I produced a radio show on Santa Cruz public radio station KUSP and pirate Free Radio Santa Cruz for six years between 2001 to 2007, over 120 volumes amounting to 230 hours. The show focused on oral history, storytelling, and personal narrative. A score of these shows can currently be heard at Archive.org.
Night Ride is all about the narrative voice. Written as in literature, or spoken as in oral history. Human beings traffic in stories. Let me tell you about my day, my life, or something that happened to me once upon a time. Stories are dreamy. They take you to other places, other times, other lives. Night Ride makes up an aural collage of story and music, in a kind of mood and tone of an intimate conversation driving with a friend on a late night long-distance drive. Each week, Night Ride explored a different theme.
Episodes produced include:
- “Playing With Fire,” an exploration of deliberately putting oneself in harm’s way
- “Trainhopping,” hobos and their stories
- “Rising Water,” floods and other water borne disasters
- “Point of View,” viewing everything from the other side, including war
- “Watts,” a exploration of the work of philosopher Alan Watts
- “Resistance,” direct domestic resistance to the Iraq War
- “Mad Scientist,” the myth and the reality of the truly mad scientist
With co-hosts Johnny Hirst and Bonnie Primbsch, Night Ride ran between 2001 and 2007, a significant cultural artifact documenting significant personal narratives of ordinary persons, non-fiction stories, and public domain recordings. The collection contains 120 volumes, each two to three hours. The personal narrative, interviews, and field recordings featured in the archive are original and not available elsewhere.
A few select episodes of the 120 volumes of Night Ride are on archive.org. The rest are on burnable CDs in a suitcase in the basement.
Episode 26: Rising Water
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 26: Rising Water. The rain keeps coming down, the bridge is under, the sky has opened up, and the waters keep on rising. Disaster by flood several years before Katrina. This Night Ride aired originally in 2002 on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Wes Modes.
Episode 29: The Impossible Really Exists
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 29: The Impossible Really Exists. Faeries. Little people. Goblins. Psychic healers. Real or merely illusions. Oh we assure you, it’s all real. Because the impossible really exists. This Night Ride aired originally in 2002 (or thereabouts) on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Bonnie Jean Primbsch.
Episode 30: Trainhopping
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 30: Trainhopping. Freight trains, hobos, catching out, hobo jungles, nights under the stars, boxcars, vagabonding, railroad bulls, cat and mouse, trials and tribulations. This Night Ride aired originally in 2002 on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Wes Modes.
Episode 35: Security
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 35: Security. “Good afternoon. The administration has concluded based on information developed that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States over the next week. The administration views this information as credible, but unfortunately it does not contain specific information about the type of attack or specific targets. Consequently, a terrorist threat advisory update has been issues to 18 thousand law enforcement agencies across the country. We have notified law enforcement to continue on highest alert and to notify immediately the FBI of any unusual or suspicious activity.” This Night Ride aired originally in 2002 on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Wes Modes.
Episode 42: Numbers
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 42: Numbers. The mystery that is numbers, real and imagined, prosaic and mysterious. This Night Ride aired originally in 2005 on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz.
Episode 47: Mad Scientist
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 47: Mad Scientist. Electrodes flash and sparks illuminate the dimly lit laboratory. Vials of eerie glowing liquid bubble and spit. A scientist with a mad glow in his eyes eagerly watches the progress of an experiment. Something weird is happening in this dark, cold basement, something the scientist hop.es will finally prove what the rest of the scientific world said was impossible. This Night Ride aired originally in 2003 on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Wes Modes and Johnny Hirst.
Episode 55: Point of View
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 55: Point of View. “I’m no friend of Osama, but you have to put yourself in their shoes.” Clearly, each of us thinks we’re right, but considering that each of us are coming from our own unique point of view, perhaps we have to allow that maybe others have an equal claim to the moral high ground. An examination of the relativity of one’s point of view. This Night Ride aired originally in 2003 (or thereabouts) on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Wes Modes and Johnny Hirst.
Episode 59: Fight!
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 59: Fight! How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight? Go ahead, hit me. I want you to hit me as hard as you can. This Night Ride aired originally in 2003 (or thereabouts) on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Johnny Hirst and Wes Modes.
Episode 64; Watts
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 63: Watts. Who is this man who, in the 60’s and 70’s, blended Eastern and Western philosophy and religion in such a way that it was palatable and enlightening to the American public? Alan Watts, was a philosopher, teacher, and lecturer. He wrote more than twenty-five books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, higher consciousness, and the pursuit of happiness, relating his experience to scientific knowledge and to the teachings of Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Hinduism. This Night Ride aired originally in 2004 (or thereabouts) on KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Hosted by Wes Modes and Johnny Hirst.
Episode 100: Police Spying
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 100: Police Spying. Since 9/11, we’ve created a culture in which security is more important than liberty. The NSA is tapping your phone calls and email. The Pentagon is infiltrating your peace march. Actions at the federal level have a trickle down effect that has emboldened local law enforcement. When the president says ‘Safety at any cost,’ local cops take that to heart. We look at the cops hiding in your telephone, in your computer, and in your community meetings. This Night Ride aired originally Aug 6, 2006 on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1 FM in Santa Cruz.
Episode 102: Junk Drawer
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 102: Junk Drawer. A screwdriver, an empty toilet paper tube, several broken pens, drywall screws, a sharpening stone, cardboard coasters, scissors, razor blades, silly string, measuring tape, several kinds of batteries, safety pins, sunglasses, ribbon, receipts, masking tape, 2 phone chargers, cat medicine, glue sticks, biscuit crumbs, miscellaneous keys, and a mini sewing kit. This Night Ride aired originally Sep 23, 2007 on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1 FM in Santa Cruz. With hosts Wes and Corey.
Episode 103: That Time I Almost Died
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 103: That Time I Almost Died. Tales of death-defying experiences, close calls, cliffhangers, squeakers, and heart stopping adventure both ordinary and extraordinary. This Night Ride aired originally Oct 7, 2007 on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1 FM in Santa Cruz.
Episode 104: Resistance Redux
Join us tonight for Night Ride, Volume 104: Resistance Redux. Years ago, Night Ride looked at the subject of resistance, mostly centered around our experiences and interviews around the start of the Iraq War and the resistance to it. Since then, we’ve talked about how our perspective has changed and often thought about revisiting the subject. Lately, we were inspired by a growing resistance movement right here in our little town. These are your stories about taking a stand to put forth your vision in the world. An act of creation, particularly in dark times, is an act of resistance. This Night Ride aired originally Nov 25, 2007 on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1 FM in Santa Cruz (www.freakradio.org). With hosts Wes, Riley, and Corey.