March 13, 2014 Interview – Michael Savage of The Savage Nation
It takes a strong individual to stand by their convictions and not allow an ever-changing cultural landscape to deter them. Top-rated radio talk show host Dr. Michael Savage began The Savage Nation nineteen years ago igniting a stimulating program. All these years later the show is still goes strong, now heard by over 10 million listeners a week and syndicated in more than 200 markets across the U.S. A man like no other, Savage has himself from other radio shows in the same genre, covering an array of subjects including politics, society, culture, food, health, and music.
Having a strong love for music, Savage has adopted Rock and Roll Friday as part of his program; playing classic 1950s and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll at the end of each work week. Clearly an individual who can not be pigeonholed, Savage continues to surprise and engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds with his cultured ideology and unique prospective on topics. Recently we sat down with Dr. Savage to discuss his love for Rock and Roll music, his unexpected appreciation for Heavy Metal, the effects of music, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – You have achieved an extremely long list of accomplishments in your life including degrees in Medical Botany and Medical Anthropology, PhD in Epidemiology and Nutritional Sciences. You have also authored countless political and science books and host the nationally syndicated radio show The Savage Nation, among many other things. On The Savage Nation you have adopted Rock and Roll Friday. First, tell us, where did the idea of Rock and Roll Friday come from?
Michael Savage – It came from Rock and Roll itself. I love Rock and roll, I have since I was a boy. Who didn’t love the music of the 1950s and 1960s? So on my Friday shows I play old Rock and Roll; mainly 1950s and 1960s as part of Rock and Roll Friday. Everyone loves it because I open Monday with “Blue Monday” by Fats Domino and Friday they look forward to Rock and Roll Friday. It is just part of America’s past, its glorious past, and it is also a part of my past. I think it makes for very interesting entertainment.
CrypticRock.com – Completely agreed. It is a great to interject the music into the show and adds diversity. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s you had the opportunity to experience the golden age of Rock and Roll. Many people, no matter their age, grew up listening to 1950s and 1960s Rock and Roll thankfully because they were introduced to it by their mother or father. That in mind, every time you hear the music you experience an overwhelming feeling of a happier and more simple time. What was it like growing up experiencing this music as it happened?
Michael Savage – You know, it is easy to think the past was always better. In fact it was not a happier and easier time because we lived under the cloud of a nuclear holocaust. Remember, when I went to grade school in the 1950s we had to jump underneath desks for air raid drills in New York City public schools. Duck and Cover occurred very frequently, we were all expecting an imminent nuclear war to break out between Russia and the U.S. We lived in this constant fear of this existence of being annihilated. If you were younger things seem more care free right?
I would say any young kid today, if they have parents who love them and are not drug addicts, and they don’t put them on some mind bending drug such as Adderall or some other soul killing medication that some crackpot with a stethoscope prescribes because the kids too bright or too fidgety to sit in the class room, I think that kid still enjoys themselves. I see kids running around the neighborhood on skateboards, jumping around enjoying themselves. Kids are still kids, so for them it is still forever childhood. Childhood is childhood I think, you have kids in Africa playing in mud puddles who are enjoying themselves. Children have the magical capacity, if they are not starving or being threatened by something, to enjoy themselves.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, there is something special about being a child. There is just something very enduring about the music of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of these songs are still heard in popular culture today in films and on television. Tell me, what do you think makes these tracks still extremely relevant in modern culture?
Michael Savage – It is interesting, The Sopranos for example, one of my favorite shows of all time which I love to watch re-runs of, continuously plays stuff from the 1950s and 1960s as a background. Why does it have relevance? Because not only the music, but the lyrics were about love, idealizing woman, boy and girl. How much better does it get. There was no ambivalence, there was no propaganda in the music; it was real, it was about basics. Now every song has to go through a filter of will it be bought and played by those psychopaths that control everything.
CrypticRock .com – That is very true.
Michael Savage – It is about the universals that world still knows to be true; boy loves girl, girl is goddess, girl is on a pedestal, boy wants girl, or they break-up, girl pines for boy. How much more basic does it get. It goes on around the world, despite what the psychos tell us.
CrypticRock.com – You are absolutely right. Now with that said you are a man with a wide range of tastes in many different things. On The Savage Nation, you play Heavy Metal music ranging from “Master Of Puppets” by Metallica to songs from Mötley Crüe and Rammstein. What turned you on to Metal music?
Michael Savage – I had a teenage son twenty years ago, who is now a grown man. I remember when I found Metallica music in his draw I said, “How dare you play this garbage in my house, it will turn you into a drug addict” (laughs). As he moved out and I went through his stuff I found it, played it, and actually loved it. He laughs to this day. I got it from my son in many ways because he grew up through that period. It is incredible music.
CrypticRock.com – That is a funny story, and you are right, it really is incredible music. As we spoke of, the music was more basic back in the 1950s and 1960s. Do you feel Heavy Metal music is more reflective of the times we live in now?
Michael Savage – Well, yes, the disparate tones and disparate currents. The shock and awe of the music, to take the narcotized pedestrian and electrify him or her; yes like sleepwalkers needed to be awakened. That music seems to touch that chord.
CrypticRock.com – That is a very good point. When you prepare for your daily show, if you do listen to music prior, what do you usually listen to?
Michael Savage – I have to tell you, what I listen to in my home about an hour before I go on the air, if I am doing a show from home, is the Blue Note Collector’s Edition (2010). There is something to be said about the greats in Jazz; Thelonious Monk, Kenny Burrell, and the obvious Cannonball Adderley. I can name all of them. Jazz is certainly not popular anymore. I don’t think it reaches the people; it’s from a different time. A lot of this has to do about what drugs were being used by musicians in their time. I think that reflects in the music, don’t you?
CrypticRock .com – It does reflect absolutely. You look at the late 1960s for example with the psychedelic drugs being used and the music that was produced by the artists of the time.
Michael Savage – Yes, and the Jazz artists were largely on heroine and the music reflects a different tempo and somberness. It is much slower in some ways. Heavy Metal would reflect not marijuana, but let’s say cocaine or one of the speed like drugs. I would think maybe an amphetamine like compound. I don’t know what the heck they were on, but it certainly was not something that slowed them down.
CrypticRock.com – That is a very interesting observation. It does seem someone would have to be on a speed drug to play something that fast and aggressive.
Michael Savage – I think so, the music acts like drugs on our brain. That is why it is so popular. We need to keep going in this society, we have to push ourselves to survive. The music in a way is a surrogate drug.
CrypticRock.com – It is very true that we are living in an extremely fast-paced society in which heavy, fast, and more aggressive music does act as a surrogate drug to keep us moving. You have been hosting The Savage Nation program for nineteen years now. You have always provided a different type of radio talk show that goes beyond politics and touches on broad spectrum of topics.
Michael Savage – I don’t think you can typecast where I am going to go on any topic. Maybe you can on some, but not on all. Especially since you are coming at me from a music point. Who would expect Mr. Conservative to be playing Rock and Roll, Jazz, and Heavy Metal. You would not expect that. Why? Because I am a man of many tastes. In the old days they would call a person like me a Renaissance man, no one even knows what that means anymore. They would say he is crazy because he does not have any strict guidelines of what you expect from him. That is a full person, why should you be able to predict what a person is like or what a person is.