“Flipside” Scotty Pays Tribute to Iconic Local DJs with Encyclopedic Knowledge of 45s

Twenty-five-year-old Scotty Ashbaugh emulates Porky Chedwick and Mad Mike with his style and encyclopedic knowledge of regional labels, bands and tunes from six decades ago.
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While Get Hip Recordings on the North Side is packed to the brim with vinyl — most of the 12-inch variety, known as LPs, which play at 33 rpm — you might notice one bin of smaller, 45 rpm singles, labeled “Flipside’s Picks.”

It’s full of cuts such as Ronnie Cook & The Gaylads singing “The Goo Goo Muck” (not the 1981 version that went viral a few months ago, but the ’60s original).

“There’s blues, there’s rock and roll, hillbilly, rockabilly kind of stuff, then, of course, there’s garage rock,” says Scotty Ashbaugh, who goes by “Flipside” Scotty on his weekly internet radio show and on Instagram.

He’s been hooked on vinyl — doo-wop at first, then the bombastic drums and fuzzy guitars of garage rock — since he was 5 years old, when his grandfather introduced him to the format.

“As soon as I heard that first record, it was like oxygen: I had to have more,” says the now-25-year-old from Vandergrift, who even wrote in a first-grade school assignment that he wanted to be an oldies DJ when he grew up. “That was the start of it all.”

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Gregg Kostelich, owner of Get Hip and member of garage- punk band The Cynics, called Ashbaugh “an old man in a young man’s body.” He says Ashbaugh has a remarkable memory when it comes to recalling dates, names, places and record labels.

“It’s almost like he looks at it, scans it, and it’s locked in,” Kostelich says.

Ashbaugh can recount to you how the best “underground” Pittsburgh DJs of the mid-’60s, such as Porky Chedwick on WAMO and Mad Mike on WZUM, would play songs at dances that the teens would go wild over. But, the DJs would not only withhold the names of the song or the artist, they’d also go so far as to rip the labels off so no one could tell what it was — forcing everyone to tune in to the radio to hear it again.

In a nod to that era, when asked in high school to spin records over the loudspeaker after the morning announcements, Ashbaugh kept the names secret.

“If they weren’t hit records, nobody knew what they were,” Ashbaugh says. “That’s kind of what I was trying to do — I was trying to drive everybody crazy.”

As for his DJ name: “I just figured I play the other side of the record more than anybody else.”

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When he’s out crate-digging, Ashbaugh focuses on obscure Pittsburgh record labels, groups and tunes that became popular thanks to those DJs.

Some are rare, because they were pressed in small quantities for the bands, which were mostly made up of high-school kids from Pittsburgh and neighboring towns.

“You had the bands trying to be like the surf-rockers, then the Beatles came over and that drove everybody ballistic. But the garage bands went away in like ’69 or ’70,” Ashbaugh says.

In the future, Ashbaugh and Kostelich hope to put together a compilation album (on vinyl, of course) similar to one called “Burghers Vol. 1” from 1997; it featured songs from several of the most well-known groups that made it big in the Pittsburgh region, including The Fenways, The Swamp Rats and The Fantastic Dee-Jays. In the meantime, Ashbaugh works at his day job in sales at Tees-n-Tops in Vandergrift then moonlights at Get Hip. The pair DJ’d together last April when Ashbaugh was asked to do a guest set on WFMU’s “Drop-In” show.

“He’s a great guy,” Kostelich says. “We have a lot of fun even though we work.”

Ashbaugh also aspires to bring back “record hop”-style dance events DJing with his 45s and have a regular hosting gig on a free-form station such as WRCT.

Until then, he spends his weekends searching for obscure 45s at estate sales and other local record stores (after Get Hip, his two favorites are Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill and the Attic Record Store in Millvale).

As for current local music, he says Sunny Daze & the Weathermen — who he met while DJing at the Thunderbird Cafe — and Water Trash capture some of the ’60s garage-rock spirit in their music.

“What happened to all the garage bands?” he says. “It’s simple music too, just crank it up and rock out.”


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“Grind your mind,” like Flipside Scotty says, with these five quintessential Pittsburgh garage-rock tracks from his collection:

“Love is Tuff” (1965)
The Fantastic Dee-Jays
“They didn’t ever see any money for the records, but the girls would just scream over them.”

“Be Careful Little Girl” (1964)
The Fenways
“This record was so big, then later they ended up dubbed ‘Pittsburgh’s version of the Beatles.’”

“It’s Not Easy” (1967)
The Swamp Rats
“They ended up doing a cover of the Rolling Stones and blowing them out of the water … This is one of their most desirable records.”

“Dry Run” (1966)
The Stairway to the Stars
“This is really, really tough to find. It’s a little crunchy, but I don’t care.”

“Iggy Joe” (1958)
Willie Ward
“Great Pittsburgh record. It’s got that real tough guitar sound. This is what I call a summertime record, cruisin’ with the windows down.”

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