In 1984, I climbed into a Ford ESP and drove to New York City to attend the New Music Seminar. gathering of all the New Music bands and industry types. I thought I'd just go up and get our band signed to a major label.
Yeah -- right.
That didn't go so well.
But I always have to learn hard lessons at least twice [see: MARRIAGE], so in Autumn 1985, I climbed into a Mazda with ¡Barangus!™ to attend the 1985 New Music Seminar. We were gonna get both our bands signed!
By that time, the major labels had actually heard of new music (soon to be "alternative" or "college" music), and had signed a few promising bands; we knew the 'Mats had been signed to Sire (and were releasing a record produced by Tommy Ramone!). But there weren't a lot of bands that represented the music that I liked being stocked in large bins filled by major labels. The NMS was supposed to remedy that. We were gonna take over.
When I saw Paul Shaffer on an elevator at the seminar, I knew that we were fucked.
But there was still a buzz of young rebellion mixed with desperate desire for commerce. So it was worth sticking around.
The year before, I kept hearing about The Hooters -- they'd just been signed to a major, and they were an indie band outta Philly with only an indie album to their credit. But they were lame and they sucked -- what was I to think. . . ?
In 1985, there was a hard-core band on everyone's lips.
Well fuck that -- I didn't like HarDCore. Coming from DC, I'd had my fill of it and them (those humourless bastards), and I just didn't get it musically (although the energy was great). I even produced demos for fledgling bands; when one of the guys ended up in Minor Threat, I was proud. But I couldn't listen to it. So I didn't care if everyone was into a hardcore band -- it meant that New Music might not be for me.
Then I heard Husker Du. Specifically, I heard "Makes No Sense At All."
An angry band, but with melody. A thoughtful lyric, but not dominated by sneering anger or self-righteous neo-politics. A great guitar. An irresistible force.
Unlike later CD releases, the vinyl Flip Your Wig lp had great guitars, and a propulsive sound and feel that was right where I lived.
But "Makes No Sense At All" was a great song.
The New Music thing didn't go so well. Husker Du fell apart -- hell, Everything Falls Apart. We got old.
Life is great, but yeah -- it sucks.
But I can hear "Makes No Sense At All" and be transported. Not just to my youth, but to that joyful place I first found when I heard the Beatles. That place that I couldn't talk to anyone about -- until I met the like-minded souls who remain my friends thirty-five years later.
I haven't spent any time explaining why it's a great song. Don't worry about that.
You concern yourself with evidence; it's evident to me. . . .
Just listen for yourself. But YouTube and CDs suck -- find the vinyl. If you find the single, the flip is "Love is All Around". . . .
"Makes No Sense At All"
Oh, yeah -- the Minneapolis connection to Who Am Us Anyway gives me a kick too. . . .