Barry Smolin

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Barry Smolin
Barry Smolin in master control at KPFK
Background information
Also known asMr. Smolin
Born (1961-04-20) April 20, 1961 (age 57)
OriginLos Angeles, California

Barry Smolin (born April 20, 1961 in Los Angeles, California is an American radio host, teacher, composer, and writer.


The Music Never Stops[edit]

From 1995-2012, Smolin was the host of The Music Never Stops, a psychedelic radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles, California[1] for which Smolin won the first ever Jammy Award for "Best Radio Show" in 2000.[2] Smolin's program was also nominated for an LA Weekly Music Award in 2004 in the "Best Radio Show" category.[3] The Music Never Stops began as a program featuring live recordings of the Grateful Dead, but after the death of Jerry Garcia; Smolin expanded the scope of the show to include contemporary jam-rock and miscellaneous psychedelia, paying special attention to music being made by musicians in Los Angeles. The program has been covered in Relix magazine[4] and

Head Room[edit]

Smolin is currently the host of the program Head Room on KPFK,[5] heard every Sunday Night from 8pm-10pm. Head Room is a wide-open venue for exploratory rock and roll, be it psychedelic pioneers such as the Grateful Dead, contemporary jam-rock, healthy doses of vintage progressive rock, new music from myriad experimental, improvisational, accidental, avant-freak, arty-smarty pop, and psychedelic cabaret artists. Special emphasis is given to interesting offbeat local acts currently making art-music in Los Angeles.


Smolin is also a noted teacher who has been featured in articles in Time[6] and the Los Angeles Times.,[7] as well as in the Larchmont Chronicle,[8] the Gatsby In L.A. blog,[9][10] and the Library Foundation of L.A.'s "My Moby-Dick" tribute.[11][12] In 2014 he was featured in a short film entitled Flying Lessons With Mr. Smolin[13] that highlighted the impact he's had on a generation of students. From 1987-1992, Smolin taught English at Fairfax High School (the school Smolin himself graduated from in 1978) in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Since leaving Fairfax in 1992, he has been on the faculty at Hamilton High School, teaching English in the Hamilton Humanities Magnet program.


As a songwriter, Smolin has composed music for the Showtime television series Weeds, with his song "The Earth Keeps Turning On" appearing in Season 3's Episode 7, entitled "He Taught Me How To Drive By."[14] as well as on the Weeds Season 3 Soundtrack album. Under the performance moniker Mr. Smolin he has released four albums, At Apogee (2004) and The Crumbling Empire Of White People (2007) (both produced by Tony Award winning composer/dramatist Stew, best known for his musical Passing Strange), a Los Angeles song-cycle entitled Bring Back The Real Don Steele (2009).,[15] and a collaboration with Double Naught Spy Car entitled Heaven's Not High (2013). In 2015, Smolin released two singles: "Fairfax High School" about his alma mater and "The Man I Met Once." Another collaboration with Double Naught Spy Car, setting chapter 1 of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake to music as part of the Waywords and Meansigns Project,[16] was released in 2016 as was an album of the project's instrumental tracks called "That Tragoady Thundersday." Smolin's songs typically feature complex lyrics set to catchy pop melodies. He is also known for his postmodern explorations of historical/cultural incidents and figures, such as World War I espionage legend Mata Hari[17] and Hollywood actress Veronica Lake,[18] as well as the fictional The Guns of Navarone.[19] In September 2017, he released an instrumental album entitled The Sooterkin Library, a trio project that Smolin describes as "12-Tone Avant-Freak Mongrel Psycho-Tonk."[20]


Smolin is the author of 2 novellas: Narcissus In The Dark (2012),[21] whose narrator is God sentenced to eternity in a dungeon and whose consciousness thinks new universes into being while sorting through the detritus of his troubled past, and the experimental prose project Wake Up In The Dreamhouse,[22] composed one sentence at a time on Twitter. In May 2011, Smolin released a volume of selected poetry covering the years 1988-2010 entitled Always Be Madly In Love.[23] His most recent fiction project is a Trilogy entitled The Miranda Complex, Volume 1 of which was published in 2016[24] with Volume 2 following in 2017,[25] and the concluding Volume 3 in 2018.[26] The Miranda Complex chronicles the unconsummated romantic relationship between Lance Atlas and Miranda Savitch, 2 teenagers in 1970s Los Angeles.


Smolin's journalism work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times,[27] as well as in Rhino Entertainment's online journal,[28][29] and[30][31][32] In 2004, Smolin wrote the foreword to the book Dumb Luck, a retrospective of the work of artist Gary Baseman published by Chronicle Books.[33]


  • At Apogee (2004), produced by Stew[34]
  • The Crumbling Empire Of White People (2007), produced by Stew[35]
  • Bring Back The Real Don Steele (2009)[36]
  • Heaven's Not High (2013)[37]
  • Fairfax High School (single, 2015)[38]
  • The Man I Met Once (single, 2015)[39]
  • Mutt and Jute (single, 2016)[40]
  • Finnegans Wake Chapter 1 (Waywords and Meansigns, 2016)[41]
  • That Tragoady Thundersday (2016)[42]
  • The Sooterkin Library (2017)[43]
  • The Mookse & The Gripes (2018)[44]
  • Mysterium Fidei (2018)[45]
  • The Mole With A Hole In The Whole Of Him (2018)[46]
  • The Five Decades (2018)[47]
  • The Four Mysteries (2018)[48]
  • My Lunch With Lautréamont (2018)[49]


  • Wake Up In The Dreamhouse (2011)
  • Always Be Madly In Love (2011)
  • Narcissus In The Dark (2012)
  • The Miranda Complex Volume 1: Munchkinland (2016)
  • The Miranda Complex Volume 2: Poppies (2017)
  • The Miranda Complex Volume 3: The Man Behind The Curtain (2018)


  1. ^ "The Music Never Stops with Barry Smolin".
  2. ^ Jammy Award#Award Winners
  3. ^ "LAWMA 2004".
  4. ^ "Radio Rebels: 6 Shows that Bring Jambands to The Airwaves".
  5. ^ "Head Room".
  6. ^ "Who's Teaching Our Children?". Time. 1988-11-14. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  7. ^ Ricci, James (2006-06-09). "Yes, He Does Digress". The Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ "Barry Smolin".
  9. ^ "They're Trying To Turn Teachers Into Clerks".
  10. ^ "The Meaning Of Life Is That It Stops".
  11. ^ "The Voice of Ishmael".
  12. ^ "In The Beginning".
  13. ^ "Flying Lessons With Mr. Smolin".
  14. ^ "Showtime - Weeds Music".
  15. ^ "The Real Don Steele is Alive! Alive!". L.A. Weekly.
  16. ^ "Waywords and Meansigns".
  17. ^ "Mata Hari lyrics".
  18. ^ "Veronica Lake lyrics".
  19. ^ "The Guns of Navarone lyrics".
  20. ^ "The Sooterkin Library".
  21. ^ "Narcissus In The Dark".
  22. ^ "Wake Up In The Dreamhouse".
  23. ^ "Always Be Madly In Love".
  24. ^ "The Miranda Complex Volume 1".
  25. ^ "The Miranda Complex Volume 2".
  26. ^ Smolin, Barry (2018-01-16). The Miranda Complex Volume 3: The Man Behind The Curtain (1st ed.). Anomaly Press. ISBN 9780692973769.
  27. ^ Smolin, Barry (2007-12-16). "Mr. Schoenman's Flying Lessons". The Los Angeles Times.
  28. ^ "Tell A Vision: The Unified Field of Tom Verlaine".
  29. ^ "Spawn of the Dead: The Contemporary Jam-Rock/Gobi Scene".
  30. ^ "All Antennae Up And Running: Joe Gallant's Missionary Compositions".
  31. ^ "House Full of Cheese: Mixing It Up with DJ Harry".
  32. ^ "Creatures From The Mutant Lagoon".
  33. ^ Baseman, Gary (April 2004). Dumb Luck: The Art of Gary Baseman. Chronicle Books,. ISBN 0-8118-4423-4.
  34. ^ "At Apogee". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  35. ^ "The Crumbling Empire Of White People". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  36. ^ "Bring Back The Real Don Steele". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  37. ^ "Heaven's Not High". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  38. ^ "Fairfax High School". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  39. ^ "The Man I Met Once". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  40. ^ "Mutt and Jute". Bandcamp. Mr. Smolin. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  41. ^ "Finnegans Wake Chapter 1".
  42. ^ "That Tragoady Thundersday".
  43. ^ "The Sooterkin Library".
  44. ^ Mr. Smolin, The Mookse & the Gripes, retrieved 2018-01-21
  45. ^ Mr. Smolin, Mysterium Fidei
  46. ^ Mr. Smolin, The Mole With A Hole In The Hole Of Him
  47. ^ Mr. Smolin, The Five Decades
  48. ^ Mr. Smolin, The Four Mysteries
  49. ^ Mr. Smolin, My Lunch With Lautréamont

External links[edit]