the country came in and competed. And I had no act. Some of the people there who were actually the winners were saying, “God, you’re so good! You made it seem like you didn’t have an act!” And I said, “yeah I’m real good at making it look that way!” So I wound up, mostly because of people I knew, and again because I knew Bob Bell, and because every comedian that came to town would come on Bob’s morning show to plug the Impov, I got to work at the Improv several times, just because of my connection with Bob Bell and KSLX. But it wasn’t my favorite club to play. It was prestigious, but the problem was, the Improv had a set of rules, like a double standard. If you’re a name comedian – say anything you want. If you’re not a name comedian, don’t ever say “fuck” from our stage. Don’t ever make a drug joke from our stage. Period. Do it once: you won’t come again. So I had to do it anyway so I wouldn’t come again.

D: But you were a name comedian!

R: Well, not to them I wasn’t. A name comedian to them meant that the mere fact that you’re there fills seats.

D: Sure.

R: Oddly enough, there was a little shithole comedy club called the Uptown Comedy Club at 7th Ave and Camelback. And because I could fill seats there, I could do any fucking thing I wanted. So that was actually my favorite club to play.

D: But nowadays, you’re strictly real estate and you pretty much just write for your blog?

R: Yeah. I’m one of the top agents in the country. It’s the kind of thing where…the things that I’ve learned on how to do a lot of business…I’m able to…I mean, I spend most of my time literally helping other agents.

D: So, you’re actually a much much bigger real estate celebrity than you ever were a radio celebrity.

R: Correct. By far.

D: You’re nationally known.

R: Yes. I’m not trying to brag, but if you went and talked to realtors in New York or New Mexico or California, they’ll know who I am. So I get companies like Keller Williams – and I’m not a Keller Williams agent – having me fly in to their headquarters to interview me; to take the things I have to say and teach it to their agents.

D: I see you have a large staff of your own, and I assume you’re pretty much the mentor.

R: Well, I think I’m gonna give my wife the bulk of the credit there. Where I’m comin’ in would be in the vision, here’s how big we can make it; here’s where we can go next.

D: So, you’re not pursuing any entertainment venues at all any more.

R: That would be correct, but it’s not because I didn’t like it. It’s just…I’m an ex-smoker…can’t stand smoke…

D: Tell me about it. I played clubs for fifteen years.

R: I wouldn’t trade a minute of what I did, but it’s not something I wanna do…

D: So what was the high point of your entire career as a local celebrity?

R: I would say, the stuff at KDKB, that would have to be in the category, because it had more of an amazing thing. I mean, when I was doing standup, I just had a lot of fun. I guess there’s not one wonderful time that was the good time. I kinda have fun every day. So I guess I look at it and go, “my best years are still ahead of me.”


Love Workshop - The Wayne Butane Collection

by Derrick Bostrom


My "Love Workshop" collection finally reached critical mass last moth, thanks to fellow Phoenician and Verne & Craig enthusiast Wayne Butane. Wayne sent me a full five disks of shows, all lovingly digitized from his crumbling original cassettes. I managed to clean most of the hiss out of them, but they are far from master quality. Some even sound as thought they were captured by holding a microphone up to the radio speaker. But the riches contained therein are fully audible, two hours of which are new to my collection. Then, as if that weren't enough, Wayne sent me the accompanying picture of "Love Workshop" creator Todd Carroll, hard at work presumedly preparing one of his "National Lampoon" contributions.

In addition to being a generous "Love Workshop" archiver, audio collagist and founding member of the legendary Phoenix cassette rockers The D Cups, Wayne Butane also gains my admiration for being an unashamed Rupert Holmes fan and and enthusiastic lover of cats, both of which are vital qualities in my book. Wayne hosts a weekly Love Workshop posting of his own, over on his MySpace page. This is just the thing for those of you disgusted with my habit of clustering these shows into 100 meg zip files. Those of you with little tolerance for MySpace can visit the KCAC Lives! blog. There you'll find a playlist of all the tracks from my previous "Love Workshop" post, which you can listen to without having to download a damn thing!

Anyway, to make things a little easier, I've split up the Wayne files so that all tracks not previously offered here are together. Those can be found below in parts one and two. The next two feature material offered before, but in some cases the sound is better, or the routines are more complete or in the correct order. No jury in the work would convict you if you wanted to download all four parts. I've also included track information for those who are interested.

Meanwhile, to facilitate access to info about the show from a more central location, I've combined all the "Love Workshop" content on this site onto one page, which can be accessed from the menu bar above.

And coming soon: an exclusive interview with one-half of the "Love Workshop" team, Wonderful Russ Shaw. Watch for it!


    Download Part One (EXPIRED)

  1. Visit To A Mobile Home/Four Wheel Drive Ham Radio Club/The Edge Of Maryvale/Setting Dexter Straight/A Letter From Don Shula
  2. Stewardess & Secretary Behavior Modification Center/Coon Line/Mary McCarthy's Poem/A Letter From MIT
  3. Live Coverage Of The Crucifixion/Alcoholism In America/Barbi Button Suicide Letter/Vern Rant
  4. The Yelling Show/A Letter From Margaret Hance
  5. The Variety Machine/Trapped Miners/Somebody Has To Lose/A Letter From Patrick Moynahan
  6. Jesus Christ: Air Conditioning Repairman
  7. Frog Night

    Download Part Two (EXPIRED)

  1. Guessing Games/Convenience Market/American Women's Credit And Trust/A Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  2. A Telephone Conversation/A Funny Letter
  3. The News/Circus Commercial/Vern & Craig's Last Name Song
  4. Arizona State Prison Show
  5. Special 90 Minute Communism Show/Vern & Craig Song
  6. Donut Tria/A Letter From Gary Nelson
  7. The Music Show/Grocery Store Song

    Download Part Three (EXPIRED)

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  3. Mexican Space Probe/American Women's Credit And Trust/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record/A Letter From Marilyn Liebermanq
  4. Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/This Is Your Wretched Life/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  5. ASU Football/American Women's Credit And Trust/Brand New Material!/Hobby Handbook/A Letter From...?
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Koala
  7. Focus On Rapping: Insurance
  8. Bonus Track: Lou Grubb Commercial
  9. Bonus Track: The Surgery Store
  10. Bonus Track: KDIL

    Download Part Four (EXPIRED)

  1. Apartheid In Phoenix/Decorating For The Poor/Teen Consciousness/A Message From Bill Compton
  2. Project: Suffering/A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. American Heritage: The Patio/A Letter From Betty Ford
  5. Where's Craig/Steps To Approaching The Rape Victim/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Egret
  6. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  7. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  8. A Light Snack

Love Workshop

by Derrick Bostrom


“Love Workshop” was a fifteen-minute comedy program that ran on KDKB-FM radio in Phoenix, Arizona for most of 1976. The show was always somewhat of a mystery to me. During its brief life, "Love Workshop’s" hosts, Vern & Craig (Todd Carroll and "Wonderful" Russ Shaw) were my heroes, They just seemed to appear out of nowhere all of a sudden, offering the kind of savage humor I idolized in the "National Lampoon," only they were right in my own backyard. And then it disappeared just as quickly. Though Verne went on to write for a national audience, and Craig continued to appear in Arizona’s short-lived humor magazine, the Razz Revue, they might as well have dropped off the face of the earth.

I used to have a pretty good collection of episodes, but I foolishly loaned out the tapes and never got them back. For the past thirty years, I’ve had to make due with three shows on one measly side of an aging cassette. Now, thanks to "Bostworld" readers, however, the search is over. If nothing else, it proves that I’m not crazy. I didn’t just imagine the whole thing. “Love Workshop” really did exist, and I’m not the only one who remembers it. For this alone, the contributors to this collection have my eternal gratitude and admiration.

It's Time For Love Workshop!

Love Workshop Redux

Love Workshop - The Wayne Butane Collection

The Bostworld Wonderful Russ Interview

Love Workshop Interview (New Times, 1976)

Full Page Ad (Razz Revue, 1976)

Wonderful Russ Article (Arizona Republic, 1974)

NEW: Now you can download individual, unzipped shows from the WFMU Blog!


    Bostrom Collection

  1. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  2. Rocky Point
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. Project: Suffering /A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  5. Drunk Rerun Intro/Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg


    Blixco Collection

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Verne & Craig Song/Abortion Misfortune/Song From Verne/Rerun Intro/Richard W. Kramer
  3. Letter from Sharon/Apartheid In Phoenix (incomplete)/
  4. Decorating For The Poor
  5. A Message From Bill Compton
  6. Love Workshop Song/Focus On Rapping
  7. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  8. Where's Craig
  9. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  10. Mexican Space Probe/Rerun Intro/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record (incomplete)


    Wonderful Russ Collection, Part One

  1. Opening Theme
  2. The Science Of Comedy
  3. Amana Radar Range
  4. Reaching Out To Touch And Share 76
  5. Bobby Basket
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station
  7. Joan Embry 01
  8. Sun Devil Football
  9. Brand New Material
  10. American Woman's Credit And Trust
  11. Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record
  12. Unemployment Fashions
  13. Letter
  14. Editorial
  15. Rocky Point
  16. Vatican
  17. Rape Victim
  18. Joan Embry 02
  19. Pima Gymnastics


    Wonderful Russ Collection, Part Two

  1. Open Theme
  2. John Adamson
  3. Craig's Patio
  4. Coon Line
  5. Project Suffering
  6. Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor
  7. Letter
  8. Abortion Misfortune
  9. Moving Ballad
  10. Convenience Market
  11. Homosexual Corner
  12. The Bensons
  13. Kent State/Handbag/Mexican Top 40 Record
  14. Letter From Robert MacNamara
  15. Robert Kimbell/Letter
  16. American Woman's Credit And Trust 01
  17. Alcoholism In America
  18. American Woman's Credit And Trust 02
  19. Hobby Handbook
  20. American 4th National Bank 01
  21. American 4th National Bank 02
  22. American 4th National Bank 03
  23. Nibbler & Yakler 01
  24. Nibbler & Yakler 02
  25. Nibbler & Yakler 03


    Wayne Butane Collection Part One

  1. Visit To A Mobile Home/Four Wheel Drive Ham Radio Club/The Edge Of Maryvale/Setting Dexter Straight/A Letter From Don Shula
  2. Stewardess & Secretary Behavior Modification Center/Coon Line/Mary McCarthy's Poem/A Letter From MIT
  3. Live Coverage Of The Crucifixion/Alcoholism In America/Barbi Button Suicide Letter/Vern Rant
  4. The Yelling Show/A Letter From Margaret Hance
  5. The Variety Machine/Trapped Miners/Somebody Has To Lose/A Letter From Patrick Moynahan
  6. Jesus Christ: Air Conditioning Repairman
  7. Frog Night

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Two

  1. Guessing Games/Convenience Market/American Women's Credit And Trust/A Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  2. A Telephone Conversation/A Funny Letter
  3. The News/Circus Commercial/Vern & Craig's Last Name Song
  4. Arizona State Prison Show
  5. Special 90 Minute Communism Show/Vern & Craig Song
  6. Donut Tria/A Letter From Gary Nelson
  7. The Music Show/Grocery Store Song

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Three

  1. Anita Bryant Orange Juice Commercial/Cryptographer Joke/A Letter From Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  2. Queers In The News/John Adamson: Master Criminal/Cheryl Finley Cooks A Potato/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Baby Kangaroo
  3. Mexican Space Probe/American Women's Credit And Trust/Mexican Top 40 Comedy Record/A Letter From Marilyn Liebermanq
  4. Johnny Involved: Private Eye/American Women's Credit And Trust/This Is Your Wretched Life/Another Letter From Shecky Hallenberg
  5. ASU Football/American Women's Credit And Trust/Brand New Material!/Hobby Handbook/A Letter From...?
  6. Friday Afternoon At Victoria Station/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Koala
  7. Focus On Rapping: Insurance
  8. Bonus Track: Lou Grubb Commercial
  9. Bonus Track: The Surgery Store
  10. Bonus Track: KDIL

    Wayne Butane Collection Part Four

  1. Apartheid In Phoenix/Decorating For The Poor/Teen Consciousness/A Message From Bill Compton
  2. Project: Suffering/A Message From Charles Manson/Hobby Handbook/Andy Williams Christmas Special/A Letter From The Earl Of Snowden
  3. Patrika And The Baby
  4. American Heritage: The Patio/A Letter From Betty Ford
  5. Where's Craig/Steps To Approaching The Rape Victim/A Letter From Joan Embrey: Egret
  6. DES Fashion Show/John Adamson Dancing To A Shadowy Tune/Pima Gymnastics
  7. The Science Of Comedy/Little Jimmy Harrold/Reaching Out To Touch And Share '76/Bobby Basket's Gay CB Radio Record
  8. A Light Snack

Postcard Collection: Greetings From Phoenix

by Derrick Bostrom


I first discovered Michael Monti's "100 South Mill Avenue" blog after he dropped some praise on my scans of an old menu from his family's La Casa Vieja restaurant. "As a restaurateur and history buff," He wrote, "I can assure you that these will be appreciated as a goldmine of nostalgia and useful information about trends in dining and pricing." Sentiments after my own heart. Michael writes from the vantage point of both a restaurant entrepreneur and a steward of Phoenix's cultural history. His family happens to do business in one of the area's most cherished landmarks.

Built in 1871 near the banks of the Salt River, the Monti's La Casa Vieja was part of a compound that included a ferry service as well as a flour mill. According to its web site, the restaurant is the oldest continually occupied structure in the Phoenix area. Monti is uniquely positioned to report on ongoing efforts to protect Phoenix architectural history in the face of both encroaching developmental opportunism and an increasingly challenging economic landscape. For his part, Michael Monti's love of local history is tempered by a sensitivity to the prerogatives of the business community to which he belongs.

His dual perspective is on display in his recent article about the Hayden Flour Mill, which still stands, right across the street from his restaurant. Despite his appreciation for the boarded up "eyesore," he none the less defends the current plan underway to annex the older structure to a hideous modern box of glass and steel, which he insists is the best way to preserve the structure without blighting the surrounding area. Still smarting from the fight to save his own structure, Monti doesn't have the luxury of bloggers and print journalists, who view any such developmental activity as an abomination.

We've written on this subject before, and must be included among the ranks of hand-wringers. As a life-long Phoenix resident, I still remember when orange groves and dairy farms occupied spaces now filled with tract houses and strip malls. I never venture into town any more without my camera on hand to document an old friend before it gets a visit from the wrecking ball.

The cards this collection are souvenirs of a Phoenix from almost 60 years ago. You can just barely make out Hayden Mill in the postcard below depicting downtown postwar Tempe. It's the white smudge clear at the end of the right side of the street. Followers of more recent history will find the view of the Central Avenue post office more interesting. It was at this location that longtime Phoenix celebrity Cris Kirkwood beat up a security guard, gaining in the process a prison sentence and bullet in his back.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona


Things I Should Throw Out: The TV King On A Soapbox

by Derrick Bostrom


Tucson merchant Jack "The Color TV King" Fitzgerald carved out a name for himself back in the mid-70s with a series of distinctive late-night television commercials. Standing among a pile of teevee sets and packing crates, he would harangue the viewer with a pitch that always began with a simple, effective, "Hi folks..." You could easily pick up Tucson stations in Phoenix back then, so even my friends and I knew his spiel.

In the fall of 1976, my pal Jack Knetzger sent me this article from Tucson, where he was attending the University Of Arizona. It's clear from Jack's enthusiastic circling that what mattered most to him was Fitzgerald's square family values, his kitschy old school "American Dream" work ethic, and above all, the trappings of his Catholic upbringing (something both Jacks had in common). No doubt the life sized dead Jesus in the living room was the real deal clincher.

You can be sure the article's description of Fitzgerald's beef with the Tucson City Council, his marshaling of the business community to force a recall of city council members who had voted for water rate increases, was completely lost on a couple of stoned teenagers. But as it turns out, the problems associated with Tucson's municipal water policy continues to haunt the town's local politics even to this day.

Apparently, the trouble started when the city council approved a 30 percent raise in water rates, this despite encouragement by consultants to raise rates by 240 percent. It seems Tucson is supplied by groundwater beneath the city. Higher rates would have had the dual effect of raising money for crucial improvements and also regulating the scarce commodity. But folks like Jack Fitzgerald saw this move as "anti-business," and resolved to nip these "anti-growthers" in the bud. Yeah, they succeeded, but guess what? The new officials raised rates anyway. What choice did they have?

Today, it seems only Fitzgerald remains pleased with the effects of the recall, if only because it put the city on notice that the business community could not be contained, politically at least. However, Tucson never became an economic dynamo. Without a plentiful water source, the city had trouble attracting major industry. And without large scale employers, Tucson cannot muster the funds required for major infrastructure projects.

Tucson's last attempt to deal with the shrinking water table problem was a disaster. A plan to pump Colorado River water from the state's Central Arizona Project into the homes of residents failed when the water was far below the quality consumers had grown accustomed to. Furthermore, the difference in CAP water's chemical composition resulted in burst pipes all over town. Voters overwhelmingly demanded a return to groundwater.

A drive through the streets of Tucson is like a drive into the past. Small independent businesses still dominate the scene. Buildings shuttered for as long as I can remember remain standing, boarded up and waiting for an economic climate that would make it worthwhile to tear them down. For fans of historic architecture, the town is full of treasures, slowly crumbling, but  retaining their evocative charm. If you look hard enough, you might even find one of these still hanging around.

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Things I Should Throw Out: Readers Outraged By Tison Escape

by Derrick Bostrom


Back in August 1978, convicted murderers Gary Tison and Randy Greenwalt broke out of the state prison in Florence, Arizona, assisted by Tison's three teenage sons, Ricky, Donald and Raymond. Their inept plan to slip into Mexico began unraveling the minute they left the prison grounds. After a hectic week-long scramble, during which they killed six innocent human beings and one defenseless chihuahua, the fugitives were caught just thirty miles from where they started. Their desperate swath cut a ragged figure-eight through three states, starting in Florence, sneaking down to the Yuma area, then all the way up to Flagstaff, down through the White Mountains and over to Clovis, New Mexico, then up to the four corners area. From there, they returned to Tison's home town of Casa Grande, where they ran into a police road-block. After a gun battle that killed one of his sons, Tison fled into the desert. He endured over a week of searing summer temperatures before suffering the same fate he consigned to the chihuahua: an agonizing death from exposure.

I was about Ricky's age at the time. I also spent that week avoiding the police, passed out on a porch swing in my best friend's backyard. I had a little trouble following the the Tison story. I had it mixed up with the spectacular murder of reporter Don Bolles two year earlier. (Little did I know how intertwined the two incidents actually were.) Most folks didn't share my difficulty, however. Already stirred up by the controversy over the constitutionality of the death penalty, as well as extensive press coverage of prison corruption and penitentiary riots, the public howled for blood.

Recently, while looking for more food for the beast (i.e this blog), I came across an old letters page from our local newspaper, published shortly after the fugitives' capture. Edited for brevity and selected to exclude any dissenting opinion, the page portrays a public squarely in favor of sanctioned governmental murder. To a pica, the page is an overwhelmingly vitriolic demand for the ultimate penalty. Abstract debate is nowhere to be found.

Sure enough, after their capture, the surviving fugitives were summarily whisked off to death row. Greenwalt was certainly psychopathic; he had liitle chance of avoiding the apparatus. But as it turned out, Ricky and Ray were just a couple of sheepish developmentally challenged kids swept up in a dysfunctional atmosphere fashioned by a psychologically abusive father and their mother's cultish worship of her husband. In the end, the US Supreme Court commuted their death sentence to life imprisonment.

My own interest in the story lead me to a book by University Of Arizona professor James W. Clarke, "Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison." Clarke paints a fascinating picture of a modern day Barker clan descended of failed subsistence farmers and the disenfranchised poor. Clarke details the whole mess, leaving little doubt that everyone involved was doomed from the start. There is enough tragedy to go around -- he even reserves a little for the killers themselves, particularly oldest son Donnie. Though well on his way to escaping the hellish circumstances of his upbringing, Donnie was ultimately unable to resist the pull of family obligation. In the end, he wound up a victim of a disaster he tried to circumvent (if only half-heartedly). Ironically, he was the only brother to pay the full price.

Mainstream media interest in the story peaked in 1983, when Robert Mitchum portrayed Tison in a 1983 made-for-television movie, "Killer In The Family," which also featured James Spader and Eric Stoltz. In its review of the film, the New York Times wondered why anyone would care about such a collection of low-life. But I've come to see the Tison saga as an epic tale of rage and incompetence in the margins of society and on both sides of the law. Pick up the book if you ever get the chance. You can check out my letters page for free right now:

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Things I Should Throw Out: Omens From The 1970s

by Derrick Bostrom


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More and more these days, it strikes me that I've become a decidedly anti-social person. With every passing year, I turn away a little more from a world that leaves me increasingly aghast. I've been on earth too long; I can't help but notice how the pieces are all fitting together. As curmudgeonly as it may seem, as I survey the landscape, I just don't care at all for what I see. But I still have one thing going for me: I'm not fool enough to expect anyone to believe things were "better when I was a youngster." I had this point driven home to me just recently when I pulled out an old scrapbook of clips I saved from when I was a teenager in the seventies. Quirky news items I clipped and saved for my amusement back then fill me not with a yearning for days gone by, but with a feeling of dread. It's all there in black and white: the creeping morass, the "malaise," our oft-maligned downer of a chief executive, Mr. Carter, warned us against. (He's still racking up points for his "negativity" -- guess I'm not the only nut left in the shell.)

Back in high school, I was naive enough to think we had them safely on the ropes. The Watergate affair and its attendant fallout was so encouraging. But three decades later, it's obvious my optimism was premature. Bombing innocent foreigners, depriving the American people of their civil rights, robbing the country blind at the behest of corporate cronies -- as it turns out, this stuff doesn't really bother people all that much. Hell, the man in the big chair does it today -- no problem. But the swearing was just too much. After the release of the transcripts of Nixon's White House tapes, the country realized that they didn't have a nice person in the White House. They just weren't comfortable having such a potty mouth for president.

After that, America stuck with candidates that seemed like ordinary family men, folks that reminded them of the guy next door. Mainstream media began giving more and more play to the reactionary "family values" that continue to dominate the discourse today. But back then, we considered it an aberration, the decadent death throes of an old order. If we paid any attention at all to such "spokespersons" as Anita Bryant and Pat Buchanan, it was only to laugh at them. When, after a highly entertaining local political contest, the despicable John Conlan lost the Republican primary to the equally hateful Sam Steiger, who in turn took a trouncing from the Democrat Dennis DeConcini, how could we not puff up our chests? How were we to know how much grass roots ground work these forces were laying? Who could have guessed how effectively they would sweep back up on the table what I had always believed to be be dead straw issues like personal liberty, freedom from theocracy and sane foreign policy? Perhaps if we had known then what we know now, we may have chosen more effective weapons against them than custard cream.

Expletive Deleted

The family that campaigns together

The presidential sibling demeans our beer

Funnies reflect American values

Singers seeks prison terms for homosexuals

Patrick Buchanan denounces Gay Pride Week

Woman Derives Being From Man

Conlan Disputes Accusation

Sex Film Protest

Lipstick message in Idaho threatens Carter

Schafly meets Kay: The pieman strikes!


Menu Collection, Part Two: Phoenix

by Derrick Bostrom


When I was a kid, my mom worked to help put my dad through school (and later raised my brother and I as a single parent), so eating out usually meant a trip to the "Food Bazaar" (one of America's original food courts) or my brother's personal favorite restaurant, McDonalds (wow -- remember them?). But a restaurant meal with my grandparents was a rare occurance, since eating out with them meant strict decorum was observed. And since that rarely happened with us kids, well...that means it rarely happened.

One evening, my brother was off with our grandma somewhere, so my grandfather decided to take a chance on me. With mom in tow, the two of us tramped to the nearby Guggy's coffee shop, situated in the old Scottsdale Fashion Square mall. Nothing like today's massive temple with the same name, the old Fashion Square was an innovative three-level outdoor affair, reflecting the  upscale graciousness and relaxed pace that could be found in Scottsdale in the those days.

The Scottsdale Guggy's was very different from the one at Chris Town Mall, which was a much more typical early 60's coffee shop, crammed into a typical early 60's suburban shopping mall. The Scottsdale Guggy's was relatively opulent, with tall ceilings, fashionable contemporary fixtures and a hushed atmosphere of comparatively fine dining more reflective of its northeast valley address.

All of this was lost on me. The only things I cared about was the location of the bathroom and the contents of the revolving dessert rack over by the waitresses station. My grandfather noted my wandering attention. He observed my nervousness as he and my mother put down their menus.  He saw my concern as I continued to fidget with my menu, which I couldn't read. He fixed me with a stern gaze and bent over me conspiratorially.

"You'll catch more flies with sugar water than you will with vinegar."

I sat up straight as my grandfather motioned for the server, and quietly folded my menu as he had. I held my breath as the adults recited their orders, hoping I'd be allowed to choose my own meal. The waitress finally turned in my direction. This was the moment of truth.

"...can I have a hamburger...?"

"Of course you can! Would you like french fries with that?"

"...uh...y-yes please...oh, and a Coke!"

"Will that be all?"

I was running out of tricks. There was silence for a couple of beats.

"...Thank you!" I blurted finally.

The rest of the meal passed uneventfully. As we drove home, my mom announced that I had done well, and that my grandfather had been very proud of me. She asked me if I understood what he meant about the flies. I said I did: he wanted me to be sure not to forget the Coke.

The Guggy's chain is gone now, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is nothing special, just another obstacle course that I'm occasionally forced to navagate if my wife wants "Hello Kitty" stuff. Most of the Phoenix restaurants represented in my grandparents' menu collection are long gone (Monti's continues to hang in there, however). I found a couple of trinkets on a site devoted to the concerns of the tiki community, and an excellent gallery of Phoenix memorabilia hidden among the pages of realtor Leif Swanson. But the links in the article aside, I've found little on the Web to corroborate my recollections. Hopefully these menus help redress the situation.