The death of alternative rock is official, if the rumors coming out of commercial- radio circles are true. Expect, in the next month -- if not sooner -- to see a major-league shift on the dial as two high-profile rock stations merge into one. Expect WXTM -- a.k.a. Extreme Radio, 104.1 FM -- to be dead on the dial. Gone. Kaput. No more. But don't throw a tizzy and start head-butting grandmas, mooks, because it's not you who's really getting reamed. The Point's the one getting the ax, according to sources.
Here's the deal: Extreme as an entity is going to be killed. Much of the staff, however, will shift over to sister station The Point (105.7 FM), whereupon The Point will be "extreme-ized." The new station will play less modern-rock crap and more metal crap. The flagship of Extreme's roster, The Howard Stern Show, will also move over to the Point, pounding a nail into the coffin of The Point's morning show -- wonderful news, considering it's the most insipid show on the dial (which is saying something, considering the countless worthy nominees).
Really, though, The Point and Extreme had effectively merged into one single blob of poop in the past year anyway. Both play mook-rock out the wazoo -- Biskit, Creed, Korn, Papa Roach, the Peppers -- and the shift is a simple acknowledgment that the two are pretty much interchangeable.
If the programmers at Extreme, or The Point, or The Extreme Point, were really so outrageous and dangerous, they'd break the artificial color barrier on the dial and start cutting their rock with a dose of hip-hop. It's ridiculous -- and downright insulting, in this day and age -- that Extreme will play the Beastie Boys and Eminem but not DMX or Jay-Z, will spit out shit like Insane Clown Posse but not drop Master P or Juvenile. The marketplace long ago developed color-blindness; when will the radio dial follow suit?
At this point, the Extreme/Point shift is still a rumor, but it's a solid one. Calls to WXTM went unreturned. No news yet on what's going to fill the empty space at 104.1. But, chances are, it'll suck.
WORLD-CLASS: "Do you love the rock & roll, or do you love the rock & roll?" mumbled superstar guitarist Jason Hutto last Saturday during the Sexicolor show at the Hi-Pointe, and it was pretty clear from the response that, yes, we were loving the rock & roll. Of course we were, because we were witnessing the city's most ferocious and rock-solid unit in nearly perfect form. Hutto, rhythm guitarist Spitzie West, bassist Mark Eberhardt and drummer Scooter Hermes, together for only a half-a-year, accessed, in the immortal words of the Mekons, "that secret place where we all want to go, rock & roll!"
When news leaked early this year that West, formerly of Johnny Magnet, and Hutto, ex of the Phonocaptors, were uniting to form Sexicolor, rockers drooled at the potential. The two are magnetic performers who understand that the secret to good rock isn't book smarts but sheer brawny riffs, big dumb hooks and a lot of rock-god posturing. Six months into their game, they made it all work, capturing in one sound the essence of the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Urge Overkill (before they were shit), the New York Dolls, the Stooges and all those great guitar bands.
Once, when asked whether he thought the Rolling Stones were indeed the world's greatest rock & roll band, Keith Richards replied, in essence, 'There's no such thing as one greatest; on any given night, somewhere in the world, a different band is the world's greatest.' On this Saturday night, the world's greatest rock & roll band was in St. Louis, at the Hi-Pointe, and their name was Sexicolor. Go see them now, losers.
CORRECTION: In last week's column, we mistakenly referred to Rocket Park's forthcoming CD as "the clumsily titled The Effects of Watching Too Much Television." It should actually have read "the clumsily titled The Effects of Eating Too Much Television." We regret the error.