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When David Fenimore Met Larry Yurdin

"I met Larry when I worked for a brief while, September-December of 1973, at KPFT, where as he mentions he was hired to keep the lights on.

It was Marty Manning who suggested to Larry that he ask me to come out from Phoenix, where I was hanging out at Dwight’s without much to do, to fill in for a morning jock who was recovering from a car accident or something like that. My former fellow student worker at WXPN, Niki Mosberg (now Nicole Mones) was also there, as was Michael Levine, another former Penn student and WXPNer. 


Larry did keep those lights on, and they were a memorable few months for me living with Marty in a rented house, in an earlier and hippier/redneckier version of Houston. (The corner store across from us in the Montrose neighborhood had a big sign in front: “GUNS LIQUOR AMMO.”) And there was so much live music and countercultural goings-on – among those who passed through the station for interviews or live broadcasts in the studio or remotely, while I was there, were Lowell George & Little Feat, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Minnie Riperton, Philip Glass, Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys, John Sinclair, Paul Krassner, Annie Leibowitz … and at different neighborhood venues I got to see up close and personal Lightnin’ Hopkins, Charlie Mingus, Michael Martin Murphy, Jerry Jeff, Leon Russell … and once Larry drove a bunch of us to a Willie Nelson picnic. Man, was he a bad driver!


I left KPFT and wandered off to Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida. When I showed up in North Lake Tahoe at what would soon be KSML, in the summer of ’74, Larry was just about to arrive or had very recently. He worked his contacts to get us the complete catalogs of Arhoolie, Folkways, Nonesuch, and a few other esoteric labels into the record library. When we went on the air in November, he did a daytime air shift for a while; I remember his style was pretty chaotic. He seemed to never put any record back into its jacket, so there was naked vinyl piled everywhere among the coffee cups and tape cartridges. But he was undeniably full of energy and vision, so much so that it sometimes seemed on the edge of insanity – as he said in the interview, that’s what he was best at, getting things moving in the right direction, and I think he got bored pretty quickly with the druggies and generally sedate mountain lifestyle at KSML and moved on, down to KFAT I think."

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