For several months, I kept seeing Stephen “Spaz” Schnee’s name on Facebook, commenting on my friends’ posts. We had a lot of very similar opinions, so I sent a friend request and found that he’s a music aficionado, with multiple outlets on Facebook, Mix Cloud and YouTube.
What I really like about the content he creates, is that there’s no snobbery whatsoever. He’s the kind of guy who gets just as excited hearing a great song today as he did twenty years ago, when he first heard it. It’s a point of view that’s legitimately contagious.
I listened to his recent podcast, Return Of The Living ’80’s, a show that tasks itself with finding obscure and seldom-heard musical gems from the decade of excess. From the promo sheet Spaz was kind enough to forward to me;
“Each episode of RETURN OF THE LIVING ‘80s was and is meant to be more than just a collection of ‘80s music. I try to bring back the excitement of hearing new things by adding those ‘shoulda been hits’ alongside more familiar ‘80s tunes that many fans would know. My goal is to make the show sound like it comes FROM the ‘80s! However, I try to avoid the BIG hits of the ‘80s and focus on the medium sized hits and the long-forgotten radio smashes. I want each show to be familiar and comforting yet still exciting and new. That is what the ‘80s mean to me – a time of innocence (my own) in a musical world that was constantly changing.
One more thing of note in regard to RETURN OF THE LIVING ‘80s: While I am the DJ/host, I let the music do the talking. Basically, I provide the intro/outro to the shows and back-announce the songs and that is about it. I don’t reminisce much and I don’t offer back stories on the bands. I just want people to hear the music. That is truly what it is all about to me.”
I immediately headed over to Mixcloud to have a listen. While I knew a couple of the tracks he played, some were complete surprises. I hadn’t heard Aztec Camera’s “Oblivious” since 1983, when a friend of mine bought the record. Wow, did it transport me back in time! It’s not the kind of song you’d hear on ’80’s-themed radio today, so it had quietly slipped into the ether of my past.
Even better than finding that lost friend, was discovering Orange Juice’s “I Can’t Help Myself” and Positive Noise’s “Lightning Strikes,” two songs that I don’t believe I’d ever heard before. Like two lost souls from an unreleased John Hughes movie, they became instant favorites!
Thank you, Spaz, for giving me a little more of what was probably the best part of growing up in the ’80’s, the music.