Friday, September 23, 2016


Hello South Florida and everywhere else, welcome back!

OK, the Russians won and the kids are out. Frankly, the tourney has lost it's lust for me. But today's post will not be about hockey. For those new to Hockeybird, I am in fact DJ Bird from 92.7 WLIR NY the station that DARED TO BE DIFFERENT. There's a documentary coming out next year on the station. I should also mention I also worked at 100.7 WXXP in Pittsburgh. I bring this up because 38 years ago I saw Joan Jett for the first time. It was a now famous show at Fireman's Park in Hempstead NY on Long Island. (we still talk about the woman in the red dress from that show)

Joan had become a hit on WLIR while I was still in high school. John Debella was the morning guy and played the hell out of Joan's first record. I was a big fan and here's a story I've not told. I had been dating a girl but we broke up. While looking for new records to play I found an old Runaways LP at a record store in Levittown. That was Joan's first band. The cover featured a picture and Joan looked a lot like this girl. I bought it. I kept staring at it......thinking I'd never get to meet Joan but maybe, just maybe I could get back with the girl.

Yep, we did get back together.

But that really didn't work out. However, a few weeks into my job at WLIR the boss Denis McNamara asked me if I'd like to join him that night at Hofstra University as he was hosting the Joan Jett show. This part I've told. I was giddy at the prospect of meeting Joan Jett. I had seen her live several times before this night but never met her. Denis introduced me back stage and I nearly melted. I'm sure I came across like a little kid. The show was great and to my delight, Denis said we had been invited to hang out after the show.

Man, in my mind I had all these wild after party thoughts running through my head. To my surprise, we went to a diner in Long Beach. I sat next to Joan. I was numb, just sitting there listening to her road manager tell war stories from his days on the road with some other famous bands. Then, it happened.

She spoke right to me.

"Hey Bird, can you pass me the ketchup?"

Um, wow. I was floored. I'm eating cheeseburgers with Joan Jett and she asked ME for the ketchup! I know, that sounds kinda silly. We made friends that night. Her manager Kenny Laguna and I also became friendly. This began a relationship that lasts to this day. I hosted so many shows for Joan after that both in NY and in Pittsburgh. Joanie called into my show in Pittsburgh during my first week there which helped me settle in.

I bring this all up because tonight in West Palm Beach I'll be seeing Joan again. it seem like once a year she plays here in South Florida and I always make it my business to stop in and say hi. Kenny and Joan have been so good to me over the years and I can't thank them enough.

So, if you happen to be going tonight to see Cheap Trick, Heart and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, come over and say hi. I'll be wearing the black cowboy hat as usual.

And like Joan, I don't give a damn about my bad reputation...........oh yeah.

BTW: All pictures are taken by me at various Florida shows

----}- Bird

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