Oooh, Ahhh! Excitement! Applause! Awe!
I was just another miserable graduate student at the Florida Institute of Technology. Well, not really, I was an exceptional grad student, no, hold on, make that exceptionally miserable graduate student at FIT (now known as "Florida Tech"). And up until the second Friday in January 1990 David Lee Beowulf didn't exist.
On the second Thursday in January 1990 I had my first crack at radio on the now-defunct WFIT. I was called out of the blue by Chris the DJ to come down and play some heavy metal at midnight since the regular DJ was AWOL. I was advised to not give my real name out over the air since "my real name" isn't at home for three or so hours and thus would give thieves a good opportunity to raid my cave. So I went on the air with no DJ name and just played some "heavy metal." I believe my first show as "guy without a DJ name" included the Michael Schenker Group, Iron Maiden and other somewhat "safe" metal bands. (I have the play list lying around somewhere and I plan on posting an image soon). Not only was I nervous, but I was worried that I'd mess up my chance to try something I actually might enjoy. I also didn't know nearly enough about metal. What I did know was that I liked music that was LOUD and FAST.
I survived the baptism of fire and the next day, my house mate Helen Wheels (which is, in fact, her real name), who happened to be the station's Music Director (friends in the right places help, I won't deny that), made it clear to me, right then and there, that I needed an "air name." I had a nickname at the time, which has been with me since fourth grade, but Helen didn't like it and, besides, I only "allowed" frat brothers its use. Gee, what kind of name? Helen said something like, "you need it by next Thursday." Arrgh! A challenge! Then it came to me (really!): "David Lee Beowulf." I preferred "David" since my real name is David and people would still refer to me as "Dave" so I wouldn't get confused. The "Lee" part came from the "David Lee Roth" branch of heavy metal and the "Beowulf" part came from my impression that heavy metal had attached to it some sort of long-haired, extremely powerful barbarian element. (I know Beowulf isn't a barbarian, hold your dirt, later installments of the Axe and Helmet will explain about me and Vikings, etc.
I remember the look on Helen's face in the kitchen right after I looked her in the eye and said "David Lee Beowulf." She knew and I knew. Once they heard it, everyone knew. I had found my perfect DJ name.
For those in the know, Florida in 1990 was the Death Metal Capital of the Universe. Being in the right place at the right time sure helped as I experienced a metal renaissance that has firmly taken hold and will not rest! (Soon I'll post some Tribute Pages).
A year later my other house mate, Ian Koss, began publishing what soon became one of the most respected regional music and media reviews in the countryInk Nineteen Magazine, for which I started writing (as David Lee Beowulf, of course).
Therefore, as a brief review: I started out as a metal DJ on college radio in Florida. From there I gravitated to being a writer and editor for a major music magazine. I've lived outside of New York City (where I work as a civil engineer -in "real life") since 1994.
There's plenty more to tell and I plan on telling it! But that's for the next installment, say in a couple of weeks and today is the 3rd of January 1998.
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