Thursday, August 25, 2011

Retro Music Thursdays: The Mission

So, I've decided to introduce a new element to my blog as we head into the fall and a whole whack of new TV: retro music Thursdays.

Remember when retro was the music your parents listened to? When it was poodle skirts and 60s surf music on the radio. "And now, on today's best retro hits, it's Jan and Dean!"

And do you remember that first time when you walked into a "Retro Mondays" night at your favourite club... and it was the music that was playing when you were in university? Wait... Blur? The Smiths? U2? Sonic Youth??? THIS is RETRO?!

Just a couple of nights ago, I was standing in a hotel elevator in Niagara Falls and these three girls got on the elevator, all in skanky clothes and heavily perfumed, going out clubbin'. They looked like they had maybe just come of drinking age (or would be carrying really good IDs that night) and they were reading aloud the acts that were coming to the casino from a poster inside the door. And then they said, "Dana Carvey? Who's Dana Carvey? Should it be Dana Harvey? I think it's Harvey. Wait... is that a man? Why is he called Dana?" And I felt my heart sink. Most every North American who is my age knows who Dana Carvey is... but I'm that other generation now. Now there's a generation of kids going to clubs that hasn't got a clue who he is. Was he terribly important to me? Of course not. The Church Lady was funny once and then it was stupid, and he tended to be too over the top and never made it outside of SNL, really. (But man, his Garth was inspired, wasn't it?) It was just a little sad to me that I now have references that are lost on other adults.

Whatever. I'm embracing the fact that my music is now retro, and I'm gonna damn well celebrate it. So every Thursday we're going to listen to the songs that, well, didn't make the whole world sing, but they made me sing and shaped who I am. And I"ll include a little anecdote as to why.

Let's start big: The Mission. Just a couple of weeks ago I was doing the final editorial flip through a book that will soon be out from my publisher, called Encyclopedia Gothica, the A-Z of all things Goth. And I marvelled that so much of my life has been shaped by Goth. The music I listen to has been inspired by it, the movies and TV and books I love the most are closer to Goth than really anything else, and even the colours of my clothes lean to black, although I never went for the all-out Goth uniform. I wanted to, but never jumped in. Instead i just hung out with a bunch of other Goths who did and lived vicariously through their black fingernails, red lips and very white skin.

The Mission were one of my favourite bands. Wayne Hussey and his hat and sunglasses, their giant orchestral songs. I wanted to have Hussey's children. I loved Sisters of Mercy, too (Hey now, hey now now... sing this corrosion to me...) but they simply weren't The Mission. I finally saw The Mission at Massey Hall in 1990 and had seats way up in the nosebleeds, but it was still an awe-inspiring show. The opening act? The Wonder Stuff. I didn't know them before then, but they became gods to me. Don't worry, they'll show up in a couple of weeks. But first, "Tower of Strength," horse and all. (I always thought this video was a bit bonkers.) Oh, the hearing loss I've endured because of this song on terribly high volume in headphones. (Don't be fooled by the shortened single version; the extended one is the only one that matters...)


Joan Crawford said...

I love this! I can't wait until you do the Pixies. I heard Debaser for the first time when I was 11 and I haven't been the same since. How does their music sound new all the time? It defies various laws of science that I am unfamiliar with.

Joan Crawford said...

And don't get me started on The Breeders! "Pod" got me through ages 13 - 18. I am going to learn how to play the violin just so I can perform "Oh!" at the end of parties and make people cry. Because that is how you end good parties... with tears, yes?

Please to be hearing now:

yourblindspot said...

My wife recently commissioned a mix cd from me with special instructions that it sound like I had made it for a high school sweetheart in 1990. Which would be sweet. If I weren't so very old.

Joanie: We got tickets to see Pixies for the 'Doolittle' tour they did last year, and it was transcendent. For the entirety of the show, the only thing Frank said to the crowd was, "Thank you." One time. It made me want to elect him to public office.

Nikki Stafford said...

Oh The Pixies. They will come, trust me, but I have a TON of stories about them so it's a post that will take more time. Next week: Sonic Youth.

Page48 said...

I feel like Rip Van Winkle. Where was I that I missed hearing about The Mission, The Breeders, Sonic Youth, etc...? The Pixies sound familiar, though...sort of.

I blinked, and suddenly I'm the Mayor of Geezerville.