In honor of Sub Pop’s release of the new Obits records, “Moody, Standard, and Poor” (best album title in a very long time, in my opinion), Sohrab Habibion and Greg Simpson from the band are graciously sharing their high school music memories. This is Obits’ second record and everything I’ve heard from it is great–an effortless and stripped-down blend of garage rock and surf influences. They are also an amazing live band, not surprising given their rock pedigree: a lineage that includes Edsel, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and Pitchfork. Edsel was one of my favorite bands for a long time and one of the very few that managed to combine mind-blowing music with people you actually wanted to hang around…not a lot of bands can stake that claim. Be sure to click on the links to Sohrab’s votes for the best shows he saw in high school–he dug up some very cool, old flyers. And speaking of cool, who else has a mom who helped them promote a 7 Seconds show at their local community center? Wait, hold on, there’s more…who else had a band that opened the very same 7 Seconds show with Dave Grohl behind the kit? That one will out-cool all of us every time.
Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, VA, Class of ’87, Currently: Play guitar and sing in Obits, compose music for soundtracks and commercials, design book covers and music packages.
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Rites of Spring. I played that record over and over again and used to recite the lyrics to my mom. Also Sonic Youth’s EVOL was on heavy rotation though, for some reason, I would only ever listen to it on headphones. My mom actually bought me that record after reading a review of it in the Washington Post. I was appropriately dubious when I put it on, but by the time “Tom Violence” was halfway through I was completely hooked.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: A flyer for a Dag Nasty, Rites of Spring, Embrace and Beefeater show at Georgetown University on December 4, 1985. It’s in my parents’ basement, in a box, getting moldy, along with hundreds of other photocopied relics. I’m still bummed my mom wouldn’t let me go to that show. She was usually really generous with letting me see bands play during the school week but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t go to that and no amount of begging, pleading or explaining how important it was to me would change her mind.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Journey, Boston, Styx, Kansas, etc. That music still makes me irrationally upset. When I hear “More Than A Feeling” I just want to spit on somebody. The over-processed distorted guitar playing that awful power chord riff, the rock’n'roll show tunes style of singing and the music school chord changes. I can’t take it. But, oddly, and I have no explanation for this, I don’t mind Foreigner. Go figure.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Circle Jerks, COC, Marginal Man & Madhouse at the Wilson Center, Washington DC, January 5, 1985
– tied with –
– tied with –
Embrace, Gray Matter & Rites of Spring at Food For Thought, Washington DC, July 1985
– tied with –
My band, Kids For Cash, playing with our friends, P.M.S., opening for our heroes, 7 Seconds at a show I put on with my mom’s help at the local community center, Burke, VA, Sept. 20, 1985. Quirky side note: Dave Grohl played drums in Kids For Cash for this show. And, for the record, he was great then. Totally spazzy, but incredible.
Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: Side 1 of UK/DK: The Original Soundtrack. You get The Exploited, The Adicts and Chaos U.K. right off the bat. Sexy stuff.
Louisa County High School, Mineral, VA, Class of ’78, Currently: Musician / Graphic Designer
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: “Disco Sucks” t-shirt
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bread
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Neil Young
Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: Radar Love – Golding Earring
When Thomas Juliano first sent me his answers to the RNRHS questions, he insisted that this very process was itself, exactly like high school. He thought everyone else’s answers were way cooler than his, although he later added, “I think half of these people were actually listening to Human League and The Outfield. Thelonious Monk my arse!”. He really shouldn’t give himself a hard time about the whole Rush thing. Lots of guys liked Rush in high school–the only question is whether any of them saw any action during this phase of their lives. I seem to remember a mention of Rush being a male chastity belt in a previous RNRHS… One thing most people don’t know about Thomas is that aside from being funny as hell, an amazing guitarist (he plays in Seven Mary Three), and an expert Lego builder, he is also the best-ever dinner guest. He has this thing about wanting to clean your kitchen for you. Seriously. Steve and I once sat at our bar and drank wine while we watched him wash dishes. He even wiped down the counters. Sound promising, eh, ladies? Sounds like he may have risen above the whole Rush thing.
Holy Cross High School, Queens, NY, Class of 1984, Currently: playing guitar for a living.
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: “The Spirit of Radio” Rush. I know, I know. Shut up! Don’t judge me!
Favorite piece of music memorabilia from high school: My life size poster of Jimi Hendrix that hung right next to my giant poster of Led Zeppelin across from my giant poster of The Who.
Also, my Bob Dylan concert tee that I stole from my much cooler sister. She is a few years older than me, and if it weren’t for her exceptional musical taste, I would never have heard Neil Young’s “Harvest”
Band you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Hair bands like Def Leppard. Bands that misspelled the words deaf and leopard.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: My first gig was in junior high school. We rocked all 20 of those kids in that gymnasium.
We had 3 guitar players and no bass player. We played songs from AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. We sounded absolutely terrible, but I’ve been trying to have a show like that again for years.
I guess that Van Halen concert I saw at the Garden in 1984 was pretty cool as well. (David Lee Roth era) I know, I know. Shut up!
The Optional Question: Best high school make-out song? Make out? In high school!? Did I mention I liked Rush?