Today’s RNRHS from Scott Carle is jam-packed with music memories, and yet, I know that Scott exercised restraint. Not sure if I’ve ever met a bigger music FAN. Beyond the fact that he’s an unbelievable musician and has been in a bazillion bands, the man lives and breathes music. Who else sets up a music memorabilia exhibit for his birthday party? And it wasn’t just a few 45s on a table…he had an entire party room at Duke full of posters, rare vinyl, t-shirts, photographs, ticket stubs, ratty faded flyers pulled from a kiosk on Franklin Street with the staples still in it. Incredible!
Northern High School, Durham, N.C., Class of ’79, Currently: Work for a small business (commercial door pivots) owned by a close friend and longtime supporter of my 30 year run in the music business…Jeff Hales..thanks! Also manage a unique coffee shop – C Store in the Bella Union at Duke owned by Sam Clowney (guitarist w/ the Veldt and Parklife). Teach drum lessons. Travel overseas. Still play and record on a regular basis. Most recently was with Lost in the Trees. Play with Calico Haunts, Jason Merritt, Bullcity. Was also with Collapsis, the B-sides and Marat. And most certainly do shows with Dillon Fence whenever we get the chance.
Band or song that reminds me of high school: The first thing that comes to mind is Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” Many mornings this would be on the radio on the drive to school in someone’s 70’s Camaro or Firebird. This song came out of the gate and we all just loved it. When I heard the Foo Fighters cover, I loved it again. Radio in the 70’s was incredible. If you look back at the charts it was full of so many genres. One big album that affected everyone was “Some Girls” by the Stones. Everywhere…every party, every car was “Beast of Burden”..”Miss You”…”Shattered”…and it was like that in every American town, no doubt. I , along with many friends, fellow athletes and bandmates were into all the music at that time….every week at the Greensboro Coliseum there were shows: Pink Floyd,Queen, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Blue Oyster Cult, Earth Wind and Fire, Alice Cooper, Rush, ELO, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, etc. The radio was exploding with everyone from Van Halen, Todd Rundgren, KISS, the Bee Gees, Meat Loaf, Stevie Wonder, ABBA, the Knack, Boston, Deep Purple….we were playing vinyl by the Runaways, Yes, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, Lynryd Skynyrd, UFO, Black Sabbath, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix,Grand Funk, Zappa and many others. Then you had things on the radio like Andy Gibb, Olivia Newton John ( w/ Travolta!), Foghat and Leif Garrett! “Dark Side of the Moon” was still a major and beautiful album…even though it came out years before, it’s impact was gigantic.
Back to the question…..the band that reminds me most of those years is Led Zeppelin…no question about it. Like Cameron Crowe and millions of others, Zeppelin was the one for me. And besides the Rafferty tune the song that really did it for me then was Alice Cooper’s “Billon Dollar Babies” with Alice and Donovan on vocals. This tune blew my mind and still does today. I can only wonder how many times I’ve listened to that one. My friend , David Ferguson had a cool sister who had that Alice record on 8-track tape. And my high school band was called “Oasis”…..David was on bass. We didn’t really like the name…we did covers of Frampton, the Cars, Nugent, Heart, Steve Miller, etc. A guy named Eddie Stephens played guitar….he was light years ahead of us….he was pretty much Roy Clark…to this day he’s the finest musician I know….can play any instrument extremely well.
Favorite piece of music memorabilia: The poster was KISS. Bought from Spencers at Northgate Mall …shot from their “Alive” period….intense poster….and it was everywhere. Should mention: there was a head shop (one of the 1st) called “The Joint” in Durham… had amazing posters for sale in the back. Giant 6-foot-tall ones….I had the Zeppelin and Rush ones….along with one of all the guitar heroes ( Townsend, Page, Jimi, Richards, Clapton, Mason, Frehley, Blackmore, Beck). Still have it. The most admired shirt I saw in high school was a Zeppelin shirt with their photos on the back from Zeppelin lll….I only saw that shirt on one person and I wished I had one. Where is it Keith McClintock? The shirt I wore out was a Ted Nugent shirt w/ him on guitar outlined in cosmic blue. Keep in mind that was when Ted was not mouthing off, just delivering the goods with relentless shows with bands like Montrose opening. Shirt is still in very good condition.
Band I hated that everyone else liked: Did not have a band I hated but disco (although I liked some of it) was not feeling or sounding great at the time. Saturday Night Fever was huge..I liked the Bee Gees but some of the other songs in the movie weren’t all that . I appreciate them more now. Plus the movie to a teenager was quite depressing at the time…it left me with a bad feeling. As far as songs go that were popular….I couldn’t get into things like Robert John’s “Sad Eyes” or even the Commodores “Once Twice Three Times a Lady” and these were huge songs. And I love the Faces and early Rod Stewart but his monstrous hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” was not on my list. Ugh.
Best concert : Oh my. Unbelievably it was my first show. We had a youth group at our swim and raquet club in Durham where I spent my summers and each Wednesday we’d get together and listen to music…cook food….Mark Cromer (who went on to play football at Oklahoma) played drums to Elton’s”The Bitch Is Back” and blew my mind. I eventually bought his drum kit and became a disciple of John Bonham, Keith Moon and Carl Palmer. Anyway, one week the lady who led our group announced that the following week she had chartered a bus to Greensboro and purchased tickets for all 30 of us to see a concert in the Coliseum. We all had never been to a show and in those days shows were pretty much 18 and up….we were just entering high school. Well, the concert was THE WHO. What an introduction. It was beyond intense. The new album was “The Who By Numbers” (single was “Squeezebox”). Reggae band opened. Festival seating only. We sat under the guardrails in the back corner lower level. Daltrey….Townsend….Entwistle…Moon. They did all of “Tommy” and most of ” Who’s Next”. We all were electrified ….emotionally, physically, collectively. After that I / we were never the same. We went outside trying to see the bus or limos leave. The Who were long gone probably but hundreds of us were there…still shaking from the excitement. I remember telling Scott Wells: “we’re coming back to these things” These concerts!
Hundreds later….club shows…following the Bad Brains and Janes Addiction around the country…..U2, Stones, Floyd, McCartney, Dead stadium shows….theater shows with Missing Persons, My Bloody Valentine….countless local shows ….hardcore gigs w/ Corrosion of Conformity, Descendents, Circle Jerks..local Connells shows, Veldt, Sex Police, Pressure Boys, 3PM, Superchunk , REM, Drivin and Cryin…The Who still was the one. And it defines that time of being in high school and being exposed to music and finding it at a time in our lives that are not so easy.
Some honorable mentions ( from that time period ) would have to be : KISS at Dorton arena (Rock and Roll Over tour )…heartracing intense show from the 3rd row, complete with a guy’s head catching on fire in the audience right next to us…he was trying to blow fire like Gene Simmons …but inhaled instead of exhaling. The original Pumpkinhead. That’s another story. I had face make up on…Peter Criss. Other shows from that era….Rush on the Hemispheres tour! Aerosmith on the “Rocks” tour and Van Halen at Carter Finley Stadium…festival show w/ the Outlaws, Poco and Boston. VH ll had just come out and Eddie and the band left everyone nothing. Mind blowing performance.
Best High School Make-out song: from memory…walked into a party at the infamous Van household…they had 12 kids! Good parties. One night with people laying all around the basement…making out….I think it may have been “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates. Good song. And good for that.