People often assume that I chose high school and music as a recurring topic for my blog because I have a “thing” about high school. Sure, I have a “thing” about high school just like I have a “thing” about old boyfriends and Steely Dan. No–I chose the topic because it’s a universal theme. No matter who you were at that time in your life–Muffy or Biff, burnout or brain, punk-rock girl or priss–you get it. When you hear “that song”, it takes you there. Today’s RNRHS from my good pal Steve Foxbury is a great one, chock full of icons from many musical eras, clearly a fully realized step back in time.
It’s a bit complicated, but in the interest of time, my name is Steven Foxbury
Bishop Moore, Orlando, FL, Class of ’91, Currently: Failed Life Coach (ed’s note: also in an amazing band called The Battle Sigh–check them out here)
Band or song that reminds you most of high school: I’ve always loved music on a very deep level, but not necessarily cool music. My wife has always had a knack for liking cool music, her marriage to me excepted, but me? Not so much. For instance, I absolutely thought that Toad the Wet Sprocket was going to be considered the band of my generation – my generation being the one that came of age in the midst of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, et al. Though these choices may result in my permanent banning from the cool club, these made up the soundtrack to those blissful, pimpled years.
Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd: This was the first song that I learned to play on guitar. My friend, Todd, taught me the intro lead and to this day, it’s one of maybe three lead guitar parts that I know. The theme to the Andy Griffith Show might be one of the others. I’m sure that by now, most readers have moved onto something far more interesting.
Over the Hills and Far Away: Holy shit, did I love Led Zeppelin! The late 80′s are not counted among music’s many golden eras, so I found myself turning to classic rock during that hour of need. So enamored was I with Led Zeppelin, that I drew a giant Icarus mural on my bedroom wall and swore to have it tattooed on my left arm the day that I turned 18. Luckily, that tattoo would have been around $300 and I think that I was 25 before I had $300 at any one time and by then, I had changed my position on this matter.
Stream of consciousness Honorable Mentions: Fishbone, Party at Ground Zero, U.G.L.Y. | The Smiths, pretty much all of it | Roxy Music, Avalon + To Turn You On | Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mother’s Milk | Jane’s Addiction, Nothing’s Shocking | REM – wow, I can’t believe I’m only now getting to them. They were gods to me in high school. I think I’ll stop now.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bobby Brown is the only guy that leaps to mind. I dated a girl who was really into him and it just never made sense to me (neither did Kirk Cameron for that matter). He had a song where I think he called girls Roni’s? What the hell does that even mean?
Best show or concert that you saw in high school: Lenny Kravitz and The Cult playing for free in Gainesville. Lenny Kravitz was the opener. He had a broken arm and still put on a better show than most of the able bodied performers I’ve seen. I had to play a show once with a broken elbow and felt about as lively as Bing Crosby on his farewell tour. I don’t remember much of The Cult’s performance except for a vague feeling that they were pretty great as well and that security kept coming on over the PA before their set to say that, “The Cult will not play until everyone in the crowd takes five steps back.” I guess they were worried about Gainsvillieans being trampled due to their awesomeness.
Best high-school make-out song: Hands down – “Somebody”, Depeche Mode: I drove a 1981 white Ford Econoline conversion van in high school, which meant that as a 16 year-old, I would pick up dates in a 1981 white Ford Econoline conversion van. It had corduroy seats, wood paneling and wall to wall to fucking ceiling shag carpeting. Fathers made well-conveyed eyeball threats as I led their daughters away from their homes and their childhoods.
And oh, what mix-tapes would sound from the van’s many, many speakers. The mix-tape roster was a fickle beast, but Somebody by Depeche Mode always made the cut. I made my wife a mix-tape a couple years ago for Christmas and you can bet your sweet ass that Somebody was on it.
Visit the website for Steven’s band The Battle Sigh at: reverberation.com/thebattlesigh.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to shut up and let someone else do the talking. Today is one of those days–I’m so pleased and honored to have Jody Stephens, founding member of legendary band Big Star, grace my humble blog that I’m at a loss for words, which almost never happens. Ask anybody. Jody fills us in on everything he’s been up to lately, (including the newly released Big Star Live 7″ featuring Jon Davis of Superdrag ) before tackling the high school highlights, so I will gladly step aside and allow him to take the much-deserved reins.
Overton High School, Memphis, TN, Class of ’70
Currently: I work along side of John Fry managing Ardent Studios. I also help out with our little indie label Ardent Music. We have a roster of one: Star & Micey. We also have a new Big Star EP release out on 7” vinyl. The three songs on the EP include John Davis on guitar and lead vocals and were recorded live during Big Star’s tribute to Alex Chilton at the Levitt Shell here in Memphis, May 15, 2010.
Chris Stamey has produced a few Big Star’s Third Live shows that have been incredible to be a part of. We plan to do more of them.
Golden Smog comes calling every now and then. We just played a couple of nights at the Fine Line in Minneapolis. GS is like a traveling medicine show…it’s good for what ails you.
And, while we used the name Big Star for the last time at the Levitt Shell show last year, it’s kind of hard to give up playing those songs together. So… Jon, Ken and I joined up with JB Meijers in the Netherlands this past April to play a few dates featuring Big Star songs. We were billed under our own names and had a few wonderful Dutch artists join us.
Song that reminds you the most of high school: “Aquarius.” While I was a senior in high school my brother Jimmy (bass) and I (drums) got picked to be part of the University of Memphis production of the musical Hair. The song “Aquarius” opened the play. I was 17 years old at the time and my eyes were opened to paraphrase a lyric from the play. It was controversial for its time and definitely a life changing experience for me. It also was the catalyst for my reintroduction to Andy Hummel and, via Andy, my introduction to Chris Bell, John Fry and Ardent Studios.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: I didn’t hang on to much from high school but I do still have a program from Hair.
Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: I started thinking about this one and realized that, amongst the people I knew at Overton, I was pretty much a loner when it came to being into music. I would hitch hike in to mid-town and hang out with guys that had the same interest in music. We were all into The Beatles, Stones, Kinks and the music coming out of Stax.
Best show or concert you saw in high school: The first thing I thought of…The Zombies was potentially the best concert, but I don’t remember it. I was shy, but I did have a date for this. In pursuit of a solution for being shy, I somehow obtained a 1/2 pint of Old Charter (a confidence builder)…such a mistake. I had too much “confidence” and wound up “sleeping” through the concert. Lesson learned. I went to see Led Zeppelin a year later, no date, no alcohol and was completely blown away.
Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: I didn’t date much in high school. Paper route money didn’t go very far and what I had went to things like buying records, drum stuff and going to see bands. When I had a couple of girlfriends in college, music’s role was more important to the healing part of breaking up. David Pomeranz’s New Blues and Time To Fly were good albums for that.