Wednesday, May 14, 2008

School Of Rock: .45's After School

Aaaah, the .45 rpm record. Do you remember them ?

Looked like this ?
And you needed one of these to play it ?

On your...TURNTABLE ??

I remember them...Shit, I still HAVE some of them. I have a limited edition "Grey Vinyl" version of "Touch Of Grey" by the Grateful Dead. I think I have .45's of all of the singles off of "Born In the U.S.A." by Brooooce Springsteen. And I have a bunch of really,really old .45's as well.

Why is the old fart droning on a bout .45's ? Why, I'm glad you asked. .45's are the basis for this edition of "School Of Rock".
5th grade- 1980-81, by my calculations. There was some great music out at that time...I was not listening to a lot of it. That's not true, but I was still leaning towards Top 40-esque hits, though I guess some of them were considered "New Wave", I suppose.

I'll get to the tunes later, first, I wanna talk a little about our "crew". By my memory, there was 5 of us: my friends Bruce, John, Mike, and Ricky and young Paticus, of course.(Don't you love the conceit of me referring to myself in the third person ? I sure do).

I remember that Bruce and I shared a table in 5th grade(the "desks" were these tables that fit two kids at them each)..We had been in the same kindergarten class, but had been in different 1st through 4th grade classes. We fell right together in 5th grade. I remember that Bruce had an orange fuzzy pen cap that he called "Al", which I thought was the coolest thing EVER. And I had to have one. Over the course of the year, the Als grew. We built them houses that actually had working light fixtures(something we learned in science- I think the fact that we applied knowledge was the only reason they survived) that we kept on the windowsill next to our desk.

We also went by Beatles names. I had actually forgotten about that, but I contacted Bruce about it, and he remembered that tidbit. He thinks that I was John, he was Paul, and we figure John,Mike and Ricky were George,Ringo and Pete Best or Stu Sutcliffe, I guess. I'm not sure how that worked out. We're not sure who was who. John may have been Ringo. Suffice to say, the Beatles played a pivotal role, but this is not about the Beatles. I will get into my Beatles obsession in another post.

I would like to add, if anyone reads about this who was there, and I am misremembering something, feel free to leave a comment. I am not claiming these memories are set in stone. There has been a bit too much chemical interaction in my life for these to really be snapshots of the past. So feel free to set me straight if need be.

After school, our "crew' used to hang out in our classroom and play .45's on the classrooms turntable. We would read Bananas, MAD, and Dynamite magazines, and talk about our love for Valerie Bertinelli

and Olivia Newton-John.

But at the heart were the .45's. We played a whole bunch, but there are 4 that I remember distinctly. I think I still own a couple of them, actually.

Here they are:

Cars- Gary Numan

Turning Japanese- The Vapors

Shaddap you Face- Joe Dolce

AND: American Pie- Don McLean

I know I still own "Shaddap You Face" as I remember seeing it in my old room at my Mom's house when I was back in November for my Dad's funeral.

I remember us trying to "figure out" "American Pie", and I also remember that the song was split across the A and B side of the .45, so we had to flip it in the middle.

I also remember not having a clue as to the masturbatory theme of "Turning Japanese".

I could probably remember more if I tried, but what fun would that be ?

Thus endeth this "lesson" at the School Of Rock:Sandwich Flats campus.


Zooomabooma said...


wow. you're weird.

I'm glad you explained what they were.

I Think I'm Turning Japanese is about masturbating? Stu Sutcliffe? Didn't he pitch for the Cubs and Cards?

and you're not old. you're just weird!

Paticus said...

Zooma- What's wrong with 45's ? I miss them.
I have actually heard differing reports about the Turning Japanese/masturbation thing. I have heard that the band has never said that's what it's about, that it's all an urban legend. I don't know. I just know that i knew nothing about it at the time.
And I guess I'll take weird over old.

Zooomabooma said...

You know what, Paticus, if you like 45's then that's okily dokily, neighborino.

It's just that there were these things called cassettes that you could take in your car and carry with you even... and then compact discs... you've heard of 'em?!

Ahh, i'm just being stoopid and bustin' on ya. It's a good post. Nostalgia and remembering good times is always a good thing!

But I'm two years younger than you so please don't say you're old! It's good to be a mature husband and father but you can remain a young man for a long time to come, my friend!