Dubs White leaves independent Phoenix KWSS radio station
The music industry is full of unscrupulous characters, each in possession of their own ulterior motives. Sometimes, however, you meet a guy like Dubs White.
“He’s the opposite of a dick,” says Evan Knisely, drummer for Phoenix’s Wyves. “He was like, ‘If there’s anything I can do to help’ – and that was before he got his radio show. ”
This show is Dubs Private Reserve, on KWSS / 93.9, where White plays tunes, interviews bands, and generally raises the local scene. After four years on the job, however, it comes to an end this Thursday, September 30, as White prepares for his next move.
Life has been a long musical journey for White. “I wanted to be a drummer since I was little,” he said recently over the phone. “I was probably about 3 years old when MTV debuted.”
After leaving the military, White began performing in bands and then moved to Arizona. He caught the vinyl record virus in the early 2000s.
âI have been defending vinyl for years,â he says. “The connection of pulling the arm and lowering the needle on the vinyl. That pop and buzz that comes right before the music starts.”
But instead of spinning records, White tried his hand at another music business a few years ago.
âI realized there was a lot of disconnect between venues, fans and bands,â he says. âIt was really hard to [network] and I wanted to create a website that would connect people who do costumes and lighting with people who want to book groups and groups who want to book clubs. It would merge it all into one place. ”
That business didn’t work out, but she hooked up White to Dani Cutler, host of the morning show and KWSS’s marketing manager. Cutler says their friendship was growing, she knew White would be a natural in the KWSS line. After appearing on Kevin Gassman’s former show, White launched Dubs Private Reserve September 7, 2017.
âI did a ton of local, old-school and modern stuff,â White says of what he plays. “I don’t really segregate by genre or anything; if it kicks ass, I put it on the show.”
His approach was also born from his love for the heyday of radio.
âI grew up with DJs in the late 70s, early 80s,â White says. “My dad was a DJ when I was little, and I listened to how [DJs] were, and then I heard how commercial radio changed it. I wanted to bring this old-fashioned radio experience. If I tell you that you should listen to this, you can trust me because I care. ”
He also had a kind of “guide” to develop his presence on the air.
“When I play a record, I go there like Matt Pinfield from 120 minutes,“he said.” I want to make this really cheesy description on the subject of this album. How it was recorded, the atmosphere of the studio; all of those things inside that you never knew. ”
His efforts paid off, and several local bands saw White as their champion of the strong Valley scene.
The Black Moods drummer Chico Diaz says White played a pivotal role in promoting the groups.
âI think it’s extremely important to have a guy like that around,â Diaz says. “He had a positive effect and a lot of the bands he played with on the radio wouldn’t normally be played.”
White has also helped groups like The Black Moods build profiles outside of Arizona.
âHe did a lot for us,â Diaz says. “Because we’ve been on the road so much over the years, it’s hard to keep that local connection. We can get off the road and we can catch up with it.”
Wyves’ Knisely praises White’s very sociable approach to new music.
“He’ll put us in touch with the band or we can even ask, ‘Have you seen any new rock bands that we maybe don’t know yet?'” Said Knisely.
White people quickly avoid credit. Instead, he says promoting a rich local scene is simply a social responsibility.
âIt’s important for any city to provide media and radio coverage to people who work really hard,â he says. “You know, everyone starts somewhere. Even the Beatles were a little club band.”
Perhaps the most popular part of White’s show is Album of the Week, where he and his guests turn an entire vinyl record. It began in January 2018 to commemorate the passing of Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries. This was an effective way to add to its appeal to all.
“He’s getting ready, but it doesn’t look like it,” Cutler said. “You’re just at his place, relaxing, having a beer and listening to a record together. I think it’s something that, because of the digital age, has been lost.”
For her part, White says the vinyl component has helped create better and more engaging shows.
âI’m building a show based on feelings,â he says. “Whaten we were in the driest of last summer, I said: âLet’s do a rain dance. I had a YouTube channel showing 10 hours of thunderstorms. I put on songs like ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival and ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ by Garbage. “
As an extension of that, White used vinyl to get people to focus on local radio in the streaming age.
âCorporate radio, and maybe Spotify sometimes, keep people in the security bubble,â White said. âIt’s all about Spotify subscriptions or commercial radio advertising. So I understand, but in the same sense, independent radio has a totally different feel. And that’s where I like having the freedom to be able to push those boundaries for people. . ”
He adds: “It’s hard [for bands] stay motivated and stay passionate about something that is financially bleeding and draining you. I think it’s something that you get back into the community. It’s not a question of numbers for me; it’s about sharing someone’s art with other people. ”
He adds: “I have personal relationships with a lot of musicians in the music scene. And I think [it] becomes like having family. That’s all, you know, the tapestry of life. ”
Why leave it all behind? White goes to Nashville, to be closer to his family. And he hopes that once there, he can resume his work.
âI’m pretty sure I could make friends in any scene,â he says. “I can get involved with someone who is good at media, recording and video. Maybe we can put our hands together to do a new show.”
White says he thinks this decision “is coming to an end now, but not completely closing the door.” Either way, he’s still thinking about the legacy of this phase of his career.
âI helped spread the joy of vinyl to other people,â he says. “The experience of listening to a full vinyl record, doing it on the radio, and doing unconventional radioâ¦ I hope people hear old fashioned radio.”
Cutler, who appeared on White’s penultimate show (September 23) to share memories and run Green Day’s american idiot, said, “It’s going to be very sad that first Thursday that he’s not here. But he knows he still has a home with us, no matter what he’s planned.”
Local musicians, on the other hand, have a slightly different perspective.
“He’s going to come home and we’re going to see him a lot,” Knisely said. Diaz and The Black Moods agreed, adding, “He might be leaving Phoenix, but we’re filming so much, so we’re going to be spoiled.”
If anything, Knisely says, a relocation will only make White an even bigger champion of local music.
âHe can still broadcast and play bands from Arizona,â he says. “He will have even more groups that he meets to add to the mix, and will continue to identify all of those people and get those shares.”
For now, there is one show to do. He’s ready to end his KWSS race on a high, with friends and good songs.
âI want to have a party,â he said. “There will be all kinds of crazy things. I’ve had a few hundred musicians over the past four years. I’m going to celebrate with them, and I hope we get a show of it.”