- APRIL 10, 2002
get something different with Allens All Request Saturday
Catch Larry Allen from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on 94.9 FM.
Chad Dally/City Pulse
Allen has done his radio show for 17 years.
94.9 WMMQs Larry Allen wasnt exactly hard work. In fact,
sitting in on his All Request Saturday Night radio show was more than
a treat, it was a chance to view a musical Jedi Knight hard at work.
Tucked away in a basement studio that resembles a fall-out shelter more
than a classic rock station, Allen is engulfed with music from not only
the studio but from his private collection as well. You can barely see
the Rolling Stones poster on the wall because of box sets stacked upon
box sets and stacks of just about every album from every artist imaginable.
Allens show is for everyone the obsessive and obscurants
as well as the usual Saturday night patrons just out to party and have
a good time.
For 17 years Allen has supplied the soundtrack to those parties. The
station was first started in 1985 by college buddy Fred Jacobs.
The All Request Saturday Night may be the only show in Lansing where
you might hear Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, Frank Zappa and The Mothers
of Invention, or the 60s California psychedelic-folk outfit Moby
Grape. Along with these artists, Allen usually features extra songs
from a particular artist or band. On this evening, Supertramp is the
featured band its the birthday of one of the members.
This is quite an honor really, Allen said. Its
unusual to have a show where people can request a song. The likelihood
of hearing a song that youve requested on another station is probably
Allens show is happening at a time where radio station formats
are tightly controlled and based largely on record sales. Everyone wants
to hear the same hit played over and over, every hour on the hour. It
doesnt change whether its the Beatles or the Backstreet
Allens show isnt like that.
has very tight restrictions on formats, and theres never a change
in the menu, Allen said. This show kind of offers the listeners
a voice in what they want to listen to.
While discussing artists ranging from the unknown Wishbone Ash to the
art rockers Velvet Underground, Allen takes a phone call from someone
requesting an Amboy Dukes-era Ted Nugent song.
I make a snickering, rather pompous remark about the Motor City Madman
and the obligatory requests Allen gets every Saturday night until the
DJ sets me straight.
Dont underestimate the peoples tastes, Allen
said. When I featured the Velvet Underground a while back, they
werent calling up and requesting the known songs. They were asking
for pretty deep cuts. The audiences knowledge is pretty vast.
Admittedly, I kind of like the Amboy Dukes song.
I ask Allen about the one artist, or artists, he loathes playing on
his show. He is shy to answer but quietly utters about some artists
who get more play than others.
Obviously, theres the Styxs, the Bostons, Reo Speedwagon,
Peter Frampton you get tired of hearing those guys after a while,
Allen said. Every Led Zeppelin cut gets played, but youll
never hear a Wishbone Ash song.
The night goes on smoothly with Allen guiding the show as if he has
this thing on cruise control.
Allen admits he cant get all the requests in. I try and
balance the familiar with the lesser known stuff and not totally be
in the dark, he said. I remember some underground radio
stations where for 20 minutes you had no idea what was going on. There
has to be a common thread somewhere.
Getting ready to end the night, I ask, What are your all-time,
top five favorite albums? Anyone whos seen the John Cusack
movie High Fidelity knows that all music geeks must have
a top five, but Allen is logical with his answer.
Selling England by the Pound by Genesis is probably
one of my favorites, Allen admits. Its kind of hard
for me to narrow the field when there is just so much good music. But
when Im feeling low, the song The Cinema Show off
that album always lifts my spirits.
Before I left the studio, I mentioned that Bob Dylans Blood
On The Tracks and Led Zeppelins III are a couple of my all-time
top five, and I ask if he could squeeze a couple requests in for me.
Allen kindly obliged. As I drove, I listened to both Dylans Shelter
From The Storm, and Zeppelins Tangerine, filling
both of my requests.
Larry must have know that I took the long way home.