Can't Rain on This Parade

Tazy Phyllipz’s Journey of College Radio Shows and Launching Careers

Written by: Jessica Iavazzi | Photography by: Dylan Lujano
Tazy Phyllipz’s life has been a series of “Forrest Gump moments.”
The second day he was ever on the University of California – Irvine campus, he ended up outside of the KUCI radio station and was asked to read copy because one of its news anchors flaked — he was at the station for 12 years. At his first summer internship at a Bay Area news station, he landed a 15�‘minute interview with his jazz musical idol Chick Corea — they talked for two hours and Phillipz ended up interning for him for a year and a half. He made a bet with KROQ’s Poorman to get the band The Untouchables on Poorman’s Request Video TV show — he made a three�‘day appearance on the show with the band, got a plug to his radio show “The Ska Parade” and it was the launching pad for third�‘wave ska. Phyllipz introduced “Date Rape” by Sublime to KROQ and it became one of the top requested songs in KROQ’s history, he accidentally helped introduce Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel and he got one of the first cassette tapes of Tragic Kingdom and helped launch a small Anaheim-based ska band’s mainstream career, better known as No Doubt.
In the fall of 1988, Phyllipz moved down the coast from Santa Rosa to Irvine to study music at UCI after following down the lead singer of the high school band he was currently in. The band didn’t even make it to second semester but Phyllipz, a self-defined “jazzhead: if-it’s-not-jazz-I’m-not-going-to-it,” became involved with the KUCI radio station with his own jazz show. The summer after his first year, he landed an internship that set him up with an interview that changed his life.
“[In that interview Chick Corea] said you know we need more folks to just sort of jump in and do it, meaning to get into the industry,” says Phyllipz. “I don’t know. It hit that home run note, the grand slam note with me, and I’ve been radio and music, everything with it has been my forte since.”
That same summer, Phyllipz’s younger brother forced him out of his jazz shell and brought him to a show where Fresno-based ska band, Let’s Go Bowling, was playing. “When I heard Let’s Go Bowling, oh my gosh, they were improvising in their songs and it was jazz-like and instead of the audience being five times my own age, they were my age or younger,” says Phyllipz. “The light bulb went on, and I was interested in finding out more of what the ska music was. Mind you, I was a fan of it, but I didn’t know it was called ska.”
That interest led to a radio documentary that Phyllipz and his brother did on third�‘wave ska, a term Phyllipz credits himself with coining. That fall his brother joined him at UCI and the duo began connecting with the ska scene both nationally and internationally and were interviewing and becoming friends with many bands in that scene. “The Ska Parade” debuted during KUCI’s 20th Anniversary Week in November 1989 and became one of the most listened to broadcast’s in its history. In January 1990, “The Ska Parade” became a weekly radio show where the duo had musical guests, live performances and debuted new ska material.
“I’ve always been one of those folks who’s always kept an open ear to especially new talent, even with bands that at first I thought they weren’t even that good,” says Phyllipz. “You know, sometimes bands need a little nurturing or you give them some time and they really work at it and they might come back at you like a year later and you can’t believe it’s like the same band, same members, same songs, but it’s just something happens, something clicks, and I can’t tell you how many bands where I’ve seen that happen. Just in the ska scene, Reel Big Fish was definitely one of those bands. Sublime was definitely one of those bands.”
As “The Ska Parade” continued to grow, Phyllipz took the show to a bigger scale playing on Inland Empire station X103.9. Around this time in 1996, the music scene had begun to change and Phyllipz was incorporating more than just ska into the show, and in 2000, the name of the radio show was officially changed to “SP Radio One” (SP giving homage to its roots meaning Ska Parade). Phyllipz’s show became a launching pad for many popular mainstream acts like The Donnas, Jimmy Eat World, At The Drive-In and Maroon 5. Currently the show is not attached to one particular station but Phyllipz does self-syndicated, specialty programming that gets picked up by various stations and is available via Web cast.
“I’m always on the lookout for new music and the passion is to find good music, and I’m pleased on the fact that I have a pretty good track record of turning people on to all kinds of new music through the years,” says Phyllipz. “And you know, I’m always looking, and it doesn’t matter what style for me, I listen to everything. Of course I’m always going to love ska music, that’s not going to go away from me.”
He also has a monthly music event, Tazy’s OC Showcase, at The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Café in Fullerton; next show is June 24 and it’s free. For the inside scoop, they might not all by ska but readers heard it here first: Phillipz’s current music picks are Cory Case, Venus Infers, Stacy Clark, The New Limb, The Jakes and The Bolts.

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