88.1 KDHX DJ Spotlight: Tim and Matt of Super Fun Happy Hour
The Super Fun Happy Hour, hosted by Tim Mize and Matt Meyers, has been on the air for over 14 years on 88.1 KDHX. This Monday night, February 28, will mark the end of a punk rock era, as the native St. Louisians will be leaving the airwaves – at least for now – to attend to their off-air lives and work. Like all DJs on KDHX, Tim and Matt are volunteers, and doing late night radio is demanding.
A blend of pure punk rock and innovative comic montages, mixed by friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic hosts, SFHH has been a significant part of the underground music scene in St. Louis and a big part of what makes KDHX special. Everyone at the station will miss Tim and Matt; we wish them all the best in their future journeys.
Roy Kasten: Tell me about the first Super Fun Happy Hour.
Tim: Well, the first Super Fun Happy Hour started in late ’96, I’d say November ’96. I wrote the proposal with Tom Delgado. He and I started that show. After we went a few shows on the air, an individual named Brian Rolf also joined us. He gave us a lot of ideas for the wacky stuff, not only the name, but the oddities we play at the beginning that aren’t necessarily music, but the comedy bits. [Tom and Brian] lasted I would say a year or so. Doing late night radio, it’s hard to stay on, because after a while it can get to you, if you have a day job like those guys did.
It went on that way for a short time, then I had another individual, Payton Gibbs, who joined me for about a year. Then I was solo for a while, then Payton turned me on to Matt. I had known Matt previously because he did MidCoast Mania on television. I’d also met him previously. I’d been in the bar business for several years. We met and said, “Let’s give it a shot.” It was a perfect marriage. We hit it off and we’ve been together ever since.
I have a vague memory of MidCoast Mania.
Matt: It was guys from a cable access show who wanted to do something bigger. They’d gotten a spot on Channel 11. We did a half-hour music show on Channel 11. They’d drop us between all the paid programming. I made a jerk of myself, a professional ass of myself.
Tim: I thought, this guy is perfect!
Was comedy part of the concept from the beginning?
Tim: That was part of the concept. We wanted to do something different. Aside from playing music that was underground, we wanted to add another aspect so that it didn’t sound so 2 dimensional, add a third ingredient in there. Something in between breaks that would keep people involved, snippets here and there, anything we could get away with playing.
Who is behind the montages?
Tim: We do it together. I’ve got a collection that I’ve put together over the years.
Matt: I’m sure 90% of that stuff was here when I got here.
How did you get into punk rock, Matt?
Matt: I was a late bloomer. I picked it up midway through high school. I got a good taste of it, and was making a collection of classics, ’80 to ’86, and I remember how I was listening to it with friends and then it just got cut off. I wasn’t hanging out with them anymore. Then I walked in here, and I thought, this is everything I had left behind. I took it as a fun way of doing things and a big learning experience. Here’s all these bands I knew, and here’s stuff I didn’t know. It became a collection of things you had to hunt down, and that made it more important. It had such an importance, to me, personally. Getting on the show, all those things were now in my face. It was like, here’s more, here’s more, here’s more!
Tim: Growing up as a kid, in early high school, I started going to shows in kids’ basements. I started seeing all-ages shows at places like New Values, which was a little record store / boutique at Big Bend and Clayton Road [in St. Louis] in the early ’80s. Now I think it’s a passport shop. That was a cool place.
That was a venue?
Tim: It was a record store and they sold punk rock clothes. They had shows in the basement. I saw big name acts like Toxic Reason, and local bands, Proud Young Men and Three Legged Dog from Columbia. When I was a kid I couldn’t get into bars, and the bars at that time had very few all-ages shows. Back then there wasn’t the Internet. You’d hear about it by word of mouth. You’d catch a ride from someone else and you’d go to this place that wasn’t a bar and see music and get involved with what was going on in the underground. When I first started thinking about radio I thought that’s what people need to hear. The stuff that you’re not going to be able to go out and see but things you hear about through word of mouth.
Matt: That’s what made it fun back then. Your friends were doing it, somebody else’s friends were doing it. Theses little shows, you’d walk in and have a great time. Everything else was so plastic and boring. It was nice to see something that was new.
On the show, you can tell the artists that you’re passionate about and that you play on a regular basis, but it’s a pretty wide range of music and bands within the punk style. Can you talk about how your own tastes have evolved based on being on the radio? For me, it’s hard to put on a record and not think: Will this sound good on the radio?
Matt: For me, you get something, and it’s like, sweet that can go on the radio! It’s not 30 seconds long and it’s not a bunch of F bombs! Of course when the Internet came along, that made it easier to find stuff. You still have to find the site, and you can get recommendations that way. But listening to the radio, with most major stations, that’s tough to do. Of the 5 selections on my radio they’re all KDHX.
Tim: One thing I would like to mention is that, when I came here to be involved in radio, KDHX turned me on to so much more than just what I listened to at that time. I remember before I came down to volunteer, I would listen to KWUR. It was such a long time ago, but they had a radio show, “Beat Down Babylon,” that opened me up to reggae music. Then I got turned on to KDHX. I started listening to blues and all kinds of different things. I realized KDHX was in my neighborhood and I needed to get involved. And that opened me up to other things. I like playing punk rock on the radio, but at the same time there are so many other things out there. At one point, I would say, “I’m kind of jaded.” I can go through a stack of records and nothing interests me. And then, hey, that interests me! I don’t know how well I answered your question.
Very well. Matt, what’s your desert island disc?
Matt: I don’t know if I can do that!
Tim: Off the top of my head, the Cramps, Songs the Lord Taught Us. That came out in 1979 or ’80. It never gets old. It has this magic thing about it, especially if you’ve seen the band do those songs live. There’s something about an album that was recorded before the digital age. It’s got those nuances. You wonder how did they make that sound, get that guitar to sound like that? Just guitar, drums, bass and a singer to have that sound, that feel to it.
OK, Matt, you get one more chance.
Matt: Does a box set count? I would take the entire Misfits box set. That would get me by for many days. Of course it’s only 6 hours of music.
Have you guys been involved in the music community in other ways? Through ‘zines or promoting shows?
Tim: Throughout the years, not so much like I used to, but back in the ’80s I played in a punk rock band. Laughing Stock. After that, I wasn’t on the radio, but that said to me, “Hey, when I do a radio show, I want to get local music involved.” When I first started the show, I got in touch with different musicians that I knew. We started bringing in local bands to play in the studio.
It was a great vehicle for local bands. We did that for a while. And then it started to become a chore. We thought OK, we’ll stop doing that, but then after a while I started working in the bar business, the Way Out Club, Blueberry Hill, The Hi-Pointe. I was at the Hi-Pointe for 5 years. Some people there approached me and said, “Why don’t you do something where we have live bands here and broadcast it on the radio?” So, I got with Dan Adelman, who was here at the time. He said, “Let me take a look around.” He hooked us up with a DSL line, and we were doing a live broadcast from the Hi-Pointe. It was a pretty crazy thing. I would be down here [at KDHX] and Matt would go down to the Hi-Pointe. We’d have 3 local bands play. Sometimes there’d be a headliner from out of town as a bonus. I’d book the bands and then the night of the show, I’d be down here, Matt would be at the club, and he’d go on the air and say, “This is Matt, we’re on the air. Super Fun Happy Hour, live music showcase from the Hi-Pointe.” The bands would play, what 15 minutes?
Matt: 10 to 15 minutes.
Tim: Three songs, 15 minutes. They’d play those songs, Matt would come back on, “That’s so and so live from the Hi-Pointe! Stick around for more.”
Matt: Back to you Seth!
Tim: Then he’d leave and drive down here, and in 15 minutes he’d be back on the air! It was quite a thing. We did that for like 2 years.
Matt: We did that for a while. I’d listen down at the club on speakers. There’d be a delay though. I’d have to hear Tim stop and finish his sentence, and then start talking so the words would be close together!
Do you think you’ll come back and do a show again?
Tim: We’ve kind of taken the Super Fun Happy Hour yacht as far as we can, doing live music inside and outside, and scrambling every week to do a show. It’s time for a break, stop and smell the roses, see how I feel about it. But people like me and Matt, we can’t sit still for too long. We need to be doing something. So we’re just taking a break.
Matt: I’m curious when the “missing it” part will kick in. Actually, it’s already started.