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a day in the life of a duck on a bike (.com)
enter the world of online radio production
by michael d. driscoll

The following is a journal of the successful Trancyberian Express Internet Radio Show at DuckOnBike.com. Started in May 1999, the show is an online vehicle for local bands to record and archive their performance for worldwide consumption. Engineered by Rob Stark, hosted by Matt Fisher, and listened to by angry Hungarians named Biknac, the Trancyberian Express departs its station on the occasional Sunday night around 9pm.

Sunday, July 09, 2000

We stumbled in from a rather unfulfilling night at a local club. Nightlife around here has slowed to a defective crawl, and coming home seemed to be the highlight of the evening…except when I got my ass grabbed around 2am by a hottie. With Dorito residue lingering around our mouths we settled into playing with the kittens, making fun of how fat they’re getting, and discussing how later that day we’d host yet another DuckOnBike.Com Internet radio show featuring Tift Merritt and the Carbines. About the time decisions should have been made, a garden of snores pierced the quiet house. Not a single cat stirring, not even their fake mouse.

Hot damn, no hangover from the night before. A few stretches and six yawns later we’ve made a plan to get the house ready for the Sunday night jam. I’m taking the inside while Rob works on the outside. Honestly, real men don’t cut grass, they wrestle dust-bunnies into a vacuum and clean toilet seats from a week of unseen misses. I’m OK with this. Really. I’m going to be just fine.

Five pages into the New York Times, a bowl of Cheerios resting in my belly, and we’re ready to start the process. Unfortunately, the process takes a wrong turn and somehow I’m watching Baywatch Hawaii and surprised at how tense I get from this TV sexudrama. Can they get those poor people out of the underwater cavern in time? Is the one female victim going to make it to the nearest emergency medical center to have the fake blood removed? Why don’t the lifeguards ever put their shirts on even indoors? Soon, everyone is rescued and I realize I will never get back that wasted half-hour of my life.

We’ve just made it through the sound check of the bass and snare drums. My job was pretty heroic. I hit the drums to set the mic levels. It couldn’t have happened without me. I rocked.

Tift and the band have just shown up in their larger-than-God van. I think it was once the home of every chic ‘70s vagabond. It reeks of sex, pleather and the juke joint blues. When it rains it pours, and soon the house is starting to fill with friends toting beer and smiles (those are the best friends, in my opinion).

For every one person there seems to be three pieces of musical equipment—an engineer’s nightmare. The studio is starting to look like backstage at the Grande Olde Opry, but in a good way. Sound check for the band begins and Tift saunters through the house greeting friends and fans. The girl knows how to work a crowd of two or two thousand (also in a good way).

The show begins with a kind greeting from the always excitable yet exceptionally tame Matt Fisher. A little ditty from Shelby Lynn and then one from Neil Young rounds out the first few minutes. Then, Tift and the Carbines roll out the Trancyberian Express with the melodic “Trouble Over Me.” Of course, while I’m chatting with friends I get shushed by Rob. Listen closely and you can probably hear him.

The band has made it through the harmonics of “Supposed to Make You Happy”, “Blue Motel”, “I Know Him Too”, all the way to one of my most favorite songs, “Somebody Should Have Been Watching”. In between songs we bear witness to the longest recorded guitar tuning on the Internet, and a comment from Tift about sticking things in holes (you’ll just have to listen to the show to understand now won’t you?).

“Try Again” has captured the house, made everyone swing back and forth, only to be swept away again with “Distant Way”. As the slide guitar creeps in behind Tift’s soft vocals, the Carbine trance starts to take effect. A few minutes of verbalized dead air pass (“dead air, we have dead air, dead air”) and “Longest Way” erupts. The Wurlitzer and electric guitar can probably be heard for miles, and we just cannot be bothered. The song ends with the longest recorded ADAT tape change by an engineer.

The ever-trippy “Cadillac” ends and Tift exclaims if she were a tree she would be a cherry tree--much to the delight of the listeners. The last song of the evening “Fools and Non-believers” plays like a lullaby. Rob and Matt try to talk Tift into another song that she accepts but never performs (read: Rob cut off the Real server connection ending the session).

People have scattered to the ends of the house in search of conversation or a cigarette. Nobody wants to start packing up the equipment, but slowly, one by one, people disappear to the studio and return carrying equipment to the van. What a great night. We had friends, music, beer, the occasional cigarette and more laughter than you can shake a stick at. And you know what the best part is? We get to do it again whenever we want.

Wanna come over?

Hear the performance at DuckOnBike.Com


Curious about everything, Michael plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed to go where no one else has gone. His slight forgetfulness means he is curious about everything and plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed...

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published: 1.22.01


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