Wednesday, July 08, 2009
the 80s: the in crowd
Junior high was the only time I was in the in crowd. My best friends were the stars of the basketball team. They were all good looking and able to get girlfriends. But I was funny, so I guess they liked having me around.
Most of us in this little clique tried hard to be musical snobs. For us it was new wave or nothing. Everything else, which back then was pretty much everything in northern Indiana, was for sissy conformists or rats. Rats was what we called the kids with the long hair and black concert T-shirts.
A couple of us got real into music, especially me and Todd Eads. He was something like six feet tall, handsome, top jock. He and I used to ride our bikes to this little record store near downtown Elkhart. It was the only place we knew of that carried radical stuff.
In fact, it's there that I got my first punk records.
I first heard of punk a few years earlier. In the mid-70s, I saw a photo spread in some magazine full of pictures of people with their hair sticking every which way and safety pins in their noses and cheeks. I think there was even a shot of Sid Vicious with blood smeared across his chest.
Those pictures scared the hell out of me.
But now stuff like this was starting to appeal to me. It was different, and by liking it, I was different, too. And for the first time in my life, that made me cool.
I bought the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bullocks and Golden Shower of Hits by the Circle Jerks. I didn't even know what a circle jerk was.
And of course, the Clash. As I mentioned earlier, my uncle already tipped me off to them. I stocked up on all their records and played London Calling over and over again. The were the ultimate. Still are. More than punk, really. But still. This was Elkhart, Indiana, and I was barely 13.
It wasn't all fashion. I actually liked the music. It was raw and real, not overworked and phony like, say, Daryl Hall and John Oates.
It'd be a couple of years before I made the leap totally into punk. Or at least as much as my mom would let me.