Daily Archives: October 14, 2013

Purple College Days And The Music We Played (Part 1)

As you read this, or I guess before you start reading the rest of this… put on some great ’80s music.  Whatever stood out for you in college… There is a compiled list in Part 2 to remind you of what you may have loved back in the day… and probably still love now.

So go ahead, we’ll wait for you to drop the needle, dig out the 8-track or cassette, or yes, your very first CD.  Mine was Paul McCartney’s Give My Regards To Broad Street and I am not quite sure why.  I love Maca, but an odd choice for my first EVER CD purchase.

Nostalgia… Is it a sign of age or maturity?  Or perhaps both?
Do we all think the time we grew up in was the best time of our lives?
Does the music we listened to between high school and college forever define our tastes or at least give us a favorite, comfort food-kind-of musical jukebox, history?

These are the questions swimming through my mind, as I sit back at home in the LA area, recently returned from a whirlwind 4 ½ days in Evanston and Chicago.

Well… okay… There are many other questions filling my thoughts, like what do I want to do when I grow up… is it too late for med or law school… and wow, people are so much more accomplished than I am… but that is for another discussion, and most likely for someone sitting in a chair with a pad, as I sit on the couch across from them.  No, I have never laid down…

This past weekend was… damn it, I’ll just say it… my 25th college reunion.

There was a degree of mental preparation that went into it.  I suppose there always is with a reunion… That and a weight loss bet with my buddy, Andrew.  I beat him by 3/10 of a pound, and then proceeded to gain five pounds back in 4 1/2 days!  Adding back meat, sugar, bread and booze will do that… quickly.  Forget the Freshman 15… this was the Reunion 5!

Before you leave, you ask the requisite questions… Do I look okay?  Have I done enough?  Why have I not finished that novel yet?  Sorry, I still have the vanity of an actor.

But then you get back, the anxieties fade, and the friendships reconnect with grace and ease.  It’s an amazing thing.  So many incredible people and so many you actually know and remember and LIKE.  Perhaps an advantage of going to a somewhat smaller school or perhaps just the makeup of Northwestern University and why it is so unique.  A small school near a big city in a big conference.  Go B1G TEN!

The weekend adds itself nicely, wonderfully, to four plus years of memories, and creates new ones that will hopefully last as long.

Walking around the idyllic campus of NU is invigorating and life affirming.  While I am saddened at how many details and stories are lost to a bad memory, images, snippets and scenes from my life’s movie start hitting me at random times… like film trailers or commercials firing off in my brain.

Most college students would say they spent their formative years on campus, their wonder years… and yes, I would say I had the time of my life… Cue music.

The campus of NU is an ever-changing landscape, with some astounding new buildings rising up in front of me.  The small, once dry and yes, dreadfully boring town of Evanston is now a true, college town with a Whole Foods, great restaurants and bars, and options we never had.  Can anyone say graduate school late in life???

Buffalo Joe’s disappointed in the wings I remember loving… but the Cheddar Char Burger was as good as I recall… maybe better.  A late night stop at Hecky’s to drown our sorrow in ribs, rib tips and brisket made me realize how LA BBQ is pretty much just a facade… an imitation of the real thing.  Though I do need to try Compton’s own Bludso’s, with a new location in West Hollywood.

If I had the chance to do it again, now… in the year 2013… hell yes, I would.

So every five years or so we get to come back… more if we have a kid in school here.  I don’t… yet… But that is a slap to the brain and way to contemplate at the moment!

It’s an escape.  The capturing or re-capturing of a moment in time… And yes, an attempt to return to the past… to perhaps put yourself back on the course you set out on, as a wide-eyed, innocent kid.  Just follow the purple brick road… Follow the purple brick road.

We all ask the same questions… over and over again… Where are you now?  What are you doing?  How many kids and how old?

It feels a bit like speed dating or multiple job interviews crammed into an overcrowded and loud room… and a way too short and quickly over weekend… but the honesty and sincerity is there.  We truly want to know… and to a person, we realize that this class, the Class of ’88 are really quite decent and kind and cool.  That goes for people’s spouses, too.  It’s amazing how easily many of us just pop back into the old friendships, the old dynamics, and for some, after a 20-25 year gap!  (Note to self, stop using the word, old.)

It was a hell of a few days… but hard not to want to run out of the street after yelling “car”, and shout even louder, “Do Over!”

So what does a Reunion mean?  To me, it’s partly this…

Reunite
Recognize
Reconnect
Reestablish
Relive
Regard

Respond
Reexamine
Reevaluate
Regret
Reconsider

Reignite
Rekindle
Rebirth
Revitalize
Reaffirm
Rejoice

Feel free to add your own “re”s…

Thanks to all of my amazing classmates for a truly remarkable weekend… and for your help in compiling the soundtrack of our days at NU!  Hail to purple, hail to white, hail to thee Northwestern.

The music is in Part 2.  This one got away from me.

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

Purple College Days And The Music We Played (Part 2) – The Class of ’88 Playlist

While focused almost solely on music now, there is a reason this blog was once about food, wine AND music.  Those are all things we often enjoy with other human beings, they create common and shared experiences… and while what is actually being digested through our senses is key; who is with us, the circumstances and relationships surrounding the event, and the moments created are equally, if not more, important.

I can tell you exactly what I ate at my favorite meals, but also who was with me, where we were and what we discussed.  And I will never forget listening to Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell, because it was with the girl I first uttered the words “I love you” to.

This is the power of music.  This is what makes it special.  This what creates our most vivid and lasting memories.

People shape us… friendships and loves, study partners and partners in crime… Not serious crime… Relax.  Late night munchie runs and pranks… Youthful indiscretions.

Music is always there playing in the background… or in front of us at a concert or show.  Comforting us after a breakup or getting us to dance at a social or frat party.  Filling the halls of a dorm or a house.  Becoming a part of our memory and our makeup.

Music defines us and we define the music we love.

On a reunion weekend we reunite, reconnect and reestablish… and we rock.  We groove to it… move to it… and at NU, we paint it.  The Rock, that is.

This is the music of that time.  Special thanks to the classmates who responded with their recollections and musical requests…

I know we are missing a ton of music… but hopefully not my contributors/co-conspirators…

With special thanks to:  Margaret, Beth, Catherine, Jenny, Stephanie, Amy, Laura, Elizabeth (Liz), Mark, Kris, Donna, Victoria (Vicky), Charlene, Paul, Holly, Gina, Michele, Tom, Dave C, Dave C (the other one), Gwen, Joseph, Emily, Raghu, Leslie, Barbara, Wendy, Peggy (Ayla Peggy), Miriam, Trudy, Andrew (Andy), Cindy…

I give you the…

The Class of ’88 Playlist

The Bands
Pretty much ANY Classic Rock band… too many to list…

Bananarama

Jimmy Buffet – In addition to getting me into Doctor Who and smoking pipes while we watched the show (easy, just pipe tobacco), I owe Brother Dave for getting me to be a Parrot Head.

Kate Bush

Cheap Trick

China Crisis

Phil Collins

The Cure

Depeche Mode

Erasure

Fleetwood Mac

Peter Gabriel – I still believe I will get a woman to fall in love with me with the song “In Your Eyes” and a boom box.

Genesis – Another college (Rosemont Horizons) concert.  But “Throwing It All Away” was playing on the frat stereo when my first love called me on the public/house phone to dump me.

Grateful Dead – First and only time I saw them was with Dylan on a college summer break.  Yet another musical regret.  Should have seen them ten times!

Al Jarreau – If I knew then… my room’s soundtrack would have been very, very different!

Kenny G

The Knack

Loverboy – Though the Get Lucky album came out in 1981… this played all the time on my boom box!  So did 1983’s Keep It Up… Easy… easy…

Madonna

Material Issue – Okay… had to go back to rediscover this Chicago Power Pop trio… but this is great.  Thanks, Spotify!

Midnight Oil

Alison Moyet

New Order

Sinead O’Connor

Pet Shop Boys

Prince

REM – About as college radio as you can get!

The Replacements

David Sandborn

Simple Minds – Seeing them in LA tomorrow night!!!  And of course, ANYTHING from any John Hughes film… EVER!

The Smiths – Funny… took me falling in love with Trashcan Sinatras to really go back and appreciate The Smiths.

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band – Like I’m not gonna put Bruuuuuuccceee!

Squeeze – Still love ‘em… A lot!  One of my all-time faves.

Steely Dan – Brother Roger told me that there was a drug reference in every, single Steely Dan song… To this day, I have tried to find them all.  Just saw them a few weeks ago in LA.

The Style Council

Talking Heads – Yeah, we all loved “Burning Down The House”.  That was kind of a frat anthem.

Tears For Fears – Yeah, Sigma Nu’s liked “Shout” but this was my go to band when I was feeling down… “The Hurting” may be the most depressing song ever.

U2 – Saw them and The Waterboys at the Aragon Ballroom freshman year… Sigh… Missed seeing The Waterboys the other night… Too tired from partying with the Class of ’88!  To rub salt in the wound… I was shopping in my Trader Joe’s yesterday when “Whole Of The Moon” came on the stereo!  Really?  Really???!!!

Urge Overkill – Apparently they were practicing on campus!

George Winston – How many studied to his records???  Or used them to help relax and go to sleep?  And we did a piece in the Mime Show to“Colors/Dance”.

Steve Winwood

The Albums
Appetite for Destruction  – Guns N’ Roses

Graceland  – Paul Simon

Hounds Of Love – Kate Bush

The Joshua Tree – U2

Licensed To Ill – Beastie Boys

Material Girl – Madonna

Private Dancer – Tina Turner

Purple Rain – Prince

Reckoning – R.E.M.

So – Peter Gabriel

The Songs
“Beds Are Burning”  (Midnight Oil)

“Big Love”  (Fleetwood Mac)

“Big Time”  (Peter Gabriel)

“Blue Monday”  (New Order)

“Burning Down The House”  (Talking Heads)

“Crazy For You” (Madonna) – The guys seem to have better, slow dancing memories of this song.  Sorry gals.  Sounds like this one is still bittersweet for you.

“Cruel Summer”  (Bananarama)

“Dixie Chicken”  (Little Feat) – Came out in 1973… but I am sure this was on our stereos!

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)”  (Simple Minds)  – This is like a defining song of the ’80s… maybe THE song… Hmmm…

“End Of The World” (R.E.M.) – Can anyone sing ALL the words???

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World”  (Tears For Fears)  – We did… maybe still do!

“Fall On Me”  (R.E.M.) 

“Gone Daddy Gone”  (Violent Femmes)

“Higher Love”  (Steve Winwood)

“I Melt With You” (Modern English) – ‘80s romance at its best!

“Jungle Love” – Morris Day And The Time

“Just Like Heaven”  (The Cure) – A defining song for sure… and more ’80s romance… #40 in 1988!

“Kiss”  (Prince And The Revolution)

“Let’s Go Crazy”  (Prince And The Revolution)

“Let’s Go To Bed”  (The Cure) – Did not work for me… Dang it!

“Lucky Star”  (Madonna)

“Mirror In The Bathroom”  (The English Beat) – 1980… but a big carryover.

“Move Out” (Yaz)

“Once In A Lifetime”  (Talking Heads)

“Radio Free Europe”  (R.E.M.)

“Romeo And Juliet”  (Dire Straits) – Came out in 1981… but a killer song and one I still love.

“The Roof Is On Fire” (Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three) – This rap/disco mash-up kept us all dancing and screaming…

“The Search Is Over” – Survivor

“Take On Me” – Uh huh… and a-ha

“Tenderness”  (General Public)

“Walk Like An Egyptian” – The Bangles

Campus (or Pivotal Local) Concerts
The BoDeans
Echo & The Bunnymen (McGaw)
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Fishbone (Orrington)
General Public
Jason and the Scorchers
B.B. King
Path Metheny (with Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette) – This show blew me away and was like a two-hour orgasm.  Remind me to tell you about talking to Charlie Haden after the show… great story.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Paul Simon – Graceland Tour
Simple Minds
The Smithereens
Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes
Koko Taylor
U2 (The Waterboys) – Aragon Ballroom
Yellowman

And… Rock Alike!

Campus Bands
Big Picture
Doctor Bob and the Fakakta Blues Band
Ice Nine
Johnny Mucous And The Membranes
Lost Luggage
Niteskool Project
Randy and Brent (?)
Scotia Nova
Security

So there you go… relive your youth… burn a CD… dance around the house.  The ’80s were a great time for so many things.

Go U, NU!

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me