Neon at 25
It was 25 years ago, on November 17, 1993, that a new weekly newspaper was just getting going in Reno. Founded by the rambunctious trio of Larry Henry, Bill Martin, and Mike Norris, Nevada Weekly was ready to roll. Many markets were experiencing the same thing, with “alternative rags” springing up all over, some of them actually doing pretty well. (The label meant an “alternative” to the daily paper.)
I was program director and morning man at KTHX back then, and in the summer of ’91, The X had had a most yummy experience when, after we were canned for lousy ratings a paltry eight months after going on the air, the station was literally pulled back from Oblivion by the public outcry of outraged listeners, who were enjoying the heck out of our fun, expansive, eclectic music mix. Our impassioned audience demanded that we be put back on the air, and our owners, to their credit, said, “OK. But—.” The “but” being You folks better (1) advertise with us, and (2) buy stuff from the advertisers. Thus, the concept of a new radio-based fantasy town called X-ville began to germinate.
So anyway, it was December ’93, and I actually had to pay attention to what was going on around town back then, and I noted the presence of this new periodical. The details are rather fuzzy to me now (it might have been after Larry was on my show to plug the Weekly), but he and I started chatting about me doing something for the paper. It was quickly obvious that such an arrangement would be a win-win for both parties, resulting in valuable strokes of mutual exposure. Local log-rolling to commence.
So 25 years ago—specifically, in the Jan. 5, 1994 edition—I began writing this column. From day one, it’s always been Notes From The Neon Babylon, including when NW morphed into RN&R. I started writing about music and concerts, and then, over time, TFTNB spread itself all over the place, and I wrote about hummingbirds, hot springs, lasagna, science fiction flicks, beer bars, Burning Man and general whatever. It was really swell.
Then, in June ’15, Agent Orange coasted down that Fickle Elevator of Fate, and I was quickly infected with an acute case of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Honestly, I can’t tell you what an absolutely righteous blast it is to rip that puckered sumbitch a new one on a weekly basis. It’s just the fucking best. And Christmas ain’t on 12/25 this year. Oh no. Christmas this year comes on Jan. 3. Ho ho hee hee ha ha ho.