Columbia’s pretty rad. We’ve got things going on and, better yet, things to do and take part in. Since my last two CBT articles...
1) What were some of your favorite concerts in Columbia in 1985? My favorite was Nick Lowe and Paul Carrack. Other shows in that time period were groups like Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Pretenders, The Go Go’s and The Rockats.
2) Did any rad bands come to Columbia in 1985 that you’ve never forgotten? That was the year that REM and the Red Hot Chili Peppers came to Columbia. Around that time, I also went to see Bruce Springsteen in St. Louis.
3) What were your most-played tracks from that year? Plimsouls, Violent Femmes, Stray Cats, B52’s.
4) Where was the best place to see a concert in Columbia in the ’80s? The Blue Note, of course! At that time, we frowned upon the “hair band” stuff that was going on! Honestly, my entire focus was music that never really received a whole bunch of radio attention. We tried our best to stay ahead of the musical trends. We would have bands like X, REM, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon playing at The Blue Note. On Wednesday nights, we had “Dance Party” with Phil Costello, my partner at the time. He’d spin music that wasn’t top 40, but was usually popular on British dance charts. Other places include The Stein Club, Gladstones and Fish N Friends.
5) If I asked you in 1985, where did you think you’d be by 2014? Certainly not Columbia. My original destination was L.A.
6) Did you have any predictions for the next music craze back then? Our thought at the time was that alternative music would take over the world. Remember, at that time, MTV ruled. Rockability became pretty popular in the 80s, and the Stray Cats were what put that genre over the top.
7) When was The Blue Note founded? Aug. 1, 1980. It was converted from a popular biker bar called The Brief Encounter to a somewhat hipster college bar.
8) What was the most popular beer on tap? Mixed drink? At The Blue Note, the most popular drinks of the time were Long Island tea and shots of Jameson. Cheap pitchers of Old Style went over well with our “hipster audiences.”
9) What were some of the best bands of that time? Flock of Seagulls, Adam & the Ants, Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. Some of the regional bands were Fools Face, The Morrells and The Secrets.
10) Did you a) own a members-only jacket, legwarmers, rolled jeans, a skinny tie, shredded jeans and/or stone washed jeans, and b) have a sweet ’do? I owned skinny ties and shredded jeans. For me, long hair was about it. Along with the hipster crowds at The Blue Note came very fashionable hipster kids—it wasn’t unusual at that time to see skinny ties, slicked back hair, pleated pants and sharkskin suits. Members Only jackets were around along with polo shirts, but I felt more comfortable turning the racks upside down at Leo’s Old Clothes. In fact, digging up old bowling shirts became competition there for a while!
11) Where might we find you in 1985? In 1985, I spent most of my time at the Blue Note for several reasons, one being that it was a cheap place for me to drink and second, that I worked all the time! I’d also hang out at Booches, Ernie’s, Bobby Buford’s or The Stein Club.
12) George Michael or heavy metal? Then? Now? I was never a big fan of heavy metal, so I guess George Michael. I grew up on ’60s radio: the Beach Boys, The Beatles, etc.