(Didn’t think I forgot, did you?)
It’s been a week or so since the demise of local radio giant, 99X. To be sure, the giant had fallen into a deep, deep slumber a few years back. The coma left the giant doing little but muttering remembered songs from the station’s glory days. Inevitably, if you switched over to 99X in the middle of the afternoon, you’d hear one of the following bands: Everclear, Stone Temple Pilots, Cracker or Beck.
It reminded me of Chattanooga’s radio options, back when I was in high school. If you wanted to rock, just turn on KZ106-FM … provided your rock desires were limited to Heart, Boston or The Steve Miller Band. “Fly Like An Eagle, do-do-do-do …”
But 99X wasn’t always so predictable. At the start, it was brilliant. It’s safe to say that 99X was one of the best things to happen to Atlanta radio in twenty years. And personally, I felt a closer association to 99X through my college years than I ever did with a local station from my hometown. The first time I heard 99X was on a Sunday afternoon, returning to Berry College from a laundry jaunt / parental visit home in the fall of 1992.* I think I missed the fabled first day of broadcast, but nonetheless, we grew up together, the station and I.
Now, 99X is gone.
Sean Demery, one of the standard bearers of 99X, has established a one-post blog to tell the story of how 99X started, how it grew and how it faded. As I told a friend this weekend, I love it when people use the blogging medium this way. The simple decision to tell one’s tale through a blog speaks volumes for what blogging has become. It’s no longer about ego — as if it ever entirely was — but instead, its about sharing the stories we have.
In the “Beginning” section of Demery’s history lesson, he states plainly 99X’s original reason for being:
We put 99X on the air to have a place to listen to the music we were listening to at home. And we were hoping listeners would like it as well. Passion for the music you can play and the ability to share it with others is one of life’s greatest gifts.
And so, with little to no fanfare, I’m going to share a couple of tracks from one of my favorite albums of the late 90s. There’s little to say about The Spinanes, other than the fact that The Spinanes were really just a single Spinane named Rebecca Gates by 1998. That was when the last Spinanes album was released on the oh-so-90s Sub-Pop label, Arches & Aisles. It’s hard to pin down just what makes this album so good, other than that it is incredibly representative of its time. It just sounds like 1998. Gates plays the part of the lone girl with a guitar and her band of shoe-gazing disciples, sitting in her room with a 4-track and stack of jaded lyrics based on mostly-bitter love letters never sent.
The Spinanes – “Greetings From The Sugar Lick”
The Spinanes – “Love, The Laizee”
* – I transferred into Berry in 1992, for those of you keeping score at home.