Kick Out the Jams With One of the Great Soundtracks ‘Pump Up the Volume’


In college, I took a graduate level course called Media Criticism. There were two major projects I had to complete in the class. First was to present a film to the class, dissect it’s political messages and use principles of philosophy to explain the core concepts of the story. The second, was to do the same thing with a television series.

For the television series, I chose The Chappelle Show, which had just started its second season, and focused on the portrayal of white people in the first season. For my film, I chose Pump Up the Volume.


Pump Up the Volume was released in 1990, and the US was on its 10th year of conservative Republican control with the first Bush administration, which followed the ultra-patriotic, censorship-happy, Reagan administration.

The Parent Music Resource Center was making waves in the music world, pushing for explicit lyrics labels on albums, and pressuring the recording industry to clean up its act.

Pump Up the Volume was a reaction to this entire era.

It is about a disgruntled youth, speaking his truth on a pirate radio station, dodging the Federal Communications Commission, parents, and school administrators while doing it.

Slater’s character cursed. He spoke frankly about sex. He played music that was forbidden on public airwaves. He was a rebel, and his peers rallied around his efforts because he connected with their own restless spirits.

The movie is still great in a nostalgic kind of way, but with the dawn of the Internet occurring just a few years after the movie’s release, its relevancy has suffered a bit. The idea of a pirate radio station is now antiquated at best. Former radio pirates, and the personalities drawn to such a thing, have found homes on the Internet via their own websites, blogs, social media profiles and podcasts. The soundtrack to Pump Up the Volume, however, still holds up as being filled with good tunes.

Ice-T, Beastie Boys, Frank Black, Sonic Youth, Concrete Blonde, and Bad Brains (featuring Henry Rollins), were among the artists Happy Harry Hard-on played in between rants on his radio station.

It covers the gamut of musical genres. It’s got punk, it’s got 80s synth tunes, college radio alternative songs, hip-hop, and more.

Not Included on the Spotify Playlist:
6. Kick Out the James By Bad Brains 11. Scenario by Beastie Boys 12. Me and the Devil Blues by Cowboy Junkies 13. Why Can’t I Fall in Love by Ivan Neville  15. Heretic by Soundgarden 18. Tale O’ The Twister by Chagall Guevara  20. Stand by Liquid Jesus

Episode 51: Our Episode Names Are Longer Than (A My Chemical Romance Or Fall Out Boy Song Title)

Episode 51: Our Episode Names Are Longer Than (A My Chemical Romance Or Fall Out Boy Song Title)

This week Jeremy and Lee talk about everything from the Chicago Blackhawks to The Academy Awards. Lee recommends a couple of titles streaming right now on netflix. The boys get wet over old school Christian Slater and John Cusack flicks, comdians that apologize for being funny, and Reality Show the Film premiering at SXSW. Finally, Jeremy wraps up the month long Blaxploitation flick fest we’ve been having with one of his favorites 1995s, Vampire in Brooklyn. Check it out!

Episode 51: Our Episode Names Are Longer Than (A My Chemical Romance Or Fall Out Boy Song Title)

Episode 11: F*@cked Up Romances


Roxy, Lee, and Jeremy catch up after three weeks off. Lee and Jeremy try to prove Roxy isn’t as boring as she claims. They are wrong. Jeremy talks at length about the great new documentary THE OTHER F WORD, A coming of “middle” age tale. We get off track and discuss the joy of having kids. Mudcats = genius television. Remakes aren’t good, but aren’t bad either? Bad movie romances followed by a round table discussing of our own personal screwed up relationships. It’s a long one, but good.

Episode 11: F*@cked Up Romances