Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pass the Biscuit, please

It was known as the King Biscuit Flower Hour and it was as comforting and reliable as a roach clip.

Ah, stoner radio what became of you? Sitting in a lumpy chair armed with Koss headphones, the Pioneer tuner locked on a favorite Orlando station, and a blue haze enveloping the room. Good times.

At least that's what an old friend told me it was like. OK, I did have a lumpy chair. And I did tune in to King Biscuit from time to time, back when FM radio provided the essential link to music we needed to hear and the world seemed like a more manageable place.

You didn't need to be a pothead to appreciate the great music streaming into households and hippie pads around the country on Sunday nights. It was a chance to hear concert performances by some of the top rock bands of the day, or catch the new sounds of emerging artists who were receiving their first major exposure. King Biscuit tried to be hip and edgy, and when the new wave and punk bands arrived it made room for them as well.

Having a flashback, Strumbum? Nope, it's just another anniversary that deserves proper mention. King Biscuit debuted on this date in 1973 with a show featuring Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and a 23-year-old rocker from New Jersey who had just released his first album.

Fortunately, incredibly, many of the original recordings broadcast on King Biscuit were preserved, and some of them -- including the '73 Bruce Springsteen show from a New York club -- can be streamed free at Wolfgang's Vault. If you're not yet familiar with this superb concert archive, go to

King Biscuit's eclectic run ended in 1993, although some stations were rebroadcasting shows until recently. As Neil Young would sing, the King is gone but he's not forgotten.

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