Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 10: History Smiles on the Punk Kids of 1980

Today’s RNRHS comes from indie rock music biz legend, Lori Blumenthal.  Yes, Lori, I’m going to call you a legend and you can’t get out of it, even though you no longer work in music.  Sorry.  When I got my first music business job at Twin/Tone Records, Lori worked at I.R.S. Records and was one of the women that I really looked up to because she was so incredibly well-respected by everybody.  I mean, everybody.  Lori also happened to be really good friends with a guy named Steve Balcom, who is now my husband, and I remember worrying that Lori might not like me and that it might somehow influence Steve’s opinion of me.  I had a ginormous crush on him and he didn’t know it and well…my worrying was for nothing because it all worked out in the end.  Lori has some very cool NY music memories, so please, read on.

Lori Blumenthal

West Hempstead High School, West Hempstead NY, Class of 1980 (Go Rams!  not really, nobody cared, they were all way too busy smoking pot), Currently: a long suffering bookstore employee in the era of the death of the printed word…previous life as a music business executive in the era of the death of the music business.  I know how to pick ’em.

Band/or song that reminds you the most of high school: The cool thing about my high school life was that I was really into the Who and the Stones so I could be friends with the classic rock stoner kids, but punk was really starting to break through, and we were discovering the Clash and the Ramones and Elvis Costello.  That way we could feel superior to everyone else, like we knew a huge secret and nobody else was in on it. And we did, kind of.  History smiles sweetly on us, the kids who liked punk in 1980.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia from high school: See above.  I had a Boston T-shirt because I saw them at Madision Square Garden and a Jackson Browne baseball shirt, but then I had a Ramones shirt and all kinds of new wave accoutrements, like a satin pink tie that I wore with my punk shirts. We went to the CITY on the weekends, and hung out on St Marks Place.  We were convinced we were cooler than everyone else that just stayed on Long Island.

Band you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: I always hated the Grateful Dead.  They were huge and maybe because I never got stoned or took drugs I never got it.  I still can’t stand any band that is even vaguely influenced by the Grateful Dead.  And of course half of my boyfriends and my ex-husband were Deadheads.  Serves me right.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: We saw some great concerts.  We were so lucky to be so close to NYC.  We saw the Runaways open up for Cheap Trick (ed’s note: WOW), we saw the Ramones several times during high school. I think Blondie opened one of their shows.  I saw Van Halen on their first record.

The Optional Question:  Best high school make-out song? I had braces through my senior year.  No making out for me, not till college and of course then it was all about REM.

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