The Ice Cream Man


Not the emperor of ice cream, mind you, though I wouldn’t be surprised a bit to learn his curds were concupiscent….

Going back to the radio daze archives for this podcast. From about 1985 to 1988 (I’m fuzzy on the beginning date), I worked as a DJ at WWWV-FM in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I was in graduate school at UVA. For the first year or so I had my own special show: “Late Night With Gardner Campbell.” Highly imaginative show title. The cool thing about the show, for me anyway, was that by running from 10-1 at night I got to be more adventurous than my non-late-night colleagues. I played some music from the playlist, but I played other music that was off the playlist, and on occasion I would do special shows. My Neil Finn interview dates from this time. So does tonight’s podcast, which features a special guest I refer to merely as the “ice cream man.”

Now it can be told that this man was none other than Eddie Dean, a terrific music writer who’s been published in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington, D.C. City Paper, and even in Best Music Essays of 2000, a collection edited by the extraordinary Peter Guralnick. At the time Eddie was finishing up his undergraduate career at UVA, where he was my student in the very first college class I taught all by myself: Freshman English Composition.

Eddie was obviously special from the get-go. He’s still probably the single most imaginative and intense writer I’ve ever taught–and I’ve had some fine writers, believe me. Along with our common literary interests, Eddie and I also shared a deep love of popular music. He used to come visit me in my grad-student cubbyhole and we’d argue the merits of everything from Yoko Ono to the Guess Who for hours, just ranting and raving and having a great young time.

I miss Eddie. He followed his muse and I followed mine, and though we still keep in irregular touch through friends and family, I haven’t seen him in a while. But every now and then I’ll see one of Eddie’s pieces in the Post or elsewhere, and he never, ever fails to satisfy and inspire me. Truth is, I probably learned more from him than he ever did from me.

This podcast demonstrates just how zany we could get. I have no idea whether anyone else will find this funny, but as I listen to it again two decades later, it still tickles me, and I hope you enjoy it.

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2 thoughts on “The Ice Cream Man

  1. Hi Gardner,
    I remember your show! I was a classmate of Eddie’s and remember the fine times at the brick house. Thanks for the mod podcast. I was surfing around trying to find traces of Eddie and stumbled on your blog. I also found a review that he did of Ed Cray’s book, Ramblin’ Man: the Life and Times of Woody Guthrie that is quite entertaining http://www.bookforum.com/archive/spr_04/dean.html
    I lost track of him after Bethesda, so if you hear from him please tell him that Sheila says, “What up? and what’s happening with cigar man?”

  2. Pingback: Eddie Dean grabs the brass ring with a new Ralph Stanley memoir « Gardner Writes

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