When Jen aka @jenkehl aka www.jenkehl.com told me that this week’s Twisted Mixtape Tuesday was a wildcard, meaning any playlist I wanted to create, I thought about being eighteen years old. You see, a week, ago, on the 10th, I turned 43 years old. A month ago, I attended my 25th high school reunion. Those marked an emotional landmarks for me. A quarter century ago, I was 18, and in my second week as a college radio DJ at WVUA 90.7 FM in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the University of Alabama. I had eagerly volunteered for two overnight (midnight or 1am to 6am) shifts a week, playing music that I had never heard before, but was quickly falling in love with. My playlist represents the heavy rotation of new albums released in 1988 that would have been played a lot. I left off music by local artists, huge at the time, like Storm Orphans, and fringe bands that didn’t go anywhere like Fetch N Bones or Dog Sauce. This is what heavy rotation looked like at “Alabama’s Alternative” played by “Lance Latenight” during the week of September 16th, 1988. Imagine a mini-mullet, a squeaky voice, and a lot of problems understanding how to “pot” songs properly to make smooth sounding segues. But I took requests and did a decent Lou Reed impression.
Under The Milky Way – The Church. This hit #24 on the U.S. Top 40 in the summer so by the time I hit campus in August, everyone hated it at the station because it was commercial. But I liked it and it still holds up, today. The Church were a good Australian import. They should’ve been INXS huge.
Every Day is Like Sunday – Morrissey. Oh Hell yes, Morrissey put out a solo record in ’88! That was the attitude at the station. I bought in. The Smiths broke up a year earlier and this was like listening to them, but without the great Johnny Marr playing guitar.
Only The Memory – Smithereens. I played this band so much, and even addressed them in a letter to my 18-year-old self, two years ago http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/onlyamemory/. Great guitar, I played the heck out of the Green Thought album during the last part of 1988. I saw them in concert last year. They still do a good show.
Gigantic – Pixies. Everyone thought this band would follow R.E.M. into mainstream stardom after Rolling Stone and others called their Surfer Rosa album the best thing since sliced bread and peanut butter and jelly. This song was huge.
Talkin Bout A Revolution – Tracey Chapman. Fast Car has made other people’s lists for Twisted Mixtape but I played this Dylanesque song. Great lyrics. This song should be big, now.
Bring Me Some Water – Melissa Etheridge. Believe it or not, in 1988, Melissa was a struggling bar band act with really bad hair. I stood about fifteen from her at a gig once while two friends of mine interviewed her. Small woman with a giant voice. Loved her then, love her now.
Cult of Personality – Living Colour. About a month before this song hit huge on MTV and became musica non grata at my station, we were rockin’ to it, hard. Vernon Reid is one of my favorite guitarists. It still works. Crank it.
We’ll be back after these ads with Camper Van Beethoven and The Sugercubes.
Looking for something to read? Try my books, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body, available, digitally, on amazon.com/kindle or in paperback from Lulu.com