Bootleg of Tom Waits’ Coffee Break Concert. Click to enlarge
We housed a massive archive of interviews, concerts, airchecks, and special programming. They included the complete collection of Coffee Break Concerts, live remote Instant Radio Spectaculars, WMMS IDs cut by visiting rock stars and celebrities. Regrettably, most of the material ended up lost or destroyed.
It’s not all bad news though. In addition to what we’ve been able to reconstruct from those archives thanks to our listeners, master copies of nearly all WMMS Nights Out at the Agora are now accessible for listening at the Western Reserve Historical Society at University Circle in Cleveland. The master tapes stored at Agency Recording, located on the second floor of the Agora building, survived the fire that destroyed the original club at East 24th.
Bootleg of INXS Coffee Break Concert. Click to enlarge
Sporadically, recordings of Coffee Break Concerts, live remote broadcasts, and even station interviews turn up on line as downloadable MP3s and Bit Torrents or bootleg CDs for sale.
The broadcast quality of what is accessible on line range from good to excellent quality. Based on the audio processing and quality of these downloads and bootleg CDs, they were recorded from the WMMS broadcast -and are not from the original master tapes.
As we find more material, we’ll add them to the site. Check the Buzzard in the Media column on the right of the home page for new entries.
While on the theme of bootlegs – one of the most recognized bootlegs – and one that – to this day – does quite well on eBay and other on-line auctions – is the Buzzard Bank. Well, a couple of years ago someone tried to sell one for $500 – but that was a little too pricey. They were sold at flea markets, gas stations, head shops around Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Lorain, and Youngstown throughout most of the seventies and early eighties. We never found out who manufactured or distributed them. Though we didn’t like having an unauthorized WMMS item on the market (and we donated the profits of the sales of our merchandise directly to local charities), we did get a bit of a kick out of being bootlegged. Someone recently made a YouTube video featuring his Buzzard Bank.
More on the Buzzard in Chapter 7 of The Buzzard