At approximately 3:00 p.m. every Thursday, if you're dialed in to 88.9 KXLU radio station straight out of the Loyola Marymount College campus, you will hear The Television Personalities' transmission of the Part Time Punks track. It is the initiatory to the program with the same title from 3-6 p.m. by Michael Stock, one of the finest disc jockey's of our generation. Immediately after the track he will begin to speak in a pedagogic tone as his voice takes us on an atmosphere of personal anecdotes, upcoming shows, musical guests, and other interests he might have. I've been listening to KXLU for decades and never have I listened to a DJ on this, or any other station, where the discourse is as intriguing as the music. This is directly related to his teaching experience at UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount, UCLA, and Cal Arts, covering topics such as: punk music, comic books, creative writing, film aesthetic and drama.
Back in the '80s when I started listening to post-punk, new wave, dark wave, synth, minimal, etc... there wasn't a radio station in Los Angeles that I could remember that captured these tracks regularly. Sure there was always KROQ and Richard Blade that played the more popular stuff (though greatly appreciated) and people called us KROQers, new wavers, disco ducks, and so forth, but there were so many bands from the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Australia that didn't get fanciful radio play. It was only through underground video programing where I saw Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus, The Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil, Love Song by The Ocean Blue, and hundreds of others bands that I learned to truly appreciate the trajectory of this music.
One fine day I was listening to KXLU around Michael Stock's programming and I heard: The Stone Roses, Joy Division, The Smiths, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Tears for Fears, Nitzer Ebb, New Order, The Chameleons, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and other such giants of these beautiful genres that I had to stop everything I was doing at the moment and listen to the duration of the show. I haven't looked back since and I've come to develop a favorable outlook on Stock's formidable temperament, his skill, and choice of music. Unfortunately, I missed the first few years of his programming because I was living outside of the country for three years, then in San Luis Obispo, where college radio was at the very least -- tolerable. However, it's never too late to learn something or about something, thus Part Time Punks has become part of my Thursday routine.
Read the L.A. Times, the LA Weekly, write an article, listen to NPR, listen to Michael Silverblatt's Book Worm on KCRW, and finish with Part Time Punks. Michael Stock has introduced me to many bands such as: Black Marble, Beach Fossils, Flaamingos, Absolute Body Control, Lebanon Hanover, Toy, and many others. His preference dates back to 1977 vinyl to modern-day revivalists, with an independent do-it-yourself ethos, to include: Punk, Post-Punk, Synth-Punk, Synthpop, Minimal Synth, Dark/Cold/Minimal Wave, NDW, Industrial, New Wave, No Wave, C86, Indiepop, Twee, Shoegaze, and Krautrock.
Not only is Michael Stock an exceptional radio DJ, you can catch him every Sunday at the Echo in Echo Park doing live sets, tribute nights to the greats like Depeche Mode and Siouxie and the Banshees, and bringing forth the new bands that are carrying the torch to keep this style of music current and relevant. Moreover, on Friday nights you can catch him at La Cita in Downtown spinning Punky Reggae, where the bar also does Rockabilly and Norteño nights. In the spirit of the great British record producer, disc jockey, radio presenter, and journalist, John Peel, notably remembered for his Peel Sessions on BBC radio, Michael Stock has been recording Part Time Punks Radio Sessions with contemporary bands as live versions of usually four tracks.
I remember hearing about the Peel Sessions back in the early '90s when I had my first Smiths Peel Session recording, to the most recent one I have of Belle and Sebastian. There is always a variation of the songs, and Michael Stock has been recording these sessions regularly with contemporaneous bands while offering some of these versions during the KXLU yearly fundraiser.
If this isn't enough to get you excited about Michael Stock and Part Time Punks, he has also been collaborating with daughter, Nico, and artist Sina Grace on a comic book miniseries set to be released November 5th of this year. Nico Stock, tired of reading books about girls who need to be saved, decided to write about girls who do the saving and her father couldn't agree more. That is the type of punk rock ethos we should all have, when you're looking for something out there that you find missing in society... do it yourself, and be a part time punk in the meantime if you have to.
Photo Credit: Octavius September 2009