|What brought you to KKUP, Bill?
I was in and out of radio stations for many years and a friend,
Bernie Smith had programmed shows on KKUP. Now, this was before the days
KKUP was a twenty-four hour station. It was a 2:00am on a Tuesday morning.
Bernie and I were sitting in a bar when he suggested going by the KKUP
studio. Bernie (his on-air name was Veg Nebulous) said, 'Let's go fire
the station up.' So we did. We went into the dark studio, powered the station
up, and had a great time playing blues. We weren't supposed to be on at
that time. At that time KKUP signed off the air at midnight during the
week and stayed on throughout the weekend.
So have you always played blues on KKUP?
Primarily, yes. When I came onboard I was told that we could play
anything but rock and roll. We could play blues, jazz or country music,
anything. Since rock and roll was available on lots of Bay Area commercial
stations, the management thought it best to offer alternative music.
How did you decide to name your show, the
Blues Evening Train?
I had been on the station for almost a year, then in August of 1980
I was sitting on a traffic light at noon on El Camino real in Palo Alto,
California. All of a sudden the traffic light turned green, but I didn't
care. Some strong thoughts and feeling about naming the show The Blues
Evening Train came over me, so I stopped to write it down before I forgot
Tell me about the three theme songs you use
to set the mood of your show.
Yes, I have three songs I like to start the show with. The first
is Kid Boogie Woogie, by Hans Olson. It's a harp driven tune. Harmonicas
are my favorite instrument and Hans Olson is particularly talented. Then
there's Hold That Train recorded by Blyther Smith and lastly, Blues Train
by Big Joe Turner and the Roomful of Blues. Incidentally, I air the original
Lp's, all on vinyl.
Can you remember your first introduction to
It was probably Muddy Waters or B.B. King, back in the sixties.
And your all-time favorite blues artist?
It's a tough call, between Muddy Waters and Little Walter (Jacobs).
The word blues means . . .
The vacuum cleaner.
(Leslie laughs.) Did I hear you right? The
Your top five desert island LPs or CDs are
Well, I had a roommate in the late sixties. We always cleaned the
house on Saturday morning. There was nothing like it. We'd turn the stereo
up loud blaring blues to drown out the vacuum cleaner. That made it much
easier to do house-cleaning.
In one word, what comes to mind when I mention
the following artists?
- Muddy Waters, Hard Again.
I like every track on this release. It has been reissued on CD.
- B.B. King, Electric.
This one has some very strong lyrics and
it's happening musically.
- The Nighthawks, I think it's titled Psychedelia.
It's a reissued
CD which includes the tune, Nineteen Years Old.
- John Lee Hooker, The Healer.
John Lee is joined here by some
fellow blues greats. Bonnie Raitt, Roy Rogers, Charlie Musselwhite are
excellent, and in particular I like the easy, conversational interaction
between Hooker and Bonnie Raitt.
- William Clarke, Serious Intentions on Alligator Records.
does some fine slow harmonica work on this one. His tone is it.
Stevie Ray Vaughan.
With nearly thirty hours of blues each week
on KKUP, how do you see the future of blues on KKUP?
KKUP has enjoyed a strong blues staff from the beginning. The blues
are growing and becoming more listened to by mainstream listeners, in part
due to the House of Blues. Stevie Ray Vaughan also introduced blues to
a younger audience. Once the teenagers are enamored with blues, then they'll
research and seek out the more authentic players. Hipping our listeners
to the best in blues, whether it's hot off the presses or a scratchy vinyl
Lp, is what the blues department is about at KKUP.