It was 1985. I was 17. I was given a dorm room at UC-Santa Barbara and a new roommate from deep in the Inland Empire, Canyon Country to be exact. This guy proved to be quite a piece of work. When he learned that there was – gasp– a gay guy amongst us on the dorm floor, he took it upon himself to write a charming note that said “No fags use this stall, I don’t want AIDS”, and taped it in the communal bathroom. He and his pal would pour several bottles of liquid paper into a bag on a Friday night, and then violently huff it until they drooped over, while the rest of us sat in shocked silence while nursing our Meister Brau cans. Ah yes, to be young again. This particular nihilist also turned me onto one of my favorite records ever, the DREAM SYNDICATE‘s “The Days of Wine and Roses”, which had come out a few years before but which I’d only read about and seen in stores (it somehow seemed to miss the orbit of my teenage college radio station, which was probably a little too stuck on English post-punk to notice the dozens of incredible American bands making noise at the time). I think I can forgive just about anything he ever did – including the time he wouldn’t let me walk within 5 feet of “his side” of the room because I had a cold, or when he would open our door by putting his hand under his shirt to protect himself from germs – because he gave me the gift of knowing about this singular masterpiece.
I think it’s probably fair to say that I’ve spun this record more than any single disc outside of the FLESH EATERS‘ “A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die”. From the thumping single snare intro to