At a small gathering this weekend, I met a musician named Mikey King. He used to be in a local band called Street Pajama.
I'd never heard of Street Pajama. They disbanded before I moved to Tucson in 1991. But they were big around these parts. Really big.
Back in 1982, they came out with a song called "Screwed Again." I haven't heard it yet; Mikey describes it as "a cross between Rachmaninoff, Beef Stroganov, and New Wave." (Isn't that intriguing? I have to learn to describe our music like that so people listen to it or die of curiosity.) Anyway, it made the Billboard charts, not nationally, but for Tucson. A local station had a top-40-type show, and one week, "Screwed Again" reached the number one spot.
"Beat It," by Michael Jackson, was number two.
The song's ride to the top was short-lived. Once "Beat It" hit number one, "Screwed Again" dropped off the chart, never to be heard from again. Still, I find the story mind-boggling.
Forget the part about edging out Michael Jackson. Can you imagine a local song even appearing on a commercial radio station today? I almost said "local radio station" but stopped myself, because that's the point, isn't it? There are no real local commercial radio stations anymore. They're all run by a tiny handful of large corporations that have no connection to whatever cities they broadcast from.
All in all, the current era has been pretty good to Cinder Bridge. With the vastness of the Internet at our disposal, we and other indie bands can find audiences all over the globe. My band is probably better off than it would have been if we had to depend on radio (and labels, and traditional distribution).
But radio ...
That would have been cool.