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October 10, 1990 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 10, 1990 - Page 9

Windsor station starts up
their own cutting edge show
*, .- -,- --_ _

I fy waUWPuu w'EiCU"U""

Are you sick and tired (and tired
always follows sick) of those
endless repetitions of Paula Abdul
and Madonna on the radio? Radio
station CIMX-FM (88.7) offers a
fresh alternative to monotonous,
mass-appeal stations. Following
its motto of "The Best Variety,"
CIMX provides the program "The
Cutting Edge," . an honest
approach to music airing every
night from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m.
Produced and hosted by self-
dubbed "rock 'n' roll pop-tart"
Greg St. James, the broadcast fea-
tures alternative, state-of-the-art,
progressive and modern rock -
the cutting edge of music. "It's
more a state of mind than any-
thing," St. James said of his pro-
gram. "Basically, it's all the great
music that every other radio sta-
tion is too damn chicken to
play." While St. James plays a
great deal of typical college radio
fare, his station is unique because
it is a commercial station that ig-
nores typical rock formats.
St. James, a native of Detroit,
has been involved in radio since
the age of 16, a proponent of al-
ternative music even then. Since
that time he has worked with var-
ious stations including Detroit's
WRIF-FM, where he was voted
best nighttime disc jockey in the
city and one of Detroit's top ten
on-air personalities.
In a typical hour of "The Cut-
ting Edge" St. James may feature
anything from Soul Asylum and
Sonic Youth to R.E.M. or The
Clash. To this pop-tart, his pro-

gramming preterences are more or
an outlook than anything: "Hey!
This is done by and for thinking
people," he said. Focusing on the
contrast between mass taste and
what's really happening in the

program to. Other stations pro-
gram to what's number one, and
what is number one? Roseanne?"
Instead of focusing on why
certain records could be played,
St. James said he looks at why
CIMX should play them. As op-
posed to simply playing the top-
40 hits on the charts, the host
said they also look at alternative
record stores, clubs and other cut-
ting-edge stations as well as pub-
lic opinion.
St. James said the views and
tastes of their public affects
CIMX's policy. Unlike other ra-
dio stations, "The Cutting Edge"
takes requests to heart. Using
computer technology, they track
the requests and play them on an
hourly basis. Every Sunday at 9
p.m., the station features the top
request of the week.
Although focusing on alterna-
tive music, St. James admits they
play popular artists as well.
Suzanne Vega and INXS often
appear on the playlist. "I am not
here to educate, but to entertain,"
he said. "We don't necessarily
play really obscure music, but if
you want to play something, play
it."
This carefree, "no-bullshit"
approach to radio is meant to at-
tract intelligent listeners from the
Windsor and Detroit area as well
as Ann Arbor, Lansing and
Toledo. Along with eight or nine
other cutting edge stations
throughout the country, St.
James said, "We've realized that
the eighties actually happened."

Records
Continued from page 8
meconium/ lungs full of meconium/
heart full of meconium/ meconium/
meconium" on the title track to their
latest LP. Do you know what the
word meconium means? Webster's
NewWorld Dictionary defines it as
"the greenish fecal matter in a fetus,
forming the first bowel movement
of a newborn infant." Gross. They
even chant it. But it's a profound
image and funny in its own twisted
way. And more intriguing than
saying "Mouthwash of shit."
James are vegans. Morrissey
likes them. The Inspiral Carpets do
the backing vocals on "Gold
Mother." They're from Manchester.
Their pop defines textured pop for
the intelligentsia and pseudo-
thoughtful. "Ya, I'm into James.
They know what's what in the
world." Though, I suppose it's not
their fault that those who long to be
weighty reflectors on the state of the
world like them. They are still bril-
liant. Who else would have the gall
to ask "How do you sail the ship
from the bottle?" ("Gold Mother")
and then answer it in complex
metaphor that the average music fan
would have to ponder for days.
They have timely, right-on-the-
nose social commentary in the song
"God only Knows." The beginning
starts with a sample of Jimmy
Swaggart preaching about music and
the devil. Then they state "Swaggart
has been caught with his trousers
round his knees/ after damning me
and you to hell for eternity/ sex and
power and money is the prayer of
these priests/ they bribe their way
past heaven's gates and steal a set of
keys." The urgent beat and the un-
forgettable hook, along with more
chanting to add a different sound in
tandem with these images, demon-
strates James' musical genius. The
God Swaggart believes in is not

St. James

Members of James threaten to punch you out and make you eat
meconium if you don't think once or twice.

world, the program offers some-
thing "a little closer to the bone,"
St. James said.
Although it is a commercial
station, CIMX has been called
"border radio," perched on the line
between two radio worlds: college
and commercial. However, the
station is more accessible than
college radio and is not block-
oriented or directed toward mass
tastes. "We're not exactly Arme-
nian Poetry Hour, but we're dif-
ferent," St. James explained.
Unlike most radio stations,
which view their audience as a
big, stupid beast, St. James said,
"We see our listeners as at least
as smart as us. You get who you

something James likes: "As self-
righteous and bigoted as those who
created him/ a cruel desert God with
absolutely no sense of humor."
They aren't always cold, serious
types. They claim "After thirty years
I've become my fears/I've become
the man I've always hated" and "And
I don't believe you're all I'll ever
need" ("Come Home") so you know
they have feelings too. Songs like
"Come Home" and "How Was It For
You" are just plain clever,
hummable and latch-that-catch to be
unforgettable pop.

The pacing of this album creates
texture; the slow movements like
"Walking the Ghost" drag a little,
but make the album sound varied and
keep the ear piqued. They also use
fiddles, whistling, chanting, synth
noises and other sounds to add to the
texture.Gold Mother is also a bit on
the long side, one of the evils of the
CDs new length ability. But it all
doesn't matter, as James explains
how to fascinate the pop world in a
keen, shrewd, quick-witted fashion.
Annette Petrusso

., _ _

a a 1

- U

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