1987. Tenth grade rolled on. I settled in to my new neighborhood finally and had plenty of friends in every social circle from jocks to nerds to punks, thanks, no doubt, to my painfully neutral clothing and hairstyle choices. Parties started to become a regular weekend occurance and everyone was drinking except for me. As a September baby, I was young for my grade so my friends couldn’t wait for me to turn sixteen so I could drive their drunk asses around. Joy. As a result, I was happy to stay home with a movie or late night television more often than most folks.
Listening to 91X seemed to quench my musical fascination. I didn’t go to many shows or buy a lot of records yet but I was completely obsessed with all things pop culture. I gobbled up whatever music magazines I could get and would beg my friends to let me come over and watch MTV’s 120 Minutes on Sunday nights. This would’ve been a great time to pick up a guitar and play, like some of my friends were starting to do. My parents were encouraging, getting me lessons and renting me an electric guitar a couple of years before but I just didn’t have the discipline for it at that age. I figured out Sex Pistols basslines on one string for a month or two and we returned the guitar.
This might’ve been the year that my friend Dan and I started to predict what songs would be in the countdown. I don’t remember what we did later that night but I do remember another friend actually ended up in his bedroom with a girl at midnight. When “Just Like Heaven” came on 91X as the #1 song, she was surprised that she’d never heard of it. A HUGE “Boys Don’t Cry” loomed over them. I swore I’d only ever date someone who liked good music, as if that is what had been preventing me from having a girlfriend.