RNRHS 24 comes from Greg Humphreys, local NC musician extraordinaire and unfairly talented guy (I’m sure it seems fair to him, but to the rest of us…sheesh). It’s only a matter of time before somebody names him the honorary Prince of Orange County. Greg has brought us some cool memories, including one about the elusive old-school R.E.M. t-shirt. Many people who have done this blog questionnaire have either mourned the loss of am R.E.M. shirt or bragged that they still have theirs. Greg made some ill-advised alterations to his, but I’ll have to let him tell you about that. For as much as I loved R.E.M., I don’t think I ever had one of their shirts. Instead, I took a beat-up jean jacket and drew the cover of Chronic Town on the back with a Sharpie. I did a damn good job, if I do say so myself. Peter Buck even signed it when they were in Minneapolis the first time I saw them. My husband, Steve, just found an original copy of Chronic Town on vinyl and we were listening to it last night–if ever a collection of songs was meant to be enjoyed with the pops and scratches, it’s that one. Greg mentions here that going to see R.E.M. made him feel like he was in college. I remember feeling the same way, their music made it seem like we were older and cooler, at a time when that was what we all desperately hoped to be.
RJR High School, Winston-Salem, NC, Class of ’85, Currently: Musician / Singer-songwriter / Performer / Producer
Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: I’ve got a few, so i’ll list them with an associated memory.
U2. Our high school band The Trash (Goode, Taylor, myself, Higginbotham) played almost the entirety of their “Under a Blood Red Sky” live EP. Not well, exactly, but often and with gusto.
Run-DMC. rockin’ ‘Hard Times’ loudly in Doernberg’s Volare, interior ceiling upholstery flapping in the breeze.
Boston. watching friends play air guitar to ‘Peace of Mind’… I’ll leave the rest of the story untold so as not to humiliate myself and others.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: R.E.M. Reckoning tour T-shirt. Got it at the Duke Chapel concert I went to with Phil Morrison. Ended up cutting out the sleeves… shouldn’t have done that.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Easy target, but I hated Information Society. Maybe the worst of ’80s pop in one band. Blech. I have to admit I never really liked Motley Crue or Hair Metal bands like Poison… just didn’t think the songs were that good.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: Again, hard to pick one, so I’ll give a quick list. Forgive me if any details are wrong, my memory is bad.
Stray Cats at Wait Chapel. Hooper in a white Panama Jack suit with straw hat and floral shirt. The Busboys opened and killed it.
R.E.M. at Duke Chapel. Sitting with the college kids in the balcony, feeling all college-y. Did Stipe do an acapella version of ‘Moon River’ ? I can’t remember. Holsapple-led dBs opened.
Fresh Festival at Greensboro Coliseum. Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash, Fat Boys, Whoodini. The dancers from ‘Electric Boogaloo Breakin’ 2′ performed in a boxing ring in the middle of the floor between sets. Went with Phil and Jon Healey.
The Police at Greensboro Coliseum. Syncronicity tour. Rag outfits, Trampolines. Pure-T awesomeness.
Big Country at Wait Chapel. How I loved their huge Scottish rock anthems! Went with Trash drummer Greg Taylor. Later tried to replicate “In a Big Country” many times; failed. Wiretrain opened. RIP Stuart Adamson.
The Right Profile / The dBs / Let’s Active at Reynolds Auditorium. Phil put this concert together as a benefit for a Key Club food drive. We got to hang out with Holsapple, Dixon, Easter et al backstage and felt like the coolest kids ever.
Full disclosure: I love Jim Wilbur. Not many people can pull off the grumpy lovable guy thing. I can see him rolling his eyes at that statement–stuffing his hands in his pockets and walking away in a ratty old man cardigan. A million years ago (also known as the early ’90s), Jim and my friend, Liz, were boyfriend and girlfriend. Steve and I would hang out with them almost every weekend, playing a card game called Pooch and drinking beer. After a few drinks, Jim would threaten to make us listen to Steely Dan or some Contemporary Classical composer (I can’t remember the name of the guy he liked the best…Walter somebody-or-other). Then he would usually go on some sort of rant or throw his cards on the table in disgust and we would all laugh our asses off. Those were great days–sitting in the kitchen in the house on Jo Mac Road. I miss them. Jim and I used to argue about Steely Dan and whether or not girls like them. He was (and probably still is) very pro girls and SD, which seemed a little too convenient since he likes both of them. I maintain that girls don’t like SD, or if they say they do, they’re just saying it to either get a guy or keep him. And one last thing, while we’re on the subject of girls and guys and music…I can’t begin to express my awe at just how deep Jim had to dig for his best make-out song.
Robert E. Fitch Senior High School, Groton, CT, Class of ’85, Currently: I work from the back of a used bookstore in Durham selling stuff on ebay – mostly vinyl and, until recently (sigh), it seemed like most of it was jazz LPs that ended up being shipped to dudes in Japan. When I’m not involved in the topsy turvy world of internet commerce, I fly around the actual world and play rock music with the Superchunk band. In many ways the day job is more exciting than the touring…. it’s definitely less stressful. Though, honestly, the band stuff isn’t too stressful anymore, either….
Band and/or song that reminds you most of high school: The indie/punk rock canon of the mid 1980′s was core to me. I’m talking about the Minutemen, Husker Du, The Replacements, Minor Threat, you know, those guys…. but I was also totally into Bruce Springsteen and Steely Dan. I didn’t see it as blasphemy to worship from different pews. Still don’t.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia from high school: One thing that kept me going through high school was reading Maximum Rock n Roll zine and just being nuts about hardcore in all stripes. I would buy every hardcore record that came into my local shop (Mystic Disc, in Mystic CT). If it was HC, then it was for me. I wish I hadn’t sold most of my collection over the years. Now that I sell on ebay, I’m aware of how well some of that stuff has aged. In a collectibilty-sense, that is. My favorite piece of memorabilia would have been a Minor Threat t-shirt that I got from a gift store. Looking back, I’m sure it was not made by or for the band. In other words, a sort of bootleg tee. I still remember wearing it once in the presence of DC HC royalty and being aware, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, that it was a faux pas.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Twisted Sister. Now I’m not so sure about my feelings for Dee Snider and gang. Maybe they were onto something afterall.
Best show you saw in high school: Billy Bragg at the Living Room in Providence, RI.
Optional Bonus Question: Best high school make-out song: I guess it would have to be “I Can Dream About You (If I Can’t Hold You Tonight)” by Dan Hartman from the “Streets of Fire” soundtrack. That or something else equally pathetic. Was such a stupid romantic in high school.