ok. so there were three critical pieces of music that bridged me from college to the world beyond. The Woodentops Giant (had no idea who they were, but found a used copy of the album at the wax museum in dinkytown and i was feeling daring), Robyn Hitchcock Element of Light (courtesy of Mike Orr) and the Jazz Butcher Fishcotheque (think i’d heard “Get it Wrong” on the radio and stumbled across a cassette tape of the album at the minneapolis public library). Their import can not be overstated. i have no doubt that hearing these three albums—actually two albums and a cassette tape (and playing the crap out of them) is the difference between me still being invested in new music today versus me acting like U2 are the greatest band ever. They were my gateway drugs into college/alternative (i hate that term, btw) and evenmoreso, my continuing journey into the past and future of pop music.
Certainly, the music provided a security blanket for me as i was transitioning from my safe little college world and striking out on my own. This was new (and pretty damn good) music and kinda adventurous compared to the safe and community selected and approved stuff i had been listening to (insert your U2s, your Midnight Oils, your Bodeans et al here). Here was my manifesto to the world, “Look out world, I’m not rolling over. I’m gonna keep on rocking (yes, i know...it cracks me up to write it too), even after college was over (“i’m not, i’m not, i’m not growing old”)”. I made new friends, heard new music, and went to shows (repeat steps 1 and 2) from my connection to these three albums. and of course, there was a lot in the music itself hit the spot whenever I needed it.
Robyn Hitchcock is pretty inescapable (which sorta amazes me cos he’s such an oddball) and he’s been at my side for most of the journey (kinda lost track around the post globe of frogs era, but only for a few years) and although the woodentops are very dearly departed, Giant and Well, Well, Well (even wooden foot cops) stay in pretty regular rotation with me. But the jazz butcher? I know Pat Fish has continued to record, but other than that Excellent collection, he’s pretty much regrettably fallen off my radar.
so i was delighted to find a copy of The Jazz Butcher’s Fiscotheque at cheapo yesterday. granted, i choked a little at the price ($19.99) but i quess i can eat beans and mac & cheese for christmas week. I literally wore out this cassette tape (with apologies to the walker library) by playing it over and over and over for my three week check out term. (or maybe i checked it out again, it it was the second time i had it on loan that i wore it out, i can’t remember). i dunno why i didn’t put it in the player as soon as i got back in the car (well...i was listening to a barry manilow cd...) but here i am at my computer and i’m not playing it yet. it really has been nearly 25 years since i last heard it. (might have heard “get it wrong” on a compilation disc somewhere in the interim, but that’s it). what if i don’t like it anymore? what if i find it’s really not all that i had thought it was? what if it was the time and place and not the music. i dunno. i’d hate to have carried this fond memory of the music all this time to find that...well, it was just a meaningless fling held firm by fond remembrance only. hmmm. filter of the past, bright light of the present, cold hard snowy truth. ok. courage. here goes.....i’m putting it on now....