NCAA Basketball Championship, Easter Monday, 1983.

NCSU Wolfpack guard Derek Whittenburg sits in a locker room in Albuquerque, listening to “Pack Jam,” a vocoder hit by the Jonzun Crew. He is two hours and one Jimmy V-hug away from launching a 30-foot air ball that would be rescued by a (surprised?) Lorenzo Charles and flushed home when the buzzer screamed red. Snip net.

One of my favorite postgame memories was that of Wolfpack center Cozell McQueen standing on the rim–or verge—while back in Raleigh, NC, kids lit their couches’ asses on fire.


This Monday, April 5th, just before anyone but (please, for the love of Zardoz, not ) Duke wins it all, I’ll be at Book Court, in Brooklyn, playing 15 seconds of “Pack Jam”, in honor of all the Wolfpack squads who have been sitting at home on this special night for the past 27 years.

It will also be the eve of the release of my book How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop—The Machine Speaks. I’ll be showing some photos of the Pentagon’s “Indestructible Speech Machine”(their words), playing space funk audio and swapping covert vocoder stories with David Kahn, leading cryptology historian and author of The Codebreakers, “the first comprehensive history of secret communication,” now in its undisputed zillionth printing. Kahn was also the first to openly publish an article about the vocoder’s deployment in World War II.

I hold Kahn responsible for tacking an extra three years onto my book-writing, after he suggested that I hunt down the German telefunkateer who intercepted Churchill phone calls out of the ether, while on a beach in Noorwijk. (Still working on that one.)

Joseph Patel (supervising producer at VBS) will keep things moving along. Joseph first hired me to work for 360hiphop in 2001. Most importantly, he allowed me to publish a photo of the undersea duck-knight from Mysterious Island on Russell Simmons’ web site.


Web site here: stopsmilingbooks.com


Hope to see you there!


Thanks to Kevin DeBernardi at Analog Lifestyle (http://analoglifestyle.com) for the dope flyer! And Rock Hudson and Seconds, for the “vocal chord resection.”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s