Friday, June 5, 2009

Mad Mike Monsters

comments shared with Norton Records honchos Billy & Miriam:

Having heard the three "Mad Mike Monsters" CDs today, I was able to confirm my hunch that I have been hearing some of these songs on radio here since the early 1970s courtesy of local radio personality Lou "Louie Louie" Constantino. Louie moved from Pittsburgh, PA, to Topeka, KS, around 1969 and became a Top 40 DJ on KEWI ("big KEE-WEE Happy Channel 1440"). By the early 1970s he moved to WREN and started his "Louie Louie Show" playing 1950s-early '60s rock 'n roll and rhythm 'n' blues on Saturday nights. Over the years, his weekend oldies show moved around to seven different radio stations in the area, by my count, but he hasn't been on the air these last few years. I'm certain he must have listened to Mad Mike while in Pittsburgh. Like Mad Mike, Louie would claim on the air that he was playing some records you could not hear on radio elsewhere and in some cases he was right. Louie also was a DJ at lots of dances at nightclubs, company Christmas parties, outdoor events, etc. Mad Mike's on-air name had the initials MM while Louie's on-air name had the initials LL. I know Louie occasionally mentioned Porky Chedwick on the air ('cause he talked a lot about Pittsburgh) but I can't recall him mentioning Mad Mike. He may have and I simply had never heard about him elsewhere and didn't make a connection. Anyhow, there are indeed five songs on your Mad Mike CDs that I have heard Louie Louie play on radio here since the mid 1970s. They are: Instrumentals: "Chop Suey Rock" Jimmy Heap: "Gizmo" (heard this one A LOT) Harvey: "Anyway You Wanta" Shane Kai Ray: "Jungle Talk (I Want Some of That)" Delcos: "Arabia" My frustration with Louie was that I thought he devoted too much air time to doo-wops and practically ignored my beloved rockabilly music. This imbalance was addressed by Marshall Barber on HIS '50s-'60s radio show during the 1990s and especially when I was his once a month co-host. God, that was a lot of fun being on the radio for three hours on Friday nights. I'm really going to have to share these Mad Mike CDs with Louie. These days Lou Constantino works in the meat department at a big new supermarket and I say hi to him when we sometimes shop there. We hear him announcing meat specials over the intercom. Oh well, that's show biz!