Q&A

KUPD's John Holmberg on Red, White, and UFest and 9-11

John Holmberg has been at the helm of Holmberg's Morning Sickness on KUPD for 10 years. The weight of the fact does not escape him.

"Wow," Holmberg says over the phone, his trademark voice in full effect.

"[That] makes me feel old. Makes me feel useless. This is not the way this [was] supposed to go," he jokes.

"It flew by. You start hearing stuff, mainly, like, we were at a restaurant a while ago, and the waiter came up, and he couldn't have been more than 20, and he recognized us. Brady [Bogen] and I were sitting there eating, and he said, 'Oh, my God, I've listened to you guys every morning since I was in sixth grade.'

You're like, 'This kid is old enough to drink. I could go drinking with this kid.' I don't feel much older, but it's been little moments like that when you realize 10 years is a long time -- we've been fortunate enough to have that. I can't say I've worked a day in the last 10 years, so it can't be all bad."

Holmberg is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his show with the Red, White, and UFest concert, featuring Anthrax, Five Finger Death Punch, Danko Jones, My Darkest Day, and more, on Saturday, September 10, at Firebird International Raceway. But the concert doesn't just mark Holmberg's milestone. The show also honors the heroes of 9/11, and pays tribute to "Holmberg's Heroes." Complimentary tickets were given to military personnel, firefighters, and police officers.

"We're doing this show because our anniversary falls around the same time [as the 10th anniversary of 9/11]," Holmberg says. "But it kind of dovetails nicely, into [remembering a] situation were we all realized what heroes were. I want to put a silver lining on [the events] rather than focus on how awful it was. Kind of look back and say, 'This is the day I really truly learned what heroism is.'"

Holmberg took a few minutes to speak with Up on the Sun about being on the air the morning of the 9/11 attacks, the Clear Channel "no play" list following the attacks, and the importance of not cashing in on tragic events to sell concert tickets.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.