Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 26, 2007

Musical Musings

Man alive! I just had an aural fuck of epic proportions.....
It's been a long week, and with Debby out, I've been extremely busy. So I suggested to Brian that when we got home tonite, why don't we watch the Pink Floyd "Pulse" DVD, from where they start the "Dark Side of the Moon" album all the way through to the encores. I really just wanted to get lost in the haunting music, something I so rarely find time to do these days. So I decided to help the mood along with a Xanax. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, 30 pills lasts me 6 months, so I do only use it when I need to mellow out after a rough week.
My all time fave Floyd tune is "Comfortably Numb". In fact, it's in my top 5 all time fave songs. From the moment I first heard it in 1980 when "The Wall" was released, it struck a chord in me. It can still bring me to tears, with its mournful wailing guitar, especially the live versions we have on DVD or video. Brought me to tears tonite too. Even though I was well into punk rock by the time I was a senior in high school, I still wanted to use this quote in my yearbook:
"When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye,
I turned to look but it was gone,
I cannot put my finger on it now,
The child is grown, the dream is gone."
The only reason I didn't was because they put a limit on how much stuff you could have under your picture and so I had to be content with a much shorter quote so I could have more room to list stuff under "likes and dislikes". So I used "I need to scream every now and again, try to understand it's only me", from a Boomtown Rats song called "Fall Down" and sung by their drummer Simon Crowe.
The Floyd show just finished and I tell ya, they are one amazing band. I grabbed a lighter after the encore and held it up and lit it, so Brian grabbed one and did that too, just like we used to at concerts oh-so long ago. And I don't know how David Gilmour never came to my attention before, because he is one cutie-patootie, even now with his short grey hair. Brian showed me some pictures of David when he was young and I definitely would have been into him big time. So androgynous. He has the cutest dimples when he smiles.... sigh..... oh, ahem...where was I?
I swear if Pink Floyd ever tours again, with or without Roger, I don't care how much it costs, but we are SO flying first class, scalping very expensive tickets for whatever seats are available (I really don't care if it's nosebleed either), and staying in a hotel suite, at whatever city in which they are playing is closest to us. First class all the way, baby.
Anyway, while listening to this amazing DVD, I started thinking about my own transition from the vapid top 40 of the mid-70's (and don't get me wrong, I still love 70's music and I have a collection of 45's to prove it) to FM rock radio in the late 70's/early 80's. Once I outgrew JB-105, I found WCOZ and, on a crystal clear day, WAAF out of Worcestor. They played stuff I'd never heard before because I didn't hang out with kids that listened to it, like Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, etc. I knew kids that listened to that music, but they were all "burnouts" and I didn't hang out with them. In fact, I actually went to pizza-and-soda parties where we danced and ate pizza, maybe played spin the bottle. (Right about here is where I can see Holly and Liz cringing, as I drag up long forgotten, and for good reason, memories of high school). So anyway, I'm kinda liking this "rock and/or roll" that I'm hearing on WCOZ. Derek and the Dominos, the Doors, Procol Harum, Cream, Hendrix, Grateful Dead. Good stuff, that. There was a brief period of time where I could have easily ended up listening to that stuff all the time, instead of what I ended up listening to.
During said brief period of time, I was a voracious record shopper. I grew apart from some of my girlfriends from junior high, because all they talked about were clothes and hair and all that high maintenance crap that I never cared about. And still don't. By this time, I had a show on my high school radio station, WSDH (a big thank you to Holly for forcing me to do it), so I liked to bring my own records in to play, as well as use the station records, which weren't that bad at all. I began to make new friends, who were into music, like me. Liz and I have been friends since 3rd grade, and we got to know Holly by working in the radio station. OK Fine I was an A.V. geek! Holly liked to go record shopping too and neither of us will forget the day that she bought "London Calling" and I bought a Van Halen album, because she will never let me live it down. But the VH album came with a black & white poster of David Lee Roth, on his knees dressed in tight leather pants, with his arms chained above his head, his long main of blonde hair cascading over his shoulders and a saucy pout on his face. I thought Eddie was much cuter, but I knew the poster would bug the absolute shit out of my mother, so I tacked it to my ceiling. My theory was that gravity would pull the middle of the poster down away from the tacks and give his groinal area a more 3-D effect. Another factoid Holly, and Liz, won't let me live down either.
One day though, Holly came over to my house. She was in 10th grade and I was in 11th, and we always brought our records over to each other's houses. When we got upstairs, she said, "Go sit down, I'm going to play you this record and you are going to love it! Trust me!", as she comandeered my stereo, I sat on the floor and became mesmerized by something completely different: Raw, angry, cynical, snarling, and the driest humour I'd ever heard.....Holly brought to my house "Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols". And that brief window of my becoming a hardcord Floyd fan slammed shut. I called Liz and played it for her and she loved it too. And so we became the "Three Punk-ateers". Holly was really our groundbreaker when it came to this music. She got us hooked on WBCN, which played a lot of the stuff coming out of England....much later than it was popular in England though, because by the time we discovered the Sex Pistols, Sid had been dead for 2 years and John Lydon was well involved with PiL. Through 'BCN, I was exposed to The Clash, Echo & the Bunneymen, Joy Division, New Order, Squeeze ("Cool for Cats" is just too cool), The Jam, U2 and of course, The Boomtown Rats.
The 3 of us LOVED the Rats. We LOVED Bob Geldof. One cold January day in 1981, my dad took Holly & I shopping in Boston. He rode the bus up with us, and good humouredly let us drag him from record store to record store all over downtown. It was at one store where the clerk mentioned that the Rats were coming to the Orpheum Theatre. We were so excited....my poor dad had to put up with us all day chattering excitedly and how we couldn't wait to get back to the Cape to tell Liz!! Then on the ride home on the bus, Holly pulls out a Gang of Four album she'd bought to discover that the cover was not suitable for display in public.
Liz's dad worked at Tufts University in Boston, which was very close to the Orpheum ticket office so he volunteered to get the tickets for us during his lunch break. Holly's parents decided to make a night of it in Boston and provide our transportation, then go out to eat while we were at the show, and wait for us outside when it was over. We had such a blast at the concert. We went right over to Holly's after school to get ready for the show. We tried to paint our hair with psychedelic poster paint but it all flaked off in the car on the way up. When the Rats hit the stage and the lights came up and the curtain opened to reveal the band, Liz and I literally clutched either and screamed like it was the Beatles or something. Holly was completely mute, jaw dropped, eyes wide. What a show though, they were very entertaining and of course we knew all the words of all the songs by heart.
Right after that we found out that Holly's family was going to move to Oregon. It was devastating for us to be separated like that. The three of us were together all the time, on the phone all the time, we ate lunch together. That was one sad day that summer when she left. She was trapped in Waldport, on the Oregon coast, miles from a decent grocery store, much less a record store! So Liz and I assembled a "punk survival kit" for her of safety pins, records, a silk screened Boomtown Rats "Mondo Bongo" shirt either Liz or I made in Graphics Class and sent it to her. Sometimes our parents would let us call each other, but back then long distance calls cost a bundle to/from the west coast from Cape Cod, so we were limited to like 15 minutes.
So Liz and I carried the punk torch at Sandwich High School, often frightening the underclassmen when we'd wear our button covered army jackets and use that coloured hair spray to do bits of our hair blue. We got to be good friends with the local punk bands, especially the guys in The FreeZe, because the lead singer, Clif worked in Baskervilles, a record store that we visited all the time, mostly to hang out with Clif. The guys in The FreeZe all chose funny names for themselves: Clif Hanger, Rob DeCradle, Ben Dover, Papa Verjen. Then Wave Records opened on Main Street above the army/navy store and Bill sold all the imported punk stuff we were dying to get our hands on: The Damned, Crass, Angelic Upstairs, Iggy Pop, the Dickies, Black Flag & Dead Kennedys out of California, imported 45's, picture discs, etc.
Those were some good times, hanging out with all those punk rock kids from the other high schools. We were members of a very small minority of people who were into that kind of alternative music in the late 70's/early 80's; long before the Clash sold out with "Combat Rock" and bands like the Psychedelic Furs, OMD, U2 and the Human League began to get play on Top 40 radio.
I still love all kinds of music. You are just as likely to find me listening to classical as you will bluegrass, 70's top 40, 60's psychedelia, punk, classical, rock, blues, 80's and some modern stuff too.
Well, guess I'll head on back downstairs and enjoy the rest of my evening!

9 comments:

  1. Ok,I just have to say...I LOVE OMD.Although I think Mode has more lyrical bite and are much more lush as albums go on.Cocteau Twins are the same way.

    I also like Erasure (new album out this spring) and the newer crop of electronica isn't too bad.

    My brother had loads of Echo,the Furs,OMD,Mode,the Cure and U2.He use to go down to Athens to see R.E.M. in their hometown.He later use to hang out with Carter Beauford of the DMB,GREAT drummer.They use to talk shop and he even had his home phone number.My brother is awesome.

    Anyway,I have a things for drummers...Peart,Beauford,Bonham and Copeland in particular.

    The first songs I remember hearing were Led Zeppelin and VH tunes ALTHOUGH my father would play Pink Flord so loud I would be scared to death of it...all those clock chimes!I was very sensitive to sounds around me.

    But for now I have "Lips Like Sugar" stuck in my head!

    Have a good Saturday Jojo.

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  2. Anonymous10:38 AM

    julie...

    shitdamn-great job on this JoJo. we were separated at birth...Paul Weller of The Jam-I have all their albums. Gang of Four, PiL. And, several of Pink Floyd's too. Unbelievable. Loved this post.

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  3. My music collection goes from Mozart to Metallica, the Doors to Duran Duran, Nat King Cole to Nine Inch Nails and Ella Fitzgerald to Elvis. I can't understand those who say they have 'no interest' in music. There's surely a song out there for every taste, every mood ;0)

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  4. Wow, JoJo, that music certiasnly loosened your creative juices tonight. I liked early Floyd, loved Arnold Lane when I first heard it. But as you know, Rock/Pop died for me when the Beatles broke up.

    I did discover Blues earlier than most of my school friends because I went to clubs with my older boyfriend (17!) when I was only 14. Robert Johnson can still Dust My Blues!

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  5. I actually saw David Gilmour perform last November... he really has aged, but then so have I. Also seen Bob Geldorf in a number of things and was rather fond of the Rats, but in truth the Sex Pistols did nothing for me. Led Zeppelin had to be one of the best... oh the list goes on and on... great post jojo :>)

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  6. lizzard7:29 PM

    Oh sweet memory lane- the boys of Hyannis and the music! Thanks Jojo-your memory is soo much better than mine!

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  7. Anyone's memory is better than my mother's...

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  8. Danger Kitty5:14 PM

    Oh Man!!! I can close my eyes and remember what it was like to be so excited about not only music, but a whole new way of thinking. People can say what they like about Punk (and to a lesser extent New Wave), but times changed when it burst onto the scene. The whole DIY attitude was fresh and exciting. Remember going to Woolworth's and buying white sunglasses to paint in cool zebra stripes? Pink safety pins? Dippity Do hair goop? Those days are gone. I know I sound like an old fart, but buying a "look" at the mall doesn't make you a rebel or prove you're crafty. Sorry, but to borrow from MC Lars, "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock."

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  9. You said it Danger Kitty. I forgot about our adventures in Woolworths....most of my mall memories of us, we are laughing hysterically about something, or because one of us knocked something over.

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