Less than two months after ending his tenure at FM 94/9, local DJ John Reis (aka Swami) has found a new home on Slacker Radio.
Reis spent seven years hosting FM 94/9’s weekly Swami Sound System show, which showcased his encyclopedic knowledge of underground punk, reggae, psychedelic, blues, and soul. He decided to hang up his turban back in January, citing fatigue and time constraints. But those who were dismayed by his sudden departure now have cause to rejoice.
San Diego-based Slacker Radio today announced its new, all-caps SWAMI SOUND SYSTEM station, which will be programmed and hosted by Reis. The resurrected SSS promises the same musical obscurities and “zany monologues” that fans have come to expect, but will usher the show into the 21st century, thanks to the online station’s newfangled ability to stream to any computer, smartphone, or other internet-connected device.
The prospect of beaming his favorite songs anywhere in the world must have appealed to Reis, because he now sounds positively giddy about reviving the show he so lethargically retired just weeks ago:
I am charged by this opportunity to unchain neglected and primitive hits and unleash them on earholes around the world. I still love radio in a traditional sense. But with a few exceptions, the vast majority of radio stations have really let the music fan down. SWAMI SOUND SYSTEM on Slacker is the perfect place for me to create our very own universe that celebrates savage sound and praises the unsung mavericks, rebels, and weirdos. Now there is an entire station, always on air, that is purely dedicated to the high water mark of lowbrow music.
The new SWAMI SOUND SYSTEM launches on Slacker Radio today. Whether this will affect FM 94/9’s plan to continue airing Swami repeats remains to be seen.
Reis is of course known for more than just jockeying discs. He’s made a name for himself throughout the years as the front man for bands like Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt, The Night Marchers, and Hot Snakes. He’ll perform some high-profile shows with the latter band this month alongside local up-and-comers Mrs. Magician, whose upcoming record he produced. That album, titled Strange Heaven, will be released in April on Reis’ own label, the not-so-coincidentally named Swami Records.