Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 23: Steely Dan and Minor Threat, Worshipping From Different Pews

Full disclosure: I love Jim Wilbur. Not many people can pull off the grumpy lovable guy thing. I can see him rolling his eyes at that statement–stuffing his hands in his pockets and walking away in a ratty old man cardigan. A million years ago (also known as the early ’90s), Jim and my friend, Liz, were boyfriend and girlfriend. Steve and I would hang out with them almost every weekend, playing a card game called Pooch and drinking beer.  After a few drinks, Jim would threaten to make us listen to Steely Dan or some Contemporary Classical composer (I can’t remember the name of the guy he liked the best…Walter somebody-or-other). Then he would usually go on some sort of rant or throw his cards on the table in disgust and we would all laugh our asses off. Those were great days–sitting in the kitchen in the house on Jo Mac Road. I miss them. Jim and I used to argue about Steely Dan and whether or not girls like them. He was (and probably still is) very pro girls and SD, which seemed a little too convenient since he likes both of them. I maintain that girls don’t like SD, or if they say they do, they’re just saying it to either get a guy or keep him.  And one last thing, while we’re on the subject of girls and guys and music…I can’t begin to express my awe at just how deep Jim had to dig for his best make-out song.

Jim Wilbur

Robert E. Fitch Senior High School, Groton, CT, Class of ’85, Currently: I work from the back of a used bookstore in Durham selling stuff on ebay – mostly vinyl and, until recently (sigh), it seemed like most of it was jazz LPs that ended up being shipped to dudes in Japan. When I’m not involved in the topsy turvy world of internet commerce, I fly around the actual world and play rock music with the Superchunk band. In many ways the day job is more exciting than the touring…. it’s definitely less stressful. Though, honestly, the band stuff isn’t too stressful anymore, either….

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

Favorite piece of music memorabilia from high school: One thing that kept me going through high school was reading Maximum Rock n Roll zine and just being nuts about hardcore in all stripes. I would buy every hardcore record that came into my local shop (Mystic Disc, in Mystic CT). If it was HC, then it was for me. I wish I hadn’t sold most of my collection over the years. Now that I sell on ebay, I’m aware of how well some of that stuff has aged. In a collectibilty-sense, that is. My favorite piece of memorabilia would have been a Minor Threat t-shirt that I got from a gift store. Looking back, I’m sure it was not made by or for the band. In other words, a sort of bootleg tee. I still remember wearing it once in the presence of DC HC royalty and being aware, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, that it was a faux pas.

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: Twisted Sister. Now I’m not so sure about my feelings for Dee Snider and gang. Maybe they were onto something afterall.

Best show you saw in high school: Billy Bragg at the Living Room in Providence, RI.

Optional Bonus Question: Best high school make-out song: I guess it would have to be “I Can Dream About You (If I Can’t Hold You Tonight)” by Dan Hartman from the “Streets of Fire” soundtrack. That or something else equally pathetic. Was such a stupid romantic in high school.

1 Comments on “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 23: Steely Dan and Minor Threat, Worshipping From Different Pews

  1. After a day of facebook rebuttals, I would like to formally apologize to the female members of the Steely Dan fanclub, especially the North Carolina contingent as they seem steadfast in their love of the band. Just like when you convince yourself that your new white pants don’t make your butt look big, I convinced myself of the girls don’t like Steely Dan rule in order to circumvent a college bf’s insistence that I must like a band that I just flat out didn’t (and still don’t). For whatever reason, he backed off the SD when I told him that girls don’t like the band. Perhaps he was just looking ahead to the next girlfriend, remembering the do’s and don’ts for later. He probably had no idea that I just made it up. For all I know, his next girlfriend was a huge SD fan and I ruined it. Sorry, Dan (yes, his name was really Dan–that may have been part of the disconnect for me). I also used the “girls don’t like it” excuse for frisbee, because I suck at frisbee and he and his friends loved it. That way, I could sit in the grass and drink beer. Dan and I didn’t last very long, but that was my fickle nineteen-year-old brain, more than anything he did, and that includes making me listen to Steely Dan.

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