Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Gee, I wish I had that song on a CD or an audio file

Today one of my blog readers left some real cool comments on my From Carbondale to Daejeon posting which got me thinking about SIU and the early 80s again as well as music—more specifically, some bands that I liked back then, but whose songs I do not have on any CD or any audio files.

And then, this got me thinking about either those songs in my head (at least the ones that I remember well) of some of the bands I liked back then and the memories that have remained over the years or the songs that I don’t remember but still remember the band. 

Scott Wilk and the Walls – “Radioactive” 

I saw Scott Wilk and his band in concert at the SIU Student Center not long after I had started getting into New Wave music (it might have been in October or November of 1980). Scott Wilk came off sounding like an Elvis Costello wannabe (maybe the record company was trying to cash in on Elvis’ success) and even sort of looked like Elvis (or a little like Warren Zevon). In 1980 he was on tour promoting his album with the hit single “Radioactive.” Hey, this was the eighties and nuclear Armageddon was still real. I still remember the opening lines to the catchy song: “I feel radioactive; think I’m gonna meltdown tonight.”  

Well, that’s about all I remember, but it was a cool song and I did buy the album. I have been trying to find that song for the longest time, hoping that the album will eventually be released on CD or even as some audio file.  

Of course what the song reminds me most of is going to SIU and pretty much having the time of my life when I should have been hitting the books.

Bohemia – “Automatic Man”/“American Life” 

I had the chance to see Chicago-based band Bohemia on two occasions—once at the Hangar 9 in Carbondale and at ChicagoFest in August 1981 when they opened for The Ventures. 

I saw them at the Hangar 9 in January of 1981. I was hanging out with Dean and Becky at the time and one of their friends who knew the lead singer of Bohemia (I think they might have even been friends.)  

They came out with this hip 3-song EP in 1980 that I bought at this record shop in DeKalb. I am not too sure about the songs that were on this EP (anyone out there who knows the correct titles, please let me know). The band reminded me a little of Martha and the Muffins, but grittier and more rocking.  

It was cool seeing them again opening up for The Ventures later that summer. At the concert Chris and I ran into Scott Morrow who was in David and the Happenings. Turns out Scott was a huge Venture’s fan. I just learned from David the other day that Scott passed away two years ago. Rest in Peace Scott. 

During their concert (on a barge at Navy Pier) a live recording was made of their song “312” that was about Chicago. (Sorry, I can’t give you any more information about it, but again if there’s anyone out there who knows about this song…please let me know.) 

Bohemia came out with an album in 1981 that I bought but at some point over the years it either got misplaced, lent out to someone and never returned, or I might have even traded it. I think the EP was among the records that were lost when LJ’s (Louis Kirsteatter) grandmother’s house caught on fire. LJ had been holding onto a lot of my records for me while I was overseas.

I did record some cassettes with two of the songs from that EP and currently they are with all my belongings in a self-storage unit in Peru, Illinois. I will just have to transfer them to a digital audio file one day.

1 Comment

  1. Jeffrey:
    This is a very cool site. (The writing is top-notch.) I just discovered it after checking my site’s statistics and finding hits coming from your site. Lots of great memories. I have the Scott Wilk & the Walls album transferred to CD… The band I was in then, RIFF RAFF, backed them up at the SIU Student Center in November 1980. I always loved that album, especially the song “Careless” which always reminds me of the girls I knew at SIU-C those years. I ran downstairs to dig through my hundreds of albums looking for the Bohemia EP which I know I had at one point, but alas, I couldn’t find it. Must’ve loaned it to someone along the way, and it never came back. Ughh!!! That’s why I just make copies now…
    Thanks for referring my site. If you’re interested in any of my releases just contact me…
    Danny Imig

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