Infernal Rock Radio

An interview with the Madison deejays of Infernal Rock Radio
by Mike Huberty
December 2010

L-R: Louie, Jimmy K, E-Dub, Bachness Monster, SlamminAlvin

L-R: Louie, Jimmy K, E-Dub, Bachness Monster, SlamminAlvin

Internet radio has come a long way from the technological wasteland of the 1990’s when you were tied to a desktop machine with a wired Ethernet connection and then you could listen to a low-bitrate stream that sounded like an AM radio station from 200 miles away over tinny crapola speakers. At the time, just the idea of listening on the Internet untethered by the rules and corporate economics of terrestrial radio was invigorating. Everyone could be a pirate because it was radio without limits. Deejays that didn’t have to spin the same Top Forty songs that only your little sister likes or the same tired classic rock songs that haven’t left the airwaves since 1975. It was going to be the great equalizer, because everyone could listen to you. But an idea is all it was. It was usually more of a pain to figure out than it was an actual joy to listen to. Today, in the second decade of the new Millennium, it’s a completely different story. Everyone has Broadband and for many, it’s mobile. Computers are starting to become the foundation for home entertainment. Internet radio broadcasts in crystal-clear quality, sounding better than FM when you’re next to the antenna. People are listening to radio over the Internet in their cars, on their iPods, and wherever there’s a cell phone signal. One of this new breed of Internet radio stations that’s making waves on the internet is Infernal Rock Radio, a station devoted to hard rock and heavy music.

Infernal Rock Radio DJ'sInfernal Rock Radio was founded in 2007 by Kansas City based Dread Pirate Vane, a veteran webcaster who takes the “pirate radio” symbolism all the way. Infernal Rock Radio’s motto became “The station built by the bands, for the fans”, and while those fans can hear the station worldwide, including deejays from all over the country, there are several shouters from right here in Madison. Sunday’s “The Bastard Den” pays special attention to local Wisconsin hard rock and metal bands and it’s hosted by local deejays Jimmy K, E-Dub, and Louie. Jimmy says, “What’s most fulfilling for us is to be able to play a lot of local music that you can’t hear anywhere else. Stuff that won’t get played by FM stations, we get the chance to play it.” Another Madison deejay, the Bachness Monster, elaborates on that theme. “There’s one big thing that sets a lot of us apart. It’s not a job, it’s a hobby”, he says, “and we bring a lot of passion to what we do. We can be a lot more versatile and have it not just be regurgitated information because we love it.” It’s this freedom to be passionate that excited Louie as well. “We’re allowed to say what we wanna say, not just because there’s no FCC censorship but because there’s no board of directors.” he says. “You’re free to have your own opinion and believe in what you want to believe in. People are free to express that.”

Comedian/DJ Steve PurcellThere’s always challenges to cutting through the vast Internet noise and getting the word out, that there’s a real alternative to the airwaves and satellites. Word of mouth and social networking helps a lot. Jimmy K says, “Station listeners are loyal to the station they listen to. Most people find a station and they stick with it.” He concedes though, that the lack of corporate sponsorship that enables the deejays their wide freedom has its own price. “Financing can be a hurdle, because we don’t sell advertising. We’re completely reliant on donations from listeners and deejays. We also do fundraisers, We’ve had one already and we’re about to have another one, The Madtown Bash.”

On December 11th, Infernal Rock Radio will be hosting its second fundraising event at The Frequency in Madison. People will have a chance to “buy local” when it comes to their music and comedy scene, because they’ll be mixing live standup with hard rocking bands (local thrash metallers KILL JUNIOR, punkers SUBATOMIC, hard rockers BRAINERD, the hilarious fist-pumping LORDS OF THE TRIDENT, and the bluesy act UNUSUAL HURTS), Jimmy K says that “people pay their five bucks and they’re going to see a great show. And it all goes to keep Infernal Rock Radio on the air, where we support local acts and music.”

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