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Audiobooking 6 April 4, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Comedy, Commentary, Film, History, Media, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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It’s been just over a year since the previous post. Instrumental Invasion has taken up most of my time, providing a necessary escape from the tumultuous reality.

I continue to listen to audiobooks on days where I workout and run, or even while editing photos. My source remains Audible, now as a paid member. When I’m billed at the end of each month, I use my credit on the next audiobook to listen to. As I type, I have three-book backlog.

Here’s what I’ve been listened to since Andrea Barber’s memoir:

  • All in All: An Actor’s Life On and Off the Stage by Stacy Keach (foreword by Alec Baldwin, read by voice actress whose name, again, I missed) – Only political in the ’60s and early ’70s – blessed relief after enduring Mike Reiss
  • Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (chapter titles read by British voice actress) – Jerry’s jokes by decade, prefaced by synopses of his life in each decade
  • Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir by Charlie Daniels (1936-2020) – Nearly the opposite of Ken Levine and Mike Reiss politically – pleasant to my center-right ears – nice to learn about his full career besides “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – Except for acknowledging 2020 events at the end, enjoyable to listen to – “NOTE TO SELF! …”
  • Under the Black Hat: My Life in the WWE and Beyond by Jim Ross with Paul O’Brien (read by JR) – Focuses on JR’s WWF/WWE career, beginning at Wrestlemania XV in 1999 (six years after his initial debut) – for a wider life story, I’ll need to check out Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling

There, all caught up.

Until next year’s “Audiobooking” post, happy listening.

Instrumental Invasion, 3/31/21 April 1, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video, Video Games.
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The March 31, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP marked one year since my Wednesday night premiere. The show was recorded one hour per day on February 25 and 26 with multiple pickups recorded on the second day, and still more on the morning of the 27th.

The playlist was created on February 23 with annotations continuing into the 24th, after which the script was drafted.

This was an incredibly hard show to do. I had to improvise multiple talk breaks because there wasn’t enough time to read from the lengthy scripts. The second talk break of the show was so lengthy that I had to replace “Lakeshore Cowboy” by Ramsey Lewis with “Heartsounds” by David Lanz. In future playlists, I’m expanding the back-sell length to 50 seconds. That may not even be enough.

Giant Steps” and “Fly with the Wind” were included days after acquiring John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner‘s albums of the same name. Giant Steps is the first Trane album I ever bought.

My “Giant Steps” curiosity had been piqued by several YouTube videos that either covered the song…:

…or adapted the changes into other songs:

So, it was only right that I acquaint myself with the original.

I played “El Camino Real” by David Benoit to make up for the factual error I made when I first played it last August 19.

Click below to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 3/10/21 March 11, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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The March 10, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days: one on February 3, three on the 4th, and two on the 5th, which is when I added the first segment pickup “ready, and appear!” Like last week, the first segment of hour 2 was remixed on the 16th after Patrick Bradley e-mailed his liner.

It was my mother Lisa’s 65th birthday, but I superstitiously didn’t acknowledge that. To celebrate, she, my father Bill, sister Lauren, and I went out to dinner at Vittorio’s in Amityville. It was my first time at a restaurant since Mom’s 64th birthday. (The next day, the country began to shut down.) I was only required to wear my mask when not seated at the table, so I adapted quickly.

The playlist for this show was created and annotated on February 1 as a snowstorm raged outside. I added annotations for “Snapshot” by Richard Elliot on the 2nd after my copy of Authentic Life arrived in the mail. The script was drafted on the 3rd.

I was inspired to play “Nautilus” by Bob James after watching this video the night before creating the playlist:

I had wanted to play a John Philip Sousa march for a while, and chose this show to incorporate my appreciation for his marches and for Monty Python by playing “The Liberty Bell,” which was the theme to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. In the talk-up, referencing the show’s intro, I quoted John Cleese‘s BBC continuity announcer character and imitated Michael Palin‘s “It’s” Man.

I paid homage to another favorite series of mine, Rocky & Bullwinkle, while talking up “Why Not” by Fowler and Branca. One episode of the Banana Formula story arc found Boris and Natasha stealing the tape recorder they used to capture Bullwinkle hiccuping said formula back from Fearless Leader after he was knocked out by a spring in the machine:

NATASHA: Now what, Boris?
BORIS: What else? We run like rabbits.
NATASHA: Good idea!
BORIS: On second thought, we take secret formula (on the recorder) with us.
NATASHA: You mean steal it?
BORIS: Why not?
(pause)
NATASHA: Funny, I can’t think of a reason.

The aforementioned snowstorm inspired me to play Nelson Rangell‘s cover of “Sweetest Somebody I Know” by Stevie Wonder. One of the first times I listened to it was on the back end of a 2015 winter storm, also in early February. That storm began as snow, changed to sleet and freezing rain, then changed to rain, after which I shoveled, and changed back to snow, which led to more shoveling because it was accumulating.

I said “album” a lot!, but I don’t care.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Requiem for Cygnus Destroyer, LJN Defender and IUPG March 6, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Media, Personal, Radio, Video, Video Games.
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3/31 UPDATE: A comment from Greg B. noted that “Matt is now Mx. Morgan Constance Enby. [They] abandoned video game talk all together … focusing on Trans Rights/Awareness and Politics.” As I stated in my reply, thank you, Greg, for letting me know. I sincerely wish them luck in their current endeavor. If any readers share their political views and are equally active, you can follow them on Twitter. (It’s the same account as before, but with a new link. That’s why I couldn’t find it.)

Read the original post below.

In June 2017, I discovered a video game-centered YouTube channel run by the enthusiastic Matt Ezero (“ezzer-o”), who bears a striking resemblance to actor and director David Hyde Pierce. Matt had three series running concurrently:

  1. Cygnus Destroyer’s Retro Reviews – the channel’s original concept, reviewing retro video games and consoles that Matt grew up playing or recently acquired
  2. The LJN Defender – an alternate take on video games published by LJN, a company that incurred the wrath of The Angry Video Game Nerd, one of Matt’s influences
  3. Innocent Until Proven Guilty (IUPG) – a balanced look at flawed video games to determine whether they are innocent or guilty (or on rare occasions, guinnocent)

I had nearly five years of content to catch up on. There wasn’t much I didn’t like. Here are the first five videos I saw upon my discovery:

My only pet peeve was the unscripted status update outros, but Matt’s transparency was admirable. He had eschewed those outros a year before I discovered the channel. He had also upgraded his game capture methods from composite for pre-HD consoles to RGB and HDMI shortly before my discovery, starting with Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker:

Naturally, I became a loyal subscriber, and when Matt started a Patreon account in 2018, I was a proud pledge.

The content kept on coming, and as a patron, I provided feedback and voted on upcoming topics. Best of all, my name was featured in the credits. For example, Sonic and the Black Knight:

Incidentally, the Wiimote/nunchuk control demonstration in that video was hilarious: “Looks fun, doesn’t it?!” I love absurd humor.

Another example, Zelda CD-i games:

My Patreon post comments were even seen in the background. This was at the end of the Simon’s Quest video:

…and Matt’s tribute to the Sega Master System:

Unfortunately, any videos he posted to Patreon – mostly episode commentaries – were unscripted, which meant small things, like repeat phrases (i.e. “so…yeah,” “kind of”) or vocal quirks, got on my nerves. Not only that, but his persona was radically different. Main channel Matt was lively; Patreon Matt was staid. (He was also a political progressive who “liked” left-wing political posts on Twitter, but his tweets were apolitical.) I wasn’t expecting the same intense personality as the videos, but it was quite a contrast, akin to the chill energy of some Twitch streamers. And that was fine.

I think the reason phrases and quirks irk me is because I worked hard to improve my speech, or at least improve my presentation in a public forum. Hearing others speak how I used to, and still do to some extent in unguarded conversations, on recorded media is unnerving. I’m such a perfectionist that I edited all the fumfering and misspeaking out of old home audio recordings (late teens, early 20s) of play-by-play of my friends bowling at nearby AMF Wantagh Lanes.

With that said, though – to use one of his phrases – I gained insight into how he made his videos. For example, overhead camera shots of him playing Nintendo Switch games in handheld mode (as in this video) were actually recorded straight ahead with an upside down perspective. He would flip the video in Vegas Pro, his video editing software of choice, so that the view was right side up.

I also had the opportunity to vote in polls to determine episode topics. Among my votes was for an IUPG on Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival.

As 2019 progressed, Matt began to experience creative burnout. To counter that, he tried an experimental unscripted video on Bubsy: Paws on Fire. My black and white, all or nothing brain figured this was the way things would be from now on. So, I unpledged and unsubscribed. YouTube recommendations pointed me to a follow-up video where he announced a pivot back to the way things were. I promptly resubscribed and repledged. The scripted redo, the second video posted after his hiatus, came out this way:

That wasn’t the end, though. Content creation continued to be a struggle for Matt. After this IUPG video on WWE 2K20 (where, ironically, he ended the video on an uplifting, positive note about future content)…:

…the burnout reached its apex. The only solution was to go unscripted in 2020 to lessen the burden. I wouldn’t have that, unpledging and unsubscribing for good. I hoped for the best for him, but what he had in mind was not what I wanted.

As someone with weekly radio shows I record well in advance, and a compulsion to photograph and recap events I attend (i.e. UPLINK last year, Smooth Jazz for Scholars every normal year), I empathize with Matt’s struggle. There are times where I can’t handle the stress and want to quit. Somehow, I get through the creation process each week with the radio shows, but with the second UPLINK last month, I just couldn’t bring myself to take notes on four panels I chose to watch and adapt those notes into a recap as I did the first time. As for the radio shows, it takes at least five times as long to create, script, record, and produce each one. Yes, like I preferred Matt do, I script out my talk breaks with freedom to ad-lib occasionally. I started doing that last summer because there was a lot of information to disseminate and I didn’t want to forget anything. I feel I have enough voice over training and natural talent where I don’t always sound like I’m reading from a script. But even with all the work that goes into a show, I’ll make a mistake or forget something and need to redo a line or few. I don’t know how long my show’s run will be, but I greatly hope I don’t get burned out.

As 2020 dragged on, I assumed it was (new) business as usual for Matt, carrying on like any content creator. Other channels I unsubscribed from over small things – like mispronouncing words and phrases (some even intentionally to trigger pedants), saying “kind of” or “sort of” every other sentence, going on anti-humor tangents, and saying “at the end of the day” instead of “ultimately” or “in the end” – continue to put out content. They do just fine without my pedantry. Not Matt. On February 7 of this year, someone commented on one of my IUPG screencap Instagram posts:

Whatever happened to him? The guy has completely disappeared. Even on his second channel. Along with social media.

The commenter was right. If you try to access the Cygnus Destroyer accounts on Twitter and Facebook, you’re told the pages no longer exist. Matt left up the YouTube channel for posterity, calling it simply “LJN Defender.”

He wrote this in the channel about tab:

This is the old channel for the LJN Defender and home to Innocent Until Proven Guilty. I’ve now stopped making these types of videos because I no longer enjoy making them, but you will always be able to watch my old content right here.

The last post in the community tab was 11 months ago. Looking at the comments for the post before that have me worried that I caused Matt’s demise.

Blindsided, I replied to the commenter:

Whoa, I had no idea. I quit following and supporting him early last year when he abandoned scripted videos. Sad to hear he’s disappeared from the public eye.

After visiting the channel, I wrote a follow-up:

And now I see that those videos aren’t even listed. It just stops at WWE 2K20. Well, I think I’ll resubscribe just so I can reacquaint myself with his videos. I was a diehard fan for three years and watched nearly every video he posted.

I did as I said, watching all 180 videos that Matt left up over the past three weeks, from the evening of February 12 through this morning. (Oddly, he removed closed captioning from the remaining videos.) I even watched unscripted ones like his second anniversary video. Along the way, I noticed that some now-unlisted videos remained in the end screen. I watched one of them. As my journey progressed, I occasionally felt wistful, knowing that the man I was watching had essentially disappeared off the face of the Earth. I also felt nostalgic for later videos, recalling what was going on in my life at the time they were published.

Wherever you are, Matt, know that you still have plenty of fans, including me, that are grateful for the seven years of content you gave us. The pedantic side of me may not like the small things from your unscripted moments, but your videos brought me joy. They were informative, enlightening, and entertaining. Thank you and God bless you.

Instrumental Invasion, 3/3/21 March 4, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Comics, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology, TV, Video.
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The February 24, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on January 28 and 29, a day earlier than planned.

The playlist was created on January 27 with annotations carrying into the 28th. Talk breaks were scripted as segments were recorded.

In the predawn hours on the 26th, I began reaching out to musicians to record liners – or drops, as I learned from Gerald Albright – for the show. Bob James contributed his within an hour of contacting him. Tom Schuman recorded his later in the day. Armed with those liners, I worked in their songs. More liners came afterward, which played a role in remixing a segment each of the last two weeks.

One pickup line was recorded on the 30th for the first segment of hour 2 because I didn’t realize I referenced Cindy Bradley in Paula Atherton‘s song and Patrick Bradley before that. That segment was remixed on February 16 after Patrick e-mailed his liner. Meanwhile, I learned there really is a Funkulator. It wasn’t a nonsense word for the sake of Paula’s song. It’s a bass pedal.

Another pickup line was recorded on the 31st when I noticed Eric Gale did play guitar on Stanley Turrentine‘s cover of “Don’t Mess with Mister T.,” and not just on the faster-paced demo. That cover is one of many discoveries I’ve had listening to SiriusXM‘s jazz channels. In this case, I heard it on Real Jazz last January. Within days, I had that album and Chet Baker‘s She Was Too Good to Me, which I discovered earlier that January after Real Jazz played “It’s You or No One.” Bob James’s presence on both albums was key to my interest and subsequent purchases.

A week before recording this show, I watched A Charlie Brown Valentine, a 2002 TV special adapted from various Peanuts comic strips, including this one. I chose “Morning, Noon & Night” as my Bob James song just so I could reference that strip. A Charlie Brown Valentine was the first Peanuts special to premiere on TV since You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown eight years earlier, which I watched on VHS (via my digitized AVI file) days before recording this show.

“Pinky’s Groove” by Dan Reynolds allowed me to reference Pinky and the Brain, a show that ran while I was in high school and I love to this day. I wasn’t acquainted with Animaniacs, the show it spun off from, until 2013, but I grew to love that, as well. Heck, I love many 1990s Warner Bros. animated series. When I have time to devote to Hulu, I’ll watch the Animaniacs revival.

Click here to download this show’s aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 2/17/21 February 18, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, Video.
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The February 17, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on January 19 and 20. I recorded the second hour shortly after waking up. You could hear it in my voice.

The playlist was created and annotated on January 16. The playlist scan is not in color because the scanner I used yielded bleed-through unless I switched to black and white.

I planned on drafting the script and recording the first hour on the 17th, then recording the second hour on the 18th. Unfortunately, I was couldn’t get any sleep the night of the 16th. After a successful night of sleep on the 17th, I drafted the script on the 18th. As noted at the top, recording occurred on the 19th and 20th.

One week after swapping it out for time, I successfully played “Starlight” by Lee Ritenour.

The last segment of hour 1 and first of hour 2 ran short, which required padding out talk breaks – particularly, the talk-up for “Big Turtle River” by Earl Klugh. On the other hand, each hour’s middle segment ran long due to wordy talk breaks. I had to fade out songs early, edit out pauses in speech, start songs under liners, and in one case, cut out a tidbit. I really wanted to share how All Night Nippon adopted a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass song as their theme: “Bittersweet Samba” from Whipped Cream & Other Delights. Here’s the outtake:

I learned the tidbit in a video on the GTV Japan YouTube channel. Here is that video:

I think Sunplaza Nakano-kun looks like Paul Shaffer.

The man behind GTV – K.J. McClain, a.k.a. Gaijillionaire (derived from the word “gaijin“) – will be speaking at UPLINK by LI Retro this Saturday at 8AM (10PM for him).

I referred to another YouTube video in the last talk break of the show, this one on the 8-Bit Keys YouTube channel:

The last segment of the show was remixed on February 2 after receiving a liner from guitarist Nick Colionne. This new liner replaced one I had repurposed from The Mike Chimeri Show. A similar remix was made for next week’s show.

As for the February 17 Instrumental Invasion, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 1/27/21 January 28, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Christmas, Drama, Internet, Jazz, Laserdisc, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology, TV, Video.
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The January 27, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on December 22 (between sounds of fence construction next door) and December 23, 2020. Pickups for the first segments of each hour were recorded on the 23rd (hour 1) and Christmas morning (hour 2).

The playlist was created and annotated, and the script was written on December 21.

This was the last show I recorded in 2020 before allowing myself time off for Christmas (outside of pickups) and New Year’s Day, and the last show recorded through the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I received a Zoom LiveTrak L-8 for Christmas.

As noted on air, Anders Enger Jensen‘s “DiscoVision” ode to the early days of LaserDisc, contains samples from side 1 of the 1979 instructional disc, Operating Instructions for the MCA DiscoVision PR-7820 System. Here is that video, hosted by actor J.D. Cannon:

The Don Sebesky album I referenced while back-selling “The Traveler” by Earl Klugh is called Giant Box. I gave it the “big” prefix (“big Giant Box album”) because it was originally a double album on LP in 1973. The 2011 remaster fits neatly on one CD.

I inadvertently referenced the Butch Hartman cartoon series T.U.F.F. Puppy (this episode, in fact) when I said “no, don’t duck; that’s his name” after noting Marty Duck was part of the horn section on “At Your Service” by Oli Silk.

Click here to download the show’s aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 1/6/21 January 7, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Podcast, Radio, Technology, Video, Video Games.
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The January 6, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on December 9, 2020. It was the first show recorded in one day since the October 14 show, which was made on September 7 (Labor Day). I recorded away from home on my laptop with a USB version of the Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone. This is most likely a one-off.

The playlist was created and annotated on December 7, exactly three months after the aforementioned previous one-day show recording.

Starting with this show, I added an extra five seconds in the playlist for talk breaks coming out of two songs and for the first talk break of hour 2. I had trouble filling time in the second segment, but then struggled to hit the post in the last segment, which was the only one I couldn’t edit down to 18:40.

As with the show that aired on December 9, to accommodate new music acquisitions, I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment for a third 2017 to present segment.

I included “Groovers and Shakers” by Blake Aaron to make up for the last 90 seconds getting cut off on November 25.

“One Day” by Yellowjackets and the WDR Big Band is another song that was also posted to YouTube:

Once I saw Russell Ferrante was playing an actual Rhodes piano, I redid that credit in the last talk break at home with an Apogee MiC 96k. I should have used that mic the day before.

Regarding “Flurries” by Brian Culbertson, I was unaware that drummer Khari Parker died back in June. I learned that on Tuesday while annotating the playlist for the February 3 show.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

I also have two bonuses. First, I contributed a question to Game Dave‘s latest Digitally Distracted episode:

Here’s the question and his answer:

The second bonus is Jeff and Pat Kroll signing off last night’s The Rock Show, my lead-in:

Instrumental Invasion, 12/23/20: Christmas December 24, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Christmas, Country, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, Personal, Radio, Technology, Video.
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The December 23, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on November 20 and 21. Pickups were recorded on the 22nd after remembering Steve Rodby was also an alumnus of Pat Metheny Group. Originally, I only acknowledged Danny Gottlieb and Mark Egan. Another pickup was recorded on the 30th after learning that Jay Rowe recorded a newer, faster version of his arrangement of “Jingle Bells” for Jessy J, which I played in the third segment:

The first and third segments were kept at their original 18:45 length. The rest were cut down to 18:40.

The playlist was created on November 17 (my 39th birthday), then refined and annotated on the 18th.

As I’ve said in the past, I absolutely love instrumental Christmas music, dating back to its use in local forecasts on The Weather Channel in the first 25 days of December. I have a vast playlist in iTunes that I play at parties (in a normal year) and at home ahead of, and on, the special day. The 27 songs on this show were just a taste of the day’s worth of songs in that playlist.

The first song of the show, “Carol of the Toy Keyboards” by David Murray, a.k.a. The 8-Bit Guy (YouTube, website), premiered on David’s sister channel, 8-Bit Keys, on December 1, 2015:

And Lindsey Stirling has a video for “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” (with over 20 million views!!!):

The name of the vocalist and percussionist on “We Three Kings” by Marion Meadows was Arto Tunçboyacıyan. I consulted this page for the pronunciation. Since recording the talk break, it now rolls off the tongue, like Krzyzewski. The name of the stringed instrument Brian Keane used was a bağlama.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

And as a bonus, here’s a liner that will be heard on WCWP today and tomorrow:

Merry Christmas!

Instrumental Invasion, 12/16/20 December 17, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video.
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The December 16, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. I did the first two segments on my 39th birthday, November 17, the third segment on the 18th, and the last three on the 19th.

The playlist was created and annotated on November 15. It was the first with 18:45 segments in mind, but also the first that I edited down to 18:40 after another instance last week where the end of a show got cut off.

During the original recording session, I cut an anecdote about my 2006 interview with Bob James from the second talk break of the show, but clipped it as an outtake:

The last talk break was the hardest to record due to Gordon Goodwin’s shout at the beginning of “T.O.P. Adjacent” by his Big Phat Band.

The inclusion of “Friday” by Dan Siegel was another make-up for the unaired segments on April 8.

I chuckled while back-selling “Castles” from David Benoit‘s Shadows album because I originally quipped “castles have shadows.” That was a victim of the 18:40 edit.

The way I said Dave Yaden‘s name was an homage to Jerry Lewis.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how my backwards talk sounded backwards:

The compact cassette iteration of the 2-XL toy robot had tapes with a right side and a wrong side. The wrong side is where I would routinely listen to backwards speech. Even the buttons worked backwards. If you had to press 1 forward, you could press 4 backward and hear the same thing. Once I had a Talkboy recorder, I experimented in the same way I did on this show. Of course, it’s much easier to experiment these days with audio editing software’s reverse option.

The WDR Big Band posted a video for “Downtown” from their Jackets XL recording session with Yellowjackets:

There’s also a CD release video:

And a five-minute sit-down interview with the Jackets:

Click here to download this show’s aircheck MP3 or listen below: