Good Ol’ B.L.F. Bash – July, 2008
Every lunch or dinner I’ve had with Bill “B.L.F. Bash” Freeman over the past thirty-plus years has been at a Mexican restaurant – and this was no exception.
A new restaurant, Grande Rodeo, opened near me – and it was a momentous occasion. Bay Village, Ohio is a small city with only a couple of restaurants within the city limits. Until two years ago, the only spot holding a liquor license in town was the local bowling alley.
Bash and I live only a few miles apart. The reason we don’t see each other more often is that Bash’s daytime is all-night and mine is the other way around. I was having an early lunch while he had a late dinner.
Bash sends his “hellos” to one and all. He’s still listening to the Stooges reunion album and just picked up a copy of the new album by My Morning Jacket. He also finished Right of the Dial, a book by Alec Foege, which we highly recommend. It tells the story of why you don’t like radio as much as you used to.
Early summer, 1972: I was living in an apartment just off Harvard Square on the corner of Mt. Auburn Street and University Road in Cambridge, Mass. It was the coolest apartment building in the city. Most of the J. Geils Band lived there as well as an assortment of writers, poets, anarchists, and trustafarians. It was a rent controlled – as long as you were sub-leasing from the original tenant.
It was a Friday night and I was driving from Cambridge toward downtown Boston on Storrow Drive, which paralleled the Charles River. The car had one of those mounted-under-the-dash FM converters. I happened on a new station, WVBF. An energetic jock with a grizzled voice who called himself “Benevolent Bill” and “B.L.F.” was playing current and recent album tracks in a format similar to the up-tempo, high-gloss version of album radio that Denny Sanders and I had pitched to every station in town but this one.
A few years later, that same high energy, grizzle-voiced air personality joined WMMS and overnights took on a new meaning in Cleveland.
More on B.L.F. Bash in Chapter 2 and 13 in The Buzzard