The Show

Psychedelic punk pop space fuzz garage rock from the 60's to the latest releases. As a bonus you also get occasional pithy commentary or senseless blather, ticket giveaways, & the ever popular concert report at 5:15.
WMBR radio also broadcasts on the web. Listen to the mp3 stream

The History

I started hanging out in rock clubs in 1979, where I met the Late Risers Club (LRC) DJs. I went down to what was then WTBS, originally with either Greg Reibman or Carter Allen and got sucked into answering the phones on the LRC. At the time, the show ran from 9am to 1pm, but the same DJs had afternoon shows other days in the week, so it was basically the same programming from 9am - 4pm.

So, I started off answering phones, and then I started reading news on the LRC back when they did a news break every morning. During this time, there also used to be a show on called "Candy and Crystal", which was kind of like "Our Eyes on You", in The Noise; a couple minutes of gossip on the Boston rock scene. At one point the woman who played Crystal had to leave and I filled in.

WBRS, where the mayhem began

Around that point, I decided, "jeez, radio seems like a lot of fun", so in the spring of 1981, not able to actually get a show on what was now WMBR, I went over to WBRS, Brandeis University's low-power radio station and asked them if they needed any fill-ins over the summer break. They said "Oh yes yes please, we're desperate", so my first actual radio show was called "Airwaves", Thursday afternoons from noon to 3pm. Then, after doing that, I went back over to WMBR, was still unable to get a show, but decided to pursue a career in broadcasting.

I went to Emerson College, part time at night, while I was still reading the news and answering phones on the LRC. Emerson also has a radio station, WERS, and at the time, they had a nightime show, Nightclub, which was very similar to the LRC. In fact, I knew people who did Nightclub, and I had been down to WERS numerous times.

On the night of my first class, I went downstairs and found a long line of people in front of the station. They were all auditioning for WERS, and I said, "Oh, OK, I'd like to audition for a show", so I got in the line. When my turn came, I said I wanted to do Nightclub, and they gave me a little test. They asked me to do a talk break and station ID and all that, and since I'd already been doing radio for 3 months, it was pretty easy. I left, assuming that being a part time student would prevent me from getting a show, but I was wrong! They offered me a slot, and I ended up doing Nightclub on Friday nights from 11pm to 2am. It was fun, because Emerson at the time had 2000 watts, which was WAY more than WMBR's 200 watts, but after one semester of Emerson, I said "this career in broadcasting thing just isn't going to fly".

So I went back to WMBR and finally got a show, from midnight Saturday to 3 am Sunday. Because it was a late-night show, I called it "The Crawlspace", and I played new punk rock, 60's psychedelic bands, and esoteric stuff like the drummers of Burundi, so it was an eclectic mix. I did that for one programming season, in the midst of which someone left the LRC, so I got to do Late Riser's Club in addition to Crawlspace, which had been moved to Friday night.

How to get kicked off the LRC (1982 edition)

All along, my LRC shows were developing into my current style. I was playing the new punk rock and new wave (it was 1982 after all), and some of the really early hardcore, interspersed with things like the Amboy Dukes, the Sonics, the Shocking Blue, Gary Glitter and Kraftwerk. This didn't make the producer of the LRC at the time very happy, because he was getting very into the early Hard Industrial Dance genre, stuff like Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Wolfgang Press. We had a little playlist, and more and more of that was creeping into the schedule, while bands like the Clash were falling out of it, because they just weren't "cool" anymore since WBCN had started playing them.

Well, I protested because I liked punk rock and garage bands and weird 60's bands, and so things came to a head after I had been doing LRC for 6 or 7 months. The producer called me up and told me I was being replaced (by one of the new students), at which I got pretty upset, asking, "well, how can you throw me off the show?". He said, "I just don't think you're ready to do the LRC", and I was incensed, because I'd worked on the show for years (In fact, I was involved with it before he'd ever shown up). I said, "Fine, I'll get my own show!", even though the LRC was a high profile show with an entrenched listenership.

Aural Fixation is born

In March of 1983, I was given a timeslot, which I named Aural Fixation. It was on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4, almost the same time I had done my first show on WBRS. I followed Lost and Found with Roger the K, who played mostly 60's garage bands, and I worshipped his show. He really is the person who introduced me to all those great compilations like Rubble and Nuggets and got me away from the well-known bands like the Yardbirds and the Turtles.

So, I founded my show in order to play a greater variety of music than the LRC, at that time, found acceptable. Unfortunately, also at that time, some of those bands were "not cool", Black Sabbath was "not cool", Led Zeppelin was incredibly "not cool", and those were bands I liked playing. This made me pretty uncool.

Aural Fixation has now been on the air continuously, except for one short break in the fall of 1999, for 18 years in 10 different timeslots, some of which I liked and some of which I didn't. I hold the (dubious) honor of being the most-moved long-running show at WMBR.

Finally, the very thing that people dissed me for back in the early 80's, playing 60's garage bands and earlier mixed with new punk rock is now "de riguer" at WMBR and the new Nuggets reissue box set is at the top of the station charts. It's no longer my unique thing, but that makes me happy.

The Timeline

Thursday afternoon for 3 years.

Other shows where Sue can occasionally be heard

Aural Fixation isn't the only spot where you can hear Sue. Periodically, she also hosts several other shows, and you'll never know when she might pop up on The Late Risers Club, Lost & Found, Binge Purge, James Dean Death Car Experience, The Clueless Clubhouse, or Bats in the Belfry. Also listen to WZBC, where she does the occasional fill-in on the weekday rock block.

Finally, lest we forget, Sue and her fellow cheese-hosts bring you the semi-annual insanity known as Cheese Patrol on WMBR.