Q&A: John Stanley

The radio host talks about XPN2, disco and his obsession with vinyl

This week, we’ll be posting content from the new print issue of G Philly. This is the first in a series of exclusive interviews with local LGBT personalities. For more, please pick up the print edition at one of many local businesses throughout the region, or sign up for a free, limited-time subscription by clicking here.

What’s your weekly radio show, Newner, all about?

John Stanley with his record collection (photograph by Ben Leuner)

I have two shows now, every Thursday and Friday, noon to 1. I’ve never done radio before, but it was always something that I was interested in. I do an hour of new music or new bands that people may not have heard before.

Who are you listening to now?

One of my favorite local bands is Ports of Call. I’ve known these kids for a long time and watched their sound progress. The new stuff might be described as psychedelic pop. I’m also really digging the Horrors.

You’ve been with your partner, DJ Robert Drake (of WXPN and the monthly “Sex Dwarf” party), for four years now. That must mean you guys have a lot of records?

I have a little over 6,000 records and more than 10,000 CDs—actually a lot more, but it just freaks me out when I admit it. And way too many 45s to count. It increases by the week. Poor Robert!

Ever disagree on music?

Robert’s schooled me on a lot of disco. It’s not that I didn’t like it—I just didn’t know it. The thing that he cannot stand is metal, so I play it when he’s not here. Every now and then I just want to hear Judas Priest.

How long have you lived in Philly?

I moved here in 1993 from Maine. My boyfriend at the time got accepted at Temple. I had no intention of moving here, but I came to help him find a place—and while we were here we went record shopping, and got to see Morrissey and New Model Army at the TLA.

What’s your favorite venue to see a live show?

In Philly, all the bands I love to see—small bands, mostly—play Johnny Brenda’s and Kung Fu Necktie. The sound’s great, and you can actually see from wherever you’re standing.

Best concert experience in Philly?

The very first time the White Stripes played here, they played the Khyber, and there were maybe 50 people. In the middle of the show, Jack White’s amp blew. So they stopped the show and had drinks at the bar. The other was Iggy Pop in 1997. They were supposed to be at the Mann, but ticket sales were really bad and for some bizarre reason they moved it to Club Maui. There were 150 to 200 people, but he couldn’t care how many people were in the room—he did Iggy Pop.

Which is it: Vinyl or iPod?

I have an iPod. And my iPhone and iTunes are completely stocked. I also have an external hard drive filled with music, but I definitely prefer vinyl. But as I’m getting older, I realize it’s harder to cook dinner when I have to come into the room and flip the record.

“Bottoms Up” is a new DJ night at The Bike Stop featuring DJs Robert Drake and John Stanley, every Friday from 5 to 9 p.m.