By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Other DJs will join the lineup during the next several weeks to supplement the efforts of first hire Caroline Corley, a fiery personality who was disappeared by KTCL this summer (the story was covered in the August 6 Feedback). According to Corley, who'll be at the helm weekdays between 2 and 7 p.m., "I think the Peak fills the niche left by 92X. It'll be a palatable, listenable rock station, and I'm very excited about it. There'll be none of the heavy old gold like Sabbath and Zeppelin that KBPI is all bogged down with, and no Jewel or Natalie Merchant, either."
That's a pledge I'll hold you to, ma'am.
Changes are afoot at KBPI as well. Morning-show DJ Rick Kerns, a stand-up comic who was one of my biggest fans (he was once overheard referring to me as a "fucking cunt"), got the sack earlier this month--and although Kerns's partner, Kerry Gray, remains on the air at the station, an October 9 talk-show stint on KRRF-AM/1280 (Ralph) implies that he may be on his way out the door as well. After all, Ralph isn't a Jacor station; it's owned by the aforementioned Chancellor Media.
When asked about Gray's future at KBPI, program director Richards is supportive but not effusive. "We allowed Kerry to go on Ralph because he wanted to get some tape on himself in a talk format, which is something he's always been interested in," he says. (Gray previously earned a talk-show tryout with Jacor, but because a flippant on-air comment he made about Jesus Christ wound up in the Rocky Mountain News, this experiment has not been repeated.) Nonetheless, Richards adds, "I don't believe Kerry's going anywhere. For the forseeable future, he'll be on KBPI."
So what's next for KBPI in the a.m.? "We want to put a more compelling morning show on," Richards says. "I can't go into specifics about that yet, but I can tell you that there are a number of possibilities. You could see Kerry in other scenarios with other personalities, or you might see a morning show that's already together in another market coming to Denver." Richards insists, however, that said program will not star Howard Stern, whose broadcast was recently purchased by Tribune Broadcasting for use on KKHK-FM/99.5 (the Hawk) only to be dumped at the last minute (see the August 10 and August 24 Feedbacks for details). "I'd be lying to you unless I said that we've talked about and thought about Howard," he notes. "But we think it's in our best interest to come up with a topical Denver morning show where the personalities live and breathe here. We think that's what makes radio great in Denver, and we're committed to putting on the best local morning show we can. And we think we can come up with one that's better than Kerry and Kerns."
Expect a decision on KBPI's drive-time slot to come down within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, Gray is expected to put the focus on sounds instead of snappy one-liners. In an unintentional echo of the comments made by Tribune Broadcasting's David Juris amid the post-Stern fallout, Richards says, "I don't think it hurts us to shut up and play music in the morning. Our research tells us that's what people want, and until we make an announcement, that's what we're going to do."
It's taken the better part of a year, but the Tarmints, fronted by Kurt Ottoway, have finally issued their debut recording, a nine-song offering that should appeal to boosters of Ottoway's previous band, Twice Wilted. Recorded on a sixteen-track machine by longtime Denver scenester Todd Ayers, Tarmints is rougher-hewn than most of Twice Wilted's work; it's a grabby, aggressive mix that favors immediacy over smoothness. "Swamp Song" sports a twisted structure invaded by wildly barking dogs; "Vipers" and "Drinking Song" find Ottoway channeling Jim Morrison; "Green Piano" evolves into a jangly, deliberate mood piece; the instrumental "A Lemon Wedge...Sir" revels in brittleness; and "Kindlin" bubbles over with retro melodrama.
In the past, Ottoway has been primarily a vocalist, but that's no longer the case. He credits his fellow Tarmints--bassist Julie "Mint Julip" Schliebner, guitarist Robert Jamison (aka Class "A" Bobby J.) and drummer A.J. Hathaway, a former member of Cynic's Bane who apparently has yet to earn a nickname--with giving him an excuse to pick up his guitar. "It's been a new challenge for me," he says. "It's made me feel a lot more part of the band. Everybody's gotten really close, and we've ended up being, like, best friends. It's cool."
The new disc appears on Denver Coffee Achievers, a label formed by Ottoway and Ayers; expect a solo effort by Ayers and an EP by volplane to appear in the coming months. As for Tarmints performances, they've been tough to catch; Ottoway notes that the band has played out of state more often than it has appeared in Colorado. (An August trip to California, where Ottoway lived for a stretch, included gigs with a handful of Denver expatriates, including the Christines.) A CD-release bash was scheduled to take place on Friday, October 23, at the Bug Theater, with the Perry Weissman 3, and it still might; at press time, the showcase was up in the air. Ottoway suggests that interested parties surf on over to www.tarmints.com to get up-to-the-minute information. "The site lets people make a direct connection to all of our products, and it helps us stay independent," he says. "Which is why we like it."