It’s a trip down memory lane Razorcakers, replete with side projects, shock rock, and at least one drum machine! The ’80s were a heady time dear listener and as a teenage weirdo living in a tertiary media market and looking for something more than Y&T or Dan Fogleberg had to offer, things could be more than a little confusing. Where did “college rock” end and punk or hardcore begin? The world was a mystery and I was but one naive explorer…
“Island Hopping” – Joe Strummer: The Clash got me on my way towards what I was looking for with that Mustafa Dance/Rock The Casabah 12”. T’was a wonderful path that would lead me eventually to this Strummer solo record, the Topper Headon LP, and the Amongst Friends soundtrack as well as almost accidently buying a Mick Jones solo record. Mick Jones from Foreigner.
“Foggy Notion” – The Modern Lovers: Here the Lover’s cover a Velvet Underground song I first became familiar with when I bought a cassette copy of VU sometime in the 8th grade. Or as we said up there, Grade 8.
“Five Foot One” – Iggy Pop: Yea, I guess Blah Blah Blah was probably my introduction to Mr Osterberg. But after a memorable air-band performance of “Down on the Street” by a 7th grade kid named Cassidy who’s dad musta been one f-ed up dude, I made sure I had my copy of Funhouse and an Iggy t-shirt before the school year was out.
“White Light/White Heat” – David Bowie: Finding new stuff I’d like was largely a matter of trying to connect the dots. Thanks lists, and song writing and production credits were a big part of that. I was on a pretty serious Lou Reed kick for awhile in spite of initially being introduced to him via the “I Love You Suzanne” video MTV had in heavy rotation one summer. The homoerotic Bowie, Reed, Pop Berlin connection definitely sucked me in. Pun very much intended. Here Bowie totally screws up what might be my favorite Velvets song.
“Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance” – Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention: Zappa is not punk. You can’t have Steve Vai play on your records and even be close to punk. But what Zappa is/was is different. And smart. In exactly the way that appeals to weirdo teenage boys. Growing up in the ’80s you had to hear a lot of crap about how great and amazing the ’60s were. It made me totally hate the Beatles, the Stones, the Dead and all that hippy crap. And Zappa was cool because he’d been hating that stuff since day one. Nowhere is that loathing more focused than on We’re Only In It For The Money.
“Esquerita” – Big Audio Dynamite: I’m gonna come right out and say it. I own every B.A.D record. Even that one where they’re just Big Audio. They’re pretty dated sounding now for the most part and I’m not sure they were ever all that good but the Clash was gone, and hey, it WAS Mick Jones. Who by the way, in my book totally gets sold short these days when people start talking about what a genius Joe Strummer was. I read somewhere recently that he has the world’s largest collection of Clash memorabilia which, I guess makes sense, but it struck me as profoundly sad. Not Mick Jones from Foreigner; the other one.
“Liar for Hire” – D.O.A.: War on 45 might have been the first “hardcore” record I ever heard. With my interest in skateboarding came an avalanche of bands with letters instead of names: DRI, SNFU, JFA, COC, MDC, and of course local heroes D.O.A.
“Against The Glass” – Slow: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Slow was the best band out of Vancouver ever. In my mind, if not reality, these guys were huge.
“I Killed Mommy” – Dayglow Abortions: A tape of this record made the rounds in my school when it came out and was wildly popular with those interested in how many swear words you could jam into one song. The kids love the cuss-rock.
“Victoria” – Mr. Right & Mr. Wrong: The men behind NoMeansNo and The Hanson Brothers borrow some riffage from the Kinks to skewer the town they come from, and where I went to High School: Victoria, B.C. – Home of the newlywed and nearly dead.
“Brave Generation” – Green On Red: A band I was first introduced to via Brent Bambury on CBC FM’s Brave New Waves and haven’t stopped listening to since. Note to the literati (yes, you Todd): they manage to name-check both Fitzgearld and Faulkner on this too-old-to-be-Gen-X anthem.
“Have You Seen Jackie?” – Dukes of The Stratosphere – XTC side band and the darling of the aforementioned “college rock” charts for a minute around ’87 or so. This was a pretty great psyc-rock record and, for me, far more interesting than anything XTC was doing.
“She Divines Water” – Camper Van Bethoven: CVB was big with those girls that’d rather spend their lunch hour in the art room than teasing their hair in the ladies lavatory. I’m sure it was one of those chicks or Craig Heath that slipped me a copy of this while everyone else was rocking the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
“God, Jerry, and the PMRC” – Victim’s Family: This was another Brave New Waves discovery. Isn’t one of these guys in Triclops these days? Whether he is or not, small world stuff like that makes me feel better about everything for a million different reasons. The thing you’ve been trying to seek out, to understand, to be a part of, since you were 13, one night, just ends up sleeping on your living room floor.
“My Little Underground” – The Jesus & Mary Chain: There it is, such as it is. Thank you, and goodnight!