RD: I listened to your entire Deep Tracks show today and I am knocked out. It's rock that doesn't insult the listener's intellegence, and I heard stuff I've never heard before like that McCartney cut he did with Dave Stewart.
DN: That's exactly what XM 40: Deep Tracks is all about. They are songs that you might have heard a long time ago and forgotten about, songs that you may never have heard; yet you would love if you did. As far as that McCartney/Dave Stewart song, that was on a collection called 46664. It was put out in conjunction with Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday and the proceeds from the sale of it are to combat AIDS in Africa. You can get the song and contribute to the charity by going to www.46664.com. That number was Mr. Mandela's prisoner number. The song is tremendous, and went mostly unnoticed by everyone.
RD: It's one of the best things McCartney's ever done. You know, XM 40 reminds me of listening to one of the great FM rock stations from the 70's, like NEW or BCN because you get to hear new material from artists you love. Ok, so it's not really new because it's in fact the stuff that the so-called Classic Rock stations never play. So a cut may be 20 years old, but it's always new for someone.
DN: Yes, it is always new for someone. We also play "Fresh Tracks," which are brand new. Sometimes it's bands that are relatively new, like the Stone Coyotes, Donna Jean and the Tricksters, The Bridge or new albums from people like Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, who seem to get largely ignored by radio, even though they're still putting out outstanding music.
RD: Between you, George Taylor Morris, and Earle Bailey, do you think there's a song you don't know?
DN: Well, I can't speak for George and Earle, but I can tell you that there is SO much music out there, that it's impossible to keep on top of all of it. That's why I'm glad there are three of us listening and we always are open to hearing and learning about new things. See, we're all music lovers. I mean lovers of music.
RD: That comes through during your shows. Of course, one of the other great things about Deep Tracks is no commercials.
DN: It's remarkable the difference that makes. You can set moods, create mind excursions and you can then take it somewhere else without having a five to eight- minute bombardment of your senses. "Deep Tracks" truly is all about the music and its effect on your senses. It's really quite an experience to submerse yourself in. If you're a casual listener, you enjoy it. But if you take the time to listen closely, you'll really love it.
With Eric Clapton
RD: Well said. I remember when Rosko on NEW-FM in the 60's used to start his show with the question, "Are you ready to take a mind excursion?" FM radio was the 'hip trip' and the 'new groove' back then. What do you think of the state of terrestial radio today?
DN: Musically, it's pretty disturbing. I think it's lost sight of what its job is, and that's to play music. The playing of the music has taken a back seat to the selling of commercials. When that happens, you lose the reason why people listen in the first place. If that were to be put as a top priority, then all of the other stuff would fall into place. People are not fools. They sense when they're not getting what they came for and then they leave. On the business side, it's just beginning to dawn on them that this Internet thing is really important. If they move quickly and devote resources to it, they might be able to save music radio terrestrially. Is that a word?
RD: Must be. We printed it. What advice can you give a young person who wants to get into radio to pursue a career like you have?
DN: Say your prayers.
RD: Amen. Similar question, what advice do you have for young musicians who dream of superstardom?
DN: I think there's more opportunity than ever. Whatever you do, DO NOT give up your music publishing rights and you do not have to sign with a major label to make it. Stay loyal to your music. Millions of people will tell you no. It's the musician who can take that and keep going that makes it. Remember Dick Rowe, a prominent label head who said no to both the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.
RD: Good stuff, especially about the publishing. Today, I'd add, keep your merchandising as well. Hey, how many rock artists do you think you've interviewed?
DN: It's hard to say. Probably, over a thousand.
RD: Anyone you've always wanted to talk to, but for whatever reasons never have yet?
With Jimmy Page
DN: John Lennon. Had he lived, I'm sure I would have.
RD: You and John would have been great. I never interviewed him, but I met him once and that was my biggest thrill. What's the strangest thing that ever happened during an interview?
DN: There've been quite a few, but Jimmy Page nodding out a few times as we started had to be one of the top ones. It was in his days of coming off certain "substances," but I've talked to him many times since, and really enjoyed our conversations. He's articulate, brilliant, and funny. You were actually with me a couple of other times&Ozzy Osborne offering us a Heineken from a huge dishwashing bin of them on ice at 11 a.m., and Brian Wilson when he was being "influenced" by Dr. Landy with the Doctor in the other room.
RD: If you remember, Ozzy asked us if we'd like some breakfast and when we said, ok, he pulled out his bin of beer.
DN: That's right.
RD: And Dr. Landy actually had two surfer/bouncer types in the room taping us as we taped Brian.
DN: You asked about strange, right?
RD: I did. Hey, I know you've spoken with Pete Townshend many times. A long time ago he wrote, "Rock is dead, but it won't lie down." What is in your opinion, rock's current status?
DN: Rock music is alive and healthier than ever. The creativity by some of the new bands is exceptional, and the folks who've been around for a long time continually come up with phenomenal music. It's the traditional delivery system for the music that's very ill at the moment.
RD: How'd you ever get into this rock and roll radio racket anyway?
DN: I fell in love with music at a time when rock and roll was just past it's infancy, but incredibly exciting: the British Invasion with the Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Dave Clark 5. Through my teen years, it gave me hope and optimism, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Since I couldn't play well, I thought being a disc jockey would be a cool thing. I went to college, worked hard, and here I am.
RD: I think its fair to say you did very well and contributed greatly to the continuing saga of rock. Before you go name three or four of your favorite Deep Tracks.
DN: Tomorrow, this will be different, but lately I've been rediscovering many Kinks songs, Joe Jackson, Moby Grape, Love, John Hiatt and Frank Zappa. As far as new releases, I really like "Time Stand Still," the new Hooters album, "Hernando," the new one from the North Mississippi All Stars, and "Working Man's Cafe" the latest by Ray Davies. It's not just one or two songs&that would go against what we do in "Deep Tracks." See, we believe that albums have more than just one or two songs on them.
RD: That's why they're not singles. Thanks for your time Dan-o. Any final thoughts for our World Wide Web audience?
DN: That's a hard question to answer. I guess as John Lodge might say, "Keep on thinking free!"