Song #28: Jean Homme & the Broken Telomeres – “Radio”

September 19, 2020
Song #28: Jean Homme & the Broken Telomeres – “Radio”

What a pain in the ass Jim Santo is.

Jim was/is the guitar player in the band Jenifer Convertible, but we know one another from about ten different versions of one another’s lives – when I was a college radio Music Director, Jim hyped his band T’ang S’dang to me. When Jim was a writer for Alternative Press or The Musician’s Exchange (where he used a pseudonym), I hyped Dromedary bands to him. He worked for the first company to try and bring music to the internet. He played guitar in a band I signed and then unceremoniously dumped. I paid to see his bands play, as a fan. I helped sell some family sports memorabilia. He writes record reviews, so I’m always bugging him about that. He designed this website. He is a very, very good friend and an excellent musician and writer.

Asking Jenifer Convertible to contribute a track to the compilation was a little bit scary, I’ll admit. In the 1990s, we put Dromedary on a lengthy hiatus over some combination of anxiety, stress, frustration and anger. I wrote all about it in this blog – hell, the whole purpose of this blog was to tell that story, and get it out of me. The day we decided to shut Dromedary, it was like living in a low-rent High Fidelity ripoff film, with me playing the role of Jason Segel playing the role of John Cusack, and Sandy playing the role of Janeane Garofalo playing the role of Janeane Garofalo but, like, a device film, entirely set inside a car (except for occasional rest stops where some dialogue takes place while the actors buy Subway or feed the baby):

ACT ONE: tense, frustrated 20-something married owners of insignificant indie record label sit in traffic and express anxiety over the work and cost involved with their two simultaneous planned releases

Jenifer Convertible, when we were all young.

ACT TWO: While drinking Diet Cokes and eating Hostess Cupcakes, owners listen to the first record they released, which, despite being awful, was a lot of fun to make and yielded a series of excellent stories told over a soundtrack of bad ’90s funk-o-metal and probably that Third Eye Blind song

ACT THREE: Brooding label guy realizes he’s not happy, and needs to grow up and devote his life to his family, cut his hair and put on a tie, and leave this bullshit life behind, the last, soft, squishy corner of his soul turning slowly to plastic as he drives into the sunset, Janes Addiction or Steely Dan or Andy Gibb playing on the stereo; the ending is supposed to be happy

What Act Four needed to be, of course, was the two very real bands that had finished recording their albums and had their master tapes and artwork waiting for me to return from said vacation, only to be told that their record label had vanished. Which is a big deal even when your record label is virtually nonexistent anyway.

Since the guys from Jenifer Convertible were kind enough to forgive me for leaving them label-less after they’d spent what was then big bucks with the excellent producer/engineer Wharton Tiers, recording an album I never released, I asked them if they’d be interested in getting the band back together, and recording a song for this comp, maybe even something by Teenage Fanclub, maybe “Radio.”

I know I wrote earlier that Dan Smith is the only person I asked to record a specific song, but I’m now calling an audible on the story, because “Radio” was exactly the song I wanted to hear them play. So I must have asked them to cover it; it would be too coincidental for them to have chosen that song without me prodding.

Jenifer Convertible had a song called “Rewind,” which they released as the B-side of their “Speedracer” single in 1993 or so, and I thought it was the best Teenage Fanclub song that Teenage Fanclub didn’t write. I thought it would be cool for them to cover a TFC song from Thirteen, and we all know that “Radio” is the best song on that album.

They couldn’t get either of the two drummers the band has had – the jazz-influenced, tasteful Andy Moore or the hard-hitting powerhouse Eddie Siino (who, sadly, passed away a few years ago), so they recruited Paul Andrew, then of Overlake. Brian Musikoff of Stuyvesant sat in on bass.

And of course, because Andy or Eddie couldn’t play drums, and Brian played bass, the band wasn’t really Jenifer Convertible. So Jim gave them a different name. And of course it couldn’t be something sensible – it had to be Jean Homme & the Broken Telomeres, because Jim Santo is a pain in the ass. I don’t even know what the name is supposed to mean.

God, I love that guy.

Here’s “Radio,” by half of Jenifer Convertible, from the compilation album. And of course, we’re donating all the cash from today’s massive sales to Vote Forward, because we want people to vote. After yesterday’s awful news, it’s even more important. RIP, RBG.

~ by Al on September 19, 2020.

2 Responses to “Song #28: Jean Homme & the Broken Telomeres – “Radio””


    now who’s a pain in ass?

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