By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of San Francisco’s veteran noise-punk power trios tops the bill at a benefit Thursday night to help the beloved community radio station formerly known as KUSF raise much needed funds to relaunch as a terrestrial station.
Launched as an FM station in 1977 at 90.3, the college radio outlet affiliated with the University of San Francisco had a decades-long reputation as a bastion of underground music and as an important cultural institution when the school unceremoniously sold the frequency out from under station operators, pulling KUSF off the air on January 18, 2011.
While USF made millions in the deal that sold the 90.3 frequency to the USC-owned Classical Public Radio Network despite the howls of protest from station and student volunteers and the opposition of city officials (SF Supervisors voted 8-3 against the sale the month after it happened), the people who worked to make KUSF one of the nation’s best college radio stations were suddenly without a home.
Luckily, a group of those volunteers would wage a dogged fight to return to the airwaves as the nonprofit organization San Francisco Community Radio. Initially known as KUSF In Exile, the group appealed the frequency’s sale with the FCC and maintained an online presence, with many of the original KUSF DJs broadcasting their music and community shows over the Internet from San Francisco’s Light Rail Studios for nearly seven years.
Late in October, the organization announced a major victory. The FCC granted the group a new frequency at 102.5 FM and approved its proposed call letters, KXSF, with plans to return to terrestrial broadcasting January 18th, exactly seven years to the day after the plug was pulled on the venerable station. However, the group still has a long way to go as far as raising funds to defray expenses of getting the fledgling radio station up and running, so organizers are holding this launch party featuring Bay Area punk heroes pOrch.
Respected pOrch leader and guitarist Todd Huth first rose to prominence during the mid-1980s as the original guitarist with future Bay Area alt-rock heroes Primus. After his departure from the Les Claypool-led trio, replacement Larry LaLonde would recreate Huth’s guitar melodies on most of the material that made up the band’s early studio albums Frizzle Fry and Sailing on the Seas of Cheese.
The guitarist would once again work with Primus mainstay and bass virtuoso Claypool during the ’90s in the band Sausage — essentially a reunion of the original Primus line-up featuring Huth and drummer Jay Lane — but he also made waves after founding his own trio pOrch. Exploring a more aggressive, dissonant sound that echoed iconic noise-punk acts like the Jesus Lizard and Unsane, the band released its self-titled album in 1994 and played the Bay Area extensively before eventually splitting up.
Porch would resurface a few years ago when Huth and bassist Christopher Frey brought drummer Michael Jacobs into the fold to record the trio’s first new album in 17 years, Givin Up. In 2013, the band recorded a stunning follow-up effort entitled Walking Boss with noted producer Tim Green at his Louder Studios in Grass Valley. A couple of years later, the band ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to have the recording remastered for vinyl with a limited edition pressing of the record.
Porch headlines the KXSF victory party after with from Frisco, a new group featuring singer Bob McDonald and bassist/guitarist Andy Oglesby of sadly defunct punk vets Hank IV with ex-Acid King/Altamont drummer Joey Osbourne and onetime Lost Goat guitarist Eric Peterson that hints at the noisy ’90s chaos of the Jesus Lizard and Unsane. Tuneful Oakland punks Smokers open the show, while KXSF DJs Carolyn and the Creep will spin tunes before and between bands.
KXSF Launch And Victory Party With Porch
Thursday, January 18, 7 p.m. $15-$20
The Bottom of the Hill