If it weren't for WFNX, Na-thaniel Leavitt might not be in a band right now. The Parlour Bells guitarist says when he was a teenage radio listener, he called into the station from his family home in Andover and spoke to DJ Kurt St. Thomas.
"He talked to me for a good 30 minutes off-air, to give me advice on how to be in a band," remembers Leavitt. "I was very young and just starting out. I don't know where else you can get that."
So it's only fitting that Lea-vitt is among the many musicians getting together to deliver a eulogy of sorts for what was once great at 101.7 FM.
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Last month a bombshell was dropped on the music-lovers of Boston when it was announced that the media giant Clear Channel was buying the legendary local radio station.
While many argue that WFNX peaked in the '90s as brokers in alternative's mainstream breakthrough, the station has maintained its status as a tastemaker to this day. In addition to Parlour Bells, the bill also features local alt-rockers who had their heyday in the '90s: O Positive and Orbit. Current local favorites Garvy J will also play a set, and in between the bands there will be DJs from WFNX names past and present (such as program director Paul Driscoll and afternoon jock Adam 12). Concert-goers will also get to see "We Want The Airwaves," a documentary about the station from WFNX alum, Bruce McDonald.
Although the WFNX sale can be boiled down to the reality of business, there is no question that along with the likes of the Middle East and Newbury Comics, the station has been a major part of the very fabric of music in Boston.
"I grew up on WFNX," says Garvy J frontman and Holliston native Josh Hager. "To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised that they lasted as long as they did, [considering] the corporate environment radio has become over the years."
Leavitt says that what set WFNX apart has been that personal touch.
"A lot of radio stations, you call now and there is a computer," he says. "There is no DJ."
As for the public support for the station since the sale was announced, fans should know that it hasn't gone unnoticed.
"I'm touched by [the support]," says WFNX mainstay Adam 12, who is now focused on taking care of his family more than anything else. "I was shocked but not surprised. WFNX was always a labor of love."
That labor of love may not be gone forever, though. Adam 12 confirms that plans are underway to continue the station in an online format. The legend will live on.
If you go
We Want The Airwaves - A WFNX Tribute
with O Positive, Orbit,
Garvy J, Parlour Bells and other special guests
Saturday, June 30
967 Comm. Ave., Boston
Yelling in Boston Accents
Boston Accents, WFNX's Sunday night Boston music program hosted by DJ Michael Marotta, will also be going down swinging, with three shows at Great Scott in late July. These so-called Boston Accents Funeral Parties will feature some of the best that Boston music has to offer. Monday highlights buzz-bands earthquake party! and RIBS, followed by a true heavyweight bout on Tuesday with stalwarts Mean Creek squaring off with rockers Mellow Bravo. Wednesday will spotlight Gentleman Hall, winners of this year's Best Boston Act award in the Boston Phoenix, and the intriguing Bearstronaut. Don't wear black; these parties are sure to be among the most vibrant nights of the summer.
Boston Accents Funeral Parties
1222 Comm. Ave., Allston
Monday, July 23:
Viva Viva, RIBS, earthquake party! Fat Creeps
Tuesday, July 24:
Mean Creek, Mellow Bravo, Soccer Mom, Dirty Virgins
Wednesday, July 25:
Gentlemen Hall, Black Light Dinner Party, Bearstronaut, Stereo Telescope