Making AIRWAVES: Parlour Bells Invite Boston’s Music Community to Sing, Pay Tribute to WFNX
On June 21, 2012, Parlour Bells assembled over 20 members of Boston’s music community, including performers, writers and DJs, at Q Division Studios in Somerville MA to sing on the new single “Airwaves” and pay tribute to WFNX radio as it enters its final weeks as a terrestrial broadcasting station. Glenn started writing the song upon learning of the sale of WFNX to Clear Channel and saw it as yet another blow to the Boston radio market (the first one being with the fall of WBCN in 2009).
Shortly after sending a rough demo for “Airwaves” to Nate, the band was coincidentally invited to perform at We Want the Airwaves: A WFNX Tribute at Paradise Rock Club on June 30, 2012. And while they didn’t plan on releasing any new recordings until the Fall, the coincidence prompted them to expedite the production process of this new song so that it would be ready for the event.
While tracking the new mix, Nate heard an opportunity to record a gang vocal for the song’s final chorus. With the goal of having the track radio-ready in time for the 6/30 Paradise show, the logistics of pulling over 20 talented and busy music people into a studio for one night seemed pretty daunting. Yet within an hour of sending out invitations, the responses came pouring in and people from all walks of the Boston music community were eager and excited to help. And because the song is about radio, having DJs Anngelle Wood and Michael Marotta agree to take part in the chorus made the event all the more meaningful.
In the thick of a 100 degree heatwave and during peak traffic time, the singers began filing into Q Division studios. When studio B had reached capacity, Parlour Bells opened up a few cold, celebratory bottles of Cava to get everyone loosened up. After a few toasts and some laughs, Nate began conducting what would soon be known as The Parlour Bells Metropolitan Chorale. After delivering 3 solid takes, it was clear that Parlour Bells had picked the right people to participate.
Kerri-Ann Richard of Apple Betty began circulating a copy of the lyric sheet for everyone to sign as a memento of the evening. The entire process was filmed by Glenn, who then asked the singers to individually stop by a separate room and share some memories and thoughts about WFNX on camera. The result is this 11 minute mini-documentary that is one part “We Are The World” and one part open love letter/eulogy to FNX.
Fittingly, “Airwaves” premiered on the 6/24 installment of Boston Accents on WFNX and then again on Boston Emissions on WZLX. To stay true to the song, Glenn and Nate both listened to the radio premiere on actual “airwaves” by taking in the broadcast from their car radios, respectively.
The Parlour Bells Metropolitan Chorale
Kerri-Ann Richard, Richard Bouchard, Anngelle Wood, Michael Marotta, Chris Mulvey, Lisa Libera, Leesa Coyne, Adam Ritchie, Rishava Green, Matt King, Michael J. Epstein, Sophia Cacciola, Jessica Sun Lee, Adam Anderson, Michael Gonzales, Ken Marcou, Tom Roppelt, Joel Edinberg, Rachel Blumenthal, Sarah Rabdau, Peter Moore