Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Scruff Connors Archive

"I have never been to Florida, nor do I have any proof that Miami, Florida actually exists" - Scruff Connors

On December 18th, radio personality Scruff Connors passed away (real name Jeffrey Newfield). He did the morning show on 97.5 FM in Winnipeg back in the mid-90s. I've posted clips from his show on here before.

Back when I was 16 years old, I decided to switch my radio station of choice from the poppy Q-94 FM to Classic Rock 97.5 FM. At this point in my life, I was going through a lot of difficulties. I had a lot of depression due to my restrictive home life, frustration from my (both personal and situational) inability to date girls, and my mind was beginning to go down the path of suicide. I was extremely unhappy with life as a whole.

Mere weeks after I started listening to 97.5 FM, they switched morning show personalities from some guy named Jake to this new guy named Scruff Connors. He was doing a very lively show by himself until they brought in Larry Updike who eventually ended up being the butt of all his jokes. One of their first interactions together was a discussion about Larry's dead dog. In my opinion, this was the defining moment for the show and the stage was set for the next year or so.

I realised that I was missing a lot of fun and great content while I was going to school, so I started recording the morning show using a reel to reel machine and a 4 hour tape. (Back in the 1990s, there was absolutely no other way to record such a lengthy amount of audio at once with the exception of video cassettes.) When I returned home from school, I would listen to the tape and pick highlights from the morning show to transfer onto cassette.

Scruff's morning show was a tremendous bright spot in my teenage life, and it gave me a purpose for getting up in the morning and reason to come home in the evening. It kept me from wanting to call it quits on life. Scruff's morning show gave me reasons to smile and laugh through the turmoil I was experiencing. Listening to those shows still bring a smile to my face and give me a good laugh.

One morning I woke up just like any other day, turned on the radio, and Scruff was suddenly gone. No warning, no word on what happened, nothing. He was replaced by two buffoons named BJ and Hal who were using some of the recordings Scruff had left behind to liven up their shitty and un-funny morning show. The bright spot that got me through one of the most difficult periods of my life was now gone.

Years later, I used Google to find out what had happened to Scruff. He was apparently going through some very difficult personal things himself, and took a leave of absence from radio due to immense stress. He moved back to Ontario (where he came from) and eventually returned to the airwaves there.

At some point in the early 2000s, Scruff had started his own website and was selling an album he put together called "Crazy Calls". Due to the financial difficulty I was experiencing at that point in my life, I was unable to buy his album. It quickly disappeared off the internet along with Scruff's website, and I was kicking myself for not purchasing the album when I had the opportunity.

Earlier this year, I decided to take on the project of transferring the remaining recordings I had of Scruff's morning show from my old reel to reel tape and convert it into MP3 format. The plan was to create the Scruff archive that you are currently reading (although a busy summer prevented me from getting it up sooner). Shortly after transferring the recordings onto my PC, I found a sealed copy of Scruff's album "Crazy Calls" for sale on Ebay. I quickly purchased it and after it arrived, had myself a good sit and a good laugh. It was a joy to have some new listening material from him!

The Shows

These almost-full shows were transferred from one reel to reel tape. Each show was recorded in mono to one track. Four tracks equals four shows. One is a bit messed up, and I have no clue how the heck I did that. I didn't do any editing on these recordings. You get the banter, the songs, and the commercials until the tape runs out.

Scruff Show 1: Jan-20-95
Scruff Show 2: Feb-13-95
Scruff Show 3: Feb-16-95
Scruff Show 4: Feb-16-95 & Feb-1-95

The Clips

This is the entire collection of my favourite clips that I kept from the shows I recorded. A lot of the comedy commercials are in here such as Cooking with Chef Perry, Middle Finger Man, and others he used to play a lot. I kept the funniest or most interesting banter. The only things not included here are recordings of my appearances when I phoned in to win a prize or something.

Scruff had a segment where you would listen to a song played backwards and you had to guess what it was. I used my reel to reel machine sometimes to play the songs backwards so I could win a prize. One song that I got correct was his partner Larry singing and playing "Another One Bites The Dust" on his ukelele.

Listen to a clip of Larry Updike's First Appearance
Download the entire collection

Crazy Calls Vol. 1

This is Scruff's entire out-of-print album. Despite the title, I don't believe there's a second volume, but I'm guessing he was intending on releasing more.

Listen to Traffic Tickets
Download The Entire Album

The Miami Superbowl Joke

You can find the newspaper clippings I kept and the relevant audio files here.

Youtube Videos

There are a few Youtube videos floating around of Scruff singing karaoke songs. Here are the links:

How's Your Whole Family
Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town
You Are So Beautiful
Blow Me

My Final Words

Rest in peace, Scruff. You brought a lot of joy to this human soul and I'm sure many others as well.


Chris Sobieniak said...

Nice of you to at least preserve a legend here. I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

Chris Sobieniak said...

I noticed this one standalone track...

JBond said...

Wow, quite the tribute...I'm sure Scruff (Jeff) would love to know that he helped someone through some rough times!! He was a close family friend, and he will be missed dearly... I will pass your message onto his son, Tyler. I'm sure that will bring him some comfort.

Unknown said...

I'm late to the party, but thank you for sharing this! Just found out today he passed on, so it will be nice to hear this stuff! Scruff was my favorite DJ ever....