Picked up a couple of albums over the weekend, one in particular that brings back sweet memories:
The Georgia Satellites, “In The Land of Salvation and Sin” – it’s a damn shame that this band is only remembered for “Keep Your Hands To Yourself,” which got the novelty treatment from MTV, but gave them a big hit. The Satellites were a terrific, Faces-like bar rock band with swagger, skill and just fun. Their singer and main songwriter, Dan Baird, has gone onto a decent solo career, but this album has quite a special place in my memories. It was 1989 and I knew everything. I was an 18 year old living in the heart of the city in Boston, just outside of Fenway Park and much like thousands of 18 year olds, I felt as if the world were mine, having recently been freed of the repetitive suburbs and the rules of living at home. I was an eager freshman at Northeastern University and having opted to not live in the dormitories because of the cost, myself and two of my friends from home elected to pile into a one bedroom apartment. That’s right – three 18 year old boys sharing a shoe-box sized one bedroom in the guts of Kenmore Square, exploring what the city had to offer, sitting on the roof of the apartment building, drinking beer and just laughing about nothing.
To think about it now, it was pure insanity to have three of us in one bedroom. Back then, though, we knew no different and those first few months were some of the most exciting, liberating and most enjoyable times of my life. This is the album I associate those times with. I had been a fan of the Satellites since 1986 when their self-titled first album came out, so when this new album came out concurrently with the time we had moved, it was a welcome coincidence and a great opportunity for me to push my musical tastes on my two unsuspecting roommates. Before long, they, too, loved “In The Land Of Salvation and Sin” and it seemed like almost every night, we’d crank up “Bottle O’Tears” or “All Over But The Cryin’,” flirt with the girls down the hall, hang out with the guys from Berkely School of Music and drink a few (cheap) beers and throw the empty bottles at the rats darting around in the alley below. It was pure, exciting innocence and it was the explosion of our personalities after years of being cooped up in the suburbs and following all the rules of our high-school teachers made. This felt like it couldn’t possibly get any better or more free.
To finish the story: Of course, all these things inevitably come to an end; a rite of passage is just that – a passage into another time and place, onto another set of experiences and challenges. After 3 months, when winter reared its ugly head, we started realizing that we had to pay rent (like, every month!?!) and we all had to get jobs. Me, I took two jobs. One was hawking Cokes at the Boston Garden, the other was stocking frozen food at the Star Market. Even then, it was bad: we still had to sneak into Burger King next door to steal their mongo-size rolls of industrial toilet paper. From there, in no particular order: my two year relationship with my high-school girlfriend fell apart, there were mice, rats and cockroaches in the apartment and for god’s sake, there were three of us sharing a one bedroom. Also, we gained a fourth roommate who slept on the couch, I was yearning for a real college campus with trees and there were THREE OF US SHARING ONE BEDROOM. By spring time, my transfer to Kent State Univeristy in Ohio was all set, and I was back living at home in March after two quarters at Northeastern. But those first few months were glorious and nobody will ever be able to take that away from me. Listening to this album over the weekend was a great trip down memory lane.
Anyway, this particular album is out-of-print now, but I’m sure you can still find it if you look hard enough – I found mine in a used CD shop in Somerville over the weekend. What a great album.
Song now playing: Cypress Hill – “I Ain’t Going Out Like That”