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Howie Pyro's Awesome Record Collection

There is an uncharted and obscure spot in the rock 'n' roll spectrum where the Addams Family, Muscle Beach, novelty drive-in speakers, furious rockabilly, true soul shouting and high-booted go-go girls all meet up in an acidy haze, where fuzz guitars and B-movie posters screaming sex and blood light the way to what seems an exit, but when you burst through it leads only to a scene from a William Castle cheese-fest as seen through Roy Orbison's sunglasses. Yes, you're in too deep in the frightening, monstrous and ultracool retro world of DJ Howie Pyro and his Intoxica Radio show, webcast weekly on and available as a podcast.

howie_pyro.jpgThe Intoxica podcast is a terrific sampling of Howie Pyro's all-vinyl record collection of more than 30,000 titles, most of which seem to come down on the '60s hot rod, French pop, surf, garage, old-school funk and punk, monster music and off-kilter space-age lounge tips. In other words, pure gold! Howie's between-songs patter is pretty demented but matter-of-fact at the same time, his music-guy ramblings just long enough to spark interest and short enough to avoid a punch to the fast-forward button.

Which is pretty cool, because Howie could have a lot to say if he let himself. As a 16-year-old in the late '70s he formed a punk rock outfit called the Blessed, and regularly shared the New York scene with such damaged luminaries as Johnny Thunders and Sid Vicious at CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. In the mid-'80s, he was at the forefront of the first wave of '60s garage rock revivalism with the band Freaks, which he formed with his wife Andrea Kusten. They relocated to Los Angeles, and after more bands (D Generation, PCP Highway) and a two-year stint in Danzig, Howie now concentrates on his obsessive collecting of old vinyl, books, record covers and movie posters.

As his friend and L7 co-founder Donita Sparks said on the Firedoglake blog, Howie hauls around tons of old records while hosting some of the best DJ gigs in L.A., and is reflecting a trend - least in the UK - that is seeing a marked rise in the sales of seven-inch vinyl singles even as digital downloads are cutting into the record industry as a whole:

"Whenever Howie has to move apartments it's a huge undertaking. The guy has (tens of thousands of) records. He tells me that the hardest part of a DJ gig is creating the set in his head before the event and physically pulling out the records. He doesn't use an iPod or laptop. Sometimes a CD player, but 90 percent of the time it's vinyl. He feels that when the needle hits the disc it actually comes alive, far more than hitting a play button. Obviously the young'uns in the UK feel the same way. Let's hope it spreads a little bit."

I'm hoping right along with you, Donita. Take a look at the Intoxica playlist from the Nov. 6, 2007 show, and see if it isn't the go-goin'est.

1. The Revels, "Intoxica"

2. Pretty Boy, "Switchen in the Kitchen"

3. Big Danny Oliver, "Sapphire"

the_pyramids.jpg4. The Pyramids, "Shakin' Fit"

5. Gardenias, "Houdini"

6. Trig Richards & the Jokers, "Hollywood Cat"

7. Rene Hall's Orchestra featuring Willie Joe, "Twitchy"

8. King Rock & the Knights, "Scandal"

9. Dick Dixon & the Roommates, "The Caterpillar Crawl"

10. Tony March & Bill David's Rockets, "Show Down"

11. Silvertones, "Get It"

12. Marvin Rainwater, "Boo Hoo"

13. Sonny Gee & the Standells, "Tidal Wave"

14. Roy Orbison, "Twinkle Toes"

15. Andy & the Manhattans, "Double Mirror Wraparound Shades"

16. Chuck Reed, "Talkin' No Trash"

17. Jerry & the Radiants, "Trash"

18. Frank Furter & His Hot Dogs, "The Green Weenie"

19. Johnny Valor w/Prince Valiant & the Knights, "Green Weenie Dog"

20. P.J. & His Headliners, "What's So Funny?"

21. Tony Farrell, "Stumpy Stump"

22. Pat Kelly, "The Stranger Dressed in Black"

23. Pat Kelly, "She's a Devil"

24. Phil Johns & the Lonely Ones, "Ballad of a Juvenile Delinquent"

25. Clyde Stacy & the Nitecaps, "So Young"

26. The Twilighters, "Rollerland"

27. Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers, "Believe It or Not"

28. Paul Steffen & the Apollos, "The Devil's Soul Is Black"

29. Elijah & the Ebonies, "Hot Grits"

syl_johnson.jpg30. Syl Johnson, "Annie Got Hot Pants Power Part I"

31. Danny Freeman & the Soul Superiors, "Jungle Walk"

32. Robert Parker, "All Night Long Part 2"

33. Jay Jay Imus & Freddy Ford, "The Boogala"

34. Jimmy McGriff, "Discotheque USA"

35. Twistin' Jackie & His Gang, "Twistziek"

36. The Epics, "Twistin' Shout Part I"

37. The Epics, "Twistin' Shout Part 2"

38. Dr. Ken Basey & the Hypo-Dermics, "Operation Twisted"

39. Johnny Beeman, "Laughin' Beatnick"


From the Beachwood jukebox to Marfa Public Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen.


Posted on November 14, 2007

MUSIC - Pandemophenia.
TV - NBC's Bicentennial Special.
POLITICS - Defund Private Schools.
SPORTS - Blackhawk's Life Mattered.

BOOKS - The Slave Who Escaped George And Martha Washington.


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