left of the dial, indeed
I want this SO BADLY. I didn’t even know it EXISTED.
So I’m listening to KEXP this morning, much like I’ve done for years now (which is a whole other article that’s waiting to be written), and this song comes on, and I’m unconsciously singing along, until I realize what it is, and then I go running back to the computer to check the online playlist, and – it’s not a cover! It’s the original! “Jet Fighter” by the Three O’Clock! Ohmigod!!! The THREE O’CLOCK?! On KEXP??
I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of 80’s West Coast neo-psychedelia (aka the Paisley Underground- aside from Redd Kross, and even then it was more about the Dolls homage than anything else) – okay I’m digressing – but I grew to love the Three O’Clock because they opened for R.E.M. at the end of the Reconstruction tour, which meant I saw them night after night after night – somewhere there is a photo of me onstage with Michael Gutierrez (Three O’Clock lead singer), because one night he complained that everyone in the front row had R.E.M. shirts on, so I took a piece of paper, drew a Three O’Clock logo on it, and pinned it to the front of my shirt. He called me up on stage to thank me.
So the point I was going to make, and just did through that long, rambling, and largely irrelevant story, was that this compilation is about unbridled nostalgia, pure and simple – I can sing you every single song on it (including “Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing” by the Minutemen, coincidentally another band I got to know because they opened for R.E.M. – in fact you could subtitle this set “Bands That Opened or Almost Opened For R.E.M. Or Were Namechecked By Peter Buck In At Least One Interview In The 80’s”).
The tracklist is just exceptional, they got pretty much everything, including things that you had probably forgotten about until this very moment (or maybe not, but I am one of those freakish people who worked really hard to get a lot of these songs on CD, and then made sure they got loaded on the iPod from, like, day one). I mean, the Rain Parade? “Madonna Of The Wasps”? dB’s. Smithereens. The Lyres. Minor Threat, even. The only thing missing from my personal playlist in that era is Jason & The Scorchers, but I’d challenge you to name a song and/or artist essential to college radio in the 80’s that isn’t on here.
If you were there, you need this. If you weren’t there, you need this, because it will explain an awful lot, give you context, fill in background. One of Rhino’s all-time best, imho.
Now I just have to get my hands on this thing.
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