Praise be for drip coffee and John "John In the Mornings" Richards, morning host on KEXP-FM. He deliciously awakens. A recent selection selection:...

Share story

Praise be for drip coffee and John “John In the Mornings” Richards, morning host on KEXP-FM. He deliciously awakens. A recent selection: The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” followed by Wu-Tang’s “Unpredictable.”

Richards’ off-air soundtrack is just as eclectic: Beethoven (balm for road rage); Top 40 (during his spinning classes); nothing (on his long runs). Asleep by 8 p.m. in order to rise at the ungodly 3:45 a.m. for his 6 to 10 a.m. show here’s him talking at a more civilized 1:30 p.m.

Q: Was there much of a music scene in your hometown of Spokane?

A: No scene. I moved to Spokane [from Coeur d’Alene] when I was 12. I was listening to terrible bad metal and classic rock. I was a radio junkie. I probably won 100 radio contests including tickets to Wang Chung and a case of Campbell’s tomato soup.

Q: How did you fine-tune your musical taste?

A: My brother was in Phoenix, and he was listening to a great station when he heard the Pixies for the first time. It was 1987, and he started recording off-the-station, and he sent me a tape. Siouxsie and the Banshees. Sonic Youth.

You know when you look back at certain important points in your life — the day my son was born; the day I met my wife [Tiffany] — that day, when I got the tape and listened to it, it was like being born again. Oh my God!

Q: You’ve shared a lot on the air with your listeners.

A: People trust you. They’re on a [expletive] commute. They’re stuck in some cubicle. You got to be able to relate to them, and I don’t know any other way to DJ. When my mom was sick and died I wanted them to know where my head space was at. Then, when I had my child. And people have responded. I’ve saved every good e-mail I’ve ever gotten. Twelve thousand.

Q: What song did you get married to?

A: Etta James. “At Last!”

Q: What music releases are you most looking forward to?

A: Death Cab. Postal Service. The Gutter Twins. The Shackeltons! Best thing ever! [This last band is on Richards’ Loveless Records label].

Q: What music will we never hear on your show?

A: Smooth jazz. Young country. Bad alternative rock. Anything that sounds like “American Idol.”

Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or fdavila@seattletimes.com