Radio Boise is a major contributor to the city’s music scene, but it also holds an inclusive space for people and has programming that represents folks from all walks of life.
The people that volunteer and DJ at Radio Boise and the shows they curate weekly are thoughtful, thematic and provide counter-culture relief from the monotony of mainstream radio. One of those DJ’s, Brett Netson has been down with KRBX almost since its inception. As a former member of Boise’s Built to Spill, local favorite Caustic Resin and Snakes, one could say Netson knows music and people really enjoy his show.
BW interviewed Netson about his show High, Wild and Free that runs from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. every Friday Night on Radio Boise. BW learned how he got involved with the station, the thematic concept behind the show and what other shows at Radio Boise he recommends checking out
BW: As a musician you’ve been in some great and important bands like Built to Spill and Caustic Resin. How did you get involved with Radio Boise and how long has your show been on the air?
BN: Jeff Abrams approached me and told me what he was up to. I am a huge fan of radio and was blown away by how serious he was about it. He was totally speaking my language as it were. I see free form radio as a crucially important thing. Not just some cute novelty, or some other kind of entertainment. Jeff was a true believer in people’s ownership of the airwaves.
I was in Built to Spill at the time and was totally psyched to be in a position to help. I remember speaking on a panel at the Flicks for the showing of a documentary. I remember being a bit strident. Then I saw to it that Built to Spill played a benefit.
BW: Tell us about High, Wild and Free. How did you come up with the theme for the show and what kind of music do you play?
BN: The show is an example of how Rock radio could be.
I am old enough to remember FM rock radio that was curated by human beings and was actually playing records. There was different programming at different times of day. You’d hear a “midnight album”, weird Lou Reed songs, King Crimson and various lesser commercial things late at night.
FM radio was kind of an underground-ish thing when it started. All the Pop stations were on AM up through the 60’s. I wanted my show to be a tribute to that.
Having lived in L.A. for several years and was able to listen to KXLU, a College station. It was as good as it gets. Every single day, great radio. Don Bolles the Drummer for the Germs had an excellent show. The show “Demolisten,” was just as it sounds, Fred Kiko would play demo recordings from unsigned bands. He didn’t indiscriminately play any submission, he curated.
Then there was Jim Ladd, a relic from the 60’s/70’s who still had a show on KLOS in the early 2000’s. He also selectively chose what he played.
I wanted my show to be a continuation of these kinds of things. I tend to repeatedly play some songs because the idea is to play the best music ever made and some stuff is so good I think it ought to be played regularly. One hope I have is to juxtapose different things as to get people to appreciate something they previously hated if it’s in between two great songs you would never have planned on. To put Classic Rock in a different light. To take it back from the massive corporations and entertainment complexes that own all the focus grouped “hits”. The songs you’ve heard a million times, for the last thirty years, usually the artists don’t own the rights to those songs anymore. They are just money making bait to get you to sit through cell phone commercials.
There is very little pre-planning on the show because I like it to be totally live. There can be a fair amount of talking. I think it’s very important as an antidote to internet groupthink.
BW: How do you pick the music every week for the show?
BN: I grab a heavy batch of records and a computer with about three months of music on it. Open up one streaming service and use the station’s library. A few CD’s here and there, so that’s five sources. And I try to pick a good, rippin barn burner to start and then just see where she goes.
BW: What are some of your favorite shows to listen to on Radio Boise?
BN: Drift Correction, Spoonful, Sunday Soul Party, It’s Now Right Now, Strange Feeling, Heavier Than Thou, Up In Your Mindflowers, The Blues shows. There are several others I love, like Smoke and Mirrors, Nocturne Blonde, but don’t get the chance to listen to them as much.
BW: Besides playing great music, are there any other ideas or concepts you try to get across in your show?
BN: Talking. Honest smart/stupid real-ass talking and sharing original thoughts regardless of whether it’s “on brand” or not. Like a proper Friday night loud mouthed st talking/deep thinking hang out.