WNUR Underground Archive Project

1983: Back To The Garage

Here Are The Chesterfield Kings

Here Are The Chesterfield Kings - The Chesterfield Kings

Filling out the survey of WNUR rock show’s early days is a renewed interest in garage rock. While many would point to the mid to late 1970s, with both the original Nuggets and Pebbles compilation releases, as the pinnacle of garage rock interest, we see an interest from 1983 onward in the WNUR collection. Here Are The Chesterfield Kings and the accompanying notes “we come from garageland!” signify a more self conscious rediscovery of the genre, in which the genre itself accompanied many of the garage rock record notes. This phenomena is one which implies the backward facing quality judgment of the music director, as movements in music are generally only named posthumously, or at least after they are well underway. Notice for example how the Bad Brains release or the Descendants release from the same year don’t have ‘hardcore’ mentioned on their sleeves, though we now see them as seminal releases of the hardcore genre. This all goes to show the shifting and amorphous nature of genre distinctions, and the time it takes for those genres we view from a historical perspective as solid categorical markers, to solidify and form.  By 1983 the Chesterfield Kings were ‘garage rock,’ and thus were described as such, in the late 1980s and 1990s we start to see ‘hardcore’ used more often. In this interaction between the past, present and future we can witness both the backward looking tastes of rock show DJs and the sentiments of classification which would carry the station and the show into the future. No musical genre of the past 50 years contains so many scattered and subtle sub-genres, perhaps this is due to the hard work of the college radio music director as cultural curator, to classify as a means for preservation and distinction. Another means of weaving together the tangled twine of the underground rock music scene.