Random Memories of Jos, by
I did want to tell you that Jos was in my dream the other night.
We talked about how he had passed on,
but at the same time we realized that he was definitely there in front of me
and was flesh and bone, solid.
He was all excited to go to Peru, so we took a plane to Peru.
We rode bikes to some restaurant there -- and he was curious
about how the waitress there would react to seeing him again -- he apparently
had gone to this restaurant on a regular basis before when he was there.
(Did Jos ever really go to Peru?).
It was really good to see him again -- and to see him so happy.
I remember mispronouncing his name the first time it on a New Staff
application at KSPC: "Joss?" I asked aloud.
the Program Director,
set me straight. She had already met Jos and was noticeably impressed by his
enthusiasm and friendliness. Little did I know what impact Jos would soon
have on the station and myself.
As he no doubt did with everyone, he soon developed nicknames for me -- he
most commonly just called me "E", but in fun would also refer to me as "E-bone"
(my rapper identity?).
I remember the funny way he would cock his eyebrows at you if you said
something he found unbelievable or incredible. He would also make funny
noises and open and close his mouth like the character on the Muppets named
He was always very animated and making funny movements and faces. He
also loved to slip into a Spanish accent whenever he was trying to charm
someone into his ideas.
Jos loved to share music with other people, and often dragged them into the
station's Production room to hear his latest find. I remember him sharing his
love of Steroid Maximus with me one day -- he was particularly fond of their
song "Quilombo". Of course, there was also the Sulfer song "Nova Sangre"
which was a favorite of his. He was always into horns and some driving
rhythmic drum track -- Sulfer had that -- and it was in Spanish to boot!
I don't remember if it was when he was News Director or General Manager, but
Jos pointed out to me that the station was spending five grand a year on a
news service that was not used nearly enough to justify the expense. He
quickly found a much cheaper alternate news source for the station -- and the
station got a much bigger equipment budget with the money we saved.
One morning I came into the station and found a KSPC shipping label stuck to
the wall above the couch. At first I was annoyed, as we periodically
experienced random, misguided sticker placement around the station from time
to time. I was just about to break out the 409 cleaner when I got a closer
look at the label. It read: "To all concerned, I broke the wall. -- Jos".
The shipping label was basically holding together the broken plaster
underneath, so I left it there. Later on Jos explained that he had sat down
on the couch with his bass and had smacked it against the wall.
During staff meetings, Jos really held his own despite his young age. He
projected authority, compassion, and intelligence when leading a meeting. He
was always so far ahead of his age -- other staff members assumed that he was
a senior when he was but a mere first-year student.
Jos and I joked around quite a bit, but apparently I went too far one day. I
don't even remember what I said, but I do remember the note he wrote
(directly) on the bulletin board above the General Manager's desk. He wrote
the date and the notation: "Erica disses Jos really hard". I immediately
apologized but he made sure that my insensitivity went on record. Although he
treated me with respect and we had a good working relationship, we often
slipped into a sort of antagonistic brother-sister banter.
Jos came up with the design for the first annual "SpaceAwards" -- the awards
we hand out at the end of the year to the radio station staff. We found some
old trophies out in our storage space, and Jos went out and bought a bunch of
toy people, animals, insects and things and stuck them on the trophies. He
slapped on some cart labels over the old name plaques on the trophy and wrote
in the new names/award winners with ball point pen. Of course, everyone felt
ridiculous holding their trophies but they couldn't help but smile when he
handed them over. He just had a knack for doing silly, fun things and
bringing everyone in on it.
Just before Jos left school to go to Alaska, we had lunch together at the
Coop Fountain, the campus burger joint at Pomona College. I really admired
his decision to take time off from school
-- in retrospect I think
that I would've benefited from doing the same thing, but I plowed through the
four years instead. I told him what I thought about his plans to take time
off -- and intended to offer some sage advice (with the huge three years of
experience I had on him), but before I could Jos turned the tables and asked:
"So what are we going to do about you? What are you going to do with your
life?" Always one step ahead of me.
Jos got together with some of the other DJs at the station and started to
play in a band called the UFO Dictators. One night they played at the
(now-defunct) Haven coffeehouse in Pomona. Jos invited me to go down and see
them -- they were good, but more than anything I remember how focused he was
that night. I was so used to seeing him be boisterous and goofy, it was neat
to see him very quiet and concentrating on his playing. He was modest about
his abilities, but he was a good bass player.
This group called Negativland came into L.A. to perform,
and Jos was determined to go and get a station ID from them.
He checked out a "portable" tape recorder
(portable in quotes because it was pretty huge and heavy)
from me and set out for the concert.
Later on he told me that the band had apparently been pretty
intimidated by this huge tape recorder he was lugging around,
but he followed them around for quite a while
and with his usual charm convinced them
to do quite a nice station ID.
You can hear his voice in the background of the ID,
faintly as he voice-prompts the band.
[I'll try to get this recording to you so that you can link to it].
Soon after that we decided to buy some real portable tape recorders.
Jos still makes me smile and inspires me,