I’m at the gym the other day working out and I’ve got my iPod loaded with classic new wave tracks. When one of those tracks, “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” by X-Ray Spex comes on, I am immediately teleported back in time, back to December 1980 and January 1981 when I first heard this song on a new wave compilation album I bought at Plaza Records in Carbondale, Illinois.
As compilation albums come and go, it was a pretty decent one. Though for the life of me, I can’t figure out why Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were included with some of these bands and artists, unless Tom Petty’s Hearbreakers were confused with Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers. Big confusion, I know.
Whenever I hear any of these songs from this album (which is out of print and has never made the jump to CD) I always think back to that time. Indeed, when I think about those songs, I always think the time I went to the Space in Chicago to see David and the Happenings. I think of cold, gray days. For some reason, I have always associated my indoctrination with punk rock and new wave with those cold winter days. Warehouses converted into punk clubs, broken down buildings, steam rising up from sewers, winter blue-gray skies ringed with grayish white clouds. Pasty-faced men and women dressed in black; their eyes wild with anticipation. Safety pins, skinny ties, buttons on a lapel. I think about “Style Before Gel” in Damaged Goods–one night at the Space Place.
Sometimes all it takes is one song to take you on a journey.
Who’s up for a journey back in time?