As noted recently here on the Amoeblog totally unique, non-commercial, Bay Area radio station KFJC is currently in the midst of their annual Month of Mayhem - when each May they pull out all the stops and break out more special programming and related events than any other time of the year on the never boring Foothill College radio station in Los Altos Hills. And today's (Monday May 14th) planned programming from 10am to 2pm is no exception. It is when longtime KFJC DJ Japanic will present The Monday Beatdown in honor of the late great (and much loved) producer of the bygone KFJC show, The Spiderman who was truly a champion of underground local music and a hip-hop fanatic (as well as all good music) but who tragically was killed in a car accident December 22nd, 2000.
Of the still greatly missed KFJC DJ and music director, who was born Ken Hamilton, today's host Japanic described his KFJC show, that ran from 1995 to 2000, and its influence as thus, "During its time, The Monday Beatdown (and Spiderman) garnered much respect and a dedicated following - both in the Hip-Hop community & the independent music community in general. The Monday Beatdown was definitely a unique listening experience. For those that tuned in, they definitely got their fix of hardcore underground Hip-Hop, but it wasn't uncommon to hear the likes of Voivod dropped in a set with Non Phixion, Third Sight & El Stew or Godstomper in the mix with Pharaohs of Funk [D-Styles & DJ Flare], Organized Konfusion & The Derelicts."
Like members of the Derelicts other local hip-hop artists like Luke Sick (Sacred Hoop/Grand Invincible) and DJ Quest (Live Human/Space Travelers) still talk a lot about Spiderman and how incredibly supportive he was of the types of music that others simply just didn't get. So too do his fellow KFJC folks who knew him as well as people at other radio stations too. Brian Turner - longtime music director and DJ at WFMU New Jersey - forged a strong bond over music with Spiderman - something that benefited both respected freeform radio station's libraries and playlists.
"Spiderman and I used to chat on the phone about what we were digging and adding to our respective stations' rotations. And I hated being on the phone, but with him it was always an awesome learning experience and total pleasure to just hang; never at a time did he seem less than enthusiastic about just about every genre/subgenre of music,," Brian Turner told me via email adding that. "He had a talent of showcasing some really obscuro stuff and his attention to it always was for the pure love to trying to shine the spotlight on things that may not get it otherwise. It was never a one-upmanship love of music like so many people you encounter sometimes. It was my refreshing West Coast break each time we talked, that guy's spirit was infectious, he was totally loveable, and still a big inspiration in many avenues for me with regard to WFMU and in other ways."
Fellow KFJC programmer DJ Trinity, aka Diane Lee, shared Turner's respect and affection for Spiderman who she lovingly called "such a big personality" when I caught up with her yesterday. "[He was] someone with whom you could have an amazingly intimate conversation. He was obviously passionate about music but his sense of humor is what I miss most," she said. "His mom and sister are fantastic people and I can see how they were positive role models in his life. I'll never forget the "Cold Tub" from his graveyard shifts as Dick Breakfast and Sonny Side Up. It's crazy to think he's been gone so long since I still feel him at KFJC. I would have never have had the show I did if it wasn't for him. He is sorely missed but I'm so grateful to have known him the short time that I did."
With lots of music in the Spiderman/Monday Beatdown tradition plus drops and folks doing shout outs today Japanic hopes to "make this special reminiscent of a classic Beatdown episode" which note used to air at the same time as today's special; Mondays from 10am to 2pm. If you are in the KFJC signal area in the Bay Area tune in on your radio on 89.7FM. Otherwise tune into the online stream via KFJC.org.