I saw zero percent of the Grammy telecast. I have absolutely no interest because those aren’t the waters I swim in. I think that during the 1990’s I was actually more interested in the MTV Video Music Awards than the Grammy’s. Both shows were still mainstream, but the MTV one did have slightly more edge to it. Like the time Christ Novaselic threw his bass up in the air and missed it on the way back down – almost knocking him unconscious. That was unscripted. And funny.
This brings me back to the ’90s a little bit, mostly the early part of the decade when I was still in college and discovering music at a pace that I know I will never equal. I was looking for new bands under rocks, in trees, in the bottom of ponds and in dark corners of bar bathrooms. I took a 6am-8am time slot on Saturday morning at the Kent State radio station just so I could pour through their relatively enormous library of music and discover. There are bands that I discovered in that little room that I still listen to regularly today.
So wait – did you catch that? Do you understand? I took a 6AM-8AM TIMESLOT ON A SATURDAY MORNING. IN COLLEGE! So yes, there were plenty of times when I never actually went to bed. The sequence would look something like this:
- Go to a friend’s house. Roughly 4 or 5 of us.
- Listen to some new music.
- Drink about 6 beers each.
- Play Tecmo Bowl on Nintendo. Best. Game. Ever. Whoever got Bo Jackson won. Period.
- Hit the Kent bars, more beer (The Loft, Ray’s, a couple of others whose names escape me)
- a) Try to find a girl OR…
- b) Go back to aforementioned house with the gang, crank music, drink more and play more Tecmo.
You were more likely to get a little sleep if you got option a. You were more likely to get less sleep and more drunk if you got option B. Of course, option B was where I ended up most of the time, given my terror in speaking to women whom I never met. Which meant there more than enough occasions where I wouldn’t sleep at all and I’d go straight into the radio station, rather intoxicated, and start my show. I still have some of these shows on cassette tape, too (evidence of one day’s setlist here). Of course, the worst was when I’d have to go straight to work after my radio shift (I worked at a grocery store for almost the full fours years at Kent). Then I’d have that odd mix of exhaustion, slight drunkenness and the initial signs of a hangover. Of course, today this seems impossible. I mean, TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE. But back then, hell, it was par for the course.
As a sidenote, one of my favorite things to do was find very long songs on the jukebox at Ray’s in Kent. For some terrific reason, they had somebody working there with good taste who stocked the CD jukebox with some stellar choices. So my modus operandi was that in the rare chance you got to hear your music (a lot of people put their dollars in there before you), you damn well better get some good time coverage to hear songs you liked. So it was pretty often that my selections would be 7-10 minute songs. You know, tracks from albums like Astral Weeks (“Cypres Avenue” or “Madame George,” both of which were about 8 mins long. Ministry was always good for that, too. I’d always cue up songs like “Scarecrow” (8:21) or “So What” (8:12).
I also directed the TV news at Kent State my senior year. We always had this horrific newsy-sounding intro, similar to the ones you hear on the network news. You know, completely devoid of any personality at all. Well, on my last day directing the news, I handed our audio guy some music that I wanted to substitute. On the show intro, viewers heard the theme to “Sanford and Son.” Going in-and-out of commercial, it was “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” I forget what we ended with, but I do remember all of us in the production booth, laughing our asses off. It was about a week or two before graduation, we couldn’t have cared less.
So whenever I watch the network news, I sometimes think about how funny it would be if NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams started with the theme to Sanford and Son. Classic.