Westley Allen of Erratic! Radio on Three Years of Punk Rock Madness on the Air
See also: Best Rock Radio Personality, 2011: Westley Allen
Westley Allen of Erratic! Radio and Echo
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Westley Allen, Phoenix punk rock DJ, bartender, guitarist, and host of KWSS 106.7 FM's Tuesday night punk/noise/shoegaze/whatever program Erratic Radio!, is in celebration mode. Today's his birthday (35, he groans) and he's off to grab a free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's as soon as he finishes his coffee and a 32-ouncer of Miller High Life.
But Allen is extending the party into the weekend, when he'll celebrate the three-year anniversary of starting Erratic Radio! on Friday, August 24, hosting Tucson's Lenguas Largas, Man Hands, Radio Crimes, Bobby Nobbit (members of Feeding People, and "raw and creepy," says Allen), and Plainfield Butchers, his rock 'n' roll combo, at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.
"We like to keep it weird," Allen says of his show, and indeed he does. In Erratic!'s three years, he's hosted countless noisy live performances and been a go-to source for the kind of disturbances that are usually banned from the FM dial. We caught up with Allen to discuss what keeps him pumping (aside from beer and coffee).
Up on the Sun: This is your third year of doing Erratic! Radio. What keeps you going? What excites you about doing the show?
Westley Allen: The excitement of finding the next obscure tune and really just documenting the [Phoenix] scene. About six months ago, I was contemplating throwing in the towel, but whenever I think of doing something like that, another great opportunity or great band comes my way. Phoenix needs it . . . I have so many people that send crazy music/shit my way now.
What are some of your favorite Phoenix sounds right now?
Man Hands, who are playing our three-year anniversary party! Marc Berry [singer/guitarist] was who played keyboards on The Plainfield Butchers' record a couple years back. [Also] French Girls and Shovel.
Sometimes Erratic! is a well-oiled machine, other times it's true to its name and pretty wild. What's been the craziest live performance you've aired?
Avon Ladies. It was Ron's [Llewellyn III, production at Erratic! Radio] birthday. I drank his bottle of whiskey and it came out in my boxers and it proceeded to get fucking weirder from there. I think those dudes still hate me. [Laughs.]
So, what Erratic! does is very, very different than a lot of KWSS programming. Do you ever get complaints?
No. Frank [Magarelli, owner] doesn't forward me those, probably because I bring in a decent amount of money for the station through sponsorship.
That's good, but there's some stuff that's truly rare for an FM show. I heard the Melted Cassettes session last week and it was insane.
Agreed! Yeah, we like to keep it weird over here.
The noise/punk/garage scene doesn't appeal to the mainstream much, but have you ever been surprised by any listener contact?
Not surprised. I love getting e-mails from someone that keeps KWSS on their dial and are somewhat confused and intrigued by the show asking what a certain tune was called. I get that all the time. Again, I haven't really gotten negative feedback. I don't pay attention to the numbers, but the station tells me we have a fuck-ton of listeners.
Lenguas Largas, Man Hands, Radio Crimes, Bobby Nobbit, and Plainfield Butchers, are scheduled to perform Friday, August 24, at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.