What is The Free Zone and when did it start? Chandler: The Free Zone is a weekly, six-hour all-out shock-and-awe campaign against pre-programmed, voice-tracked, homogenized corporate radio. It began somewhere around 1990, the brainchild of Tim D. and his cohort Doc Bauman. Outlasting a number of lineup changes and numerous wives and girlfriends, the show now exists in its current form hosted by myself and Rob G., as well as an unnamed conspirator to whom we refer simply as “The Dude” who helms the controls for a portion called “Space Is the Place.” We talk about whatever’s got us revved up that week, be it politics, news, the music industry, or whatever, and essentially spin a live mix tape. I always picture the two of us just going to someone’s house with a crate of records and CDs and just hanging out with them having a conversation and playing music into the wee hours.
What kinds of music do you play and how do you decide what gets played?
Rob G.: My M.O. for what I play is the music has to move me and it’s got to be something people aren’t going to hear elsewhere. I’m not interested in playing whatever is hip with the hipsters if I think it’s crap. I want to stretch people and expose them to stuff they would never hear otherwise.
How can you tell which one of you picked a song to play?
Rob G.: Hmm ... no hard fast rules, but if something makes you say, “Wow, haven’t heard that in a while,” it was probably Chandler. If it makes you call the station and ask, “What the hell did you just play?” it was probably me.
Who are some of the guests you’ve had play live on your show?
Chandler: John Wilkes Booze, Otis Gibbs, Mad Happy, Miranda Sound, Rev. Ivan Stang and Dr. Howl of the Church of the Subgenius, The Decanters, Ken Vandermark, Samsell, Greg and Angie of Punk Rock Night, Dow Jones & the Industrials, The Gizmos, Russell of the Mudkids, Summer Wood and Tim Dorsey of One Speed Commute, America Owns The Moon, The Pieces, The Common, Scott Spitz of Leapfrog Bike Zine, The Impossible Shapes, Castle Oldchair, Project Bottlecap, Clark Giles of Happy Couples Never Last Records, and more. Hopefully, this fall we should be releasing our Live from The Free Zone benefit compilation CD of songs from many of these live appearances.
Do you ever play local music?
Chandler: As often as possible, although some of the bands might argue we don’t play enough. Without a planned-out playlist, it’s easy to forget at 2 a.m. that you meant to play a certain record. But we try to highlight both archival and current local music that we think is quality.
Why is there only one show like the FZ on the air in Indy?
Rob G: Because the people who own and program radio stations are convinced the public are mindless drones who want their music compartmentalized and repeated endlessly. What we do is a bit scary as there isn’t much of a format. There’s no way we can guarantee you’re going to like everything we do, and that’s just too risky for commercial radio. Plus we send Guido to deal with the competition.
Which one of you is known as “the cute one”?
Rob G.: Paul McCartney.