Monday, March 12, 2012

These Days Are Ours

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for sven and elizabeth, cause you asked...

In 1993, I was leafing through The Face, a fab fashion mag that published it's last issue in 2004, when I stopped dead in my tracks on four pouty indie boys wearing early 70's thrifted shirts and just the right amount of eye make up. It was a story about Suede, the latest band causing a stir in the UK. Moments later Rene rings my bell, and we fawn over the pictures of Suede together, happily noting the fact the drummer was openly gay; still a brave act in the pop world in the early 90's. A few days later she calls to tell me Suede tickets are on sale for eight dollars for the Metro, and should she buy them, should we go. Yes! I tell her, even though we've never heard their music. I assumed I would love them.

Music has, surprise, been a big part of my life, and has taken up a lot of space in my head. My brother recently bought me a record player for my birtday, though I suspect his true motive was to listen to his new vintage Beatles album he purchased while visiting me recently. Whatever his motive, I was more than happy to recieve the gift. I've been buying a lot of records since he gave it to me, both old and new but mainly old. I am buying up all the records I wanted back in the 80's, ones I wanted but couldn't afford. To buy the records I needed back then, however, I always seemed to find a way to get them. I'm also feeling the need to buy back all my old records, though I'm not surpised. Erin warned me I would want back the records she saw me trying to get rid of, and took them home. She was right! When my last record player croaked in the late 80's, probably cause I kicked it one time too many, I borrowed Scot's, my old roommate. I bought a portable CD player in 1990, and stopped buying records, and began to weed out the unnecesarry ones, because, well, it is really hard to pack up 200 lps and move them from apartment to apartment. Though I did love this little indie record store on Halsted near my work on Fullerton, and stopped there once a week to buy all his Boy George 12"s I didn't already have, which I have saved. I forgot what it was like to listen to an album, and find myself noting how quickly a side ends, for in my memory, it used to take a very long time. My newest old favorite is Lene Lovich's album from 1980, Flex. Each time I listen to it, it's like I'm hearing it for the first time. There is surprise, mystery, drama, and inspiration lurking in every track on Flex; I highly recommend it!
I just got twenty records from ebay, most of which are labeled by their origional owner with her name and the date purchased. I'm half tempted to tell her she can have them back if she would ever want them again; I know I want back all the vinyl I've gotten rid of, but I probably won't.

Anyway, back to 1993. Back then I spent most waking hours, and most every cent at the Tower Records at Clark and Belden, and bought the first Suede CD there. I bought every Cd single they ever released there, save for the few I bought in London, and the Brian Eno mixed one. I would think Eno's mix of Introducing The Band is just a legend, but I heard Brett himself talk about it, so it must exist somewhere! Their first CD made a big impact on me, but when I saw them live at Metro, that's when it made a permnament mark on my psyche.
Morrissey was a fan too, he covered My Insatiable One, which we saw him do the year before, and it was nice to finally stop listening to Your Arsenal, the best record of the 90's, in my opinion, so I could spend time with the second best, Suede.

I wore my black polyester suit, and hid in the back with Rene as Suede spun their unaffeceted web for the hormonal teenage boys, who made up the majority of the audience. There was a tiny buzz in Chicago about this band that was making a big noise over seas, but the place was half full at best. As I write this, it saddens and amazes me that it was twent years ago! Oh well. They started with Pantomine Horse, Brett with his diagonal forward black bobbed hair, scoop neck ballet top and love beads, and Bernard at the piano, his face veiled with his long straight hair. Pantomime Horse is just Brett's falsetto and Bernard's piano, so it was a bold way to start a rock show for an audience uneducated to one's esthetic, but there they were, fay ways and all. I, of course, fell instantly, madly in love, as did Rene, but the rest of the audience was less than thrilled. Brett's cooing vocals floated divinely above the chorus of faggots and homos the audience hurled at them. It wasn't the first time I witnessed a trial by fire, and I'm sure not the last either. But, by the third or fourth song, the teenagers were body surfing, and we were all in love with this band, begging for an encore, knowing we were witness to the stuff of legend. In the late 90's, I heard Brett talk about that night and how much he disliked Chicago, despite the 100% pure screaming agonizing love we gave to him when they came back to Metro two years later. "Brett! Bernard! Breeeett! Berrrnaaard! I looove you!" I shouted the beglittered, flared jeaned girls and boys. Oh wait, we didn't shout for Bernard that night; he wrote the second album, but didn't tour for it. They found the incredible Richard Oakes to do it for him. "But you won us over that night at Metro!" I yelled at the radio. "I know you felt it too!" Oh well I guess being a rock star is 1% inspiration and 99% perception, because after two great albums, the original line up of Suede was no more...


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