WMSE loves free-form radio. Our format’s complete and genuine freedom allows our DJs to explore an insane number of genres — music without limitations! It’s a fact that each WMSE show has its own community within the larger, more inclusive WMSE community; diverse radio programming is rewarded with a loyal listenership like no other.
But because the WMSE DJs are only on the air for three hours each week, you the listener might not get to know them quite as well as you might like, so to give you all a bit more insight, we’re proud to introduce the Get To Know Your WMSE DJ series. Each WMSE DJ gets the same five questions, and just like our free-form format, they choose to answer however they want: short or long, intense or humorously…we ask, they answer, we post.
Sonic Diet will be posting a new addition to the series biweekly on Mondays and the first batch of WMSE DJs featured will be those whose show falls within the 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. show slots.
DJ: Johnny Z
Show Name: The Chicken Shack
Day/Time: Friday, 9am – noon
How do you spend your days and nights when not hosting your radio show?
I spend my days working for the man. Nights I spend either rehearsing or gigging with one of my bands (the Uptown Savages/The Exotics), going to school, doing homework, doing the odd record spin around town etc. The rare nights that I am home I enjoy spending time with my wife and pets. I am almost done with school so I am actually going to have free time for the first time in two years. Hopefully I will be able to start writing new tunes for new releases for the bands.
Do you remember what band, album or song took you from being a casual music listener to a passionate music lover? Is there a memory associated with that experience?
I discovered records when I was about five or six years old…mid 1970s. My first record was Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, but my favorite record to check out from the library when I was a kid was Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison. Sometime around then I got some Beatles and Stones records at a garage sale and it was all over. I remember dancing around the living room one Sunday morning before church to Helter Skelter (Beatle’s White Album), mind you this was in the mid-70’s and the Manson thing was fresh on people’s minds. My mom flipped out and told me that I was the child of the devil. That was also a turning point. Once I found out who my daddy was my future was cinched. It was going to be rock and roll forever.
What band have you heard or discovered in the past six months that reminded you why you want to continue being a WMSE DJ?
Too many to pick one, my most recent country faves have been Charlie Phillips and Jess Willard, both vintage artists. I am really a sucker for old obscure records, and don’t buy too many new releases by current artists. The new releases that I have been excited about in the last year are guitarist Richard Bennett, JD McPherson, The Tomorrowmen, and the new Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks – yeah, I know) record.
The musical experience has changed for me to a certain extent. Sometimes I think that I am too overexposed. There is so much great music out there that needs to be heard, and access to music, be it new or old, has never been easier. I think that the constant inundation of music prevents the best stuff from getting the attention it deserves sometimes. In the 80’s and early 90’s you really had to research and dig around to find that one essential record. You probably had to mail away for it or order it from the record store and it would take weeks to arrive. The anticipation was excruciating. Once it arrived, it didn’t leave the record or CD player for a month or more. It was special. I really miss that experience, sometimes. Then again, if a listener requests a song that I don’t have, it is great to be able to download it to my phone and get it on the air minutes later. I am torn.
Who is your favorite non-you WMSE DJ and why?
That’s tough, I’m not sure that I have a favorite, and I try to listen to as many as I can. I listen when I am home, or in the car and only recently have been able to stream the archives at work. The ones I always seem to catch are Buzz, Terry Havel, Dewey’s Big Band Show, Orgullo Latino, Sonia, and Cebar. I guess it’s because they all play music that I enjoy, and they are good air personalities. I am always trying to learn the craft from them. I like Andy Turner, too because he seems to play all of the Norton Records releases that I don’t own.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I haven’t decided yet. I am still thinking either astronaut, policeman, retired, or rock star. Maybe all of the above.