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Tissue Tribute

This laser-etched red alder plaque now hangs at the KCR studio.
This laser-etched red alder plaque now hangs at the KCR studio.

Anyone tuning in to San Diego State University’s KCR radio on August 18 may have heard the deep, rich tones of a familiar deejay voice, back-announcing another adventurous set. It was a Saturday, after all, and, for most of Scott Tissue’s quarter-century-plus stint at the student-run station, that was when the SDSU grad hosted his Music for the Open-Minded show.

If you were listening, could you have really heard Tissue execute an animal-song-themed segue from Athens, GA, indie-rockers Elf Power’s “Let the Serpent Sleep” to obscure Virginia gospel/jazz virtuoso Banjo Ikey Robinson’s “You’re Bound to Look Like a Monkey When You Get Old”? Yes. How about John Cale’s “I Keep a Close Watch,” followed by Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line,” capped by the Godfathers’ “The Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues”? Absolutely. His “Tim Buckley Song of the Week” feature? Check.

Yet, “Scott Tissue” — known beyond KCR as Russ Lewis (and the Reader’s top proof-reader for 28 years) — was only present in sound and spirit that Saturday. In the same Grossmont Hospital where he was born 53 years earlier, he had succumbed to a half-decade battle with cancer on February 23, 2011.

On August 18, KCR’s faculty/staff advisor Skot Norton hung a laser-etched red alder “Scott Tissue” memorial plaque on the station’s wall during a KCR alumni meeting. Over the air, they played one of Tissue’s “DJ in a Can” CDs: recordings of his live shows he left for use as ready-made programming. (He also distributed those playfully named CDRs — “Afterbirth of the Cool,” etc. — to grateful friends.)

Selecting the right words for the plaque, Norton admits, wasn’t easy. “Where to start...? ‘Greatest KCR DJ of All Time’ was a no-brainer, but...to accurately recognize the scope of his contribution...was...daunting. He was also a rite of passage for all new KCR [deejays]. So many...share similar stories of an unexpected late-night call from Tissue with constructive criticism and a timely request that would meld perfectly with their set.

“The three-word tribute took a while. In the end, ‘mentor,’ ‘musicologist,’ and ‘muse’ sort of popped into my head. In all likelihood, Tissue himself reached out from the great radio station in the sky and simply stuffed them into my head bone. So, in a sense, he did his own proofing of the prose...”

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This laser-etched red alder plaque now hangs at the KCR studio.
This laser-etched red alder plaque now hangs at the KCR studio.

Anyone tuning in to San Diego State University’s KCR radio on August 18 may have heard the deep, rich tones of a familiar deejay voice, back-announcing another adventurous set. It was a Saturday, after all, and, for most of Scott Tissue’s quarter-century-plus stint at the student-run station, that was when the SDSU grad hosted his Music for the Open-Minded show.

If you were listening, could you have really heard Tissue execute an animal-song-themed segue from Athens, GA, indie-rockers Elf Power’s “Let the Serpent Sleep” to obscure Virginia gospel/jazz virtuoso Banjo Ikey Robinson’s “You’re Bound to Look Like a Monkey When You Get Old”? Yes. How about John Cale’s “I Keep a Close Watch,” followed by Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line,” capped by the Godfathers’ “The Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues”? Absolutely. His “Tim Buckley Song of the Week” feature? Check.

Yet, “Scott Tissue” — known beyond KCR as Russ Lewis (and the Reader’s top proof-reader for 28 years) — was only present in sound and spirit that Saturday. In the same Grossmont Hospital where he was born 53 years earlier, he had succumbed to a half-decade battle with cancer on February 23, 2011.

On August 18, KCR’s faculty/staff advisor Skot Norton hung a laser-etched red alder “Scott Tissue” memorial plaque on the station’s wall during a KCR alumni meeting. Over the air, they played one of Tissue’s “DJ in a Can” CDs: recordings of his live shows he left for use as ready-made programming. (He also distributed those playfully named CDRs — “Afterbirth of the Cool,” etc. — to grateful friends.)

Selecting the right words for the plaque, Norton admits, wasn’t easy. “Where to start...? ‘Greatest KCR DJ of All Time’ was a no-brainer, but...to accurately recognize the scope of his contribution...was...daunting. He was also a rite of passage for all new KCR [deejays]. So many...share similar stories of an unexpected late-night call from Tissue with constructive criticism and a timely request that would meld perfectly with their set.

“The three-word tribute took a while. In the end, ‘mentor,’ ‘musicologist,’ and ‘muse’ sort of popped into my head. In all likelihood, Tissue himself reached out from the great radio station in the sky and simply stuffed them into my head bone. So, in a sense, he did his own proofing of the prose...”

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Comments
3

The Chancery font should be banished from humanity and all those that use it should be flogged with a wet noodle.

Congrats to Russ.

Aug. 30, 2012

According to the Mike over at Dell Awards in Lemon Grove, the fine craftsman that made the very lovely memorial plaque, the typeface is actually Lucida Calligraphy. While I'm not enough of a font snob to tell the difference between the two I trust their must be some. Care to hold forth further?

In any case, I know this is just the sort of controversy Russ would revel in so thanks for the flame bait!

Aug. 30, 2012

I have so many CDs and DVDs that Russ turned me onto that not a single day doesn't go by where I don't browse the shelves and think of him. It was great working with him at the Reader, and even greater to call him a friend --- thanks for posting this.

Sept. 1, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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