A James Brown Story

I was reminded today—due mainly to promotion of the new James Brown film ongoing—of what I consider to be one of the best James Brown stories ever told, by one Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling, from the “Music of Howard Stern” special. If any story tells you who the man was, this does it.

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Under Siege

In June 1994, I was working as a newspaper reporter in my hometown in Northeast Ohio, having granulated from the college in said hometown in Northeast Ohio, in a relationship with a lovely, funny young woman I had met at said college and then at said job, a young woman who was fond of introducing me to new cultural phenomena, including Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Micheal Stanley Band, Honey Hut ice cream, and The Howard Stern Show.

I was watching ABC News with her the day O.J. Simpson led the LAPD on the slow-motion chase, when Maurie from Brooklyn punked the hell out of Peter Jennings. We knew immediately it was a Howard Stern call. How could you not. “Now, lookie heah.” Marie of course confirmed that it was a “totally farcical call” by shouting out “bababooey to ya’ll” as he hung up. We were on the floor. Good times.

But on June 10, 1994, Howard Stern came to Cleveland to bury the one-eyed cyclops. I had to work that day but made every excuse I could to be in my car. I heard it, I heard the moment when the wires were cut, heard the profanities spewed just before, heard Stern’s graceful recovery, broadcasting on the cell phone, his declaration of “Radio D-Day.” I was a regular listener at the time. Hell. I was an addict. But that’s the day my Stern fan-dom became branded into me. Sssssssssssssssssssssss.

Since Stern got the tapes in May 2006, I have been waiting for this day, and I have just gotten to experience it. As part of the ongoing “History of Howard Stern,” I have gotten to once again hear the goings-on of the day the Buzzard cut the wire.

That was awesome.