Here it is the dead of summer and such is the life of the writer and blogger that I just don’t have the energy to hound people for their Rock N Roll High School Q&A. You know who you are. So, in the interest of fun and not wanting to break a sweat, I’m running a “Best Of RNRHS”, this week starting with the question: “What is the band or song that most reminds you of high school?”. If you are one of my past participants and I didn’t pick one of your answers, don’t get your undies in a bunch. There are four more questions to go, plenty of time to “lobby” me with free drinks.
Stuart Nichols, Money Wrangler at Universal Pictures
New Order. Specifically, the release of the double cassette (!) version of Substance seemed to perfectly synch up with my time in high school. I spent a lot of time on Boy Scout trips, family vacations, and school road trips with the headphones on during my glum teenager phase. My favorite song was probably “Procession”- How could any morose 16-year-old resist these lyrics:
“At night it gets cold and you’d dearly like to turn away
An escape that fails
Makes the wounds that time won’t heal alone
Alone, alone, alone”
Combine this with the fun Ian Curtis backstory and you’ve got yourself a recipe for good times!
Jim Wilbur, I work from the back of a used bookstore and play rock music with the Superchunk band
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.
Kerry Cantwell, College Success Instructor, Drummer for Actual Persons Living or Dead & Scene of the Crime Rovers
High school, to be brief, sucked. I disliked the school, I disliked the students, I disliked my friends, I disliked everything. My only saving grace was my own self-imposed melancholia. I think the song (and album, frankly) that reminds me the most of high school is probably “Black Celebration” by Depeche Mode. It encapsulated the gloominess I believed I was experiencing. The worst part is that I was a good kid: didn’t drink or smoke or sleep with people. I just sat in my room with my candles and my white Christmas lights and wrote ridiculously tortured poems and listened to Depeche Mode all the time. Geez, even I think that’s so boring!
Jill (Tomlinson) Mango, Independent Music Publicist, mom of 3
Definitely Wang Chung’s “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” — not because I was a fan, but because they were the first rockstars (using the term loosely, here folks) I ever met. Wang Chung came to my Junior Prom in 1987. They played a show in Providence and were returning to the Biltmore Hotel, scene of my prom, when a friend of mine spotted them in the elevator and convinced them to come up to the ballroom. I recognized them instantly (the DJ was also playing every single Wang Chung record he had with him), ditched my date and ran up to have my photo taken with Wang or was it Chung?
Celia Rivenbark, Syndicated Humor Columnist and Author of six Books including “You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl” coming out in August
Derek & the Dominos/Layla. I bought the album for fifty cents from the cutest boy in high school because he was starving and wanted to buy two ice cream sandwiches. I had wanted the album forever but it was too pricey for me. Paul Dixon, wherever you are, thanks for a sweet deal for us both. Best. Album. Ever. Honorable mention: Traffic’s Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys. Delicious. Still listen to it at least once a week when I’m ridin’ around.
Thomas Juliano, Guitarist for Seven Mary Three
“The Spirit of Radio” Rush. I know, I know. Shut up! Don’t judge me!
Amy Barefoot, The Boss of Me at Barefoot Public, Inc.
The hair metal bands of the 80’s were really unavoidable for me. For some reason I morphed from worshiping the British pop darlings of Duran Duran to discovering the beauty of the Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack to landing straight in the middle of a big heap of neon spandex, eyeliner and lots of hair.
I once made a banner for Bon Jovi from a queen-sized sheet that I then strategically placed up my acid washed jean miniskirt along with a roll of duct tape to enter Greensboro Coliseum. I had been told security would confiscate all banners and they would be checking purses. I’m pretty sure I looked like I was seven months pregnant but the crowd cheered as me and my friends unfurled our homemade love letter on a sheet. It was worth the trouble in the end because Jon Bon Jovi mentioned how much he liked it three times during the show. The crowd ripped it to shreds and I actually saw someone walking out with the part of the sheet that had my name on it.
Chris Phillips, Self un-employed musician
I want to say “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers because of the heavy story and hard hitting music. But I bought that at the local grocery store in grade school. So let me fast forward. Hmmmm…just thought of Journey, but thats more like junior high school. Still fast forwarding…wait a minute…Ive got it!
Clarence Carter – “Strokin” !!!! I think we can all agree that this poet merchant of love really tapped into a universal feeling here. He exploded beyond the bounds of Top Ten radio with this one. And what teenage high school student wasn’t singin’ this one in the hallways? Didn’t matter if it was girls or boys, jocks or preps. We were all just finally united against the man and singin’ that song! It was a song of Freedom and revolution. Or was that “Six Pack” by Black Flag that united us against the man?
Sam Stephenson, Author, “The Jazz Loft Project”
“Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley. I grew up in a town of nine thousand people in coastal N.C. (Washington) and we relied heavily on two local pop radio stations – WITN Rock 93 out of Washington, or Chocowinity to be exact, and WSFL 106.5 out of Bridgeton/New Bern. This song was in heavy rotation 1983-84 and I hated it. When I heard its first notes on one of the two stations I’d switch to the other one. Whenever I hear it today I’m taken back to the 1978 Pontiac Firebird that was passed down from my brother to me and suddenly I’m driving out to the mall on a cold, dark winter night, and I’m hitting the radio preset buttons as fast as I can to get to a different tune.
“Union of the Snake” by Duran Duran. During summers, holidays, and Saturdays I worked at Moss Planing Mill, which was a lumber and building supply company. A slightly older co-worker named Sammy Corey had a Buick Regal two-door sedan with a T-top and I remember jumping in his car one day to go to Hardee’s for lunch. He threw in a cassette with this tune cued up and he said, “This is some bad jam,” and we cranked it over to Hardee’s. That sticks with me bigtime.
Jon Wurster, I hit people in the ear with rock and in the stomach with comedy
Two songs that come to mind right away are “Urgent” by Foreigner and “Heat of the Moment” by Asia. I liked neither. Whenever the former comes on the radio I’m transported back to my older brother’s Honda Civic in the winter of ’82 on our way to school. I still think there is nothing crueler than making a teenager get up at six AM to brave freezing winter weather to go to school. I barely graduated and I turned out great. I mean, look how good I right.
When I hear the Asia song I’m back in my friend Matt Thorn’s powder blue Rabbit the following year. We’re bound for the mall to see what exciting new wave LPs have made their way into Music Scene since we visited last week. I play along with Carl Palmer as he does that Ronettes beat but I hit the dashboard too hard and knock out a portion of the Rabbit’s humble stereo system. Matt is rightfully upset with me.