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Friday, March 21, 2008

SECRET LISTENING

In the very early eighties, Mr. L Smart, Andbillions, and I were serious Hard Rock fans. Dedicated, even pioneering. We were the first to get into Motorhead, Saxon, Scorpions, Accept, and I know I was the first of our crew to get the first Motley Crue record, the original pressing on Lethur Records, which Mike Honaker borrowed without asking and never returned. Shit, we were digging the first Ozzy record while others sat on the fence until, of course, they had no choice but to accept the undeniable greatness of the original Ozzy band.

But.....

When Lagasse and Tony Alva weren't around, when it was safe, we'd pull out certain unapproved records from their secret hiding places and indulge in something new, something different, something just plain good.





The first B-52's record is as pure of a work of art as you can find. It's astounding. Mr. L Smart and I dug the boldness, the simplicity, the earnestness. If most of the rest of their catalog wasn't so mediocre, I'd lay genius on them, but they fall short for the most part in their attempts to follow this near perfect offering.

"There's moon in the sky and it's called the moon."

"Some say she's from Mars, or one of the seven stars that shine after 3:30 in the morning........WELL SHE ISN'T!"

"Why don't you dance with me? I'm not no Limburger"

Hmmm, maybe genius isn't far off the mark.

You can roam if you want to, but I'm gonna slap this one on instead.




Mr. L Smart found The Ramones. Somehow he got a copy of 'Road To Ruin'. What a total pivotal moment. I can't express fully how much this record influenced me. Let's just say that "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do" was the first song that I could play in it's entirety on guitar. I remember Palmer saying The Ramones were crap and that "It's A Long Way Back To Germany" wasn't even a song. My God! That's all the song you need!





I think Mr. L Smart's brother Mike introduced us the Gang of Four's 'Entertainment' album. Andy Gill's guitar work on that record floored us. While shredding up and down the neck was de rigeur in the Hard Rock and Metal that we loved, here was a completely different approach to expressing rage and discontent through the guitar. Sure, much like The Ramones and the B-52's, there was a certain silliness to it, but, again, like The Ramones and the B-52's that silliness was juxtaposed with seriously subversive threat.





You can't talk subversive threat without getting around to DEVO. Our record, and still my fave, was 'Freedom of Choice'. We were skateboarders, and at the time there was a very strong connection between DEVO and skating. This I know was a matter of contention with certain senior members of our little community, but Mr. L Smart and I could not deny the greatness of DEVO. Or the silliness. Or the subversive threat.

By 1982 most of what I'll call 'the skateboard gang' had graduated high school. The secrecy was no longer necessary. By that time our tastes ceased to recognise boundaries. Also, we had begun to experiment with the reefer. I'll always love the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal of those halcyon days, before it all went to shit, but there's room on my plate for much more, from Public Image to Public Enemy, as long as you meant it, I'm listening.

Comments:
I think the diversity was also the result of the following:

1-Rod (and Fred) had huge eclectic LP collections. I still cant find Sterling's "Robosexual"... One of Rod's, I believe.

2-Mike (my brother) played on both sides of the tracks.. He liked metal, but also got into the prep-school/ college type stuff. 1&2 allowed us to check out stuff that we would not have considered otherwise (based on the album covers).

3-1 year at Burke exposed me to a group of kids that were totally different than us. They were all about synth-pop/early 80's trend (until AC/DC's "Back in Black" came out... That changed everything)... I had to know something about Squeeze and B-52's there... Through that
I was exposed to some cool shit

4-West Point had an audio library. I can remember picking up the Ramones album there for the first time.. Awesome from the first chord to the last. I also got Bruce Springsteen's "The River" that day... I could not believe that anyone could enjoy that dreck... It would be many years before I appreciated sax, drugs, 'n rock 'n roll. We had good times in the audio lab.

Loved the post..It brought back many great memories.
 
Great post and can't take much away from what you've said here, but I will NEVER forgive Devo for ruining the underground skateboard scene. All our Cali skate hero's cutting all their long hair off and wearing rediculous outfits, it was awful. Only the few diehard Dog Towner's rejected it, but it wasn't enough to keep it special. The rest went further under gound into the hand core punk thing which was much cooler by contrast.

The whole thing went from Skateboarder Magazine glossy and beautiful Warren Bloster photgraphs to Trans World Skateboarding with poorly shot pictures on black and white news print and it all started with Devo.
 
That's like blaming the Arctic Monkeys for the crappy sounds of Mp3.

Sterling was actually a Fred find. I think it came out of the 10 records for 1 dollar brown bag deal at Nuggets in Boston.
 
Let's get this straight, Bjork is to blame for crappy mp3's...
 
Now our just looking to stir shit up.
 
What, you've been listening to all this new wave crap behind our backs?!? I'm tracking you down to kick your ass!!! Seriously though, King Crimson is to blame for the crappy mp3's.
 
Oh, yeah, and no way were you the first that was into the Scorpions!
 
Like hell I wasn't. Who then? I was digging Lovedrive and Tokyo Tapes in 79 when I was in Germany and brought those records back. Nobody had heard of them.

Selective memories and historcal rewrites are notorious Phillips traits.
 
I'm certain we got Lovedrive, our first Scorps album, for Christmas in 79'.

Before that, the Rogers brothers, who were a year out of Germany, were playing 'In Tranced' stuff on their boombox at least a year prior to the Alva bros. getting Lovedrive. I'm not sure how that fits into who had it when thing here, but them's the facts...
 
Ok I concede. But I doubt anyone had Lovedrive before I did, but as I was still in Germany for many months after I got it, maybe when I landed stateside the Scorps had already arrived ahead of me.
 
I remember having Lovedrive passed onto us by the Rogers Brothers also, and it was a new release. That's why I said there was no way it got passed up from you, or it was at the least unlikely. DON'T EVER QUESTION MATHDUDE!!!!!
 
"passed up"? What is that all about?

Just because the Rogers brothers, in their eternal coolness, turned you on to the Scorps does not negate the fact that I had the record first.

At this time, it's only fair to admit that I was also the first to get the Quiet Riot (Metal Health) record. Even Jackson has an off day now and again.

Mathdude, you should relax and be proud that you were a pioneer as well. Hell, you taught me how to fakie up the pipe. That was before the ill advised plexiglass move. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.
 
AHHHHHH, The plexiglass...

That was it for me. That and Gorko riding his BMX bike on the ramp. BMX'ers, Devo, and plexiglass ruined it all.

Well okay... Maybe drinking beer had something to do with also.
 
He actually emailed me a few moths ago... He lives near me.
 
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