Tag Archives: Do They Know It’s Christmas

It’s Christmas Time…

Every year, at Christmas, without fail, I listen to the song, Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band-Aid.  This tradition has existed since the song was released in 1984.  If you haven’t listened to it yet this year, let me post the video for you to do just that:

Yesterday, I noticed a tweet from Duran Duran featuring an article posted in Rolling Stone magazine written by our friend, Lori Majewski, which you can read here.  The article discusses the making of Band-Aid along with some behind-the-scenes stories, which are thoroughly enjoyable.  I have to admit that I especially liked the fact that Duran showed up with Spandau and both bands were hungover.

While I was entertained by the article, I found myself drawn to two particular quotes.  First, Boy George said, “‘Band Aid and Live Aid were a great contradiction to what people thought, another side of the decade,” says Boy George. “The Eighties were about greed and excess – we were called Thatcher’s Children.'”  Then, Simon followed up with, “One reason Le Bon and his contemporaries found Band Aid so attractive, he says, was because it “was this opportunity to do something that wasn’t about ‘me.’ It made you feel you could do something useful. We made young people believe they had some kind of power and were able to do something that did have an effect.'”

This song came out Christmas 1984, when I was nine years old.  I hadn’t been a Duranie for very long and had little ideas about the world and my role in it.  Duran’s decision to participate in something like this didn’t surprise me as I had no expectations of whether or not a band should partake in activities for charity or make political statements.  Yet, I do remember feeling proud to be a fan of a band that would join in such an effort to raise money for a starving people.  I, in fact, defended the British supergroup over many of my peers who didn’t know anything about the song or its impact once USA for African’s song “We Are the World” was released.  I complained, openly, to my classmates that the Americans were copying the British’s idea.

Looking back, I had no idea that Duran Duran was often dismissed for the (incorrect) assumption of being connected to Thatcherism or Reaganism, the ultimate capitalistic, political leaders.  I didn’t realize that for many critics Duran’s participation in Band-Aid and later Live Aid seemed out of character.  To me, it made sense.  Clearly, the members were kind people who wanted to help out their fellows, at least that’s what I thought (and still think).  I recognize now that this supergroup and single changed the vibe of the 1980s from being one of fun, greed, materialism to being serious, selfless but had no idea back then.  I have heard John Taylor state in interviews that Live Aid divided the decade into these two halves.

Interestingly enough, I wonder now how much this song really affected my world view.  Heck, I ponder how much Duran Duran of the 1980s impacted my philosophy of life.  I do believe in having fun and express that every time I get to a show or get to go on tour.  I enjoy times out with friends, having a drink or two.  Yet, I also am a person who believes that humans should act to help out their fellow humans.  I went into teaching–not for the pay or the summers “off” (HA!  I wish!) but because it provided a chance to help many kids.  Then, I spend time outside of work and fandom on political activities.  Why?  Again, I want to do my part in order to make the world a little bit better.

Perhaps, Duran Duran and Band-Aid’s Do They Know Its Christmas helped to form this fundamental philosophy of life I have.  I don’t accept the premise that I need to choose between having fun and being serious, between focusing on myself and on others.  I saw my idols, as a kid, doing both simultaneously, even if that isn’t what adults or music critics saw then.  That is what I saw and what I hope to live in my own life now.

-A

John Taylor – Year End Katy Kafe

It’s Monday, and there’s another year-end Katy Kafe up at DDM, this time with the ever-delightful John Taylor! Don’t worry if you haven’t listened because we’ve got the highlights.

John Taylor on “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

As done with Roger, Katy opens the Kafe by asking about Band Aid. John talks about how the song is a testament to Bob Geldof’s entrepreneurial spirit and Midge Ure’s musical talent.  He describes the experience as being “rare” with sublimated egos. The song itself? John Taylor calls it a “good pop song that hasn’t gone away”, going so far as to say it was the best pop song of the era.  Can’t totally agree, given that Rio et. al was also of that time…but you know, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” holds its own.  John also comments that Peter Blake‘s sleeve artwork is some of his favorite.

John Taylor – Favorite Album of 2014

John Taylor was less-than-thrilled with the albums this year, and begins by saying he doesn’t really know if there was one that was his favorite, although he does mention Mark Ronson’s song “Uptown Funk“, feat. Bruno Mars as being the song of the year. Eventually though, John mentions a particular compilation of Elvis Presley songs as being music that has come to be important to him.  Up until this past year, John liked the early Sun Records recordings that Elvis had done, but on this particular CD – “From Nashville to Memphis 1969”, in particular a song called “This is My Story”, struck John. So there you have it, music fans.  Want to know what has inspired John this year? Get hold of some Elvis and go listen!

John Taylor on Movies…or Television…of 2014

Katy asks about movies this year, and John says he didn’t see many movies, sticking mostly to television. He mentions “Nashville” in particular, claiming to once again be addicted to the show. He says it is the best TV series (ever) about music and likens the songwriting process seen on the show to real life. He also mentions other shows such as “The Knick”, “Orange is the New Black”, “The Fall”…and generally just likes TV!!

John Taylor on Concerts of 2014

Once again, John prefaces by saying he didn’t go to many concerts this year…which is why it didn’t shock me when he mentioned Miley Cyrus. We’ll skip talking about her and move right on to Eminem and Fleetwood Mac, which were apparently very good live. He mentions their longevity and how there’s a sense of camaraderie on stage with them that Katy also sees with Duran Duran (agreed!!).  On the other hand, John mentions how back when he saw The Police on tour, they never even used to look at one another – but that they were always that way, as an audience member you could always sense the tension there and it was one thing (of many) that made them interesting.

John Taylor on his Favorite Book of 2014

John didn’t read many books this year, either. (What did he do all year – you’d think he was stuck in this studio this year or something!)  He does mention The Glitter Planby his wife Gela and her business partner and best friend Pam Skaist-Levy and proclaims this to be the book of 2014.

John Taylor on his Best Event of 2014

In the summer, John went to see The Winter’s Tale and loved it so much he returned to the studio to insist that everyone else go see it. Nick and Simon went and apparently loved it as much as John.

John Taylor also talked about working with Nile Rodgers. For John, Nile really helped to elevate his playing. Nile would play guitar and rather than instruct John as to what to do – John would simply play along, being inspired by Nile. He is the “total musician”, and John is still feeling how playing with Nile changed him.  He would love to play songs they wrote with Nile on a stage.

John Taylor on Looking Ahead to 2015

He is looking forward to getting the album out, although it appears we’ve still got quite a wait ahead.  John says that the album may be out “In June”, but with some serious hesitation, adding that “It’s possible…”  He says they have a lot of work ahead of them to do in order to make that goal, which is nearly the same exact thing he said last year at this time. He said they finished “on a high” this year by getting the first stage of mixes done with Spike Stent and now he just looks forward to Christmas in the UK with friends and family, smelling pine trees and wrapping paper.

Onward and upward!

-R

Do They Know It’s Christmas – Memories

Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid

I know I’ve already done a date in history for today, but also on this date in 1984, Duran Duran, and particularly Simon LeBon, was featured in Bob Geldof’s and Midge Ure’s project “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, by Band Aid.

On a day where it’s pretty difficult to get into the holiday spirit…I think it’s uplifting to see that yes, we really can make a difference. Music matters. One single song, one single Duran Duran song (yes, I felt it was theirs) made a difference. I remember being 14 (goodness gracious) and feeling a sense of pride hearing that song on the radio. The band participated in something that mattered, something that was going to make a difference. Buying a single piece of music helped make the world better…all very lofty ideas for a kid. Never mind that Simon thought he was doing a solo with Sting or that he was pretty annoyed to realize he was going to be sharing the microphone with many, because I didn’t know any of that in 1984. I believed it was all for the greater good. Helping the world…hell, saving the world.

Nowadays, it’s impossible to miss what’s going on around us. I am sure most have read the headlines this morning, watched the videos, and were probably shocked by the photos coming from Ferguson.  It even has it’s own set of hashtags on Twitter, for crying out loud. It blows my mind, in some respects, that we’re still dealing with the same sorts of problems now that we were back in the sixties. Nothing seems to change fast enough, and yet everything seems to move way too quickly in this world. Well, back in 1984 I really did believe we were changing things, making a difference, doing good for the world with a single song. Call it naivety, innocence…maybe even a little ignorance, but I believed. I bought into the ideals. Hook, line, sinker.

For me, “Do They Know it’s Christmas” was the Christmas song to own. One single Duran Duran song turned Autumn into the holiday season for me, and what’s really funny is that it still happens to this very day. At some point just before Thanksgiving I will turn on the radio to our local “Holiday Music Station” (KOST 103.5) just to try and feel a little more in the spirit – and “Do They Know It’s Christmas” will come on, in all of it’s glory, and I’ll smile. I’ll forget the trials of being an adult, and something in me clicks. I’ll start thinking about how I felt sitting in the backseat of my parents old green longer-than-a-city-block Mercury as the song would start and we’d more than likely be out looking at Christmas lights, as we always did more than once during the holiday season. Sure, I was a kid and didn’t really know much about the world around me at the time – but I believed there was more good than bad.

Somehow, I think we all still need a bit of that today.

-R

 

 

Band Aid 30 – It’s Not Really Christmas Yet

So by now, I’m pretty certain the world knows Band Aid 30 recorded “Do They Know it’s Christmas” on Saturday. I heard rumblings of the recording over the weekend and decided to leave it until this morning before giving it a fair listen. As purely an aside, we have a radio station here in LA (KOST 103.5) that is already playing Christmas music.

It’s really not Christmas yet.

After listening this morning I can say this: the newest version
isn’t horrible. It shouldn’t be, because it had already been done once….twice…, ok three times prior. It is; however, incredibly subdued compared to the original. I suppose that was the intention given the reason for it’s being revisited. I can’t really argue with the reasoning behind the rerecording, except that if someone really wanted to help the cause, wouldn’t they have just written a new song? I think the cause – fundraising to help with the Ebola crisis in West Africa – is very important. Panicking at home, where ever “home” might be, is not going to help. Stopping the disease at it’s source is the right way. Donating to Doctors Without Borders, or to any number of the other agencies sending teams of healthcare workers to the area would be appropriate responses. Rehashing a song from the 80s with “current” artists, changing up a few lines as well as the rhythm and believing it’ll sell on hype alone seems a little disingenuous, to be honest, and certainly not because Duran Duran or many of the other artists were not asked or chose not to participate.

This is not a case of “sour grapes” (the idea is laughable) because my favorites or your favorites are not on the record. The cause is absolutely paramount; but if it is really all about Ebola, then why not give it it’s own song? Isn’t the cause worth the effort? No one, least of all me, is arguing that something shouldn’t be done. (Although I will argue the sentiments some have – that the song is all about stopping Ebola from coming specifically to Britain – is way off key.  The goal is to eradicate the disease, to stop it in it’s tracks, so that the entire world benefits.) I just tend to believe that the idea would have had much better traction had it not felt like an afterthought based on an idea that didn’t really work all THAT well before. Yes, the record sold millions; yes, the artists involved became even more popular; and yes, we can all recite the words from memory and squee each time we hear it on the radio at Christmastime…but it didn’t save Africa from starving. We still fail miserably at feeding the world.

The original song was joyous. It went over well as a Christmas song because while the subject matter was and still is serious, the song gave a feeling of hope. Who did not belt out the chorus when they’d see the video on TV or hear it on the radio?? We believed that buying that record would help someone. As a teenager in 1984, I felt good knowing that as young as I was, buying that record made a difference. Simply purchasing music had the potential to bring good to the world. The verses and chorus of the song had that spirit of goodwill, hope, renewal and joy. This version is much different. Ebola kills so many. It is a horrible disease. There’s one line of the song about how a baby’s tear can kill. That’s an incredibly powerful, and sad line. In a Christmas song. How can that be made hopeful and joyous? I just know that every single time I hear this version, I’m going to think about that baby’s tear. Heartbreaking.

I’m not saying the song won’t sell. My UK friends continue to say the song will hit number one in the UK. One thing it will never do though, is rewrite history. It simply cannot. It cannot fully embody the groundbreaking feeling we all had, listener and artist alike, when the first “Do They Know It’s Christmas” came out in 1984. There is no way to capitalize on that, and there is no way to outdo the first…which should have never been the goal, but somehow, choosing to remake the original only does just that.

Bottom line: if you like the song, buy it.  But, if you want to really make a difference, donate generously to Doctors Without Borders or any of the other organizations that send healthcare personnel, supplies, etc to West Africa to do the things that you and I might never be willing to do ourselves.  Either way, the point is donating to the cause. In the meantime, I still smile every single time I hear the 1984 version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” on the radio, and I don’t think that will ever change, regardless of how many remakes Sir Bob organizes. That alone should speak volumes.

-R

Do They Know It’s Christmas, Take Four

Bob Geldof says there’s no way he’s going to rerecord every Duranie’s favorite Christmas tune, “Do They Know It’s Christmas”….except that it turns out he is.  In what he claims to be “the worst-kept secret ever”, Bob Geldof announced today that there will in fact be a new version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, available next week. This time, the lyrics are being reworked for the Ebola crisis and will feature recording artists that are more than likely much more notable to today’s teens than those of us still clinging on to the original “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by our fingernails.

I didn’t realize that this would be the fourth version of the song (clearly I really am stuck in the 80s and I just can’t quite believe I’m the only one), so before we get much further, let’s take a quick look back:

Band Aid I

This version is our most beloved from 1984, and is the one that I hear whenever it’s played on the radio.

Band Aid II

This version was recorded in 1989. The lyrics were rearranged in a traditional “verse and chorus”. It apparently reached number one for Christmas and included the following performers:

  • Bananarama
  • Big Fun
  • Bros
  • Cathy Dennis
  • D Mob
  • Jason Donovan
  • Kevin Godley
  • Glen Goldsmith
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Pasadenas
  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Jimmy Somerville
  • Sonia
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Technotronic
  • Wet Wet Wet
Band Aid 20

This was recorded in November 2004 for the 20th anniversary of the recording, and also reached number one.  This version featured an extra rap segment by Dizzee Rascal during the “here’s to you” section.

Which brings us to the present, Band Aid 30, which is set to record next Saturday.  Coldplay (contributing from Los Angeles), Jessie Ware, Paloma Faith, and Sinead O’Connor have signed on to record the newest version. Interestingly enough, Bono is the only artist to sing the same line in the original and recent versions, and he is set to record with the yet-to-be-fully-announced group on Saturday.  Geldof mentions that other “giants” of rock and roll have yet to be announced.

While I applaud the idea of doing something to fund the campaign against Ebola – dealing with the problem at it’s source, I have to wonder if this version will ever reach the heights that the original, beloved original once did. The original song was a first, it was wholly unique, and dammit – it featured Simon LeBon.

-R

 

 

 

 

Book Club: Mad World (Animotion, Band-Aid and Afterword)

This is our final book club for the book, Mad World.  We will finish by discussing the last three chapters on Animotion, Band-Aid and the Afterword by Moby.  Perhaps, we will also include a little bit of what we learned along the way.  I hope you throughly enjoyed the book and the book club as much as we did!  Jump in and join us!

Animotion:

Amanda:

Truly, this was an unbelievable chapter and story to read.  As I read it,  I almost thought that I should be keeping a chart about who did what, when, why, etc.  There were so many statements and moves made that affected Animotion that it was hard to keep track.  Clearly, VERY clearly, the band members, themselves, did not have control over their band.  Much like the lyrics to the song, there is a desperation underlying all of the agreements and moves made by the individual members.  They seemed to want to succeed so badly and the little taste that they had made them want more.  This desire was so strong that they made some questionable decisions.  Unfortunately, those decisions didn’t seem to put them in a better spot in the long run.

Before I dive into the chaos that was the Animotion story, I have to acknowledge what I knew before hand.  I knew that Michael Des Barres co-wrote this song and that it did very, very well for him.  In fact, before Power Station, this seemed to be his big claim to fame.  I never once thought about the actual band who performed the song.  I was just happy that Michael experienced such success and I guess I assumed that the band must have as well.  How naive am I?!  The band’s story shows or reminds that one should never ever assume when it comes to the music business.

Right away into Animotion’s story, I know that this wasn’t going to go well when the song, “Obsession,” sounded nothing like the rest of the album and didn’t match the sound they were going for.  It seems to me that it never ends well when ONE song or ONE album goes against the rest of an artist’s catalog.  When the band heard the song, one member loved it and thought it was the direction they should be going and the other wasn’t so sure.  Perhaps, part of the problem was that the band wasn’t really on the same page to begin with and weren’t comfortable with each other.  Yet, of course,  reservations were pushed aside as the song moved up the charts.

After that, behind-the-scenes became complete chaos.  There was the producer trying to run the show and get in between band members.  Then, the record label pushed new songs at them and when the next one didn’t do as well, the label backed off support.  A new A&R man comes in filled with hate over everything they had done before.  Likewise, new managers determined that key members needed to go and be replaced by Cynthia Rhodes.   It seems to me that member, Astrid Plane, summed it up best on page 307 about what it was like to be them then, “You were nothing.  You were an item that was going to be on a shelf to be sold, and if they felt like you weren’t sales-worthy, then [they’d] toss you in the trash.”  I am left just shaking my head at how horrible and upsetting their story really was.  I wouldn’t want any other band or artist to experience something like this, but I suspect their story really isn’t all that unique.

Rhonda:

Unlike Amanda, I was pretty naive about who wrote “Obsession”.  Of course I know the song – it’s difficult to claim yourself as New Wave fan without acknowledging the song (purely as an aside, my younger sister continues to sing this song to me at the oddest moments, whenever the timing makes sense…to remind me of my Duran Duran fandom. Thanks, Robin.), but I really never thought about who wrote it.  I guess you could even say that I didn’t care, because I really didn’t.  I just knew the song to be one of those overplayed-to-death songs from the radio.  I don’t know that I ever really think about that kind of thing as a music consumer. (except when it comes to Duran Duran and their various guitar players over the years) I was shocked when I read this chapter though. If there was ever any question about how the industry REALLY works – how incredibly unfair it can really be, or how it will chew you up, spit you out and then come back later for more – this is the chapter to read.  

Animotion was never one of my favorite bands from this era, and I wholly admit that this particular song had everything to do with that. I suppress a bit of a chuckle when I find that this song wasn’t even their typical sound. It sounds nothing like their music at all, actually. That’s a real problem for this band – because if you’ve got an audience wanting to hear more like “Obsession”, and you’re used to writing something much more similar to say, early Police or Fleetwood Mac, that audience is never going to follow you.  Instead, you’ve got a band here who literally floated to the top of the charts on a song that they didn’t write – therefore making nearly NO money on the song (even to this day, it’s the writer of the song – Michael Des Barres – who continues to see handsome royalty checks on this one), and there’s not any way to bring those fans of this song to their back catalog.  It is really THAT different.  I read stories all the time about bands who are/were famous and yet haven’t a penny to their name(s), and mostly I want to scoff and laugh because really – is that possible?  The answer is yes. Yes it is.  If you can’t/didn’t write your own music, I’m not entirely sure that you want to “just” be the performer, and especially not after reading this chapter. 

I’d like to share a quote from Bill Wadhams, followed by a quote from Michael Des Barres.  It’s easy to see that they are two sides of the same coin – two products of the machine.  

Wadhams says, “I go on YouTube and see Michaels Des Barres performing at SXSW, and he prefaces ‘Obsession’ by saying, ‘This is a song that I wrote that made me a bloody fortune.’ The year that ‘Obsession’ [was a hit for Animotion], each member of the band made about $50,000; the next year, just about nothing.  Whether it’s fair or not, it doesn’t matter because I don’t know that Michael Des Barres ever sang a song that was an international hit. I wonder whether he would trade having been the singer of the hit song for the money, if he would’ve been able to walk out on stage, sing ‘Obsession’, and have people go, ‘That’s the voice, that’s the hit that we love.’ (308)

Des Barres says, “It’s put my kid through college, [supported] two wives, and more besides. One song enters the lexicon of American consciousness, and it will take care of you for the rest of your life.”  (308)

Astrid Plane, singer for Animotion, finishes the chapter by adding, “We are still in debt to the record company to this day.” (308) 

Band-Aid:

Amanda:

Lori Majewski’s introduction in this chapter instantly brought me back to my elementary school lunch hour.  Why?  Simple.  I, too, experienced endless debates between Band-Aid and USA for Africa. While her debates might have been about which had bigger stars, mine focused on who was first.  No matter how many times and how many ways I tried to explain that Band-Aid was first, that they had started it, my classmates didn’t believe me.  This was obviously long before the internet so I couldn’t prove it to them but I so wanted to.  In reality, below the surface of the debate, it was more about which was better:  New Wave or Motown?  Duran Duran or Michael Jackson?  You see, unlike so many in 1984, I lived in an area where it wasn’t cool to be a Duran Duran fan.  Michael Jackson was the one and only king there.  Even now, I have to admit to loving the comments Nick Rhodes made in this chapter about the differences between Band-Aid and USA for Africa.  He seemed to be spot on, to me!

While I knew the story behind the song and how quickly it was put together, reading Midge Ure tell about it makes it all the more real.  They truly put the song together so quickly from writing to recording to getting it airplay.  He tells how easily it could have been horrible and that “it wasn’t that bad”.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I can’t imagine a holiday season going by without listening to the song and hearing it played somewhere.  It lives on.

Of course, the real story of Band-Aid isn’t so much the song itself or the bands involved, but what was pointed out in the introduction.  It marked the end of the party.  The first half of the 1980s, the New Wave era, ended with this song  and what followed with Live Aid and other charity events.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I wish the New Wave era, musically, continued forever as I loved it so.  Yet, I know that, sometimes, it is good for something to be shorter lived.  It wasn’t around long enough to get completely run down and sucky.  I still have mixed emotion about the worldly awareness that followed.  While I’m a political person, I have never chosen music that is overtly political.  I like artists to be smart, thinking and feeling people but not preachy.  Did Band-Aid change people and the industry to become preachy?  Maybe.  It is hard to say but things definitely did change after that.

Rhonda:

The holiday season just isn’t so without this song.  Like Amanda, I wish the New Wave age had gone on longer – I didn’t graduate from high school until 1988 and it could have easily continued that long without complaint from me. I will never forget hearing the song for the first time, or the glee I get each and every time I hear it on the radio during the season.  This single song sums up much of my entire music experience during my formative years.  To this day I smile every time I hear Simon sing his lines, and while I know the song is for charity and it’s purpose was to galvanize the community into support for Africa – to me it’s about so much more. It’s a musical era. It’s my history. It’s the capstone of New Wave, and it was a song ever created for a charity (sometimes I wonder just how much of that message gets lost amongst the noise).  

I don’t know if I like what happened following the release of this record so much.  For me, music changed after that. I won’t even mention the US answer to this song, suffice to say that there have been many attempts to copy what this song tried to do. There is something really kind about “Do They Know it’s Christmas”, and I think that feeling was completely lost after that with “other” attempts. It became production and big industry business. Maybe that’s why I’ve always stuck to British bands….

After that record though, music started having some sort of a conscious, and bands tended to forget that the purpose was to entertain, not preach.   And of course, New Wave as I knew it really ended.  But at the time, when this record came out – I had no idea. I listened to it nearly non-stop during that 1984 holiday season. Ignorance was bliss, and trust me – I was indeed full of bliss that holiday. 

Afterword:

Amanda:

Moby does a good job in expressing how New Wave was different–international, gentle, escapist.  I felt all those same things.  I felt that way living in the Chicago suburbs and later even more so when I moved to small town, Illinois.  I longed for anything that wasn’t small town American focused, jean wearing, beer guzzling, hard rock that was all the rage by the time I found myself transported to what seemed like another planet.  I still miss it but there was a desperation then in my youth that led me to reject anything and everything popular for a good number of years.

This book brought me back to my childhood and the music I loved so much.  It reminded me why I fell in love with it and truly what was so good about it.  I loved the imagination and the creativity that everyone seemed to bring.  There was uniqueness in every artist despite having common influences.  As the kid, the music seemed carefree and fun.  Of course, the book also shed light on the stories behind  the music and many of those stories revealed the good, the bad and the ugly.  I learned how quickly some songs were written.  I also learned how easily band members can grow apart even when they were the best of friends.  The music industry might have been kinder then, in general, but still was a thorn in people’s sides too often.  Yet, despite everything that happened to each of these bands, their music remains.  Like Moby, I’m definitely thankful.  I’m also ready for the sequel!

Rhonda:

I don’t think I grew up in a particularly small town, but even so, New Wave was my escape from reality. I was a typical junior high school band nerd. My friends were either band members, or they were also nerds. We didn’t know how to dress, make-up was still a mystery, and awkwardness was probably my FIRST name at the time. The popular girls at my school loved to pick on me, and music was how I escaped the ridicule. I think to some extent, it still is.  Back then I’d come home from school, and the first thing I’d do was turn on the TV in search of music video, or I’d run to my bedroom, flop on my bed and hit my stereo. I didn’t want to hear or see pop – I wanted bands like Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, INXS, Depeche Mode or nearly any other band mentioned in this book. (coincidence? Probably not!) I didn’t have an allowance, and money wasn’t “free-flowing” in my parents house, so I can remember waiting for KROQ to play certain songs so that I could tape them from radio.  The audio quality would be terrible (back then I literally had to take my tape recorder and face it towards one of my radio speakers to make it work, and I nearly cried with joy the day my parents finally bought me a “boom box”…good Lord…) I always loved the boys who were less football, more introspective, and if they played in a band – all the better.  So when I read Moby’s afterword, I find myself nodding in agreement. His story really isn’t much different from my own.  New Wave WAS my adolescence and it did make life bearable. I don’t know what I would have done without it. 

Like Amanda, I’m ready for the sequel. This book was everything I’d hoped, and much, much more.  If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, I urge you to give it a try. I loved this book so much it’s earmarked and red-lined, with notes in the margins and sadly, a few pages have even come out of the binding at this point. I daresay it’s been well-consumed.

-A & R