Any time a band comes through Providence’s WBRU, they sign their name on the walls leading up into the station’s studio. If he were to guess, WBRU program director Wendell Gee would say that Kurt Cobain’s autograph got painted over around 2003. My flannel-clad heart breaks hearing that, but BRU’s hall still contains an impressive collection of names.
“Radio stations back in the ‘90s would have a banner for bands to sign and then take it down at the end of the year,” Wendell explains. “BRU was like, screw it, just sign the walls.”
Since the slate was wiped clean, bands passing through have covered most of the stairwell wall in signatures, doodles and in-jokes, with multiple generations of alt-rockers represented. Retro Lunch standards like 311 and Rancid came back around to re-sign the wall after the Nirvana purging, OK Go and Julian Casablancas are there to represent the early days of the contemporary hipster, and Cage the Elephant and Twenty One Pilots have planted their flags for the new guard. A sharp eye will find local bands like Roz and the Rice Cakes, The Rare Occasions and Le Roxy Pro sprinkled in there, too – and a moving farewell from much-missed local music legend Dave Lamb: “There was a moment in time (or two) that Brown Bird was here.”
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