An Emotional Fish

"Lucy is all about the most important and well known songs in the history of Alternative Music. While Fred, Ethel, Squizz and other XM Alt channels go deep, Lucy is about the encores…the giants…the defining songs of the generation."

What I love about XM is they consider An Emotional Fish to be a giant.

I’m trying with Sirius, I really am.  But they haven’t earned my trust yet.  It’s that new Coffee House station.  With Jackson Browne and Oscar Peterson.  Who ever thought up this channel should be shot.  Are you really telling me someone who likes singer-songwriters likes jazz?  Was there an audience waiting for a station like this?  OF COURSE NOT!  When I think of Jackson Browne I don’t think of instrumental noodling.  But it gets worse, they’ve got TORCH SINGERS!  If there was a coffee house playing this music it would be EMPTY!

I like their all Stones channel.  I heard "Fingerprint File" today.  But, the sound is so godawful.  I don’t know whether it’s the technology or whether Sirius thinks people really want to hear radio that sounds just like the radio they’re used to.  Compressed.  I was about to trade my new car in.  Go back to my old BMW.  I was convinced my new stereo was defective.  Until I got the XM hooked up.  And it’s not the head unit.  The XM plays through the Alpine AUX.  And Sirius goes STRAIGHT THROUGH the Alpine.  Please, someone at Sirius, LISTEN TO ME!  Open the bandwidth.  We can take it.  I want a concert hall on wheels.  Not a re-creation of my high school days cruising in my mom’s Country Squire.

Oh, but it gets a bit worse.  They played that James Taylor quasi-rarity "Paper Moon" on the aforementioned Coffee House.  Wow, I don’t love the song, but I appreciate the deep choice.  But then they played it again the VERY NEXT DAY!  As if it wasn’t evidence of the station’s depth but a wink to the audience…see how HIP we are!!

So I bounced back to XM.  And that’s where I heard "Celebrate".

I’m a bit too old to be an alternative rock junkie, an expert.  You’ve got to be in your early forties.  The eighties have to be your HIGH school years.  Then again, does the average Gen-X’er know An Emotional Fish’s "Celebrate"?

I mean I’ve heard of the band.  But there wasn’t a fucking radio station in Los Angeles that played them.

Back in the sixties and early seventies there was a partnership between radio and the listener.  A sacred trust.  We play great music, TURN YOU ON to great music, and as payment you’ve got to sit through a few commercials.  But then the commercial load increased.  Because business fucks took over and just saw the music as a vehicle to sell ads.  And the best way to keep the audience tuned in to the ads was to play the same damn songs over and over again.  To the point where people tuned out.  But it’s worse…where are we supposed to HEAR the good new stuff?

Oh, I want to get turned on to great new stuff.  Oh, I know it exists.  But I’m not a fucking archaeologist.  I can’t spend all my time digging.  That’s SOMEBODY ELSE’S job.  The deejay.

But the deejay lost all power YEARS ago.  And the program director’s just a guy collecting indie promo payments.  A pyramid of soulless mediocrity with a patina of slickness.  Make me puke.

I really was off radio.  Until I got XM.

Oh, I didn’t believe XM would be any good.  But now it’s my best friend.  Truly.  It’s who I rely on.  To get me through.

I’ve got my presets.  And most of them reside in the rock area.  40-54.  Deep Tracks to Lucy.

Oh, I start at the Loft.  Go to Deep Tracks.  Then to Top Tracks.  And then up the dial from the Boneyard to XMU to Fred to Ethel and eventually Lucy.

I mean I’m driving to the shrink.  Up 20th street.  Trying not to get into an accident as I push the buttons.  And suddenly, I hear this bass sound.  The kind that No Doubt built its career on.  But then there’s this spacy guitar.  I’ve never heard this song before, but instantly I know I LIKE IT!

All I can see on the readout is "An Emotion".  And the name of the track, "Celebrate".

So I come home and fire up Google.  And turn up nothing.

But then I go to the dreaded  A worthwhile site that was redesigned to the point of almost complete unusability.  Rule one of the Web…make your site run FAST!  PLEASE get rid of those flash intros.  Let me get to the heart of the matter right away.  Not that there’s a flash intro to allmusic, it’s just GLACIALLY slow.

But I found out "Celebrate" was done by AN EMOTIONAL FISH!

You can’t get ANY music by the band at the iTunes Music Store.  Because the iTunes Music Store is just a conventional record store in your own damn home.  The iPod’s cool, but the store is just a slicker Best Buy.  In cahoots with the labels.  Selling copy protected tracks for a buck.  It’s not an invitation to discovery, it’s the place you go LAST, after you’ve found out about the cut somewhere else and can’t find it P2P.

I found "Celebrate" P2P.  Came right down.

And, stunningly, it sounds just as good at home as it did on XM.

I know you.  You’re afraid of your computer.  You’re afraid of P2P.  Oh, not YOU!!  YOU I know know more than me.  But the MAINSTREAM GUY!  The guy running the label, the guy driving the German automobile, clueless as to how the rest of us live our lives, still trying to get your piece of crap productions on Top Forty, YOU’RE the ones I’m speaking to.  Come into the twenty first century.  Fire up your P2P program.  Oh, it won’t bite.  Won’t destroy your computer.  Download "Celebrate".

This is not Top Forty ready.  Take your hit hat off.  Just let the music wash over you, ENERGIZE YOU!  Tell me this isn’t fucking great.

That’s the vintage experience.  Hearing something special on the radio.  Needing to own it, not RENT IT!  Needing to possess it so you can COUNT ON IT!

I don’t hoard my friends.  I don’t prevent them from mingling.  I feel the more the merrier.

So please come join me in the XM village.  It will change your life.

They’re paying me not a whit.  I just want you to be ENRICHED!

JUST go to: and enter to access the discount center.  You’ll thank me.

One Response to An Emotional Fish »»


  1. Comment by Al Kooper | 2005/10/28 at 13:13:20

    You can’t get ANY music by the band at the iTunes Music Store. Because the iTunes Music Store is just a conventional record store in your own damn home. The iPod’s cool, but the store is just a slicker Best Buy. In cahoots with the labels. Selling copy protected tracks for a buck. It’s not an invitation to discovery, it’s the place you go LAST, after you’ve found out about the cut somewhere else and can’t find it P2P.


    It has changed my life in the last two years
    I would have to say that playlist-wise they are giving as much space, maybe more to indie labels as XM is.
    I have discivered AMAZING music there. I cant go to P2P because it dont pay those indie bands and Bob, I’m hearing enough great music, that I can live without "Celebrate" until you email me an MP3. But Bob, have you heard the good tracks, by Deerhoof, Unbunny, Weather, Shimmer and Hella ? I doubt it if XM is your fortress.
    This is MY modus uuperearus: Every Wednesday I go to the new release section of iTunes and do two hours.
    I’m fast at it now but I dont miss much.  I have a Justt Released playlist on iTunes and I pop whats appropriate in there and check it out late at night, on the road, etc. The good ‘uns rise to the top….before iTunes I had no arena to hear ANY of this music in. Now I could listen to XM but WHY????? I’ve picked what I like and programmed my own radio station – custom-made. Very little button-pushing here. I listen to what I want. I’m the fucking deejay, dammit! And there’s no commercials, annual fees and the artist gets paid. Just as an example here’s my top 50 from 2004:

    Flaw    Todd Rundgren

    Pink Lemonade    Unbunny

    Red Eyeliner    P. Hux

    Save Me    Jem

    Shortwave    Fastball

    So Fine    Mario Winans

    Crush    MaiMou

    I’m a Wheel    Wilco

    Better Get a Broom!    Hella

    Mercury    Kathleen Edwards

    Museum of Idiots    They Might Be Giants

    I’m Nowhere and You’re Everything    Chris Thile

    Don’t Wait Too Long    Madeleine Peyroux

    The Nearness of You    Al Jarreau

    Your Body Is a Wonderland    John Mayer

    Sugar    Julia Fordham

    She Has No Time    Keane

    Vaseline Machine Gun    Leo Kottke

    I Thought You Should Know    Steve Earle

    Leave (Get Out)    JoJo

    Love On Me    Paul Thorn

    All the Things She Said    t.A.T.u.

    Exit Wound    MaiMou

    Hackensack    Fountains of Wayne

    Seaweed    Fruit Bats

    Biblical Violence    Hella

    This Magnificent Bird Will Rise    Deerhoof

    Our Prayer / Gee    Brian Wilson

    Heroes & Villians    Geraint Watkins

    Don’t Cry Baby    Madeleine Peyroux

    Strollin’ On the Waterfront    Cool John Ferguson

    Mink Coat At the Bus Stop    Rickie Lee Jones

    Can’t Stop Thinking About Christmas    Universal Honey

    A Hundred and Ten In the Shade    John Fogerty

    Kewpie Station    Kaki King

    In the Waiting Line    Zero 7

    Alan Corday    The Chick Corea Elektric Band

    For the Love of You    Frayne

    I Can’t Make Me    Butterfly Boucher

    I Know    Sarah Hudson

    Just a Kid    Wilco

    Man Like Me    Robert Downey Jr.

    Short Stacks    The Ditty Bops

    Kitty Wu    Jaga Jazzist

    Walking 2 Hawaii    Tom McRae

    Making Memories of Us    The Cherry Bombs

    I’m Just Crazy About You    Geraint Watkins

    Bri’s Dance    Joey Calderazzo

    Non Photo-Blue    Pinback

    The One With the Wurlitzer    American Football

    Try some – even though you wont buy some. They’re probably not ALL for you but they’re all for ME
    and that makes my listening perfect and moral. I dont buy CDs anymore and I spend about a grand a year on iTunes and dont feel wanting on New Years at all!!!

    Al Kooper

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