It happened on a Sunday in early 1997. Because of Bergen County’s blue laws that kept most stores closed, I had driven down to Wayne, NJ, to shop for some new music. I’d been going to Willowbrook Mall and the other area shops around Wayne for as long as I could remember. As a kid, my neighbor’s mom would take her two sons, my brother, Matt, and I—with our pockets full of quarters—to the video game arcade at the mall. Years later, while I attended nearby Montclair State College, I would often go with friends to eat, shop, hangout, or sing karaoke in a basement bar of one of the restaurants (Casey O’Tooles?).
But that Sunday in 1997, I had gone by myself to The Wiz (an electronics and music store near Willowbrook, but not in the mall) to search the rows of CDs for something new. At the end of one of those rows was a special display, a rack of CDs featuring local artists. And that’s when Fountains of Wayne’s self-titled debut album caught my eye.
The 59th Annual Grammys Awards are this weekend. Twenty-five years ago, I worked at the 34th Annual Grammys at Radio City Musical Hall. My friend, Christine, a fellow Montclair State alum, asked me, along with a bunch of other recent Communication Studies graduates, to volunteer as a talent escort and seat filler.
On February 25, 1992, we met at Radio City early, received an orientation, a tour of the hall, and our escort assignments. Some of us would escort performers. Some would escort presenters. Performers got dressing rooms. Presenters did not. I didn’t know if my nerves could manage a performer, which that year included Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Bonnie Raitt, LL Cool J, Seal, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Johnny Mathis. Continue reading “Grace and Gross at the Grammys”
I’ve been posting song memories since I started this blog thing in December. Inspiration has often come while listening to my iPod Classic. I love that 160gb device. It holds every song I own, 13k, with room left for another 15k. This is my third iPod since the iPod came out. And I don’t know what I’ll do when this one grinds to halt. (Apple discontinued the iPod a few years ago with some lame excuse about not being able to find the parts. Really? You’re Apple. You can find what whatever parts you want, wherever you want.)
I don’t want to stream music to my iPhone, eating up data, and getting interrupted by texts, emails, alerts, and calls. No thanks. I like my music separate from my work. Besides, I’ve crafted so many playlists and smart playlists that sync up seamlessly with iTunes over the years. For me, the system didn’t need fixing.
My playlist called “Singles” is basically all the 45s I owned in the 1980s, ripped as MP3s, along with hits from the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s that I deemed worthy of being in the playlist. It currently has 7,343 songs. There’s a playlist called “Gym” for working out. One called “Mellow” for when I want to relax or cry. Sometimes I shuffle all 13,000 songs and get pleasantly surprised at how iTunes or the iPod mixes the songs. Continue reading “Believing in Chunky Soup?”
We will miss you. Thank you for serving with such grace and dignity, especially during a time of blatant obstruction and relentless hate. We will never forget our time in the White House. (By the way, I stole some cocktail napkins.)