Do you think the local music scene is lame? Think again. Think the radio is boring? You aren’t digging deep enough! Do yourself a favor; tune your radio dial to 93.9 KWSS on Tuesday nights from 8pm to 10pm for a prime example of the eclectic and dynamic nature of the valley’s vibrant and varied music scene: Erratic Radio! In staying true to the show’s name, Erratic Radio’s host Westley Allen spins whatever he is getting into at the moment in addition to the show’s standby genres: garage rock, punk/new wave, lo-fi, and local noise. It’s a mix that is unique and upbeat, strange and stimulating, all rolled into 2 hours of rock ’n’ roll fun. With live performances by local and traveling bands on every broadcast, Westley describes the weekly event: “Every show is pretty much a party open to the public if you know where to find the wrong side of the tracks.”
A veteran guitarist of the valley’s underground bands The Half Empties and Big Vinny and the Cattle Thieves, Westley currently slings his axe for The Plainfield Butchers when he isn’t ripping up the airwaves. Becoming a DJ was a natural step for Westley, who was so intrigued by radio as a child that he would record mock broadcasts and news programs onto cassette tapes for his friends. Several years later he landed an internship on a KWSS comedy show through the Audio Production program of Mesa Community College. According to Westley: “I think the girl that ran the show had the hots for me because I probably wasn’t the most qualified candidate, but I got the job.” Slyly slipping in tunes by acts such as The Boys, Teengenerate, The Drags, and Richard Hell in between the comedy gave him a mischievous thrill and cemented desire to be a broadcaster.
When the comedy show’s run ended, Westley pitched Erratic Radio and got the two-hour spot on Tuesday nights to showcase the kind of music he got off on. He states the motivation for the show: “to bring a weekly party into your living rooms, vehicles, and headsets via the internet and FM airwaves. I also think we have an insanely, wild, eclectic, talented local scene that gets overlooked. I’m here to try to document that scene.” A partial list of the home-grown talent to appear on Erratic Radio includes: Destruction Unit, Man Hands, Scorpion Vs. Tarantula, Freaks of Nature, Rebel Set, Petty Things, and Numb Bats. In addition to the area’s acts, Erratic Radio has also featured such national artists as Jack Oblivian, Peaches, Cosmonauts, Acid Baby Jesus, The Freeze, Harley from Deadbolt, and Exene Cervenka, to name just a few.
While those acts may not be household names, they do fit securely into the show’s diverse format and stated goal of combating the boring DJ’s and bland musical acts that pollute the airwaves across America. Westley would love to see communities take back the radio waves and create more variegated and educational programming. He states: “I dig this local scene. It’s always changing and evolving. People who claim this place is void music/art/culture obviously haven’t taken a stroll downtown lately or giving a show like mine a listen. There’s so many good bands and labels popping up all the time. We just try to give people a way to connect it all.” So, now that you know it exists, no more complaining about the local music scene: tune into Erratic Radio on Tuesday nights!