The Shape of Rock

with Craig Mertes
Tuesday 6:00 AM - 9:00 AM

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What shape is your rock? Is it a soft indie radio dial like circle or a complex math rock dodecahedron? Perhaps your audio geometry angles towards hip-hop rap-azoids or sharp, metal-edged punk rock triangles. Expect the Shape of Rock to deliver a heavy dose of Milwaukee beer-can blues, Wisconsin sharp cheddar-shaped jazz, and Northwoods pine tree-shaped country. Whatever your preference, don’t be a square – tune in from 6 to 9 a.m. every Tuesday morning.

Get to Know Your WMSE DJ Profile: 

How do you spend your days and nights when not hosting your radio show?

I spend my days wearing a tie, engineering communication systems in buildings. The rest of my free time is usually spent walking around Bay View and various southeastern Wisconsin state parks and forests with my wife and my dog. I also squeeze in time to play drums in Lisa Ridgely’s band or jamming with long friend of mine, Jim Strassburg (Former Legitimate Scientist & the Amateur Astronaut) as well as following the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, listening to music and fiddling with my bikes.

Do you remember what band, album or song took you from being a casual music listener to a passionate music lover? Is there a memory associated with that experience?

Ministry’s Psalm 69 triggered my descent into musical obsession. Growing up in a small town in south central Wisconsin I wasn’t exposed to much music outside of what was available on commercial radio and I don’t recall how I happened upon Ministry.  Ministry introduced me to raw emotion that I had never heard before in music.  I spent hours listening to and memorizing Psalm 69. My fascination with Ministry and copies of RIP Magazine available at the local IGA, where I worked while in high school, opened the door to other bands such as Sepultura, Primus and Clutch. After my future wife, Meredith, and I started dating, she gave me a mix tape (yes, a real cassette mix tape) that opened up to all sorts of new music including Jon Spencer, Elliott Smith, the Beastie Boys, the Pixes, Modest Mouse, Jurassic Five, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, A Tribe Called Quest and more that created the foundation for my present musical leanings that you hear on the Shape of Rock today.

What band have you heard or discovered in the past six months that reminded you why you want to continue being a WMSE DJ.

The vocal samples and looping on Yellow Ostrich’s Mistress has been fascinating me lately. I happened across Yellow Ostrich while digging through the WMSE library one morning. Perusing the library for interesting music has been a fantastic means for finding new artists and albums. Tom Waits latest album, Bad As Me, is also amazing. “Hell Broke Luce” may be one of his best songs ever, unfortunately you probably won’t hear it on WMSE or any other radio station anytime soon.

Who is your favorite non-you WMSE DJ and why?  

Each and every one of WMSE’s DJ’s is brilliant and amazing at what they do.  However, Buzz’s Garage is my favorite show on WMSE. I love Buzz’s combination of punk rock and garage, although Andy is doing a very nice job of filling the Friday noon slot. Von Munz has also been inspiring and rocking my ears off every Tuesday morning before I take the air.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Radio has always been a big part of my life; from listening to old time radio shows on Wisconsin Public Radio to keeping up with recent events to spending hours upon hours listening to Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers games.  I would have to say it would be a dream of mine to be a baseball radio play-by-play announcer. Is it coincidence that Cory Provus just took a job with the Twins?  I’ve been a life long, die-hard Cubs fan, which is inherited from my grandfather (and predates professional baseball in Milwaukee) but growing up in Wisconsin and living in Milwaukee I can’t help but root for the Brewers as well.