Monday, January 20, 2014

Sound Check: The Great Understander

Posted by on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM

  • DJ RIZ

Seattle has a wise man. His name is Riz Rollins. He'd never tell you he's a wise man, but do the real ones ever do that? For 25 years, he's been DJing KEXP's airwaves, mostly at night. Riz knows the night. He's a sentinel of the nocturnal, and he turns speakers into eyes. Riz reads the digital breeze like tea leaves, deciphers the code, and plays exactly the songs the night needs to hear. When he DJs, he spins more than the tune; he spins the earth. Monday nights from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., he hosts a variety show that goes in perfectly on everything; Sundays, his show Expansions, which turns 20 next year, is on from 9 p.m. to midnight with DJs Masa and Kid Hops. If something is ailing you, he's a healer, a solver of stress, the Great Understander. If positivity is a gun, Riz fires a .44 Magnum. This year's MLK Unity Party marks its 14th year of existence. Riz spoke about it, his presence beaming intensely. Right away, he laid it down, saying, "I don't have a car, but I kick foie gras's ass. You know, adorned by fresh spring figs and shit."

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