Hello everyone and welcome to the 11th anniversary of That Drummer Guy/Heavy Debriefings, my very first radio show, and the very first time I ever got behind a microphone to talk about music. August 2nd, 2011. Things were so different 11 years ago. I was still living in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, and I was between bands. I really felt like my life had no purpose (I still feel that way, but you know what I mean) but one thing I was doing at this time was showing off a lot of different music on Facebook. This got the attention of the owner of a local internet radio station who was starting a variety show wanting to show off music and skits. As he was not as familiar with rock music as I was, he asked if I would want to do a pre-recorded show that’s about an hour long, 10 songs, and I talk a little bit in between each song. Having zero experience, but not just wanting to do nothing, I jumped at the opportunity.
If you missed out on the very short era of the internet radio show/talk /variety show. The whole show was about 3 hours long. I had 10 songs and was told to keep it under an hour when possible. The show was premiered live with webcams in a studio and had a chatroom so people could request songs or give feedback and have other conversations that would keep the community around as the show went onward.
I recorded the very first show in New Richmond, Wisconsin at his studio and for the next several hours, I went from severe anxiety to excitement to existential crisis after existential crisis to listening to the final product and being so proud of what I just made. After it was all done, I learned how to work Adobe Audition and learned how to do this on my own. I used a Rock Band branded USB mic for the Xbox 360 to record for the next couple of years and jumped head first into what would eventually become my career. After 11 years, I have made some great upgrades and technology is much easier to use now than it was right before things changed in 2011, but looking back right now, I really did make the right decision.
So what’s going on here? Well, I wanted to go over the first playlist I made for my very first show and talk about all the songs individually. For something that was marketed toward a more...mainstream audience (not just music, but in general), I really decided to take what could have been my only shot at doing something professionally and made a choice. Either I go and play songs people already know and make them happy or I show people stuff they may not be familiar with but could very well enjoy just as much. If you know anything about who I am...well, you’ll see what I picked.
No rules or anything for this list as it’s just going chronologically from the beginning to the end. So just kick back and enjoy.
Fair To Midland
Whiskey & Ritalin
Anchors & Arrows
I know this was the song I wanted to start everything with, the show, my career, everything. Fir to Midland was actually getting pretty decent radio play here in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area. From what I understand, it was one of the only top 40 rock stations that truly embraced them before everything became the idea of following the script. I loved the band since I first heard Dance of the Manatee and when they had a new album out the same year I started radio, I wanted to show them off as much as possible and I’m so glad that I did. Sadly, this will probably be from the last Fair to Midland album, but they left a trail of destruction in their path that I can’t thank them enough for. It’s a fun, heavy, quirky song and that was the band in general. Progressive, forward-thinking and never giving you what you would expect. If that’s not my philosophy, I don’t know what is. I miss them and will always wish they were still around, but some things were meant to burn out instead of fade away.
All New Materials
For some reason, I swore I played Jetpacks was Yes! instead of All New Materials but looking back, I did indeed play this one. I was on a big Periphery kick back those days and Got to interview the band twice starting less than a year later. I thought this was another great choice as PII was coming out next year and Periphery was just growing bigger and bigger on social media. With their initial blend of melody and Djent...or more aptly named in years to come...Progressive Metalcore. I figured it was a perfect one-two punch with Fair to Midland, also considering the two bands toured together that same year after I did this show. I called it perfectly. All New Material was one of the lesser raved songs on PI but I will also dig it for its great sense of modern metal and progressive metal. At the time, that was a winning combination for me.
50,000 Unstoppable Watts
Strange Cousins from the West
This was the first of many twists and turns the show would take. I found this song to be a calling card for me. A quirky song about pirate radio and playing what you want to play on what is honestly a very small radius (in all honestly, yeah, that was me in a nutshell). I think the band still plays this one on occasion, but considering Earth Rocker came out after this album, they more or less stopped promoting this album as much as they had been and moved forward, but just like any Clutch album, there will always be some true gems and this song is one of them. I haven’t heard this song in a long time, but now it just brings me back to when I started and it’s a great feeling.
King’s X is closer to being my favorite band of all time even more so than it was back in 2011. I chose this song as Dogman was not just the heaviest KX album at the time of its release, but it was around the time when the band was at its most mainstream popularity. My thinking was, “Hey someone may remember this one” and it was a great little throwback. It's a heavy, catchy, and fun song. And wouldn’t you know it, 11 years after this show, the band is putting out a new album later this year, just another reason to stick around for this thing that we call life.
Eyes of Fire
Ok, I may have started testing people’s people patience here with ones who were expecting me to play AC/DC and Five Finger Death Punch. Progressive Power Metal is a niche genre in the grand scheme of things, but I’m in that niche and I wanted others to dig it as well. This is one of the most accessible Pagan’s Mind songs, it was off their latest album (and wouldn’t you know it, it’s still their latest studio album) and it just has such a hook-heavy vocal chorus. To me, it was a perfect song to play. As of now, Pagan’s Mind is still in the midst of their follow-up album. I wouldn’t expect it before 2023, if not longer. I’ve been waiting 11 years for the next album and I hope it comes out so I can promote it to the best of my ability.
A Thousand Lies
And I completely decided “Fuck it, let's see how far out into the metal territory I can truly go.” and I played what I still am one of the heaviest bands ever made off one of the heaviest albums ever made and a song that went from being my favorite Triptykon song to the exact opposite reason why I love the band. The song was a true outlier on the album as the rest is slow, brooding, and emotionally brutal. This song hits me so hard because of its intensity and it has a wave of anger I can only wish to let out of my system one day. As I mentioned, I much prefer the slow doom that they are known for, A Thousand Lies is still that perfect, ready to destroy anything in my path, the song all of us need.
Strapping Young Lad
So what could you possibly play after Triptykon to bring things back to some kind of normalcy? Well, what else than SYL? But in all seriousness, it may be the best-known song from the band, it’s catchy, heavy, and oddly, I did bring in the reigns with this show from here on out. Plus any time I can promote Hevy Devy, I will! I will always love SYL and this song and I’m glad to see Dev is playing some songs on occasion live.
Dat iz Voodoo
And this is how I brought the show back to a more calm state. A metal band from Trinidad that I saw open for King’s X in 2009 and I always thought to myself, if I had a way to show this band off, I will. 2 years later, here we go. A fantastic blend of genres that makes for such a fun listening experience with some very hard-hitting lyrics. Almost as if they were the King’s X of Trinidad. I wish they had put out more material, but thankfully, their music still lives on. Seriously, give it a shot if you have an open mind, it’s more than worth it.
Catch Without Arms
The other most commercial-sounding song I put on the show. The fact dredg just never hit that breakthrough level to make them sell out mid-level venues makes me sad, but it also makes me appreciate them more as they stuck to their guns, and even on their most successful album, they sing about how they will change for no one and will continue making the music they want to play. They will always be my favorite non-metal band. As of now, they were supposedly working on a new album, but I’ve been waiting for that for over 10 years now. If it happens, awesome. If not. We still got 5 awesome (yes 5, dammit) albums to enjoy.
Souvenirs d’un autre monde
Souvenirs d’un autre monde
So instead of giving a safe, commercial, mainstream landing; I ended with Alcest. TO BE FAIR; I did not end on black metal era Alcest or blackgaze era Alcest, but the album that brought them the first true worldwide attention. Their unique blend of shoegaze, atmosphere, and the anxiety that things will either stay this ethereal calm or are about to be destroyed continued on through the rest of their career. The band is still as active as ever and is touring Europe this year. Maybe a new album next year? Let’s find out!
And there you go, a retrospective looks at the first show I ever made. After this aired, I was pulled aside and was told that I will need to start playing more bands people know, more bands like the aforementioned AC/DC and Five Finger Death Punch. I said “If they want to hear that, let them turn on the radio. I want to do something unique, something different, a reason to tune in here and get something you won’t get anywhere else.” in one of the first times I ever truly stood up for myself in my life. It was a gutsy move as they could have easily said no and got someone else. And to their credit, they kept me till the station closed 29 shows later. Things ended badly, as they often do and I do not have anything to do with those who run the station since it went under, but it did inspire me to keep going…eventually. After it went under I thought it was all over and everything got taken away from me, but in 2012, I was actually given FM, AM, and internet opportunities to do my own show, no restrictions, play what I want, and get more interviews, be myself. And dammit, I’ve done that ever since. Though the format has changed, the areas of airplay have drastically changed, and instead of playing music on my actual show, I make playlists to accompany the show instead to give people more options of how they want to digest what I do; I still get to be, 11 years later!
Thank you very much for reading this write-up, it was a fun, tough, and rewarding look back and being able to talk about all the different aspects of what went into this first show. So many highs since, too many lows as well. But through it all, I’m still me!
Till next time, this is Josh Rundquist saying, SEE YA!