PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Big Money, Lil Guy on RFC’s Halloween Show!

Radio Free Charleston episode 29 is online now! This is “Pirate Outfit,” our Halloween 2007 show. We’ve got appropriately scary music from legendary Charleston band Big Money (featuring Michael Lipton) and local rapper Lil Guy from South Park Enterprise. Plus, we have scenes from the Radio Free Charleston Halloween party at Capitol Roasters Cafe, where we hijacked a Whistlepunk show.

Our host segments were taped that night, and we get just a taste of Whistlepunk during the end credits. On top of that, we have our usual mind-hurting weirdness and animation, with a sinister holiday bent.

As I mentioned, we shot our host segments at Capitol Roasters Cafe during a Whistlepunk show, and it was a blast! We couldn’t have asked for a more hospitable host, and the crowd was loud and enthusiastic all night long. They were so loud that you might have to strain to hear a couple of my introductions, even though I used a microphone this time. It’s all good, though. One other note: because we shot the host segments so far in advance, I didn’t have all the information I needed to fit in all the details, like the exact identity of the first band.

Our first musical treat is the theme song to Danny Boyd’s first movie, “Chillers,” performed by Big Money, a legendary Charleston band led by Michael Lipton. Big Money was also the very first local band whose music I purchased back in my younger days. I remember picking up their singles at Elkins Record Shop on the West Side. It was a kick to get to meet Michael years later and play his music on the old radio version of RFC.

Big Money was Michael Lipton(guitar); Stan Lynch (bass); Roger Bush (drums/vox); Bobby Vaughn (guitar/vox); Dwayne McCormick (vox) and Rick Magly (keyboards/vox). The song “Chillers” was written by Lipton and Stan Lynch. Lipton, as most PopCult readers should know, is currently in both The Carpenter Ants and The Bark O Loungers, both of whom we’re trying to schedule on future episodes of Radio Free Charleston.

The video for “Chillers” was directed by Danny Boyd, and features scenes from the movie cut in with a performance by the band. Several noted area thespians are seen throughout the clip, including David Wohl, Guy Nelson, Gary Brown, one-time gubernatorial candidate Jesse Johnson and Jim Wolfe, whose voice can be heard singing along on the theme song for Radio Free Charleston. Eagle-eyed viewers may also notice a cameo appearance by issue number two of the CODA comic book, which contained work by obscure local misfits, Frank and Rudy Panucci. Frank also designed the logo for “Chillers” as well as the logo for RFC, which are briefly on screen at the same time in this episode.

Our second song is a video specifically recorded for the show: South Park Enterprise, featuring Lil Guy with “Horror Movie Gangsta.” I’m not sure if this is a horror movie spin on Gangsta Rap, or a Gangsta Rap spin on horror movies, but it’s darned clever. We shot this video last Friday in a cemetery which shall remain nameless. Lil Guy rapped along with a backing track which was played on a boom box. His microphone was plugged directly into the camera, and I produced the vocals and the final mix of the song.

What was amazing was that we shot two takes. I planned to only use one, or possibly cut together the best of the two, but when I got the footage loaded in the computer, I decided to see what would happen If I tried to sync them up. They matched perfectly. I was stunned. I was also impressed as hell with Lil Guy’s professionalism. He managed to perfectly double-track his vocals without the benefit of a playback or headphones. I was able to cut back and forth between the video takes and the lip sync was dead on.

I applied “monster” effects to the vocals, like on Lil Guy’s original version, and edited the video, cutting on the orchestral sting (except where it was creepier not to do so). I also knocked the footage down to grainy high-contrast black-and-white, so it’d look like the original “Night Of The Living Dead.”

I have to say, I’m really proud of this video. It was guerrilla film-making at its finest. The video was shot (without getting permission) at 1 p.m. By 10 p.m. that same night, I had the audio mixed and the video directed and rendering. I ducked out to catch Whistlepunk at the Vandalia Lounge, and the whole thing was finished by the time I got back. Even cooler is the fact that, when I cut the introduction to this video, it didn’t exist yet. Thanks to Lil Guy for allowing me to add “rap music producer” to the list of cool things I get to do for RFC.

Of course, we also have a snippet of Whistlepunk during the end credits, too. We did hi-jack their show and turn it into the RFC Halloween party, so we couldn’t very well leave them off the show. You’ll hear them doing the song “Lost.” I’m hoping we get to hear that song again on the upcoming Whistlepunk CD, which they plan to record in the coming months.

Aw heck. Go ahead and take a look at “Lost” without the end credits running all over it:

There’s more than just music on the show. You’ll also get to see a commercial that loudly promises “Shrunken Heads for all occasions!” A lovely Geisha and a Japanese robot introduce our animation, which was created by mystery men. An evil puppet turns me into Jared Leto. Right at the beginning of the show Raymond Wallace nearly destroys me and RFC camera-person Melanie Larch by delivering a two-word ad lib that we had to try desperately to ignore. A Gladiator and a Ghostbuster are in a coffee shop. Subtitles take on a life of their own.

And I’m dressed up for Halloween for the first time since I was ten.

You can catch all that on the Halloween 2007 episode of Radio Free Charleston. Be sure to visit the RFC MySpace page, too.