3 Questions with Chuck from Cosmic Slop


In the heady days of 1993, radio shows were still, well, on the radio. The internet was still an intellectual wasteland, dominated exclusively by stingy University Professors and D&D guilds posting on Q-Link.

A decade later has seen the long and colorful Radio K tenure of Cosmic Slop come and go, and, in 2009, the show's creators and producers Chuck Tomlinson and Joel Stitzel (who was interviewed earlier today) have resurfaced, as all worthwhile things do, on the internet.

The show is a podcast now, and is in its 16th outstanding installment (accessible here). Stitzel was interviewed earlier today in honor of the podcast's 16 anniversary, and Gimme Noise spoke with also spoke with Tomlinson about how to stay vital and devoted in an internet age that seems to teem with so much ephemera.

How do you manage to broadcast the obscure without being obscurists, and display elite knowledge without being elitists?

The point is to share, not show off. That attitude is key to what we do, along with a tone of voice that says "I think this is interesting, and you should check it out. You might like it!" Certainly there is ego involved in thinking your musical pics ought to be shared with the world, but it should never be about putting anyone down because they do/don't like something. Every musician that's ever failed or succeeded was once somebody's Latest Hot New Thing at some level. Some are plastered across commercial radio playlists. Some are circulated online by geeky music fanatics.

After a long tenure on analog airwaves, and a hiatus, you've made the leap to podcast. How has it changed the way you run your show? Do you curse more?

Going online offers far more significant freedom than the ability to swear. We don't curse much, and we talk far, far less than in the old days. We do little prep work before we record. Joel just comes over to my place, and we play stuff for each other. We do spend more time picking out a 30min set than we ever did winging it for 2-3 hours live on Radio K. I think we make more deliberate choices now.

It's clear that you two share an uncommon passion for music. How do you find the time and energy to root out so many diamonds from so much rough?

I certainly hope we play more diamonds than rough. The thrill of the hunt, and joy of the unexpected are what drive me. One person's decades-old, lost commercial flop is another person's pop music Rosetta Stone. It's always been my nature to find something I like, learn all about it, and follow the similar artists and influences down some other new path. Innate curiosity, I guess.