¡Mamacita! it’s two weeks later and I have been slammed completely [and it’s going to get worse when the retail website gets the green light]. I am most chagrined that the blog is growing cobwebs, but it’s either this or no money. And no money is very bad. So I’m throwing out another handful of those colorful New Wave Badges the natives find so shiny and captivating.
The Residents were always a group I admired more than owned. I have some releases, but that’s a deep rabbit hole to explore. I first saw them on Night Flight where their seminal “One Minute Movies” were unspooled. The Residents are important for mapping out a viable independent career that owed nothing to anybody, for years before it became possible, much less viable! This button was definitely from Record Mart Warehouse; home of the best button spinning racks in Central Florida.
I’d loved Mitch Easter’s Let’s Active from the get go, when I first heard them on IRS’s The Cutting Edge” program on MTV back in the good old days. I got this button at the merch table at my first Let’s Active gig, when I trucked to Tampa [Bayfront Center] to see them open up for R.E.M. in 1986. Let’s Active were touring behind the incredible “Big Plans For Everybody” album whilst R.E.M. were flogging “Fables Of The Reconstruction,” as I recall. Let’s Active actually got an encore due to being friends [and more] with the headliners. They encored with an awesome Deep Purple arrangement of Joe South’s “Hush,” much to my ecstatic delight.
I had heard Magnetic Fields on WPRK-FM starting in the late 90s. They were certainly an amusing band. By the time of their epic “69 Love Songs” set, my wife took the effort to begin buying their recordings for our home. We finally got a chance to see the band on tour behind 2008’s “Distortion.” We trucked out to Raleigh to see them and snagged second row seats for ourselves and our Chapel Hill pals. Looking back, I can’t believe that we finally saw them! This came from the merch table.
They had two designs at the merch table and this was the mate to the design above.
Soft Cell turned a lot of heads in 1981 and I had read about them before hearing them in various UK mags. I sampled them via Flexipop, and liked the song “Metro Mr. X” enough to buy “Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret” as soon it was issued in The States. It’s an electropop album that wears its all-too-human heart on its sleeve, and that made it stand out from the otherwise frosty Class of 1981. This badge probably came from the Record Mart Warehouse racks. As usual.
This “Night + Day” badge was merch from the first rock concert I ever attended: Joe Jackson at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in 1983. Yup. I was all of 20 years old and finally seeing a concert in person by an act I liked. Living in Orlando, Florida meant that I had a looooooooooooooooong wait until someone I remotely liked ventured down to my ultra-conservative “Rock Superbowl” country. Hell, growing up, I thought that Ted Nugent lived in Central Florida! He only played there every three months! Bitter? Naaaaaaaw!
Joe Jackson finally had a big hit in The States with “Steppin’ Out,” so that meant that even backwater hamlets like Orlando got a tour stop. Sure, groups like The Ramones [with Holly + the Italians!!!] had played Orlando, but being under 21, meant that entry to these events, where the evil John Barleycorn was served freely, was denied to the likes of me. So Joe Jackson was a watershed moment for me, even though I’m not the biggest fan. I consider him the runt end of the “Angry Young Man Of New Wave” genre pioneered by Graham Parker, and spearheaded by Elvis Costello. As for my absolute favorite bands, like OMD and Ultravox, it just didn’t happen. OMD didn’t touch Florida soil until 1985, by which time it was virtually too late.
– To Be Continued…