Kelley and I hit it off and that summer we started dating. Although she was going to school in Natchitoches (pronounced “NAK-a-dish”), about four hours from Baton Rouge, she was in New Orleans for the summer, so I saw a lot of her. I was still living in the Pentagon dorms, which weren’t air conditioned and which were unbearably hot.
Kelley was a positive influence on me in a lot of ways. She was from Dallas and introduced me to a lot of more folky-type music than I’d been used to. She also really liked movies (she was a theater major) and I saw a lot of movies while we dated. I had also made friends with Jody, who influenced my musical taste as well and got me into comic books again. I was really starting to develop a life away from New Orleans.
When the summer ended Kelley went back to school in Natchitoches. We still saw each other on weekends, when either she would come to Baton Rouge or I would go to north Louisiana. Where I wasn’t going, for the most part, was back home.
With constant long trips between Natchitoches and Baton Rouge, I spent a lot of time listening to music in the car. My old mix tapes came in quite handy here, as well as the tapes I made for entire bands. I would also buy CDs and put them on tapes to listen to on the road. Any song that got rewound a lot before moving on to the next was a contender for the next mix tape.
By this time I had tape-making down to a science. I knew approximately how much wiggle room I had on a Maxell XL-IIs 90-minute tape, and I had written a spreadsheet in Excel that would calculate the time on each side and the total time. I could plan things out so as to squeeze as much as I could onto a tape.
- Spacemen 3 – Revolution
You might wonder why, since I enjoyed DJing at KRVS so much, I never became a DJ at KLSU. Truth is, I did try out for it, but didn’t make it. I remember not being terribly upset about it at the time, but I’m sure there were a fair number of sour grapes involved. One thing I remember about the experience was that, while I was in the studio, I saw the new Spacemen 3 album (which I already had and loved). There was a sticker on it with notes from one of the station guys saying how awesome it was, how every track was worth playing, and so forth. A few days later the same guy wrote a review of the album for LSU’s newspaper and declared it as a ho-hum album that just showed how the British music press will go nuts for anything these days.
- The Cure – Fascination Street
Disintegration didn’t grab me at first, and that kind of bummed me out. Then I listened to it at night, with most of the lights off, and that’s when I got it.
- The Replacements – Talent Show
- Deacon Blue – Wages Day
- The House Of Love – Road
- The Proclaimers – Over And Done With
- Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Little Miss S.
- Indigo Girls – Prince Of Darkness
- Alex Chilton – Baby
- The Smiths – I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
- Shriekback – Nighttown
Not a lot of specialness here. The Smiths are a little played out at this point, and the second Deacon Blue album was not so good. I’ve been slagging Go Bang! by Shriekback, but “Nighttown” is a good tune, and probably should have been featured sooner.
- The Jesus and Mary Chain – Between Planets
Automatic is probably the best-known JAMC album, and it’s a really good one, revving up Darklands just enough.
- John Moore + Expressway – Something About You Girl
This is a terrible song. Really, it’s awful, and I’m sorry it’s here. When Bobby Gillespie left the Jesus and Mary Chain to found Primal Scream, this guy, John Moore, took over for him. He too left and formed this band, and I bought the CD because of the JAMC connection. And it was bad. I guess this song was an attempt to find something good about it but man, it’s bad.
- Morrissey – Suedehead
This is the end of the Morrissey, which is a shame because I really should have followed him more closely. I liked Viva Hate and I’ve liked every single I’ve heard from him since, so I don’t know why I never went any further with him.
- Tom Tom Club – Suboceana
I have no idea where I first heard this song or why I bought it, but I’d like to point out that I owned it as a cassingle.
- R.E.M. – You Are The Everything
I think this is a beautiful song, and one of my all-time favorites. I saw REM in concert around this time and bought a t-shirt, which was stolen from my seat while I was still at the show. So Jill helped me hand make one. It turned out really nice and I was sad when it finally became to small for me.
- The Feelies – It’s Only Life
This is a very nice and very subtle album. How subtle? I didn’t really care for it at first and got rid of it. I saw it again in the record store, realized that I actually did like it, and bought it again!
- Elvis Costello – Veronica
I love this song and maybe a couple others on Spike, but my newly-found appreciation for Elvis Costello quickly turned into a newly-found appreciation for his older stuff, not so much the newer stuff.
- The Stone Roses – She Bangs the Drums
I really don’t know what to say about this album other than GUYS IT IS SO GODDAMN AWESOME.
- Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
Depeche Mode returns with a new album that I absolutely love, and consider to be their last good one (though it won’t be the last one I buy). Violator was full of the energy and drive I found missing from Music for the Masses, and I played the hell out of it.
- New Order – Sub-Culture
I have no idea why this tune from 1985 suddenly appeared here. Had I rediscovered Low-Life? I honestly don’t have a clue but hey, it’s a great song.
- The The – Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)
I wasn’t quite as crazy about Mind Bomb as I had been about the previous albums, and I wonder if I should listen to it now with more mature ears. I found it to be too sedate for a The The album, and I actually found Johnny Marr’s guitar work on it to be distracting. This is the end of the line for them, I’m afraid. (And I didn’t know until very recently that Matt Johnson is doing a parody of the intro to “Ballroom Blitz” by (The) Sweet at the beginning of this song!)
Among the people I had become friends with were George and Dave, the Hardcore Boys, who DJed the Saturday night Hardcore show for KLSU. Through them I helped hone my ability to rant, and developed a character called “Pentagon Man” as a sort of iconized rant with his motto, “It Never Ends!” That’s him on the cover I made. There may still be stray Pentagon Men doodled in various places around the LSU campus – I remember drawing one on a wall in the Astronomy building. The back cover is, of course, a t-shirt for a Frat Party…these were ubiquitous at LSU.
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)