X96's Todd Nuke'Em 

Business Time: Todd's Top 5

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Don’t let his blue mohawk throw you off, Todd Nuke ’Em of X96 is all business if your business is to play rock & roll on one of the longest-running alternative stations in the nation. He’s also not such a bad writer, authoring three books in his down time.

Nuke ’Em’s latest novel Blogs of Wrath (iUniverse), to be released this summer with co-author Zack Shutt (of the Geek Show Podcast with Kerry Jackson), is an interesting follow-up to his second work, Rated F (Star). Nuke ’Em describes the new novel this way, “It’s a story about a kid trying to grow up in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. It’s placed in this post-Columbine era where teachers are scared of kids,” he says, then continues with a wry grin, “It’s about the kind of stuff I would do as a kid that would get you thrown out of school now.”

Nuke’Em has been a DJ in the local radio scene for a long time—“In August, it will have been 21 years. Oh, my God, my radio career is old enough to drink!”— having started as an 18-year-old at KJQ. “It was 1988. I started as an overnight board-op, then did some intern on-air shifts. Then I started doing regular weekend hours,” he reflects with fondness. “My first daytime shift was Christmas morning, but I was excited, because the sun was up.”

It’s hard to imagine this veteran being excited about a daytime slot, but his career steadily upgraded from KJQ parttime to X96 full-time, culminating with Nuke ’Em’s latest progression in broadcasting as he took over as X96’s Program Director in 2003.

Nuke ’Em still has youthful energy radiating from him after all these years, but he handles the responsibilities of the station professionally as organizers ramp up for this scene mainstay’s biggest event of the year. “There’s this little thing we’re doing called the X96 Maverik Big Ass Show [BASh]. We keep ticket prices as cheap as we can: $20. It’s our way of letting the listeners come and have a blast,” he reveals. “This year we moved it up to May 29 [at Usana Amphitheater] to start the summer with it and have a kickoff party.”

The list of bands for this year’s blowout is massive and growing all the time (Dropkick Murphys singer Mike McColgan’s group Street Dogs was just added, for instance). Todd has a few groups he’s really looking forward to, beginning with an X96 listener favorite. “Obviously the Offspring is going to be huge, it’s been four-and-a-half years since we’ve seen them. They’re going to put on a headlining set. And it’s going to be nuts.” The BASh is also known for bringing new talent onto the radar of Utah rock fans. Consider the case of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus: “One of their first big shows was the BASh back in 2006 when they were brand new and nobody really knew who they were,” Todd explains, “it was one of the first big things they did. And they’re excited about coming back.”

Another well-established band with a huge regional following and nationally growing fan base join the bill playing the main stage, as Todd excitedly exclaims: “I’m stoked about Mury. Those guys just tear the place apart.” And the BASh’s signature Live & Local stage will also be presenting several homegrown bands for Utah fans. Nuke ’Em has decided to start the party early with his iPod’s bevy of big-ass music put on shuffle: some songs from upand-comers featured at the BASh popped up along with a couple of tracks from his days at KJQ.

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Joy Division
“New Dawn Fades”
Unknown Pleasures

"This band will always remain underestimated, mostly due to the dark nature of their lyrics and Ian Curtis’ deep, droning—and yet somehow soulful—vocals. I can’t resist a great song about personal struggles of life and death.
"
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The Offspring
“You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”
Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace

"This song will stir the Big Ass Show into a swirling, sweaty mosh pit. But, then again, every song they play will do that."

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Billy Boy on Poison
%uFFFD“On My Way”
Drama Junkie Queen

"This is the band that Kiefer Sutherland signed to his Ironworks record label. This is a young band, but they make sassy rock & roll songs beyond their years. Make sure you arrive early at the Big Ass Show. Kiefer told me a few stories about how this band behaves on stage. Trust me. You want to see their performance."

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Depeche Mode
“Home”
Ultra

"I have%uFFFDevery%uFFFDDepeche Mode song ever made on my iPod, but this track remains a favorite. Brilliant lyrics around a captivating melody, sung by Martin Gore … hell, I put this song on repeat."

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New Order
“Bizarre Love Triangle”
Brotherhood

"This song may not live up to their timeless classic 'Blue Monday', but 'Bizarre Love Triangle' is a highlight of ’80s dance music in an era of Taylor Dane, Stacy Q., and Milli Vanilli. New Order knew how to keep a beat and make an intelligent dance record.
"
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