Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 19: “Moody, Standard and Poor”

In honor of Sub Pop’s release of the new Obits records, “Moody, Standard, and Poor” (best album title in a very long time, in my opinion), Sohrab Habibion and Greg Simpson from the band are graciously sharing their high school music memories. This is Obits’ second record and everything I’ve heard from it is great–an effortless and stripped-down blend of garage rock and surf influences. They are also an amazing live band, not surprising given their rock pedigree: a lineage that includes Edsel, Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and Pitchfork. Edsel was one of my favorite bands for a long time and one of the very few that managed to combine mind-blowing music with people you actually wanted to hang around…not a lot of bands can stake that claim.  Be sure to click on the links to Sohrab’s votes for the best shows he saw in high school–he dug up some very cool, old flyers.  And speaking of cool, who else has a mom who helped them promote a 7 Seconds show at their local community center?  Wait, hold on, there’s more…who else had a band that opened the very same 7 Seconds show with Dave Grohl behind the kit?   That one will out-cool all of us every time.

Sohrab Habibion

Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, VA, Class of ’87, Currently: Play guitar and sing in Obits, compose music for soundtracks and commercials, design book covers and music packages.

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Rites of Spring. I played that record over and over again and used to recite the lyrics to my mom. Also Sonic Youth’s EVOL was on heavy rotation though, for some reason, I would only ever listen to it on headphones. My mom actually bought me that record after reading a review of it in the Washington Post. I was appropriately dubious when I put it on, but by the time “Tom Violence” was halfway through I was completely hooked.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: A flyer for a Dag Nasty, Rites of Spring, Embrace and Beefeater show at Georgetown University on December 4, 1985. It’s in my parents’ basement, in a box, getting moldy, along with hundreds of other photocopied relics. I’m still bummed my mom wouldn’t let me go to that show. She was usually really generous with letting me see bands play during the school week but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t go to that and no amount of begging, pleading or explaining how important it was to me would change her mind.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love:  Journey, Boston, Styx, Kansas, etc. That music still makes me irrationally upset. When I hear “More Than A Feeling” I just want to spit on somebody. The over-processed distorted guitar playing that awful power chord riff, the rock’n’roll show tunes style of singing and the music school chord changes. I can’t take it. But, oddly, and I have no explanation for this, I don’t mind Foreigner. Go figure.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Circle Jerks, COC, Marginal Man & Madhouse at the Wilson Center, Washington DC, January 5, 1985

— tied with —

Hüsker Dü & Dumptruck at the 9:30 Club, Washington DC, May 12, 1985

— tied with —

Embrace, Gray Matter & Rites of Spring at Food For Thought, Washington DC, July 1985

— tied with —

My band, Kids For Cash, playing with our friends, P.M.S., opening for our heroes, 7 Seconds at a show I put on with my mom’s help at the local community center, Burke, VA, Sept. 20, 1985. Quirky side note: Dave Grohl played drums in Kids For Cash for this show. And, for the record, he was great then. Totally spazzy, but incredible.

Optional bonus question:  Best high school make-out song: Side 1 of UK/DK: The Original Soundtrack. You get The Exploited, The Adicts and Chaos U.K. right off the bat. Sexy stuff.

Greg Simpson

Louisa County High School, Mineral, VA, Class of ’78, Currently: Musician / Graphic Designer

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: “Disco Sucks” t-shirt

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Bread

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Neil Young

Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: Radar Love – Golding Earring

3 Comments on “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 19: “Moody, Standard and Poor”

  1. excellent fliers from those 80’s shows! WOW. i still have some from early 90’s , but not of THAT caliber.

    I do remember going to DC and staying with the Edsel guys shortly before Christmas in Dec. ’92. I stayed with Nick, their drummer, and went with them to their show that night at the (old) 9:30 Club. (the club also had a showing that night of “The Year Punk Rock Broke”)

    i bring this up, because that same night after the show, Mr. Grohl was in the alley in back of the 9:30 Club and came over to talk to the Edsel guys.

    I also remember that after the show we all went out to a (really cool yet name is forgotten) bar in D.C., and Grohl was there, along with Brenda Kahn and a handful of other 90’s-era “famous” musicians that sort of had my eyes spinning with excitement…..

    Years later, bumped into Sohrab in Chicago, where we determined we were neighbors, and I hung out with him and even went out to at least one show together (if i recall, it was Tortoise w/ Sea & Cake w/ 5ive Style )…..

    Ahhh, those were the days. And I would never have befriended him had it not been for Mammoth, and the night we all went to see them play in Raleigh (do you remember this show? At a place called The Garage? I am pretty sure that both Vanilla Trainwreck, and also Archers of Loaf, played after Edsel!)

    • Ah, yes–the Garage! What an amazing show–Trainwreck, Edsel and Archers. Such great, great bands. You should definitely go see Obits live if you can. First time I saw them was amazing and that was not knowing any of their music. Sohrab just called us and told he was coming into town with his new band…little did we know!

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