Saturday, April 30, 2011

Show #56 April 30, 2011

For Mother Mary and all Mothers....especially Poly Styrene

Mother Mary- Foxboro Hot Tubs Stop Drop and Roll
My Momma Told Me -The Breakers Radio Love 7"
Germ Free Adolescents- X-Ray Spex Germ Free Adolescents
Do You Ever Think Of Me- Farrah Cut Out And Keep
Tell Me When My Light Turns Green- Dexys Midnight Runners Searching For The Young Soul Rebels
All For The Love Of Rock & Roll- Tuff Darts! Tuff Darts!
Truth Is (Hard To Take)- The Grip Weeds Strange Change Machine
When You Find Out- The Nerves The Nerves E.P. 7"
^Stacy's Mom- Fountains Of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers
Easy Street- The Crack Making The Effort 7"
Go On- Manual Scan Manual Scan 1
Heart & Mind
- The Clash London Calling: 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition
Modern Living- SVT Extended Play
Rosario's Ashes- Dirty Looks Dirty Looks
*What Will Mother Say- The Flys See For Miles (1978-1980)
*Somebody's Mom- Pointed Sticks Part Of The Noise
*My Mother Looked Like Marilyn Monroe- Tommy Keene Songs From The Film
*Your Mother- The Reducers Let's Go
Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)- Squeeze Singles: 45's and Under
Out Of Control- Piper Piper
If You Want Me To- The Sugar Stems Sweet Sounds of the.....
Land Of The Hunted- Fools Face Tell America
Kiss Her Goodbye- Research Turtles Research Turtles
Radar- Permanent Wave Radar EP &
>Mama's Boy
-Suzi Quatro The Wild One - The Greatest Hits
Nothing Is True- The Jim Carroll Band Catholic Boy
Bring In The Morning Light- Motors 1
Looking At You- The Last L.A. Explosion!
The Man Who Dies Everyday- Ultravox Frozen Ones 7"
Lonely Crash- The Dazzlers Shake Some Action Vol. 3
Wives and Mothers of Tomorrow- The Records Rock and Roll Love Letter

^Power Pop Peak: #21 Billboard Hot 100 9/29/03

*SacroSet: Mother Songs

>Power Pop Prototype: 1980

I've been planning a show of all Mother's Day features for a while now, so I had a big folder of songs to choose from when it came time to record this week's program. My regularly scheduled show was April 30th so I figured I'd just run it again next week on May 7th, Mother's Day Eve. The day I went into the studio I heard the news of X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene's death from cancer at age 53 on April 25th, 2011. Poly Styrene was a true original- a smart 18 year old woman with an Afro and braces on her teeth fronting a punk rock band in 1977 howling anthems of anti-consumerism. There was no other band like them. Many X-Ray Spex songs start with a signature Poly Styrene shout of "I-DENT-I-TEE!!," or "ART-I-FICIAL!!" or her most famous "Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I say...OH BONDAGE UP YOURS!!" Check out the lyrics to "Germ Free Adolescents" the song I played tonight:

I know you're antiseptic
Your deodorant smells nice
I'd like to get to know you
But you're deep frozen like the ice

He's a germ free adolescent
Cleanliness is her obsession
Cleans her teeth ten times a day
Scrub away scrub away scrub away
The S.R. way....

You may get to touch her
If your gloves are sterilised
Rinse your mouth with listerine
Blow disinfectant in her eyes

Her phobia is infection
She needs one to survive
It's her built-in protection
Without fear she'd give up and die

Those words are deeper than about 99% of the punk rock lyrics of the era. I just checked and "the S.R. way" refers to a British TV ad from the 1950's for Gibbs S.R. Toothpaste- the S.R. stands for "sodium ricinoleate" whatever that is. After a 1978 show Poly Styrene complained of hallucinations was mis-diagnosed as schizophrenic and committed, forcing her to leave X-Ray Spex. After her release she put out an ill-received solo album of lite pop, spent several years in Hare Krishna and had a daughter who went on to front a band of her own in Madrid. While Poly Styrene recorded more over the years, none of her subsequent releases had the impact of X-Ray Spex.

X-Ray Spex never released any records in the U.S. and despite being on Virgin, their imports were hard to come by- which made them even more desirable. This leads me to the other reason X-Ray Spex are important in my life- and this one I'm not too proud of. While I had occasionally bought and returned records I already owned to keep their posters (Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon) or stickers (Kiss' Rock & Roll Over) and sometimes used new receipts to return old records I didn't want, I had never outright stolen anything until my junior year in high school when I met a friend I'll call PF.

PF didn't drink or smoke- shoplifting was his vice. I never understood why someone would risk stealing something stupid (like deodorant from CVS) until I was with him once when he did it and even though I didn't take anything it was still pretty thrilling. After that I would on occasion shoplift records from chain stores. That was my rationalization- I'd only take from evil corporate stores like Strawberries or Record Town and I always had the same M.O. I'd go into the store on a busy Saturday afternoon with bags from a few other stores already under my left arm, slip an expensive record into that stack, then head to the check out to purchase a less expensive record. If the clerk looked at me funny I'd pull the expensive record out and pay for it, if not, I'd walk out the front door with it.

I'm sorry to say, this is how I got my copy of X-Ray Spex' Germ Free Adolescents LP. I was at the Strawberries in Harvard Square and I was so surprised to find the record amid all the usual Top 40 and AOR garbage, I had gotten it into my head that I must "liberate" it from the store. Like I said, not my finest moment and unfortunately to this day it makes listening to Germ Free Adolescents a little bittersweet. I may have redeemed myself somewhat on my first and only trip to London in 1988. Before I left I asked my Cousin Rich if he wanted me to pick anything up for him. He asked for Germ Free Adolescents, which I managed to find in a tiny record store on the Portobello road. I haggled with the clerk for a fair price and was able to grant Rich's request, hopefully offsetting my sordid history with this particular record.

It's funny, Germ Free Adolescents is the only record I specifically remember stealing. My life of crime ended a month or so before my 18th birthday. I was in a music store in Allston (not a corporate store either- isn't it funny how the slippery slope of rationalization works). I had decided that a store full of hacks selling Hondo II's and awful Fender knockoffs didn't deserve to have the two Clash guitar books I had in the stack of records under my left arm. As I approached the counter to buy two guitar picks, the clerks eyes flashed down to my left arm and then back up to meet mine and I instantly knew two things: 1) he knew I was trying to steal from him, 2) he was going to forego the judicial system and go straight to corporal punishment by kicking my ass in the back room. The mullet, the gold jewelry, the copious chest hair- this was not some bored student clerk making minimum wage at a chain store- this was a man's business and I was trying to take food off his table. I pulled those Clash books out of the stack and plunked them down on the counter as fast as I could. I also bought the picks and a couple sets of guitar strings I didn't need for good measure. That's as close as I came to getting caught and I'd like to thank that guy for scaring me straight.

Having kids is a great way to keep you on the straight and narrow. When Jack was a baby he and I were at Best Buy once and I put a Plimsouls CD (Everywhere At Once I think) down on top of his stroller and didn't see it again until we were in the parking lot. I half expected Social Services to come and take him from me right then. Needless to say, it went right back into the store. I would never steal anything and even when I see opportunities to scam something (another slippery slope) I always ask myself: do I want the kids see me be that guy? The guy who cuts in line or sneaks into the movie without paying? I'll buy my movie snacks at the Dollar Tree beside the theater, but that's as outlaw as I get these days.

My wife Jaime has zero tolerance for stealing/scamming which is one of the many reasons she is such a great Mom. So, I dedicate this show to Jaime and to my own Mum back in Duxbury, Mass- HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY LADIES!!!

Click on the links below to download this week's show (Right Click and "Save Target As")
Hour 1
Hour 2

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