June 6, 2010

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(Hoyt Axton - gave the world The Pusher)


Tonight's installment of the Chronicles heads over to Pasadena during the early months of 1968 when B. Mitchell Reed and Tom Donohue tinkered with that new thing called "FM Freeform". Like the transformation of popular culture on San Francisco airwaves via KSAN and KMPX, KPPC was originally owned by the Pasadena Presbyterian Church and didn't do a whole lot with it. That is, until some enterprising folks decided it would make the perfect launching platform for a new age of radio broadcasting. And KPPC came into being. A riotous freeform radio station where anything went and no format was adhered to. It was, for all intents and purposes, a great time.

As witness this half hour impromptu concert by local folk hero Hoyt Axton, who dropped in on Reed during his afternoon shift and played a few tunes. One of the interesting sidelights is the fact that Axton plays The Pusher, a song which brought lots of attention to Steppenwolf when they recorded it and it was featured on the soundtrack to Easy Rider, but Axton wasn't to officially record his version until the 1970's. So this little concert predates that and, aside from some of the technical glitches, offers a pretty fascinating glimpse into radio, the singer-songwriter and the general goofiness of the time.

All good fun - all gone too quickly. But popular culture is just like that.

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