Rock ‘n’ Roll High School 26: Bow Wow Wow on the Walkman

RNRHS has been on a roll lately with Chapel Hill music royalty (if I do say so myself)–John Plymale, founding member of Chapel Hill bands The Pressure Boys and The Sex Police, now in the mix. The Pressure Boys were before my time, but I saw the Sex Police many times–I was even their booking agent for a while. John’s stage presence is almost superhuman and difficult to fathom if you only know him as laid back and unassuming John.  He’s quite the opposite behind the mic, sort of like there’s a magical performer switch inside him. Most of us do not have that switch. I was able to see The Pressure Boys when they did their reunion shows in 2008 at the Cat’s Cradle.  Talk about being overwhelmed, and not just by the vast number of my husband’s former classmates–the genuine adoration oozing out of the crowd seemed limitless. I can only imagine what it was like to see the band “in the day”.  I’m hoping some of you will share some good stories in the comments.

John Plymale

Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC, Class of ’82, Currently: Music Producer/Engineer/Mixer

Band and/or song that reminds you the most of high school: Boy, that could be hard to narrow down…I liked a lot of disparate things in 1980….from Earth Wind & Fire and Pink Floyd, to KISS and Molly Hatchet. I still like all those bands, so scuff off. But as High School wore on, I kind of fell in love with all of these English bands, like XTC, Madness, The Specials, and most especially Echo And The Bunnymen.

Favorite piece of music memorabilia (poster, t-shirt, etc.) in high school: My Oingo Boingo “Only A Lad” poster that was on my living room wall that Danny Elfman actually signed (while actually IN my living room in Carrboro!!).

Band that you hated that everyone else at school seemed to love: When MTV first started in 1981, we used to watch it pretty much all the damn time. There was such a dearth of videos out there for broadcast that lots of really wacky, low budget videos were on all the time. Those were the bands I tended to like. But I’d occasionally see these videos though for these bands that I’d honestly never even heard of, like REO Speedwagon, Journey, Triumph, and they were almost always live concert videos with a million people at the concert, and I was like “What the hell! Who are these bands, and who are all those people at their shows, and why haven’t I even heard of these bands before!??” I must have been living under a rock, wearing my Sony Walkman, and listening to nothing but my Bow Wow Wow cassette or something. But lordy I hated Journey et al.

Best show or concert you saw in high school: Either Oingo Boingo or The Lords Of The New Church at The Pier in Raleigh, or Black Flag at the Old Cat’s Cradle (in the current NightLight location in Chapel Hill).

Optional bonus question: Best high school make-out song: Oh, if only I’d gotten to make out some in high school…… (I guess that’s what happens when you spend all your time listening to Bow Wow Wow on your Sony Walkman for crying out loud….)

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