|The Variety Theater|
Photo courtesy of The Variety Theater.
|Worse for the wear: Part of a record store|
poster for Reckoning, their second album.
Photo courtesy of moi, poster courtesy of L.
I carried my love for R.E.M. to college with me – Chronic Town is inextricably linked with my freshman year, windows wide to let in the warm late summer nights and an overworked small radio/tape player splattered with oil paint. I sought out local bands that covered their songs. I found another benefactor to buy my R.E.M.-related artwork and hitched a ride with a guy named Blaze to see them at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati in 1986 (Fetchin’ Bones opened). As thanks I gave him the trampled $20 bill I found on the floor after the show.
|Michael Stipe, Miami Univ., OH|
Photo courtesy of Kristin Foster.
As the years passed, R.E.M. inevitably toyed with their signature sound just enough to alienate me – committing the ultimate unpardonable betrayal of favorite band to loyal fan who was “with them from the beginning.” Additionally, I wasn’t interested in knowing their politics or hearing which celebrities they were mingling with at parties. I guess I got stuck back in 1984: the indecipherable lyrics; the shy, curly-haired singer with the gentle voice, the sweet hope of friends selling band t-shirts on a fold-up table and the sound of “Perfect Circle” playing through the speakers of a darkened car on a July night in the parking lot of The Variety Theater.
(Goodbye R.E.M…and thanks to L for bringing me to them.)