mellicious: pink manicure (english)
[personal profile] mellicious
I'm lumping these two years into one entry because I've gotten behind. And I'll put the music videos to go with this at the bottom.

The big thing that happened to me personally in these two years - or well, I made it happen, but anyway - was that I changed my major in the middle of sophomore year. Now college students change their majors all the time, and I would go on to change mine a couple more times, but when you're a music major, it's kind of a bigger deal, because it's a thing that you've auditioned for and so forth. Hell, it had been my whole life, for a number of years. I go into my reasons in this entry over here and I'm not going to go through that again. I mentioned at the bottom of that entry, though, that my voice teacher cried when I changed my major. I don't think she cried because my voice was so lovely, really. But I was improving a lot and I think maybe what I was was promising, a bit. I was never going to be singing at the Met, believe me. I suspect that when you're a voice teacher, probably underpaid, at a big institution where it's hard to stand out, promising students are something you give your eyeteeth for. And she was a good teacher and throwing that away was not something I did lightly. But it couldn't be helped. And if I'd thought I had any chance of doing something like sing at the Met I would never, ever have changed my major. If I ever had any chance of being a professional singer it would have been at the very lowest echelons. Like, I could have been in the chorus of an opera company, possibly - that might have been something that I could have aspired to. But probably not at the Met, even then.

I changed my major to English. If you had told me in high school that I would ever be an English major I would've said you were nuts. And maybe I was. At the beginning of 1979, I was still 18, but I had gotten enough AP credits that I was technically a junior. And I went into upperclass-level English classes with juniors and seniors and boy, was I out of my league. (I just shut up and listened, most the time, for a long time - which probably was good for me, really.)

I said that I lived in Jester Center my freshman year, but after that I lived at Dobie, which was - and is, I suppose - a private dorm. (Also a little shopping mall, right on the edge of campus - the dorm sits on top of the mall, or maybe it's more accurate to say the mall wraps around the bottom of the dormitory tower. Either way, many UT students know Dobie mostly from going to the midnight movies at the little movie theater there - which I know closed a few years back, unless it's reopened since.) Dobie is actually most "famous" for being the place where Michael Dell founded his little computer company in his dorm room - I'm not sure that it really happened that way but that was always the story. (Wikipedia says that happened in 1984, although they don't mention Dobie. I lived there from '78 to 81, so probably no overlap there, But I believe it's true that he lived there.) Anyway, Dobie was lots of fun and I made lots of friends there, a couple of whom I am Facebook-friends with to this day.

I partly mention Dobie because there's one music-related story that I wanted to tell. I'm not sure when this happened exactly, but as dorms do, they would have parties from time to time with some sort of local band. Well, this particular time - in '79 or so, maybe? - they had signs up that said "Warner Brothers recording artist Christopher Cross" which we proceeded to roundly mock, because what kind of recording artist would be playing at a dormitory party? I don't know if Dobie just paid awfully well - it was a very large dorm, after all - or if some Warner flunky lost their mind when they booked it, or what the deal was, but in fact he was the kind that was about to go on and release a multiplatinum album, that's what kind. (I was there, I know I saw him and I don't think I thought he was terrible or anything but I don't remember thinking he was great, either. He really didn't make that much impression at the time, except that I remember laughing at the very idea.)

I mentioned Dan Fogelberg a day or two ago. In the fall of '79 - and I'm pretty sure about that date because I know who I was with - one of my friends volunteered to "camp out" for Fogelberg tickets. I was kind of responsible for this whole thing, because I was the one who was always playing his albums and I had gotten a good portion of my floor listening to him (probably to the consternation of the rest of them). I remember that after the camping-out part was done, we had a choice of first-row tickets or fourth-row tickets - the concert was maybe at Palmer Auditorium - and we took the fourth-row ones because we figured it would be better as far as actually seeing it. It was a solo acoustic tour and it was pretty awesome, actually. I still think so. If I was ranking the concerts I'd been to... and you'll see in a couple of days that I went to some awfully good ones... I don't know, top 5? Maybe top 3, even - it's hard to pit one guy with an acoustic guitar against R.E.M., which is what I usually say is the best one I ever went to. But it was way up there, anyway. (Pretty much the same group of people, I think, went to see him again a couple of years later on a conventional tour with a band, and it was enjoyable but it didn't stand out like the solo one did.) (Also, as it happens, there is a picture that my friend - the same one who did the camping out, he was actually my roommate's boyfriend - took of the late Mr Fogelberg from the fourth row, which is pretty good and which I know I know the location of because I just saw it a couple of days ago. So I'll see if I can remember to scan it in the next few days while I'm still talking about all this music stuff.)

The friends that I am still in contact with are all from this same group. I lived in the same room for my junior and senior years, on a floor that was almost all upperclassmen, and we formed a little gang of geeky people who went to movies and generally hung around together. The usual thing. We stood in line that December to see the first Star Trek movie, I believe. We went to see "The Fog" and I had nightmares for months. And maybe it was the second year that I remember a bunch of us went to see James Doohan give a talk at the Texas Union - that was an interesting experience. I never went to cons so it was my first up-close experience with a fandom, really. It was kind of crazy. Now, we always came running back from classes to watch Star Trek reruns every afternoon; I had seen every episode - mostly multiple times, and I would have said that I was a huge Trekkie. But I just wasn't prepared. You would have thought we were seeing God.

Music Advent choices - first '78, and there's also a runner-up that I'll put at the bottom.

and '79 - and just bear in mind that I was really into things like Styx and Kansas so just be grateful you're only getting Supertramp:

And here's the '78 runner-up, which as far as being a seminal moment in music history kind of knocks these other two into a cocked hat, really:

(But I picked the Rundgren instead because I loved it more at the time.)

Date: 2014-12-18 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know the Patti Smith version must have time-and-place meaning for you, and I don't discount that at all, but I think 10,000 Maniac blows Patti out of the water. It's better arranged, more tightly played, and Natalie Merchant's voice is killer (I still get chills when she does the bridge).

Which tour did you see R.E.M. on? I saw them at the Ford Theater in Detroit on Document (Stipe blew his voice out early and couldn't hit high notes the rest of the evening :-( ), Bercy in Paris on Monster (awesome -- festival seating, and I got down to the floor) and on the greatest hits/farewell tour at MSG in NY. My great regret was that I hadn't heard of them when they played the Institvte on the Fables tour, so I didn't go, and that ended up being my favorite album of theirs.

P.S. Do you watch Colbert? He had Michael Stipe in last night as sort of an Elf on the Shelf bit that cracked me up.

Date: 2014-12-18 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It might have been Document, I don't remember for sure - around '84, I think. It was at the Coliseum in Austin, which was one of those places that just had a big empty space in the middle, and you stood and watched, or danced around if there was room - or danced up and down in your spot, if you wanted to dance but there wasn't. I remember doing lots of that last thing at the REM concert.

(Coliseum: - although I doubt it's much the same as it was 30 years ago! Or it's possible, because you never know with Austin, that it has a new facade outside and the inside is essentially unchanged. That's what I would like to think, anyway.)

Date: 2014-12-19 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Document was '87. I think it was probably either Life's Rich Pageant or Reckoning if it was '84.

Date: 2014-12-19 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I'm getting my albums mixed up! (I used to know these things, but I don't listen to anything by the album any more.) I left Austin at the beginning of '86 so I know it was before that. Somewhere in the 83-85 range, anyway.

Date: 2014-12-18 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And I meant to tape Colbert last night and tonight and I keep forgetting. I need to at least go set it for tonight! (I used to tape it every night and I found that I rarely got around to watching it and finally stopped. We usually watch the Daily Show and then Rachel Maddow when we get home, and I am usually done with TV by the time we finish that.)

Date: 2014-12-18 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, and what I really meant about Patti Smith (and didn't really stop to explain at the time) was that she is important in music history. Groundbreaking female performer and all that. Not so much the individual performance.

Date: 2014-12-19 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, that I completely agree with.

Do you recall Gilda Radner's sort-of parody of her? The character was named Candy something, and she was stoned out of her gourd. Very funny bit (no disrespect to Ms. Smith intended).

Date: 2014-12-19 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think I do remember that, vaguely. And I would not be surprised to find out that Patti Smith was stoned or otherwise... chemically altered, shall we say, a great deal of the time back then.
Edited Date: 2014-12-19 11:07 pm (UTC)


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