Sunday, August 9, 2009

Show #15 August 8, 2009

Loretta makes me feel like #1

Loretta- Nervous Eaters DIY: Mass. Ave. - The Boston Scene (1975-83)
Just Fade Away- Stiff Little Fingers Go For It
Behind The Wall Of Sleep- The Smithereens Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground
Shy Around Girls- The Secrets ...Secrets
Systematic- 4/4 Systematic 7"
Dead Serious- Tinted Windows Tinted Windows
News At Ten- The Vapors Anthology
She Like Moon- Tommy Hoehn I Do Love The Light
^Our Lips Are Sealed- The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat
Somebody- The Barracudas Drop Out
Down On The Boulevard- The Pop Down On The Boulevard 45
Lonely Boys- The Lonely Boys The Lonely Boys
Jerry Lewis In France- Ben Vaughn Mood Swings
Baby Let's French- The Haskels Taking The City By Storm 7"
*Savage- The Nuns Savage EP
*Wanna See You Cry- Svt New Year 45
*Cryin' Over You- Jo Allen & The Shapes Cryin' Over You 45
*Everywhere That I'm Not- Translator Heartbeats And Triggers
1976- Redd Kross Third Eye
Every Summer Day- The Last L.A. Explosion!
Have A Heart Betty (I'm Not Fireproof) #1- The Soft Boys 1976-81
Whips & Furs- The Vibrators Pure Mania
New England- Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers 23 Great Recordings
Love & A Molotov Cocktail- The Flys See For Miles (1978-1980)
>Sorry- The Easybeats The Definitive Anthology
Kids In The City- Candy Whatever Happened To Fun
Can I Be Your Hero- Wreckless Eric Big Smash
Love Her All I Can- Kiss Dressed to Kill
When I Was Dead- Rudi Big Time
Hearts in Her Eyes- The Records Crashes
Rock'n'Roll Radio- The Pleasers Thamesbeat
AC/DC- The Sweet The Collection
Live For Today- Secret Affair Glory Boys & Behind Closed Doors

^Power Pop Peak: #20 Billboard Hot 100 8/29/81

*SacroSet: 415 Records

>Power Pop Prototype: 1966

After spending one horrendous winter in Rochester, NY (the words "lake effect snow" still send shivers down my spine) Jaime and I got the call to come to San Francisco where I would program a new radio station called Star FM. This was the original Star at 98.9/99.1 FM. It was a Hot AC station and our biggest competitor was K-101, which, long after my station's demise, ironically changed its name to Star. Anyway, one of the things I was looking forward to with the move was re-connecting with my old friend Pete Levine. Thanks to the alphabet, Pete Levine and Rick Love were in the same home room throughout high school. Pete was pretty shy, but a great guy when you got to know him and he shared my interest in punk rock. Getting a bass guitar and amp his senior year cemented Pete's position in our circle of friends and he joined our band, No Idea, when we all moved to Boston to go to college. The band practiced in Pete's basement, first on Mission Hill then in Jamaica Plain, and even after he quit, we all stayed friends.

The things I valued most about my friendship with Pete were his compassion and sensitivity- he wasn't like my other friends, most of whom valued intellect and vicious, cutting wit over other human qualities. I was "softer" when I was with Pete and I was coming to value this side of my personality more and more. Whether we were playing racquetball at Northeastern University (where I managed to sneak in for two years with a fake ID) or just hanging out, I could feel myself evolving into a different person the more time we spent together. During one of the worst nights of my life, when I was nearly overwhelmed with loneliness and despair over my father's death, Pete called me up and he, his girlfriend Rebecca and I went to see the movie Bolero with Bo Derek, one of the most laughably bad movies of all time. I still count this as a personal Someone Saved My Life Tonight moment.

So, needless to say, it really hurt when Pete "broke up" with me the first time. This was when we were still in Boston and at the time I had no idea what I had done to upset him. Pete stopped returning my phone calls and after a few months I just stopped trying. I asked mutual friends what the problem was and no one had an answer for me. Almost a year later, as I was planning to go to a party at my friend Lance's in Everett, I get a call from Pete. Apparantly he wanted to go to the party too, but realized we needed to talk first. I never found out what had come between us, yet when he showed up at the party it was like nothing ever had. I remember this night clearly, because it was the start of the first Gulf War (August 2, 1990 according to Wikipedia). He moved to San Francisco a few months later.

My first weekend in San Francisco, Pete, his girlfriend Janice and I went to a party at his sister Cyndi's apartment in the Mission District. I had a great time; everyone was a poet or musician or playwright and a bunch of us ended the night at Sparky's, one of the few all-night restaurants in the city. Pete, Janice and I ended up walking all the way back down Market Street to 3rd and Folsom where I was staying and didn't get in until about 4am- all in all a nearly perfect night and a great start to my new life in Calfornia.

After Jaime had packed everything up in Rochester, she flew out to San Francisco to join me. She and Janice hit it off right away and the four of us saw a lot of each other for the next year or so. Everything was going great until one day Janice announced that she and Pete could not see me anymore- Jaime was okay, but I was out of the gang. My wife is a VERY loyal person, so there was no way this was going to fly. She and Janice forced Pete and I together to talk things out. When pressed, Pete told me that he was still angry that I hadn't apologized profusely enough for accidentally hitting him in the head with my racquet during a game of racquetball four or five years earlier in Boston. Turns out, this was the reason he "broke up" with me the first time too. The thing is, I know I was often out of control during those racquetball games. Pete is much more of a natural athlete than I am, it was only through sheer ferocity and aggression that I managed to win about half the games we played. So, I was more than happy to clear the air and apologize for the racquetball incident which put the Rick & Jaime/Pete & Janice relationship right back on track.

When Jaime and I moved to Sonoma, Pete & Janice were our first overnight guests and I still have the sledgehammer and axe they gave us as housewarming presents. They also were some of the first people to come to the hospital when my son Jack was born on November 30, 1995. Around that time, Janice and Pete got engaged and bought a house together in Oakland. I never really found out why, but a few months later they broke up and sold the house. Jaime and I stayed friends with Pete, but with the all-consuming demands of new parenthood (especially with a kid like Jack), we unfortunately lost touch with Janice.

Over the next couple of years, Pete (Oakland), our friend Frank (San Francisco) and I (Sonoma) would meet "half-way" in San Rafael to get dinner and shoot pool. Pete was asking his new friends to call him "Peter Nathan" at that time, but his oldest friends could still call him "Pete." He had met his future wife Marsha and they had bought a duplex in Fairfax they were fixing up. Around the time his daughter Sophie (or Sophia, I don't know for sure) was born, Pete "broke up" with me for the third and final time. He stopped returning my calls and on our more and more infrequent get togethers in San Rafael denied that anything was wrong. Eventually I gave up for good.

I saw Pete five years ago at Frank's wedding in San Francisco. His little girl and my daughter Veronica were close to the same age and really seemed to hit it off. Late in the evening, after a few occasions of really stilted small talk, Pete looked me in the eye and said "let's rebuild." Thanks in large part to his influence in my life, I didn't answer with a cutting remark and responded "I'd like that." That's the last time I spoke to him. At the Santa Rosa fair two or three years ago, Jaime, the kids and I were taking our bleacher seats for a trained dog show when I noticed a woman several rows behind us who looked very familiar, but I couldn't place her. We enjoyed the show and as we were leaving I glanced back and saw her sitting next to an 8 or 9 year old girl and a guy who looked even more familiar. It was Pete, Marsha and Sophie (or Sophia) and like us, they seemed to have enjoyed the dog show. Jaime saw them too and when she caught my eye we shared one of those married couple looks that would take two hundred pages to summarize. Before we could say anything though, Jack and Nica were running off in the opposite direction and without a glance back, we were hurrying to catch up with them.

San Francisco's 415 Records was the first record label in North America dedicated to punk/new wave/power pop, etc. "415" is the city's area code and supposedly also the police code for disturbing the peace. 415 put out a lot of great records by San Francisco bands like The Nuns, The Mutants, Pearl Harbor & The Explosions and Romeo Void which were still easy to find in record stores when I moved to the city in the early 90's. As is often the case, 415's slow decline started in 1981, after its signed a deal with the devil (in this case, CBS), but its early releases will always remind me of my first days in San Francisco with my friend Pete.

Download the first hour of tonight's show here (right click and "Save Target As"):
And here is hour two:

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