Two Hundred Seventeen.
Saturday, 2018.12.29, 1:52 PM CST.
Connections with the fall of 1988.
Current Mood: Slightly hollow.
Current Scent: Memoirs of a Trespasser by Imaginary Authors.
I haven't posted anything here since the "30 Years in the DJ Industry"
party back in July. That was extraordinary in SO many ways, and
I want to thank everyone who came out to have fun - and especially to
Dave French for taking the time to come up and join me.
to post about that party in great detail someday, but the main thing
that I want everyone to know was that while it was an incredible experience,
it was truly saddening to know that that was going to be Dave's last
DJ performance. For those who don't remember (or just hadn't read/heard),
Dave chose to come back to Tulsa for one more special performance before
retiring from DJing completely. He will still be doing audio and
visual production in his studio down in Dallas; I'm super-proud of him,
because he's one of the few people I know who truly followed his dreams
and succeeded through hard work and perseverence.
that I'll never again enjoy a party at which he's spinning records and
having a blast... it saddens me. A lot.
brings me to the main subject of today's post:
sometimes sucks... but 1988 was incredible.
is a lovely place to visit... but not a good place to live. Regretfully,
I have often found myself, mentally, attempting to do that. If
people knew how often my brain decides to shift from present day to
earlier years, they'd probably advise me to seek help.
1988, as I've posted countless times before, Dave introduced me to the
DJ industry as I started assisting him with events for his company,
Mirage Productions. I don't really consider myself "becoming"
a DJ until September 29th, 1989 - the night that I first DJed at my
own homecoming dance at Sequoyah High School, out north of Claremore.
we can't go back. Dave was one of my best friends (I still consider
him as such). We went to the same high school and had known each
other since our early years in Cub Scouts. He graduated in spring
1988, and then went on to attend Rogers State College in Claremore before
moving to Norman to attend OU in 1989. We often hung out at each
other's houses; he knew my parents, and I knew his mom.
course of the last eleven years, all three parents have passed on; my
mom died in 2011, my dad died in 2010, and Dave's mom died in 2016.
have a period in the early 2000s when we didn't speak for about a decade,
but that wasn't due to any animosity. We were both busy with other
few details about the fall of 1988.
post much about the fall of '88; I usually post about those formative
times around the first DJ event that I helped Dave with in February
of that year, and about the times during which I prepared and started
my first DJ company, EKG Mobile Music.
of '88, however, was incredibly important, and as this year has been
the thirtieth anniversary of that year... I have found myself remembering
1988 with great fondness. It wasn't a great year all-around; I
was a terribly awkward high-school student and painfully shy with most
people. (I did have pretty awesome hair.)
started attending Rogers State in the fall of 1988, Dave joined the
team for their television station as a master control operator.
This meant that he was responsible for recording certain critical feeds
of programs and putting tapes in at their particular times to play on
the air. It was a demanding job (I tried my hand at it about four
years later), but it did give him a good deal of "free time"
when he wasn't changing tapes or transitioning from one program to the
would go to the station and hang out. He was the only person there
during his shifts (usually) and often worked in the evenings, so I would
drive up there, he'd let me in, and we would joke around, talk about
girls, and, of course, play records in the station's sound room.
sources for hearing new music were the radio and the clubs. I
had just started listening to KTOW Progressive Radio (1988-1991), but
I wasn't yet clubbing. As he was now over 18, he was now regularly
going to Tulsa's clubs such as the Palladium, the Limelight, and Beat
Club. I was also reading about new club music in "Rolling
Stone" magazine (they actually used to have a "dance chart"
back then) and the music promo pamphlets that I would pick up at Buttons.
Neither of us had much money, so we both had to be very selective about
the music that we purchased... even during a time when brand-new domestic
12" vinyl singles were under four dollars each.
a DJ, but I was already buying "DJ music" that wasn't getting
a lot of pop radio airplay. Dave was the same way, and considering
our tight budgets, we would try not to buy the same songs. We
didn't go record shopping together often; he would go when he was in
Tulsa, and I would go whenever I could. Then, we would either
get together at his house or my house, or - often - we would play them
during his shifts at RSC. I wasn't buying anything from Mohawk
Music yet; I mainly shopped at Buttons and (starting in the fall of
1988) Starship, with occasional stops at Tulsa's Sound Warehouse locations.
Of course, I was happy to bring my records to Dave's events so that
he could use them, so together, we slowly built up a decent arsenal
of great dance tracks.
of the songs that were most significant from fall of 1988:
of Love - "Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls."
We were both nuts about the song, as well as the cover version of
Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" that accompanied it as a
Abdul - "Straight Up."
This was the song that REALLY brought her over the top as far as pop
radio was concerned, and the remixes on the 12" were fantastic,
especially the creatively-titled House Mix.
Kan - "I Beg Your Pardon."
I remember reading about this one, and - without hearing it - running
out to buy the 12" so that I could surprise Dave with this hot
new dance song. Unbeknownst to me, Dave had gone out during
the same weekend and bought a copy of "I Beg Your Pardon,"
which he was looking forward to playing for me. It was the only
time that happened, surprisingly... and when we found out that we
had bought the same 12", we had a lot of laughs about the coincidence.
"New York," Voyou's "Houseman/Germany Calling,"
and CCCP's "American-Soviets."
I often refer to these as the "holy trinity of Oak Lawn Records,"
because all three were released by the same company in Dallas in 1987
and 1988, they had definite similarities in production, and all three
were massive club hits in 1988.
Lekakis' "Boom Boom."
Of all of the songs that Dave was able to hunt down, he was unable
to find one big track from 1986 that was still really popular - "Boom
Boom." This was back when we couldn't just purchase and
download music online; we actually had to go out to the record stores
and search for the tunes we wanted, and despite his attempts, he couldn't
track it down. One evening in late 1988, I was able to find
a copy at Starship and I picked it up to give him as a gift.
It wasn't his birthday and we hadn't yet reached Christmastime, but
I wrapped up this record and delivered it to him at the television
station. I think it was the most shocked and delighted that
I ever saw him.
Shop Boys' "Left To My Own Devices" and "Always on
My Mind/in My House."
Dave was crazy about "Left to My Own Devices" and it was
a mainstay at many of his events... and then he found their Introspective
album, which had a nine-minute version of "Always on My Mind"
with a weird little rap performed by the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant.
Dave went nuts over that mix, and would play it IN ITS ENTIRETY at
his mobile events. Nobody complained about the length, because
back in the day people on the dance floor didn't have the musical
ADD that so many people seem to have these days... so they could enjoy
a track for several minutes without getting bored and whiny.
Society's "Walking Away" and Ministry's "Everyday (Is
Even thought InSoc and Ministry are farrrrr different musical acts,
I lump these two together for one very special reason: I heard
them for the first time when I went clubbing with Dave for the first
time in December 1988. I had just turned 17 (or I was about
to), and I forget how Dave did it, but he was able to get me into
Beat Club, which was meant for ages 18+. I felt like such a
rebel - and I was terrified about what would happen if anyone there
found out. Considering what an introvert I was at the time,
it was fascinating and extremely, extremely awkward... but I remember
hearing two very specific songs that I hadn't remembered hearing before:
"Everyday (Is Halloween)" and "Walking Away."
I immediately neeeeeeeeeded to get these songs on vinyl, and my mom
and I soon went out to get them during a trip to Tulsa (during which,
if memory serves, I also attended one of Pegasus Comics' "Conjuration"
conventions for a while).
Mode's "Little 15," "Stripped," "It's Called
a Heart," "Shake the Disease," "A Question of
Time," "A Question of Lust," "Master & Servant,"
"People Are People..."
YES, I know that most of you already know that I'm a big Depeche Mode
fan. But imagine, if you will, that in the summer of 1988, after
acquiring the 12" singles to "Behind the Wheel," "Never
Let Me Down Again," and "Strangelove" (three different
versions of that one), I ignorantly thought that I had every Depeche
Mode 12" single ever released. I didn't realize that
they'd been producing 12" singles for the better part of a decade.
I think it was September of 1988 when I was looking around in the
racks at Starship and I found a veritable treasure trove of Depeche
Mode imports. These records had remixes that I didn't know existed
and a lot of B-sides that I had never heard! Once I found out
near the end of the year that Mohawk Music carried imported 12"
vinyl as well, I then had two sources to supply my Depeche Mode addiction
for years! Once I knew about the imports at Starship, I let
Dave know as soon as I got home, and I went to work making frequent
trips to Tulsa to get more and more of these records.
(Right around that time, Dave got his first fog machine, and he brought
it over to my house to show it off. So, my brain usually tends
to lump together the memories of discovering the new import DM vinyl,
taking the PSATs for school... and having Dave shoot fog out of the
front windows of my house, which made traffic on the adjacent highway
slow down as drivers wondered what the hell was going on.)
Mode's "Route 66" (Beatmasters Mix).
I know I just mentioned Depeche Mode, but this one particular track
is extra-special. Around this time, I had a crush on a friend
of mine at school - we'll call her Kathleen. Earlier in 1988,
she had started dating this real slimeball bleach-blond cretin a couple
of years younger, and knowing that I was involved with DJing, he let
me borrow a tape of tunes that he had recorded when he lived in California.
One of those was Depeche Mode's "Route 66," which had not
been released by itself in the US; the domestic releases only featured
megamixes of "Route 66" and "Behind the Wheel."
So, not only did this little jackass have the girl I had wanted to
date for years, but he also had a DM song that I hadn't heard
before. Once I discovered the imports at Starship, I was able
to obtain the "Behind the Wheel" single with the Beatmasters
Mix of "Route 66" on the B-side, and I finalllllllly had
that version of "Route 66." I remember telling Dave,
"I finally have that version of 'Behind the Wheel,' but I have
a feeling that getting Kathleen will cost me more than $7.99."
Dave found this immensely funny.
was a lifechanging year.
as I've stated in the past, 1988 was a lifechanger for me. I had
started the year as a sixteen-year-old geekling, pretty much keeping
to myself at home, programming on my Apple IIe and occasionally playing
games on my Atari 2600. My main aspirations in life were to go
to college, get married, and become a famous writer of video games.
the year as a seventeen-year-old with a pretty good foundational knowledge
of club music, a rapidly-expanding Depeche Mode collection, and a slightly
more solid idea of who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.
It was an incredible year... and I am still absolutely stunned that
it was thirty full years ago. It just doesn't make sense that
I'm now forty-seven years old.
thanks as usual.
I plan to add numerous photos to this post very soon, but wanted
to make sure to get the text content up before the year was over.]