hardDrive Staff Remembers
20 Years of Best Rock Show Ever
Poetry by Lou Brutus
TWENTY YEARS OF HARDDRIVE
CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S BEEN THAT LONG
TWO DECADES WORTH OF ROCK N ROLL
CONCERTS, TOURS, AND SONGS
BREAKING COUNTLESS BABY BANDS
WATCHING THEM LEARN AND GROW
MOVING UP FROM OPENERS
TILL THEY HEADLINE THEIR OWN SHOWS
COUNTLESS ROCKER INTERVIEWS
SOME INFORMATIVE AND SMART
OTHERS FUNNY OR DERANGED
AS THEY TRY TO EXPLAIN THEIR ART
PLANES, TRAINS, AUTOMOBILES
I’VE TRAVELED EVERYWHERE
A BACKSTAGE PASS AND LANYARD
MY USUAL NECKWEAR
LONG DAYS AND NIGHTS AWAY FROM HOME
COOPED UP IN TOUR BUS BUNK
TOO LONG TILL I COULD SHOWER
AND SMELLING LIKE A SKUNK
I’VE HOSTED EVERY FESTIVAL
ROCK ON THE RANGE AND LOLLAPALOOZA, TOO
KNOTFEST, ROCKFEST AND OZZFEST
PROJEKT REVOLUTION AND SONIC BOOM
SOME NIGHTS I LIKE TO STAY UP LATE
READING MY TICKET STUBS AND PASSES
THOUSANDS OF SHOWS AND MILLIONS OF MILES
BRINGING MUSIC TO THE MASSES
TOUR MANAGERS AND PUBLICISTS
SOUND, LIGHTS, AND ALL THE CREW
HOW COULD I FAIL TO MENTION THOSE
WHO HELP BRING IT ALL TO YOU
AND WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT THE STATIONS
PLAYING THE SHOW FROM COAST TO COAST
TO SAY, “WITHOUT THEM, I AM NOTHING”
IS NOT AN IDLE BOAST
FINALLY, ALL THE LISTENERS
LIKE ME, THEY’RE MUSIC FANS
WHO LIVE TO MEMORIZE LINER NOTES
AND SUPPORT THEIR FAVORITE BANDS
SO MANY TUNES, SO MANY YEARS
THEY NUMBER TWO TIMES TEN
I HAD SO MUCH FUN THE FIRST ROUND
LET’S GO BACK AND DO IT AGAIN
hardDrive Turns 20
by hardDrive producer Roxy
What can I say? This is the little radio show that could. It began life as a more heavy metal show back in 1994 called "Pure Concrete." It was hosted by a former rock radio program director named Bob Elliot, who, at the time, was at a rock station in NYC called Q104.3. The show was well-received, but then came along this new genre of rock...I like to refer to it as "Extreme Rock." And there was a radio station in Las Vegas called X-treme Rock, X107.5 who also was championing the format: less Van Halen and Aerosmith, more Rage Against The Machine, Korn and Limp Bizkit.
So as the show's producer, and working for a radio network who wanted to be on the cutting edge of music and music culture, SW Networks (incidently, owned then by Sony & Warner Bros), I persuaded my boss to allow me to modify "Pure Concrete" and find a new host and a name for the show. This was around the late winter of 1996. The bottom line philosophy continued to be "think like a fan" and expose new music! So bang, the name "hardDrive" came up in a meeting and since we couldn't think of anything better in the 11th hour, that was what we settled on.
Then came the task of finding who would be the right host. I wanted someone different, who wasn't your "read what's on the card" guy. I also didn't want a "shock jock," (there were many of those around who wanted to be Howard Stern) so I turned to our then consultant, who sent along a box of cassettes containing airchecks of air talent they thought might be right. It wasn't 'til I got to nearly the bottom of the box, when I saw one from some guy named Lou Brutus. Hmmm. Hadn't heard his name before. His resume was impressive. Worked at some stations I held in high regard like WBCN/Boston, WMMR/Philadelphia and WHJY/Providence. He was doing afternoons at WRCX/Rock 103.5 in Chicago at the time. So I popped the cassette in and there were some pretty funny bits, and he spoke of Frank Zappa, one of my all-time favs, and there was an interview with Maynard and Adam from Tool. NOW, we’re talking MY language! So I told my boss "This is the one! I want Lou!"
And, as they say, the rest is history.
Lou and I have survived 3 different radio networks. One wanted to cancel us back in 2001, but luckily, I reached out to an ole radio syndicator pal who is here at United Stations Radio Networks (Thank you, Andy), and he gladly welcomed us with open arms. USRN has been our home and over the years, we have grown leaps and bounds, branding the good hardDrive name on to a weeknight 7PM to midnight show, hardDrive XL with Lou Brutus, http://www.harddriveradio.com website, annual hardDrive Live Tour(s) (http://www.harddrivelivetour.com) , the hardDriveRadio APP, the hardDriveRadio YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/hardDriveChannel) and the hardDrive DL podcast series (on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/harddrivedl, Stitcher and iTunes.) We've grown with the technology...I mean, I remember when the internet was the Wild West in the early '90's!
Over the many years, I can't even BEGIN to tell you how many bands we’ve interviewed collectively. Has to be in the 1,000's. We take great pleasure in helping artists realize their dreams of hearing their songs on the radio and subsequently, reaching Number One on the rock radio charts. We've covered Ozzfests, Mayhems, Uproars and Rock On The Ranges every single year. Lou is covering new summer festivals all over the place. Anywhere cool rock events are happening, we are there. We take great pride in the quality of the interviews we conduct and that has been our shining star with our many affiliates. Being the only new hard rock syndicated radio show to weather all of the ups and downs of the genre has been like a roller coaster, but one that we expect and take on the challenge. There has been no other show to ever match what hardDrive is and how we do what we do. And if I may be so bold to say, I doubt there will ever be one.
We have been nominated over the years for awards from Billboard magazine, and for the past 5 years, as producer of hardDrive, RadioContraband has bestowed me with their Non-Traditional Programmer of the Year, the Format VIP, as well as the RadioContraband Impact Award. Lou Brutus has been nominated by Billboard as Best Syndicated Rock Radio Host and has also received 3 repeat awards from RadioContraband for Syndicated Host of the Year. And these are awards voted on by our peers: music industry execs and the rock radio community. They have good taste!
Sure we have had competition that has threatened our mere survival, but it is a testament to our affiliate stations who continue to air us over these many years. Most of them have been with us for all 20, and for that, we are eternally grateful. We hope we will be here another 20 for you to enjoy and hear the best new hard music and the artists who make the music on the "world famous hardDrive"! (And yes, I did steal that from a Los Angeles radio station!)
(hardDrive would not be possible if it weren’t for the following people: Corinne Baldasano, Chris Gibbons, Mike LoBasso, Chris Caulfield, Dino Tortu [RIP] , John Albanese, Andy Denemark, Nick Verbitsky, Kelly Kramer, Zak Tranese, Bill Powell and Paul Spagna, the entire radio, records and music community, you, the listeners, and of course, Lou Brutus.)
It's hard to believe that Harddrive is 20 years old. In show-years, that's a staggering amount of time. And due in large part to the efforts of Roxy and Lou, it is a show that is as vital and relevant today as it was when it debuted in 1996.
When Roxy asked if I'd like to contribute a word or two about what Harddrive means to me, I jumped at the chance. After all, I'm proud to say that I am the longest-running engineer on the show. This year marks a decade of my involvement with the mighty HD. But honestly, it was impossible for me to put into words what Harddrive means to me. After all, Harddrive essentially started my career in radio, and it's a show I have a great time engineering so it doesn't always feel like "work".
The truth is that Harddrive is really all about the listeners' relationships to the artists. Harddrive is about the bands who play their f***ing hearts out. It's about music that makes you feel something-love, anger, joy. It's about those folks who come to our show week after week, looking for their next favorite record, wanting to hear interviews with the people who make the music, and (hopefully) tuning in to hear the unique way in which it’s delivered.
We here at Harddrive will continue to bring you the best in new rock. We'll keep bringing you exclusive interviews with your favorite artists. And we'll always do our best to stay vital and relevant by bringing you "new bands that perchance you haven't heard before." We are Harddrive and we are XX. Here's to another XX.
Paul (Programming Assistant)
As the newest member of the hardDriveRadio team, it's difficult to put 20 years of rocking out in perspective. I have known since the beginning there was a legacy of this show, but I didn't really understand what that meant, until I started to accompany Lou and Roxy to concerts and festivals. It is impossible to walk anywhere backstage at a show without running into twenty different people who know them. Or want to take a picture. Or just want to say "Hi."
hardDriveRadio has been instrumental in breaking many bands in their early days, and now that they're established, they haven't forgotten us. Lou is invited to climb on the tour bus for days at a time to live with bands on the road. Roxy is invited to stand side-stage at sold-out shows. I am in awe at the achievements of hardDrive, and at the generous spirit of the musicians and artists that have been with us since the beginning.
This show has always been something magical. In the day-to-day operation, it's almost easy to forget that. But when you hear your work on the air across the country, on our many amazing affiliates, you can understand the reach and power of it all. Music is an integral part of the human experience. hardDrive exists to get the greatest hard rock music to as many ears as we possibly can. It is humbling to be a part of such an incredible machine. Live Hard. Play Loud. This is what hardDriveRadio is about, and will continue to be for the next 20 years!