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Modern Industry! Fishbone’s radio love song

The other day I got a chance to see Lev Anderson and Chris Melzter’s wonderful documentary Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone at the Roxy Theater in San Francisco (trailer here). The film is a must see for anyone who wants to understand the post-disco music scene of the 1980s, with its eclectic mix of ska, funk, soul, rock, punk, and whatever else happened to be around. Fishbone was, and still is, a wonderful band, best appreciated live, but certainly beautifully understood and portrayed in this doc.

Fishbone's Angelo Moore at the Roxy Theater in January

Fishbone's Angelo Moore at the Roxy Theater in January (photo: Matthew Lasar)

The screening was especially exciting for me, because the band’s lead singer, Angelo Moore (aka “Dr. Mad Vibe”) made an appearance afterwards. But Everyday Sunshine also reminded me of one of Fishbone’s first MTV hits: “? (Modern Industry)”—a 1985 Devo-esque piece that served as a long song to broadcast radio.

Basically, the piece lists and shouts out what I presume were some of Fishbone’s favorite radio stations:

“Turn it on, man . . .

WBRU, KABE, WFLY, Cool 92

KAX, KOKE, KRO

WAMX, yes, wow !

KJZ ! The . . . KUSF, check 94, KFRC

A-A-A-A”

. . . followed by this observation:

“These are the voices of modern industry

They speak the words that bring you together

These are the sounds gears grinding

These are the round levers

These are the sounds behind the machines . . . “

. . . other stations mentioned include:

“K-ROCK, K-VETE, K-VOL, K-ZAP, K-SOUL, K-SHAFF

Disappear !

WIMI

394 … JACE

397 … WEWE

KCOC, Star 96

The Cube…”

. . . followed by:

“WBAS, WOWW, hah, WAX, WDUD

KSIN, we refuged you…

KUSA, hallelujah

KILD, that means ‘kill’

Hey man, we have faith in you…

Hey, can you believe it

Do we have listeners out there

105… 195”

I would love to know the story of how these radio stations were picked (and if any are figments of the Fishbone imagination). But the piece definitely goes on the next edition of my favorite songs about radio list.


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