John Aielli is one of those people who truly made Austin weird. He was known for his genre-defying show and meandering conversations. Aielli wasn’t just an icon of the music scene but a companion in kitchens and on commutes for decades. He died on Sunday at age 76 and was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.
Ode to an Austin Icon
The airwaves in Austin
are a little less
Upon the passing
Of the great John Aielli
and okay, occasionally irked
Public radio listeners
For over half a century
How do we properly send up this morning FM maestro?
First: Find your favorite album
and play it all the way through
Or three times.
Craft yourself a playlist
that tumbles classic tunes
With wildly obscure b-sides
boisterous banjo ballads
Songs that start with the letter P
and tracks about trilobites
Go listen to the hum of clouds
Do clouds hum?
Reflect on that.
Play your favorite album once more
Modulating the base level on every bridge
Celebrate the utter originality and wonder
Of the inner workings of your mind
And that of your neighbor
And finally, enjoy a moment of silence
Because unique among those you’ll find
up and down the dial
never shied away
from a little