I grew up with parents who didn’t care much about music. They listened to the Top 40 station on Long Island when we were in the car, but at home they owned very little music. Billy Joel mostly. Definitely wasn’t a big part of the household though, they could definitely take it or leave it.
When I was an early teenager, I needed to find my “own” music. I was drawn to it. I knew I loved it but I knew I didn’t love the Top 40 music I was exposed to. In 7th grade I thought I liked metal bands. Like Sabbath and shit like that. Seriously, not joking. That didn’t last. In 8th grade it was Wham! Yeah, not joking there either. Go ahead, judge me. In 9th grade Wham! broke up and my friend and I tried to come up with a scheme to fly to London to see their last show. Awesome. Thank god with 10th grade came New Wave. It fit better than the shit I was listening to the prior years. The Cure definitely fit in my dark feelings of adolescence. This was 1985, mind you. Depeche Mode. Erasure. The Smiths. My awesome uncle bought me a Minor Threat album when I was perhaps 16 and I loved that so much. I still love that band and I loved hardcore and punk and Oi! too.
Anyway, long story short, if I didn’t like those bands new wave bands, and others like James and The Replacements, etc… I wouldn’t have picked up the Sire sampler, Just Say Yes, that one day in late 1987 at Record World. It had a lot of bands I liked at the time, and a couple I hadn’t heard. I still remember looking at this CD in the store. I still remember listening to it. And being stunned by A Feeling, by Throwing Muses. Laying on my purple rug in front of my CD player, that moment, it changed my life.
That day is how I got to today, really. I had found where I needed to be musically. What really, REALLY felt right. That day sent me on this mad tear through all the indie record stores I could find on Long Island, to find anything I could on this band that hit me so hard. No Internet back then made it quite an endeavor to find info. Who the hell would guess that fast forward to today, 24 years later, I’d still love that band more than any other. The others? Well, most didn’t have staying power. I can’t stand the sound of Depeche Mode or Erasure. I still love The Replacements. The Smiths too. The Cure, well, I love only their older stuff. These things formed who I was trying to be back then, and damn we were all confused. But damn, I’m thankful I liked all that back then because look where it lead me…
And also, it was Billy who had a hand in putting that Throwing Muses song on that sampler CD. I thank him more than any of those new wave bands.