It’s Quits. Jason Bentley Shuts Down Metropolis on KCRW

I wanted to send my favorite DJ, Jason Bentley, an email which was essentially this post. But he’s pretty much never going to get the email with the amount of mail he gets. SOOOO, on the blog it goes. And for this post I have to explain a bunch of stuff that he already knows. So let’s start with the basics. JB is a DJ on KCRW. How’s that for a bunch of initials! His 7:30 PM to 10 PM show has specialized in “electronic dance music” on the Santa Monica College “school station.” That’s one of way describing his/our type of music. And that’s one of describing that so-called school station. He is my favorite DJ, not just because of the music, but his delivery. In fact I like other things too, like his passion for music and the lack of interruptions he allows on his show.


I heard the news a few days ago, and not to bring up a sad event, but it hit me like another KCRW tragedy. It’s a far more serious event, but the death of Warren Kolodny. When I first moved to LA in the mid-90’s I quickly discovered KCRW and KXLU. And then, as now, I pretty much listen to the KXLU during the day and KCRW on nights and the weekend. KXLU does basic college rock for most of the day and middle of the night (and I hear it’s where JB got is LA start after his move from Boston). Whereas KCRW used to have some interesting evening shows, then sort of didn’t, and now have some late evening shows that are JB clones-but I’ll get to that in a second.

So I got to LA and found Bentley doing his Metropolis show and at the time he had some demo tapes form a group called Underworld, and having grown up in Chicago when House music was invented, I was pretty well versed in dance music. Also having spent 10 years living in Manhattan prior to moving to LA I was pretty well versed in hip hop, and club music-not to mention my youth in punk and metal. BUT, no matter how much guitar music I thrived on, I had never given up on beat-centric music. So Jason’s show caught my ear RIGHT AWAY. As did another show, by a man named Warren Kolodny. At the time Warren was doing a show with music that I’ve heard described as “cocktail” music or “space age bachelor pad” or “exotica.” Anyway I took to his show right his show too, so those were my main shows. And then one day I heard Warren was dead. Apparently it was a suicide. Kinda shocking and I think it might have been the first time that a radio show had left me rather than the other way around. And for such a heavy reason.

jb lynda

The ironic thing about Jason is that I recently discovered a training series he’s hosted on’s website about musical inspiration. And at first I laughed in disbelief. But then I realized how perfect it is for him to be doing that. He IS an inspiring guy, and it doesn’t really need to be pointed out how inspiring music is. In fact the reason I listen to the radio almost round the clock is because I do creative work the music inspires me to NO END. I write specific things based on the music I’m hearing-and Jason’s music choices have not just shaped my work but the COUNTRY’S musical taste. That’s right. Did you know he did the musical selection for the Matrix? All that cool music when Neo is flying through the air over Orpheus’ head in the kung fu scene, or that cool as music when they start shooting up the mezzanine-that’s Jason! And every time you hear some cool iPod commercial or car commercial or tons of other things-it’s all inspired by Jason’s show. The show is in LA and they DO make all that stuff IN LA. Clearly I’m not the only person listening to the radio when I create.

So when Metropolis first started it really was a lone voice in the night. I mean I knew where to get electronic music or where to find stations on the internet that were broadcasting it, but that type of music wasn’t really “out there” for the general public. And tonight on his show he said he’s been doing it for 16 years and yeah, that’s a long time. I mean really it is. So, despite my sense of personal loss, I can’t fault the guy for moving on. He’s going to do the Morning Becomes Eclectic show AND become the Musical Director for the station. And I think it’s really the MD position that’s prompting the move, not the format change in his show. He’s been an enlisted man long enough, time to become an officer. And electronic music is safe. I mean the war is over. That music is no longer on the outskirts of society. It’s infused and integrated, hell some people would even say it came and went. But I wouldn’t say that-the Basement Jaxx will STILL blow you away and Sam Taylor Wood’s new I’m in Love with a German Film Star will be a minor classic. But as I mentioned earlier, KCRW now has half a dozen Bentley-lite clones that do dance music in the late evening. None of them are as good as JB, but you can still hear that kind of music. But still, The End of an Era. There is some good news though; did you know that JB does a Saturday night show on KROQ called After Hours? Well he does, and one can assume that since it’s the same format as Metropolis it’ll be a pretty strong show since it’s only the once a week [hold that thought-it’s a few days later and JB just announced he’s quitting After Hours too after the Nov 30th show].

Related Blogs

    Speed Racer Crashes and Burns. Not to Worry the SuperHeroes are Coming Soon

    So I was at hitsville and read about Nkki Finke’s assessment of the Speed Racer opening weekend. It’s the type of piece that most people outside of Hollywood probably aren’t uses to; its got that vendetta laced tone; a happy to see others fail/tossing of facts and figures to prove the point feel. No other industry outside of showbiz will openly display that kind of rancor without justification. Her mid-weekend prediction was that the film wasn’t going to make the 20 million dollar mark that the studio was aiming for. The film did NOT make the mark, they only generated about 18.5 on a film that probably cost 150 million to make. Keep in mind Jon Favreau from Iron Man said on Leno that if they had only made 50 million instead of a 100 in their opening weekend THEY would have been considered failures too. But that’s how Hollywood works, it’s a smile in your face then stab you in the back/hope everybody except my own projectfails kind of world. And as a wannabe actor I spent about 20 years of my life in it. And now with MY movie on it’s way to being made, I’ll be heading back into the field next year.

    Personally I’m a big fan of Nikki, I started reading her when she was still at the LA Weekly, and it was quite clear she was an insider who had become an “outside.” Clearly she still had enough contacts, and the ability to piece together enough facts, to write informative as hell articles out. Then she got scooped up by what Harry Shearer calls the "LA Dogtrainer." Yeech! I better clarify that reference; Harry is the voice of Smithers, Mr. Burns, the Family Doctor and a bunch of other characters on the Simpsons, but he also does a great weekly radio show called “Le Show on KCRW/NPR. And the "Dogtrainer" is slang for the LA Times.

    But I’m afraid it’s not hard to see what went down with the Speed Racer thing. I loved the cartoon and I love what the Wachowski brothers did for film with the Matrix. They’re a couple of Chicago guys into comic books and movies-like me-so they’ve got a warm place in my heart. But let’s face it, MOST of their movies have not been great. I’m not going to list them all, go to IMDB if you want to look at their track record. But they just went at this Speed thing the wrong way; they’re taking a kinda obscure, OLD, Japanese cartoon and turning it into live action. First of all, who’s the movie for? I mean the movie starts with bad language and the middle finger, so is that for kids? But they have all these…crazy ass, bright, flashing colors-is that for adults who remember the show? I mean it’s just mixed messages. The commercial didn’t look good. In fact the ONLY thing that looked good was the idea of doing the movie; that probably looked good on paper, and it sounded good to me. But that commercial made me think…well….

    But not to worry! I’ve talked before on this blog about all the superheroes movies currently in various stages of production. They are coming to the rescue of movie studios. See what most people don’t get is that Hollywood is OUT of ideas and they have been for a long time. Twenty years, at least, that I know about. And they don’t know what to do out there except follow the leader. If something hits they other studios pounce and to THEIR version of the same movie. It’s comical. Despite getting thousands of interesting scripts they rarely take chances. But I also understand their predicament. NOTHING is getting cheaper in our world. Nothing. And so every year they’re faced with putting out movies with constantly rising prices; they can’t afford to be “risky” and “innovative.” They’ve got to keep the ship on course to keep money coming in. And they have to scavenge everything available to keep making their movies. Remember when a movie came out and it would be a year before it came out on video? Juno is ALREADY on DVD!

    Iron Man is doing well because it was done right. And except for Bat Man and Spider-Man movies, they keep misfiring with these superhero movies. Maybe they need to have the “Man” in their titles. Because the last Hulk movie was ridiculous and the new one looks bad too . Maybe a little better, but the impetus is wrong and you can see it. Favreau and Rami TRULY like those comic book characters and it shows. Ang Lee for the Hulk? This is so insulting I wont even address it. And you can tell this new Ed Norton Hulk is an “Ed Norton” production. You see his actor fingerprints all over it. You can just imagine him saying something like, “I really want to get into the character for Bruce Banner and why he feels the need to become the Hulk.” When it becomes an actor’s vehicle or a director’s excuse to convey some theme it’s dead. I wrote about the new Mark Miller comic Wanted becoming a movie , but it’s now an Angelina Jolie vehicle, so it’s going to be dead on arrival too. Just stick to the story.

    Have You Heard the New Gnarls Barkley and Dan Le Sac Songs?!!

    They’re great. Well, as the kids say-these tracks are slammin and/or bumpin. Plain and simple. Both these tracks I’ve heard during the last 2 weeks or so over at Jason’s show on KCRW. And You know, there was a real concern that Gnarls would suffer from a “sophomore slump” in my mind. But in my HEART I knew that Danger Mouse would keep the quality up (that’s a reference to today being Valentine’s Day). Danger Mouse is easily the strongest producer to hit the scene since the Neptunes. And this new song that’s hit the airwaves, Run, is short but strong. So I don’t think they’ve officially released a video yet, but I was able to get the tune from Youtube for you to check out. (UPdate it’s many weeks later and the official Gnarls Barkley Run Video is here now).

    And the new Dan Le Sac is called Thou Shalt Always Kill. It’s one of those catchy songs with the sort of spoken word approach to vocals WHILE talking about music industry skewed stuff. It’s sort of like the old Bob Dylan song, or the recent LCD Soundsystem track. I think Green Velvet did something in this vein too. Anyway this song DOES have a video and it’s pretty neat.