The Connells - Ring (1993)

The Connells - Ring (1993)

I pulled a random CD out of my collection tonight – because all I’ve been listening to when working on my computer at home for the last couple of weeks has been the Local Natives album Gorilla Manor.

The CD that caught my eye was a compilation – 1993′s 99X Live X for Humanity which featured live performances by Alternative artists recorded at Atlanta’s WNNX (99X).

In 1993, Alternative was still getting more airplay than Grunge and 99X was the only commercial station in Atlanta catering to the genre. The station had its high-points – especially the first full year it was on the air.

1993.

The Summer of 1993 was, in retrospect, the last summer of my youth. Between my Junior and Senior years of high school; it was the first summer I could drive – giving me a freedom I hadn’t previously experienced.

I was head-long into music and 99X was on in my room or in my truck most of my waking hours. Before the internet – and without cable – it was radio or bust. (Except for watching Arsenio.)

I didn’t have a lot – if any – options to find new music other than the radio. I didn’t grow up in a metropolitan area. I didn’t have older siblings in college. I didn’t have cable.

I just had the radio.

In the Summer of ’93, I got paid to cut grass. Between that and playing summer league baseball I had a lot of time on my hands and a fair amount of money in my pocket. Many free evenings I’d be at Wal-Mart spending hours looking through their music section. (How I could spend that long is such a small music section may always remain one of life’s great unsolved mysteries.)

On Saturday and/or Sunday morning I’d head up the road about 15 miles to a flea market because they had a shop that sold CD’s 3 for $20. I loved that place. I probably spent $400 there that summer. Funny, the only CD I remember getting there, all these years later, was a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion disc, Orange, which was reflective silver.

Even with those crappy outlets for purchasing music, it was bliss. I remember the joy of ripping off the cellophane and laying on the bed listening to each song on the album. Looking over and over the liner notes; reading and re-reading lyrics.

It was a cocoon – a place and feeling I have never been able to recreate.

I read, in the last week, a great quote by a sports/culture writer (I think it was J.E. Skeets) wondering what would have happened if he had been more in to Pavement than the NBA in the 1990s. I could, in absolution, relate. I was never quite cool enough to pull off being a Pavement fan.

While I remember the college-rock movement of Pavement, The Flaming Lips, Built to Spill and Yo La Tengo; I was happy, for the most part, listening to the slightly more commercial Alternative side of the dial.

By the following summer, Kurt Cobain was dead, I was getting ready to head to college, baseball was over and 99X’s playlist seemed to only be Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Hootie and the Blowfish, Bush and other Grunge-esque acts.

Seventeen years later I look back at 1993 and see the midway point in my life. Kids who are 17 this summer will be running around listening to the likes of MGMT and in 17 years they might be looking back as I do now.

And in another 17 years I’ll be 51.

Crap. Really? 51?

Ugh.

My point was rudely interrupted by that harsh reality. Back to 1993.

It is the year that forms the hazy, golden memory that I will forever look back on fondly. Good and bad, the music of that summer is a huge part of the reason why.

Ah, the bands of that summer: The Connells. Magnapop. Velocity Girl. The Ocean Blue. Adam Schmitt. Live. Smashing Pumpkins. Lenny Kravitz. BoDeans. Radiohead. Lemonheads. Mila. Catherine Wheel. Crash Test Dummies.

On and on they go like a three-beer buzz. Warm and friendly but slightly out of focus.

Selah.

The Connells – “’74-’75″
Got no reason for coming to me and the rain running down.
There’s no reason.
And the same voice coming to me like it’s all slowin down.
And believe me–

I was the one who let you know
I was your sorry-ever-after. ’74-’75

It’s not easy, nothing to say ’cause it’s already said.
It’s never easy.
When I look on your eyes then I find that I’ll do fine.
When I look on your eyes and I’ll be better.

I was the one who let you know
I was your sorry-ever-after. ’74-’75.
Giving me more and I’ll defy
“cause you’re really only after ’74-’75.

Got no reason for coming to me and the rain running down.
There’s no reason.
When I look on your eyes then I find that I’ll do fine.
When I look on your eyes and I’ll be better.

I was the one who let you know
I was your sorry-ever-after. ’74-’75.
Giving me more and I’ll defy
“cause you’re really only after ’74-’75.

I was the one who let you know
I was your sorry-ever-after. ’74-’75.
Giving me more and I’ll defy
“cause you’re really only after ’74-’75.

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6 Responses to Editorial: Summer of ’93

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DeadJournalist.com. DeadJournalist.com said: Editorial: Summer of '93 http://www.deadjournalist.com/DJdc/?p=2676 [...]

  2. blureu says:

    Great post. I heard The Ocean Blue on WRAS the other day for the first time probably since 93. Took me a couple of mins to recall the song & band. Wonder what happend to them?

  3. Jon Buford says:

    I was listening to the only consistent college radio station we could get up in Cville at the time, 88.9 I think (or was it 89.3). So I wasn’t listening to 99X quite so much during that time. I was already into NIN, Violent Femms, The Cure, James, and Nitzer Ebb, among others. Oh, that’s right, we had MTV at home, so I watched 120 minutes religiously after the Simpsons and whatever else was on during Sunday nights, and had been doing that since around 89 or 90.

    The funny thing about all of this, I never shared my music that much with friends. Well, I suppose I subjected them to it, since I was one of the few that had ready access to a car. But, not that many really picked up on the same stuff, no real meaningful conversations about it.

    Most of my (tape) collection came from the mailorder Columbia House catalog. They actually had a fair amount of alternative stuff available. I would compliment that with the occasional purchase from Best Buy or other record shops. I ended up leaving that collection in the states when I moved here, so I can’t really go back.

    I think the one I miss the most was Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me by the Cure. I picked that one up in Nashville on a trip with the fam. I was even able to subject my mom to it on the way back.

  4. Chuck Norton says:

    when i was writing this last night, and then again when i re-read it this morning, i realized the part that was missing in my 1993 retrospective was my love new wave/80′s alternative. that same summer was when started my collection of cure and depeche mode cd’s (morrissey and the smiths were still a year away). throw in abc, pet shop boys, new order and erasure and the picture is a lot more complete.

    99x ran a sunday show where they played nothing but 80′s new wave – and it was also a staple influence.

    in that same time i was in love with the cd by the indians – although i can’t recall if that was ’93 or ’94. and of course that james album is one of my favs of the ’90′s.

    there are just so many!

    i have jon to think for exposing me to nine in nails (and dennis leary). we had a wonderfully awesome physics/chemistry teacher (who most everyone else loathed) who allowed us to listen to music as part of an advanced lab class. to this day i remember the six or so cd’s that jon would bring in. it was stuff i had not – to that point – listened to and upon hearing it i know that was the direction, musically, that i was heading.

    by 1997 i was buying dark wave cd’s from germany. i came a long way, fast.

  5. Rube Ambler says:

    Great post Chuck. I think you’ve captured that moment when you fully realize that music is not just a milepost in your life but part of the road you will travel.

  6. [...] to have music tastes similar to my own, spanning The Connells to Local Natives (I can relate to this editorial post in particular, which mentions both bands and takes me back to my glory days of the early 90s). A [...]