Listen to The Dead Milkmen recorded live on WXPN in 1987 (playing Union Transfer on Halloween) - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Here’s a blast from Philadelphia radio past: in February of 1987, not long before the release of its third album Bucky Fellini, The Dead Milkmen appeared live on WXPN to promote an upcoming show at the Trocadero. They played for almost 40 minutes, drawing on the new material but also showcasing songs from 1986’s Eat Your Paisley and 1985’s Big Lizard in My Backyard. A couple covers make the cut as well, including Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and Daniel Johnston’s “Rocketship.” Somebody taped it from the radio, and you can hear it below in all its warbley, tape-hissy goodness (the first song is partly cut off, and it takes about 30 seconds to fade up), thanks to the collection of semi-official bootlegs on singer-guitarist Joe Jack Talcum‘s website. Of this performance, he wrote:

We were a bit looser for this performance than we were for the first [appearance on WXPN]. Also, the punk radio show had been moved from its late Sunday night slot to Friday afternoons, so this was an unusually early show for us to play.

I am embarrassed by the fact that, near the end of the set, I stopped a song twice after screwing it up. How unprofessional! I also broke a string. Back then I had only one guitar, so breaking a string meant ad lib time. Soon after this show, and before embarking on our next major tour, I would purchase a second Gibson S-G to use as a back-up.

You can download the mp3 below, and dig into the treasure trove of archival Dead Milkmen audio here. The Dead Milkmen have a Halloween show at Union Transfer with MC Lars and Psychic Teens; tickets and information for the all-ages show are can be found here.

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