Archive for the ‘Buzzcocks’ Category
I learned about this band during my senior year of high school, and I was quite pleased with myself to like such punky music—hitherto I had listened to softer things, the Police and such. The Buzzcocks was punk I could embrace; their version of punk really just seemed like pop love songs played very fast.
Back then, in the mid-’80s, you could find the Buzzcocks’ later albums, including their classic compilation Singles Going Steady, in any chain record store. Their earlier albums, Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites, hadn’t been released on an American label, and I wondered how on earth I would ever get to hear them. After months of searching I was lucky enough to find them in the import bins of a Record Town a few malls away, one copy of each—not in tight shrink wrap, but in these kind of weird loose clear plastic bags. They were each priced at $10.99, which seemed exorbitant for a single record. At the time an album cost around seven dollars. I felt guilty spending any amount of money as it was, and there was no way I was going to part with those few extra bucks, no matter how much I wanted the records. (By the way, this was slightly after that period when record stores, or the record sections of department stores, used a letter chart for pricing albums. Each album was stickered with a letter, and you would reference it against a chart on the wall. I think “AA” equaled $1.99, for a 7” single, and maybe “J” or “K” equaled $7.99, a full-length album. Caleb points out that this made sense, what with inflation the way it was back then; the staff wouldn’t have to keep restickering the stock as prices jumped.)
Not long after I found and didn’t buy the two early Buzzcocks albums, my dad and I went to Germany to visit family friends, for what was my first international trip. I was in a state of high teendom and bored out of my gourd, and entertained myself by visiting record stores, which were interestingly different from American ones. (There was a lot more Nena going around, for one.) I found Love Bites in a record store in Ludwigsburg and Another Music in a funky underground shop in Heidelberg—and finding them wasn’t any problem; they clearly knew what was good over there. Each cost about the equivalent of six American dollars, and I was gratified that I had bested Record Town. Of course, a year later I was in college, and I was routinely paying $11 or $12 for imports—by then I all but looked down my nose at American releases.
I’m not sure how it escaped me back then that there was something fairly gayish about the Buzzcocks. If I had seen their videos, it might have been clearer.