The BIPOC Spotlights, Feature

The BIPOC Spotlights: Mark Skull Pirate Radio

As part of "The BIPOC Spotlights," Live365 is shining a spotlight on Mark Skull Pirate Radio! Larry West shared the station's story as well as some music recommendations with us. Check out their story below!

How did you get started with your station?

Back in 2005, I wanted to have a heavy metal radio station to share my love of a ton of bands a lot of people I knew were missing. So, I created Mark Skull Pirate Radio to share my collection with everyone and try to get some unknown bands more exposure.

What can listeners expect when they tune in to your station?

They're going to get some amazing metal, but not just any one genre! They're going to get a great mix of the classics and a lot of the newer acts, ranging across thrash metal, speed metal, extreme metal, hair metal, grindcore, black metal, death metal, some doom metal, and of course tons of heavy metal thunder! Oh, and some sweet punk tracks too!

What’s one artist that you play on your station that is underrated in your opinion?

Hanzel Und Gretyl

What’s one song that particularly stands out to you and that has stayed with you, whether for the storytelling, a lyric, the production, or any other reason?

"Potters Field" - Anthrax

I picked this song because I bought Sound of White Noise around the time my mom passed, which was right before I started the station. The album starts with this song and leads to this crushing beat and "wall of sound" production that gives way to the lyrics emerging like a light cracking through that wall - "I was told to love you / I was told to try / I was born to save you / I was born to die."

Something about this song just connected with me, and the feelings of being persecuted, loss, and determination through despair just connected with me perfectly.

What are your top 5 favorite artists?

Megadeth, Strapping Young Lad, Lamb of God, Behemoth, and Overkill

What are your top 5 favorite songs currently?

  • "Remain Violent" - Warbringer
    This song from Warbringer's fifth album connected with me the first time I heard it in 2018. The first words in the song are "Down on the ground, put your hands where I can see," and the song is about the Ferguson protests. It was amazing hearing it, and the entire song is just perfect for the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • "Deutschland" - Rammstein
    This really is more last year, but holy cow did Rammstein do something amazing! The video for this song basically takes on Germany's entire history and portrays Germania as a black woman, which is just astounding. The song itself is brilliant as always, with that classic Neue Deutsche Härte/Industrial Metal style and that signature pounding beat.

  • "Which Way to America" - Living Colour
    Everyone thinks of "Cult of Personality" from the 1988 album Vivid, but I'm partial to the closing track, "Which Way to America." This may be the single most punk song ever, and Corey Glover just snarls through the song in a way that I think would make Dave Mustaine blush. The song is all about trying to find the American Dream and constantly feeling like it's out of reach and a lie. That's something I feel is even more true now than when I first heard it.

  • "World's on Fire" - The Prodigy
    When the year started, I had the chorus, "The world's on fire," repeating in my head over and over again as we watched the Australian outback burn. Now it feels even more honest as we're seeing these protests erupt, markets crash, and soon the housing market collapse in this nation with mass evictions. The world's on fire, are we about to expire?

  • "Welcome to the Terrordome" - Public Enemy
    Funny story: A cop turned me on to this! I was at a protest in South Philly against racism and a Black cop next to me heard me playing all these metal songs and asked if I had any NWA or Public Enemy. I didn't, but he requested "Welcome to the Terrordome," so I threw it on. I was shocked by how metal it was! I was missing this?!

Listen to Mark Skull Pirate Radio on, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

BIPOC Live365 Broadcasters! We'd love for you to share your story with us as part of The BIPOC Spotlights! We invite you to submit by filling out the form at the following link: The BIPOC Spotlights Submission Form. (Duplicate station entries will only be featured once. You must have a Live365 Broadcaster account.)

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania