Bent By Nature Ep. 7: Ages of you | Curved by nature


“American rock and roll is still made, packaged and presented by many old-minded people who think they know what music is. But if you’re the insightful group that I know you are, then I know you’re going to make more demands, like the kids once did, and create a progressive radio and a positive atmosphere for a lot of great groups. – Deirdre O’Donoghue, “SNAP!” Ribbon # 97 (11/25/85)


Following: Listen to “SNAP! »Ribbon # 97 (11/25/85)

Tanja Laden: Felicia and I met in 1984 in seventh grade at Hale Junior High, which is now Hale Middle School. And we quickly became best friends. Our parents had the same jobs, we had a very similar vision.

Félicia Daniels: At the start of our friendship, we were very fond of listening to the oldies station. It was 50s music, and we would call each other and do dedications to each other on the radio. Because at 11, you can’t really go see your friend whenever you want. But what are you can do is call the oldies station, record a dedication on their automated phone line, then they would play the recording and song. And that was our way of musically communicating with each other.

Charge: It was in eighth grade when we started loving The Beatles, and we started listening to The Beatles back to back, until “Let it Be”. I kept listening to older music and Felicia started listening to more contemporary music, bands that were actually playing.

Daniels: I started looking for newer music. And maybe at that point I discovered KROQ and took a path from there to more independent stuff.


Tanja Laden and Felicia Daniels, 13-14 years old, in 1987. Photo courtesy of Tanja M. Laden.

Daniels: Like a lot of people, I became a huge REM fan at the time, and followed them on their way to all the bands they recommended. I think a lot of people have discovered so much great music through their interviews and their recommendations. From there I started making mail order recordings. I got into this world of stuff a bit. I discovered ‘zines around this time, I was posting for stuff. And that was the only way to really discover things that weren’t commercial at the time. But somehow, during this quest, I found out that KCRW existed and started listening to “SNAP!”

Charge: I distinctly remember Felicia discovering Deirdre O’Donoghue. And she was so excited about it, and she was a fangirl, and I started to get jealous. [Laughs] Because she comes from love her. And I loved her too, but for Felicia music and radio started to … I almost want to say that Deirdre O’Donoghue inspired Felicia to study communications and radio in college. I mean, would that be fair to say?

Daniels: This is probably where it all started. And I’m still a radio nerd, I don’t know how not to be. And it probably started back then.

Charge: Yeah, I mean she was really a fan. And, you know, it was so beautiful, because she spoke to both of us in our two styles of music that we loved at the time. And of course we had music that we both loved, Felicia and I, and that’s what we did. We brought ourselves music with mixtapes. It was always like, “Listen to this song that I heard.” And most of the time it was from one of Deirdre’s shows.


Felicia Daniels and Tanja Laden, 18, in 1992. Photo courtesy of Tanja M. Laden.

Daniels: Prefab Sprout … The Blue Airplanes … The Jazz Butcher for sure. I remember a lot of those weird one-shot wonders that weren’t a shot of any kind, but it was Deirdre’s shot. There was a band called The Heart Throbs that I don’t think we’ve heard of anywhere else that she used to play with.

Daniels: [During] my junior and senior years of high school, when you have so much more work to do and you sit there doing your homework every night, “SNAP!” was the soundtrack of my homework. I remember calling the station during this time. At least once Deirdre did reply the phone, and it was very, very exciting to me. And I certainly sent him at least one fan letter as well, as we did back then. And I don’t know what happened to him, but … [Laughs]

Charge: I also wanted to say that our musical tastes really developed after we started driving. We couldn’t go past the valley, so we had to stay within the boundaries of the San Fernando Valley. We pretty much just sat in the car and drove and listened to music, and the radio became a big part of driving.

Daniels: But later we tried to expand the area we were allowed to drive. For example, how many miles from home have you been allowed to go with our overprotective European fathers? And the most important, for me and for us, was McCabe’s Guitar Shop. He booked so many acts that Deirdre played, and it was for all ages. You could go there and have some tea and a cookie and see Syd Straw, which we’ve done more than once. So it was sort of the perfect place for us. It was not a rock club; he was not 18 and over; it wasn’t 21 and over. It was far from the depths of the valley, but it was a place where we saw a parcel of shows.

The year we turned 16, we saw Robyn Hitchcock; Kevn Kinney and Peter Buck; Syd Straw and Marc Ribot; Robyn Hitchcock again – he kept coming back. I’ve probably seen Robyn Hitchcock more than anyone else, don’t know why, probably about 20 times. Definitely this Kevn Kinney show that I remember. Just being able to see Peter Buck, our guitar hero, in a very small place like this was pretty exciting.

Charge: Yes, he wore soccer cleats. And he was having a Wienerschnitzel sandwich.

Daniels: … from Wienerschnitzel, yes. [Laughs] We were seated outside, because at McCabe’s you have to arrive early to be seated, and you can be the first person in. So we would arrive an hour, two hours earlier and sit on the sidewalk in Pico. And I remember Tanja and I was just setting there, and we see this person stepping over us on our legs on the sidewalk. And it’s Pete Buck who’s going to have Wienerschnitzel.

Charge: For me in middle school and high school it was really like a secret society of two very horny and rude girls learning about the world, boys and music, and they all went together a bit. And as you get older you start to meet people because you have more opportunities to meet people. You are not stuck in this artificial system that is the school. You go to the school where you want to go. You study what you want to study. And then you’ll start to meet people who have more in common with you.

Following: Explore the “SNAP!” ” archives

Daniels: Another thing I will mention is that after the ninth grade Tanja and I went to different schools. So it became even more like sending a telegram. We always sent each other notes and letters, but we still have, always does mixtapes. And the two of us, I would say, especially when we got into high school, we made other friends that were a bit faster than the ones we met in college, but we always came back to each other. We were constantly talking to each other, we were constantly sending things to each other, we went to the other’s. And I don’t think we ever quite found another person who was really on our wavelength as we had with each other.

Charge: We ended up living together after graduating from college for a year, and we’ve been very, very close ever since. Felicia’s mother used to say that it was a mitzvah that we met. [Laughs]

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This episode is dedicated to the memory of Aaron and Anita Daniel.

Felicia Daniel became Music Director of the UCLA Student Radio Station and a volunteer in the Music Department at KCRW. She currently works for a live entertainment company.

Tanja M. Laden is a writer, editor, and producer, with signatures including Atlas Obscura, the LA Times, and Vice.

They still live and drive in Los Angeles.


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