New Jersey DJ Tom Scharpling has to deal with all sorts of weirdo types on his call-in radio show. Lucky for him, most of the freaks all come from the head of Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster. The pair met in the early '90s during a 'Chunk gig and before long, Wurster was calling in to Sharpling's radio show on independent station WFMU (www.wfmu.org) and riffing on any number of bizarre personas. While the pair has one release to their credit, the infamous Rot, Rot and Rule
CD (where Wurster plugs an imaginary rock guide of the same name while real WFMU callers get increasingly abusive), Chain Fights
presents five characters that are just familiar enough to hit a nerve.Drawing their concepts from our culture's truly annoying archetypes is what makes these bits so damn funny. For example, there's Jeff Cooper, manager of the poor man's electronics store, Radio Hut, who, once comfortable, asks Sharpling, "What's the P.O. box that you get your 'stroke books' sent to?"
"We've all gone in to Radio Shack to buy a $2 adapter and been asked for our address and phone number," says Wurster, describing the inspiration for the character. But without a doubt, the most enjoyable exchange occurs between Scharpling and caller Charles R. Martin, a record store owner and insufferable name-dropper whose tastes are so obscure that he dismisses acts like Kraftwerk, The Residents and The Fall as music for "teenyboppers." We all know this pompous jerk, and oftentimes he's the one spinning the records. A great twist on the prank-call genre (says Wurster: "I don't like the fact that prank-call records are bugging someone who didn't ask to be involved"), Chain Fights is horribly laughable, lulling you in to a quiet smirk before smacking you upside the head with spit-take quality comedy.
Chain Fights, Beer Busts and Service With A Grin is available at local independent record stores or online at