101 Middlebury Music Memories

  1. 28-29-12 (WRMC-FM mail drawer combination)
  2. Discovering Nirvana via a “Smells Like Teen Spirit” CD5 in the ‘RMC office discard pile
  3. Hardcore fan Jon D. only listening to Quiet Riot and The Cars when drunk
  4. A pair of size infinity white men’s briefs tacked to the wall in the ‘RMC office
  5. The guys from mid-Atlantic shoegazing outfit Smashing Orange chasing each other around McCullough in a snowball fight before their show
  6. Jesse C.’s black, high-top Reboks
  7. David A., AKA Wishus, performing Q-Tip’s rap during TBA’s cover of “Groove is in the Heart”
  8. A summer job at ‘RMC that in practice consisted of sleeping off the previous night’s errors in judgment on the station lounge couch
  9. Pocket Monster, LOUD, in the basement of the Mill, with future star Kid Millions on drums
  10. “Dis iss Entombed. You ahhr lissening to W-AHH-MC, de sickest station in de nation!”
  11. The mixtape from Matt H. that first introduced me to the Wedding Present and other strains of MattMusic
  12. Despite my newfound immersion in college rock, picking the Stones’ Sticky Fingers as the best ever all-around rock album for a Middlebury Campus story; on 20 years’ reflection, it would still rank in the top 5
  13. Watching the blizzard of ’92 from my top floor Voter window, soundtracked by Galaxie 500’s On Fire, esp. “Snowstorm”
  14. Walking down to Sound Source to buy Nevermind, then ripping it out of the cardboard long box and turning it over in my hands as I returned to campus
  15. Taking a sad field trip to the local classic rock station to help pick up their turntables after they “upgraded” to a satellite feed and 100-disc changer filled with greatest hits collections
  16. Falling in love with the Mancini soundtrack to Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil
  17. Playlists, with a request to spin at least 30% new music
  18. A bag of vacuum-packed cow meat sent as a promotion for the Eugenius album Oomalama; seeing it tacked to the office wall and watching it turn blue with rot over the course of a semester
  19. The blue eyed soul of ‘RMC Classical manager David S.
  20. Staring at my lava lamp to the tune of “Higher Than the Sun” by Primal Scream, on repeat
  21. Absorbing everything by the Replacements and Red Hot Chili Peppers in Dave A.’s room in the Allen pit
  22. Gordon Gano in the UVM gym bitterly complaining, during the set, on the injustice of the Violent Femmes opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  23. The 10 seconds it took to figure out that the new, anonymous white label 12” we were playing was in fact “Gett Off” by Prince
  24. Jane Voss & Hoyle Osbourne’s “Sparkle and Shine”
  25. Being called at 2 AM by Shawn H. to get up, come across campus to drink with him and listen to Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss; doing so
  26. Putting the final Replacements EP Don’t Buy Or Sell It’s Crap in the studio new bin only to see it stolen within 2 hours
  27. Hearing the Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine” everywhere I went, despite all efforts to avoid it
  28. Memorizing the lyrics to Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”
  29. Sa-Sa-Samantha Fox, in a chain mail minidress on a memorable office poster
  30. Fulfilling my responsibilities as ‘RMC Rock Manager by listening to 30 seconds of two tracks on an album before declaring it awful and using it as a Frisbee—times 1,000
  31. Making out with a girl on the studio lounge couch after getting caught in a rain storm together
  32. Damon H.s’ hip hop show
  33. My post-Rattle & Hum disdain for U2 slowly melting before the undeniable power of Achtung Baby
  34. Dickie Barrett of Mighty Mighty Bosstones starting their McCullough show by sneering that he liked playing for real people, not college kids
  35. Jon D.’s punk rock friend Tim from Boston, who loved the band The Cows so much he had a Holstein tattooed across his entire back
  36. Hevvy Haig
  37. Campus hardcore band Viet Nun playing “Breed” by Nirvana in the student center
  38. Jesus Cricket’s “I’m In Love with the Phone Mail Lady”
  39. Giving records a 1/3 turn back to cue them up
  40. Dan H. in the ‘RMC lounge, debating whether he’d prefer a tattoo of the Underwood Deviled Ham devil or the Fresca logo (that’s not him in the photo, BTW, just proof that this is a big, big world)
  41. The Goo Goo Dolls concert in the SDUs; openers Jesus Cricket covering Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” complete with camera sfx, and “Step On” by Happy Mondays
  42. Three years on the air with David A., in progressively more humane time slots
  43. My first baby steps into jazz appreciation
  44. Being impressed that classmate Bill O. quit football for rock and roll
  45. Getting a 5 lb bag of soil from the band Alice in Chains, and only realizing weeks later that buried inside was their new album Dirt
  46. Embarrassing clothes worn to dance parties in McCullough; trust me
  47. My first CD shelf, made for me out of pine by Shawn H.
  48. Matt H. DJing dance parties in that awful bunker connecting two of the New Dorms (before the renovations)
  49. Watching in astonishment as the guys from Phish bounced on trampolines while playing in perfect time
  50. Guy from Fugazi biting down and singing through the pickup in his guitar, at a road trip show to Bennington College
  51. Playing Gene Pitney’s “A Town Without Pity” as the last song on my last undergraduate show at ‘RMC
  52. Getting lost for hours in the ‘RMC record library’s 25,000+ record vinyl collection
  53. Returning to campus to teach a J Term class in 2006, and getting a weekly slot at the station
  54. Heartbreak in ’06 upon learning that most of the station’s vinyl collection had been thrown away the previous year
  55. Joy in ’06 upon discovering—and ripping to my computer–dozens of fondly remembered CDs that had mercifully not been thrown out, in the station library
  56. Serving as ‘RMC Fashion Director (I was tasked with making a station tee shirt, which I did, badly) just to hold onto an office key
  57. Matt H.’s epic 80s shows at ‘RMC during finals weeks, which could stretch for many hours as he took requests and played obscurities
  58. Using my cheap double tape deck to mix the end of “Purple Rain” into the intro of “Alphabet Street” on the fly
  59. The fall of ’91 when Nevermind spread from room to room and dorm to dorm like an STD
  60. Seeing Robyn at Higher Ground with Tim and Nancy Spears in 2010
  61. The minor wonders of the ‘RMC record library’s 7-inch shelves (mercifully, among the only vinyl not tossed during the vinyl purge, although the studio no longer had a 45 adapter for the turntable)
  62. The D8 singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
  63. Getting put in the wrong line with comp tickets to see Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and RHCP in Burlington; getting in just as Vedder was wrapping up his last song and climbing down from the rafters
  64. Hiding from campus security in the dark under the ‘RMC studio soundboard, alongside Matt H., on a night when many mistakes were made
  65. Thinking that the guys from Buffalo Tom, who lugged their own gear, were really nice and down to earth—particularly after the Bosstones fiasco
  66. Believing that Loveless would be the future of rock and roll
  67. Screwing up on air regularly
  68. Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) in Mead Chapel
  69. Having a strong opinion about Pearl Jam
  70. Going to Starr Library just to read Billboard
  71. Walking out of a Rollins Band/Beastie Boys show in the UNH gym because the sound was so goddamned terrible
  72. Keeping certain CDs in the station office in an attempt to keep them from being stolen; titles included Wish by the Cure and Between 10th and 11th by the Charlatans UK
  73. The glee upon the arrival of the monthly Rockpool Rock Box, filled with glorious indie CDs and records
  74. The Replacements on their final tour, in Boston
  75. The Vermonstress festival in Burlington, headlined by Beat Happening
  76. Putting a big WRMC sticker over the cover of The Dwarves’ Blood, Guts and Pussy album in a moment of censorious anxiety; getting lots of shit for it
  77. Being instantly smitten with the lead singer of Burlington band Hover, and getting up the nerve to ask her out on the spot, which she actually accepted
  78. Matt H.’s 37-foot by 37-foot Kitchens of Distinction poster
  79. Josh B. regularly calling into the show for his Juliana Hatfield request fix
  80. Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine double bill at Avalon in Boston
  81. Dinner in Lower Proctor with Stephanie J. and other radio station folks following staff meetings
  82. Renaming my friends’ band Adhesive X, after the super glue invented by the evil Baron Zemo in Avengers comics
  83. Banging my head into my roommate’s concrete floor while spazzing out to “Monkey Gone to Heaven” just before a party
  84. Dave A.’s little sister’s friend getting hit on by Ice T’s DJ Evil E at a show on the first Lollapalooza tour
  85. Realizing it must be past 3 AM and the beverages were almost gone whenever The Pogues came on, usually via Tom L.
  86. Monster Magnet at a tiny little bar in western Mass; Blake Babies on the deck in Jon D.’s hearse late at night on the way home
  87. Being told in all seriousness by David F. that the live album Hard Rain was inappropriate listening for a Bob Dylan novice
  88. Finding comments from me and my friends on CDs in the station library on my return in 2006
  89. Riding with Jon D. when he picked up the town’s Elvis impersonator and gave him a ride down Rte. 7; Elvis thanked us kindly and explained that the Colonel had his Cadillac in for service, he said that Vermont had been a wonderful place to lie low since the 1970s; hearing incredulous workers in the dining halls insist that he couldn’t be Elvis because they went to high school with him
  90. My mild-mannered freshman year neighbor Tim’s starry-eyed crush on Natalie Merchant: “She’s so frumpy” he sighed longingly
  91. Lusting over the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz box set carried around by students in the Jazz class
  92. Making unfortunate but all too often accurate snap judgments of people based on the presence of Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits and Bob Marley Legend in their collections
  93. The ancient ‘RMC studio soundboard with pots instead of sliders
  94. The reel to reel machine (and piles of tapes) in the back studio
  95. The colored vinyl decorating the ‘RMC lounge walls
  96. Helping to hide a secret time capsule behind the bulletin board in the ‘RMC offices before graduating
  97. My Black Crowes cassette
  98. The two heavy-set guys from dining services who played in a local hair metal band
  99. Puzzling over the utter enigma that was the band Pavement in the wake of Slanted & Enchanted
  100. Late nights rewatching tapes of MTV’s 120 Minutes recorded on VHS at home during breaks

And the very best one of all:

  1. Catching Bill O’s band downtown at Woody’s just before heading off unknowingly to my date with destiny where I first fell in love with (my wife today) Anne

Just don’t ask me anything about my classes.

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