Lost Notes Presents: Bent By Nature

Lost Notes Presents: Bent By Nature

A collection of the greatest music stories never told. Join Lost Notes for Bent By Nature , a new 10-part documentary series and digital archive about the most influential American DJ you've never heard of. Deirdre O’Donoghue was a vital force in the musical underground of the 1980s. Countless artists crammed into her studio to perform live on her late-night show, “SNAP!” on KCRW. And after 40 years, those legendary sessions will be heard again. Join Michael Stipe, Henry Rollins, Julian Cope, and more for a sound-packed series from the producers of Lost Notes and Unfictional transporting you to the heyday of ‘80s independent music and the DJ who shaped it.

Episodes

December 30, 2021 11 min

Throughout “Bent By Nature,” you’ve heard many stories of the lifelong connections set in motion by Deirdre O’Donoghue. But none were quite as surprising as the bond between Deirdre and fellow iconoclast Henry Rollins, the former Black Flag frontman, musician, writer, actor, activist, and longtime KCRW host. After a chance meeting in early 1984, Rollins became a regular voice on “SNAP!” And he quickly became one of her most treasur...

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The artist has got to be not like the historian.
The historian’s got hindsight. He can go back and go, “That was a great moment.” But the artist’s got to go, “No, I was there.” It’s like, history is something that happens. You can’t be there at history.
— Julian Cope, May 10, 1991

It’s May of 1991. Deirdre is in London, chatting backstage with post-punk indie underground legend Julian Cope. Cope has just released “Peggy Suicide,” o...

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December 16, 2021 22 min

It’s September of 1984. And Deirdre is head over heels for a fast-rising quartet from Athens, Georgia called R.E.M. In just a few years, the band’s music will be inescapable on commercial and college radio alike — and their massive success will mark a turning point for the American musical underground.

“There were moments when R.E.M., my former band, were hugely popular,” says ex-singer Michael Stipe. “And we were able to really pu...

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December 9, 2021 17 min

In the mid-1980s, two young women are coming of age in the San Fernando Valley. In a few years, when they’re teenagers, they’ll both latch onto DJ Deirdre O’Donoghue, for totally different reasons. Felicia Daniel becomes obsessed with the new music Deirdre is playing on “SNAP!” Her best friend, Tanja Laden, gets into Deirdre’s deep-dives into the past on her Sunday morning show, “Breakfast with the Beatles.”

On this week’s episode ...

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December 2, 2021 20 min

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1986. Deirdre is talking with the LA Times’ music critic, Robert Hilburn, about the musical trends of 1985.

Deirdre O’Donoghue: I don't think that the big, quote-unquote, "rock" stations can very much longer ignore the growing numbers of people who are listening to alternative radio stations all around the country ... with which you're seeing album sales, at least on a smaller level, but it'...

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November 25, 2021 18 min

It’s Independence Day Weekend, 1988. And Deirdre is celebrating the return of Glass Eye, her favorite independent act from Austin, Texas. They’ve just released their third album, “Bent By Nature.” But Deirdre’s allegiance to the band went much deeper than a catchy title. For her, they represented the very best of what Austin had to offer, which at the time also included “SNAP!” staples like the Reivers, the Wild Seeds, and Poi Dog ...

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November 18, 2021 18 min

It’s September 4, 1986. And Deirdre has just met a kindred spirit in singer Syd Straw. Like Deirdre, Syd traveled in good company. You could pick out her voice on records by Los Lobos, Rickie Lee Jones, Was (Not Was), and more. As an early member of the indie supergroup The Golden Palominos, she was a feature on Deirdre’s playlists long before she became a regular guest.

Most artists that appeared on “SNAP!” will tell you how comfo...

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November 11, 2021 20 min

In 1988, while most of the music world was fawning over Morrissey’s solo debut, Deirdre O’Donoghue was all-in on a new record from a lesser-known English band: The Mighty Lemon Drops. After years of support on “SNAP!,” their single “Inside Out” blew up in the U.S., becoming a college rock anthem and MTV staple that launched the band into pop consciousness and amphitheater tours. 

The Lemon Drops’ guitarist David Newton and his wife...

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November 3, 2021 32 min
Illustration by Meredith Schomburg (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

In episode two of Bent By Nature, co-producer Bob Carlson explores the life of influential and enigmatic DJ Deirdre O’Donoghue behind the mic. Born in New York City and DJing across the country before landing at KCRW to host "SNAP!", O’Donoghue didn’t talk much about her past or...

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October 27, 2021 33 min

Before Soundcloud and Bandcamp, there was Deirdre O'Donoghue and "SNAP!," the LA DJ and radio show that served as a waypoint for underground music, artists, and its fans — and helped shape the sound of independent and D.I.Y. culture today.  In the first episode of "Bent By Nature," co-producer Bob Carlson introduces O’Donoghue and goes inside the community she cultivated, her passion for music, and the problems ...

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October 19, 2021 1 min

She was the most influential American DJ you’ve never heard of. Deirdre O’Donoghue was a vital force in the musical underground of the 1980s. Countless artists crammed into her studio to perform live on her late-night show, “SNAP!” on KCRW. And after 40 years, those legendary sessions will be heard again. Join Michael Stipe, Henry Rollins, Julian Cope, and more for a sound-packed series from the producers of Lost Notes and Unfictio...

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September 24, 2020 29 min

In 1980, anti-disco sentiment was at a high and Grace Jones was coming off a trilogy of disco albums. If she stayed stagnant, it felt like her career could be swept away. And so out of disco’s death rattle – driven by the discomfort of white male tastemakers – Grace Jones rose, reinforced and reimagined in a new decade freshly obsessed with risk.

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September 24, 2020 27 min

Most know Minnie Riperton because of one part in one song. “Lovin’ You” was Riperton’s biggest hit, and she doesn’t sing that magic, piercing note until around the 3-minute mark. Cancer took Riperton away tragically in 1979, and the next year producers got to work on a posthumous album. Filled with leftover recordings and celebrity cameos, “Love Lives Forever” is an album full of ghosts.

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September 24, 2020 29 min

In December of 1980, two exiled artists and freedom fighters attempted return to their home in South Africa for a concert. Jazz musician Hugh Masekela and singer Miriam Makeba were briefly married, but they had a robust collaborative relationship that stretched across multiple decades. The 1980 concert wound up happening in neighboring Lesotho — and the performance became about defiance, namely against the Apartheid government in S...

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September 24, 2020 30 min

Punk singer Darby Crash dreamed of immortality. The single full-length Germs album was to become a holy grail of music history, and his passing might’ve made him a legend, but Darby Crash died on December 7th, 1980. By the time the news of his death began to circulate, it was well into December 8th, the day John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman. As radio stations in Los Angeles began to start their marathon of Germs songs, Joh...

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September 24, 2020 23 min

In May of 1980, Joy Division lost its lead singer, Ian Curtis. The band decided that they would carry on with a different name. From the cutting room floor, a song with Ian Curtis haphazardly slurring the words he’d written became the first single for a decade-defining band. New Order was made up of people who were weighed down by grief and regrets. Straining themselves to make sure they did justice to the words Ian Curtis couldn’t...

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September 24, 2020 34 min

In 1979, "Rapper’s Delight" was released and went on to become the first Top 40 hip-hop single. Sugarhill Gang almost had no choice but to follow the single up with a full-length. So in the early months of 1980, a six song, nearly forty minute album by a rap group was released. The debut, self-titled album by the Sugarhill Gang wasn’t received without controversy, and wasn’t received without skepticism. When one thinks abou...

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September 24, 2020 28 min

Stevie Wonder released seven albums from 1970 to 1976. It is an impenetrable run of albums and songs, one of the greatest in music history. Then, in 1979, he faced his first defeat of the decade. Reviews for “Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants” were harshly mixed. So in 1980 Stevie was due for a comeback. Lost Notes host Hanif Abdurraqib reflects on the album and Wonder’s call for the observation of Martin Lu...

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September 9, 2020 2 min

This season the poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib explores the year 1980. It was the brilliant, awkward and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music. 

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Our second of two Lost Notes bonus episodes for this summer. This one is about The Student Teachers. In 1977, a group of music obsessed friends got together and decided to form a band. Most of them were still in high school and almost none of them had even picked up an instrument before, but they lived and breathed the New York City music scene and wanted nothing more than to be a part of it. They worked in record stores, ran fan c...

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