Friday, October 26, 2012

It Hurts To Be In Love -- John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

The date was Wednesday, January 16th, 1991.   Two things happened that day.  The first Iraq War started and I just coincidentally happened to be on the air at KFAI-FM in the Twin Cities.

Like I have said before, KFAI was a community radio station back in Minneapolis.  I was one of the volunteers.  I wasn’t a regular DJ on the station at the time.  I did not have my own slot.  But I was a reliable substitute host.  I hosted a jazz hour a couple times, I did a few Friday night punk shows, and of course, I was totally the right man for the Blues shows.   On this particular night,, I just happened to be in the Wednesday prime time slot from 3:00PM to 6:00PM filling in for some other Blues DJ.

The presumption of war certain.  It was only a matter of time.  The showdown had been built up in the media big time.  There was all this talk about Saddam Hussein’s formidable army.  The media always referred to Iraq’s infamous Scud missiles.

Despite this, I didn’t even consider the possibility that the war would begin while I was on the air.  The thought never entered my mind.  There I was cuing up another song on the turntable when the station’s news director blasted through the door and said, “The war started!”  

I was speechless.  I was like,”What should we do?”  The news director ran back into the news room and quickly came back with a sheet of paper.  “Read this”

The sheet was just a simple newswire feed.  In the middle of this big list of more innocuous news events was one simple sentence.  “U.S. bombers begin  attack on Iraq.”  Or something like that.  I can’t remember exactly.  I took the sheet, interrupted the song and turned on my mic.  I started out by telling the audience that I had to interrupt programming.  Then I read straight from the newswire text. “U.S. bombers begin attack on Iraq.”

That was it.  That was all I had.  I asked the news director if I there was anything else and he said no.  Again, I was lost on what to do.  Being the cynical young man I was at the time, I made some dumb comments and then I said, I kid you not, “I guess the time has come for the new world order.”  Then I cut out the mic and faded back into the music.

I don’t know if you all remember back then, but during a press conference a few days later President Bush said that we now have a “new world order.”  It became a sort of mantra that was repeated in the mass media.

I just want you to know, it was me, not Bush who started the whole “new world order” thing.

Anyway, my shift ended pretty quickly after that.  That was OK with me because I could practically hear every person in the city tuning to CNN as soon as I made the announcement.

On the way home from the station, I stopped at the store and grabbed a 12-pack of Budweiser.  Pretty callous, huh?   People were getting bombed and I was about to.

The reality was that I already had plans for my friend Pat to meet me at home to drink some beer.  Pat was already there with my roommate watching CNN’s coverage. 

While I was in the kitchen putting the beer in the fridge.  I could overhear the CNN news guy again talking about Iraq’s military and their Scud missiles.  I went back into the living room when Pat said one of the funniest things I ever heard.  He said, “Hey, pass me one of those Scud twelve ounce missiles.”  

I spit out my beer and literally fell to the floor laughing my guts out.  The timing of this joke was just perfect.  Just another one of the many ironies on the day the first Iraq war started.

Now for what you came to this blog for, right?  The music.  It so happened that at the time I had to interrupt the music to make the news announcement, I was playing this song.  I apologize for the bad recording fidelity, but this song “It Hurts To Be In Love” is a cool British Blues number by an early gathering of the Bluesbreakers including Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in the line-up.

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