Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 21: Are You Wang or Chung?

Jill with the rock star she ditched her date for.

Today’s RNRHS comes from Jill Tomlinson (now Mango). Jill and I worked together at Mammoth Records back in “the day” and we were also tap dance buddies. Never before had the Chapel Hill Ballet School seen such tap dance superstars. Seriously. Jill and I took turns being teacher’s pet during class and then would practice our shuffle-ball-steps at the fax machine the next day. We had awesome hardwood floors at the Carr Mill Mammoth office and drove our co-workers ca-razy. If you have ever been a tap dancer, you understand that the desire to move your feet is a constant. I love everything Jill had to share about her high school music memories, especially the part about hating REO Speedwagon because that was my answer to the very same question. Not sure about that John Taylor story though. Are you sure you didn’t wake up right after that and realize it was time for school?

Jill (Tomlinson) Mango

North Smithfield Jr. Sr. High School, North Smithfield, RI, Class of ’88, Currently: Independent music publicist and mom of 3

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: 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?

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: I had this awesome Love and Rockets t-shirt from the Earth Sun Moon tour that, like the album cover, had a black and white photo of the band that looked like it was held up by masking tape. I mean, it REALLY looked like masking tape. I thought that was cool for some reason. I wore it well into college. I told my parents I was going out in Providence that night, but hopped a train to Boston to see them with the Mighty Lemon Drops instead.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: R.E.O. Speedwagon. I remember hearing a commercial on the radio for their show at the Providence Civic Center and feeling embarrassed for them because I thought there was no way that that many people could like such bad music. Of course, the concert sold out.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: I don’t know if it was the best, but the most memorable was Duran Duran on the Strange Behavior tour in June 1987. My best friend and I cut school and waited outside the Worcester Centrum to meet them. A roadie offered to take our photo with Simon LeBon and when we got the photo back we realized he had gotten both of us in full frame, but had cut Simon’s head off. I also had a moment (it was a moment in my mind, anyway) with John Taylor. He was signing my ticket envelope (didn’t plan ahead and bring anything cool for him to sign) and he dropped the pen. We both bent down to grab it and our eyes met and he smiled. Sigh…

Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: I don’t recall anyone being suave enough to set the mood with music back in high school. But I do remember going to see Squeeze at the Providence Performing Arts Center and making out with my senior year boyfriend for the entire show. Like, I don’t think I looked at the stage once.

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