Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It Changed My Life

It's been a while since I've posted a gushing music fan video, but I happened upon this on You Tube the other day and thought I'd post it.

It was 1985, and I, like all other 15 year olds at Generic High in the suburbs was heavily into a diet of popular music, as played on 3XY and later on, EON FM (which became MMM).

From 1983 (Year Nine) onward, I followed a popular trajectory. We all liked early INXS, and being boys, throw Oils and Chisels and Angels and Springsteen into the mix. We danced around at parties or at the blue-lights (or Skateranch) to Thriller, Purple Rain, FGTH, and, assuming we got our hands on alcohol (UDLs or Brandivino at $3.99 a bottle), we'd tolerate dancing to Madonna, Culture Club and Uncanny X-Men becxause that's what all the girls we were trying to pash liked.

There's a line in a Courtney Love song about her high school years,

"Everyone's the same
We look the same
We talk the same"

And that kinda summed up growing up in the burbs, and that extended to our music tastes. You wouldn't dare like something nobody knew cos you'd be ostracised. Top 40... that was all you had to know. I guess I had a slight kink in that I had older sisters who were into 70's Bowie and The Doors, and so I was perhaps ready, deep down, to take some kink in my music appreciation.

As it happens, I can pinpoint the moment. I was watching, I think, Rock Arena, after school, and they played three songs by this new Scottish band The Jesus and Mary Chain. I had never heard anything like it before. The video featured below for the song 'You Trip Me Up' was my favourite of the three. The way they were running around the beach in leather, seemingly disinterested in performing for the camera... it was all so, non Culture Club.

I rushed out to buy the cassette (yes, cassette) but of course Brashs in Eastland and Box Hill didn't stock it (though they probably has hundreds of 12" mixes of Kids In The Kitchen's latest) and I had to order it in.

When I finally owned the casette, I played it full volume on a tinny cassette player in my bedroom. Mum rushed in, all excited, because she thought I was vaccuuming. That album, 'Psycho Candy' is still regularly played in my house, and 'Some Candy Talking' is one of my all time favourite songs.

I couldn't stop playing the album. The feedback appealed to me, I don't know why, and so I searched for more songs like it which eventually got me to RRR. I heard The Birthday Party do 'Big Jesus Trash Can' and that, in turn, lead me to be firmly in the 'alternative music' camp, which in turn lead me to all sorts of Uni dropouts, changes in artistic focusses and goals in life. Like, within months at age 16, my wardrobe had changed, my hair changed, I preferred to read Lord Byron poems than accountancy study texts so I did, and my 45 of Duran Duran's 'Reflex' was used as a frisbee.

I saw JMC live in about '89 and when they played this song I felt a special pang... also, Jim reid (the singer) touched me on the head.

I kid you not, this song changed me as a person. If I missed Rock Arena that night, I may have ended up being the economist I was supposed to be, with a complete Coldplay and Pink collection, and maybe I;d be able to name more than one Britney Spears songs (I know 'Womaniser').

Enjoy, or not.


RandomGit said...

Fucking awesome post.

For me it was The Violent Femmes. My Bloody Valentine moved me right over and off the Top 40 for good.

Pepsi said...

I dont know which one it is, cause I'm at work and they are net-filter nazi's but I'm sure it is completely awesome.

I shared a room with my big sis so had a steady diet of the cure, the church, the gobetweens, the clash, jmc, the smiths etc from a very young age, and the big bro was JD/NO mad so we where never really oz top 40 (till Ratcat).

The pogues were mine though, discovered them on my own.

Seeing live music changed my life, still does every time I witness a corker of a show.

GiggleWorthy said...

I can't listen to that at work, but you just reminded me - at my school, everyone listened to ACDC, Poison, Warrant (remember them?), Alice Cooper etc.

Anything too 'pop' like and you were crushed under a tide of condemnation.

I came into that school at grade 6, so not only was I 'new', I didn't know who Alice Cooper was (my response, when asked for the first time if I liked AC, was 'Who's she?'... I was never allowed to forget it ...) infact, I didn't know who most of them were. It was all deeply traumatising.

I used to have to lie and say I didn't like Michael Jackson or Madonna and I had to hide the tapes when anyone other then my best friend came around.

These days I happily acknowledge my so called 'horrific' taste in music. I'm too old to stress out and have to hide my music every time someone comes around. The effort of doing that seems more painful then taking the abuse.

My sister was into Madonna, Cher, MJ, Fleetwood Mac etc. My brother was into Iron Maiden and other bands that hurt my ears. I chose to follow my sister's taste because at least I could understand what they were saying when they sang.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever even heard of The Jesus And Mary Chain until well into my adult years. When I was growing up, all the wireless seemed to be able to play was Slim Dusty and the only bands that toured were Slim Dusty cover bands. I think 'Pub With No Beer' shall forever be the soundtrack to my nightmares.

Teenage years brought suff like AC/DC, Motorhead and Metallica. I don't remember anyone doing too much dancing to it, but there was plenty of cheap piss, bonfires, awkward sex, poxy punch-ups and dangerous vehicular shenanigans. Young people, eh?

shitbmxrider said...

Mine was year 9, in 1999, with At The Drive-In's album Relationship of Command, and more specifically, the song 'One Armed Scissor' which I managed to catch on Channel V(or was it Channel Red back then? Hrm, can't remember..)

So, whilst all my contemporaries at my catholic highschool out in the outer-outer-outer eastern suburbs of melbourne(where you were Holden or Ford or A Poof) were 'rocking out' to such 'wonderful' bands as Silverchair(blurrgh), Red Hot Chilli Peppers(not my thing), Metallica(again, not my thing) and Powderfinger(Bernard-Cunting-Fanning should DIAF)...

For contrast, the day I bought Relationship from Sanity, my 3 best mates at the time all bought a copy of Limp Bizkit's 'Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water'.

I still stand by my choice.

Jamie said...

I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.

I've got to get out of this rut, and back into the groove...

PS: Chisel still rulz.

PPS: Great post, Perseus.

RandomGit said...

Oh Pepsi, if only the teenyboppers didn't eat Ratcat alive eh?

Big Audio Dynamite also had one in around the same time.

RandomGit said...

You can all possibly listen to these songs off www.grooveshark.com. They seem to play fair with copyright.

Perseus said...

Jamie: Nice to see you here! Despite the fact I went all alternate, I still love a lot of the mainstream music I was into before that... most notably, the first five Midnight Oil albums (I lost interest at the Beds Are Burning phase). And, if I'm drunk, I'm still happy to sing at full volume all the words to Flame Trees and Forever Now.

Pepsi: You were lucky to have that taste so early. In hindsight, there were a few bands I liked at a very young age that were slightly off-centre. New Order and DEVO, for instance, which possibly signalled I was up for the alt music life.

Alex and Giggles: You obviously grew up in metal-heavy regions. Metal was popular in the burbs too, but it was liked from a distance, and only the metal-heads that really got into it. The metal-heads weren't ostracised though, because they were a sub-genre of bogan, which we all were to an extent. Metal-heads were also the best BMX riders. Speaking of which...

BMX: Long time, no read. Are you married yet? I have never heard of At The Drive In. I'm out of the loop these days, unless the loop includes Melt-Banana.

Random: We really should have a coffee one day. We could discuss music and the joys of atheism.

Perseus said...

Oh, and I saw Ratcat way before they were famous, supporting Headless Chickens at the Kardomah in Sydney. They were fucking shithouse, and I hated their stripey shirts. I always thought they were just another pop band doing Gary Glitter melodies with loud guitars.

Jamie said...

Word on that, Perseus

By the time Ratcat's abominable faux indy schtick was popular, all the acts I was keen on were old and I wasn't listening to the right radio stations and buying music at the cool shops. It kinda happwned overnight, when I was in Year 12 and Melbourne got the Js. God, I hated the Js.

And it always struck me as odd that the top 40 charts were bad but all the cool kids followed the alternative charts slavishly, and most dumped their favourites as soon as "everyone else started listening to them". Because this was uncool, maaaaan.

That probably explains my earlier Abe Simpson quote.

Mr E Discharge said...

I had a fanastic music teacher at high school.Mr Deal used to play all kinds of stuff from Bach to Stockhausen, Walter Carlos,John Cage, Velvet Underground, Grateful Dead to PFM.
Gave us an appreciation of the ideas behind music.

If it wasn't for him and the Buddha Stick my friend Colin gave me for my birthday that year, I would ended up being a Fitter & Turner.

My mother you to refer to my taste in music as "that druggie music".

We preferred the term Prog.

oldeboots said...

Even though we're easy targets, up here in our ivory towers, economists like music, too. Just so you know.

(For me, it was probably the Violent Femmes -- it was then that I realised that there was more than Metallica)

squib said...

At High School: Transvision Vamp, The Doors, Madonna, Tears for Fears, B52s, Stone Roses (Ian Brown rules, people), and Robert Palmer (cringe)

I forget which JMC song I really like. They were a bit before my time but MrSquib has their stuff

RandomGit said...

Trouble in paradise Perseus, I fuckin hate Midnight Oil.

Joseph Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perseus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pepsi said...

I was lucky with music growing up.

I posted a story once on a forum somewheres about the night I lost my skirt at the Kardomah, mid-pogo (must look for it).

Ratcat bored me but one of my mates adored them to distraction till That Aint Bad came out then she dropped them like a bad smell, as you do when things 'get mainstream'. She dragged me from one venue across this city to another seeing them play for ages. I got kicked in the face by a moronic bouncer hurling a Ratcat fan off stage at the Kardomah when I was too young to be there, the stage was only knee high.

It was a sad day when we lost JJ, they sacked the good DJs and it went national. There was a rally underneath Townhall and we went along in our school uniforms. My uncles sister was there, it was weird seeing an adult I knew from family shit at a kids music thing.

One Armed Scissor was huge Pers, how'd that pass you by?

Anonymous said...

The metal-heads weren't ostracised though, because they were a sub-genre of bogan, which we all were to an extent.

Here's something I've been meaning to ask: We never had the term 'bogan' when I was growing up. What is a bogan, exactly and how does it differ from a yobbo?

And it always struck me as odd that the top 40 charts were bad but all the cool kids followed the alternative charts slavishly, and most dumped their favourites as soon as "everyone else started listening to them". Because this was uncool, maaaaan.

I lived with an adult who was like that when I first came to the city. He had this little circle of mates who would sit around for hours rubbishing 'the brain-dead mainstream' and banging on and on about how this and that were good before they got big and 'sold out'. In reality, I don't think they had any taste at all. Their likes and dislikes seemed to be completely dictated by what they perceived to be cutting edge and what was too popular to be fashionable. To me, that seemed as brain-dead as anything else.

Christian Kerr said...

Spare a thought for us addled forty-somethings who were wracked with "Oh what's that song, what's that song, I used to love it so much" anxiety during the final titles of Lost in Translation.

Dr. Golf said...

Heroine, Joey, Hey you, Paint it Black, Flame Trees, Thunderstruck and Blaze of Glory.

Dr. Golf said...

and November Rain

eat my shorts said...

I used to have terrible taste in music as a teenager. Not much has changed.

What is a bogan, exactly and how does it differ from a yobbo?

As far as I'm aware a bogan is a yobbo. It's the same as when Queenslanders call bathers togs.

eat my shorts said...

Sorry, that was a shit sentence & probably doesn't make much sense. I've been doing supply in a primary school working with Grade 1s today, so my brain is mush and that's the best you're getting from me.

("Miss, miss! I need the toilet!" That's all I heard all morning & I can't get it out of my head. Sigh.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, EMS. I'm glad to hear you landed some work. Most of the teachers I know have a specific age group they like, and loath having to teach outside of it. I'm guessing that early primary isn't your top choice?

Perseus said...

Gee, all the old boys are coming back for this post. Maybe my next one will be a nostalgic look at suburban fashion at the time, featuring the Eastcoast short-sleeved windcheater, Faberge stretch jeans, desert boots, and maybe an Arnold Ross v-neck with yellow or pink collared shirt underneath.

Christian: Being a JMC scholar I recognised the song from the opening kick-drum hit, but I do know that feeling from other movies and TV shows. I hear the songs and think, "I know that song from being drunk / high somewhere in the late 80's, possible Beehive or Lizard Lounge, and I was trying to pash some goth, but failed."

Alex: There is no greater bogan scholar than our own Lewd Bob. When he returns from his vacation, hopefully he will publish his studies. He can identify the many subsets of bogan from fifty paces. But in the meantime, check this out:


Melba said...


I knew someone was missing.

Don't tell him it took me weeks to realise. I've been distracted.

eat my shorts said...

I'm guessing that early primary isn't your top choice?

I just don't have the patience for it. Bless their little cotton socks, they're cute and all & I was so surprised to get a hug goodbye when I left - you certainly don't get that with Secondary (thank Christ, teenagers are fairly smelly most of the time).

I didn't mind giving it a go, but I don't think I could do it long term. I should get around seventy pounds for yesterday morning, not to shabby for a half days work.

Anyway, here I am, sitting by the phone waiting for it to call. It's 8.05am, so it's getting a bit late. I'm all dressed up, with nowhere to go! I'm told to expect a call up to 9.30 am, and then up to 6.30pm.

eat my shorts said...


(Gah, still recovering. That's my excuse & I'm sticking to it.)