Singer/songwriter/guitarist Timothy Joseph never imagined his band playing the Sports Arena, which over 50 years has also hosted everyone from Bowie to Zeppelin.
The Buckfast Superbee indie-rock quartet launched in 1997 and went dormant eight years ago. Of the band’s decision to regroup earlier this year: “We were surprised anyone even cared,” Joseph said by phone from Rome last week.
Now comes the announcement that Buckfast gets to play the Sports Arena December 8 as the only local band to play on the first of the two-night Wrex the Halls multi-band concert series promoted by 91X. Joseph also says 91X programmer Garett Michaels told him that a yet-to-be recorded Buckfast song would get an entire month of airplay as the 91X “Local Break” artist for December.
The heaps of 91X love may seem odd since Joseph is the primary host of The Local 94/9, the Sunday-night local-music show on FM 94/9, 91X’s primary competitor. Then again, maybe not.
“I guarantee this was a big F-U from Garett who was fired by FM 94/9 [in 2012],” claims a local radio DJ who opted not to be identified.
The competition to put on the biggest live shows has become more important as both stations fight to split the alternative audience (hard rockin’ Rock 105.3 usually tops both stations). 91X was connected with Beer-X in August, Ye Skallywag last month, and the Wrex the Halls shows are December 8 and 9. FM 94/9 has no shows announced for the holiday season. Their last one was the SPF festival at the Junior Seau Pier Amphitheatre in June.
When radio stations put on big shows like Wrex the Halls, they often hold contests to create a spectacle over which local band gets to open; Michaels simply asked Buckfast Superbee to play it with no fanfare. Chatter suggests 91X/Michaels may want to entice Joseph to jump ship and join 91X in some capacity. (Joseph is co-owner of the Phaser Control recording studio, which could be used to host live sets by bands who drop by 91X.)
Possibly adding to the drama was the fact that the October 22 edition of The Local 94/9 (pre-recorded to allow for Joseph’s Italy trip) never made it to air. Cohost Dan Brozo admitted on-air that the pre-recorded show had been “somehow erased,” and then played local artists without announcing who they were or their song titles.
Was the booking of Buckfast Superbee part of a snub? 91X’s Michaels would not respond.
Was the erasing of The Local 94/9 show a kind of tit for tat? FM 94/9 program director Kevin Callahan did not respond to a request for comment.
Whatever behind-the-scene issues the radio higher-ups may have, the hosts of 91X’s Loudspeaker and The Local 94/9 are always friendly to each other on the air.
Joseph said he is sure it was an honest mistake and that there was no skulduggery.
If there are any bad feelings between the two local alt-rock stations and their local music shows, it is not because either show is a big ratings winner. According to Nielsen ratings for the past three months, among all local listeners aged 18-49, 91X’s Loudspeaker has 1700 listeners for its first hour (7 p.m.) and by its third 9 p.m. hour, that figure drops to 500. Ratings for The Local 94/9, which follows from 10 p.m. to midnight, doesn’t show more than 300 listeners.
Who gets the big Sunday-night ratings? It’s 92-year-old DJ Art Laboe playing 50- and 60-year-old oldies on Magic 92.5. Nielsen says Laboe averages 3100 listeners aged 18-49 from 8 to 9 p.m (period from July through September).
Buckfast Superbee appears December 8 at Wrex the Halls with Rise Against, Run the Jewels, and The Used.