Thursday, June 04, 2015

George Gimarc & Johnny Rotten

Will you stop blogging about the Sex Pistols? Just one more. In the 1990s, John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, hosted a radio segment called "Rotten Day." It was a syndicated daily distributed by Premier Radio Networks airing on more than 40 radio affiliates including WBCN, WREV, and XTRA in the U.S. It had a 2-minute 'This Day in Rock n Roll' sort of format. Except that it's focus was on punk rock, and it was designed to be a promotion for the book Punk Diary by George Gimarc. It was more or less plugola from the get-go.

The scripts were usually written by George Gimarc. The schtick was to note a music or cultural event on that calendar date and then Lydon would slag on it. You would that that would get old fast. It's amazing that it lasted from September of 1995 to February 1997. They show grew beyond the confines of Gimarc's book as did Lydon's radio aspirations. Lydon went on to record a weekly 4 hour program for eYada.com in 1999. But his most recent radio work that I know of was in 1999 to record promos for 91X. More here.

George Gimarc on the other hand is a radioman through and through.He began his radio career as a DJ at University of North Texas radio station KNTU in 1977. He moved on to intern at WRR-AM also in Dallas. At KNTU he started a very early alt-rock program called "The Rock & Roll Alternative." He took the show with him from there to a commercial station 97.9 KZEW-FM "the Zoo."  In 1982 he also became music director on its sister station KRQX-AM. The station continued on with the Zoo format until 1987. He was hired by KDGE in 1989 and he re-launched his alternative program.  Somewhere in there he also took his program to KNON, the home to all the weirdness in Texas allowed to stray outside of Austin city limits.

Gimarc's books, all four of them, are about music, three of the four mention Lydon by name and or the Sex Pistols or Public Image Ltd. But I suspect it was Premier Networks that connected Johnny Rotten and Gimarc. As canonical as his archive is, I doubt he had his home phone number. But the result was that Johnny Rotten got to harass celebrities at the Grammy awards one year, and then fade back into the B-list, possibly the C-list. Gimarc continues to work in radio. At Comcast now, he's developed a couple truly terrible radio formats that even Comcast tries to ignore.