Pink House. 130 North Street. Back In The Day.

Fellow residents from the 1991-94 years were Clint Curtis, Shyam Patel, Raj Krishnasami, Lydia Craft, Jess Deltac, Kyle York Spencer, Caroline Rivers Hall, Mel Lanham, Michelle Sinnott, Jay Murray, N'Gai Wright, Scott Bullock (who crashed on the couch for a year before finally moving in), Bryan Ellerson, Karen Hurka, Sally Stryker, Ryan Mathias, Charlie Speight, Chris Palmatier, Trent McDevitt, and Steve William.



Besides holdovers and returnees Jay, Scott, Mel (& Laverne!), Chris, and N'Gai, residents during 1995-97 included Allen Sellars (who, like Jay, lived at both the Pink House and 401 Pritchard), Ian Williams, Zak Bisacky, James Dasher, Linden Elstran, Jiffer Bourguignon, Grant Tennille (who first made the scene as a fixture in N'Gai's room circa summer '93), Zia Zareem, Ben Folds, Tom Holden, and Chris "Chip" Chapman.

- Erik Ose

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Flashback to the New England Tour '93 and a Suede/Bowie soundtrack

Now that I've got the digital audio hook-up, I'm gradually recording artifacts from my cassette collection. It was while looking for more tapes from the Pink House era earlier tonight that I happened to find the mix tape Mel Benner made for us the day we left town with Lem and Derek Elliott to drive north on the New England Tour '93.

Lem's cousin, Derek, Lem & Erik at Lem's aunt's house in Boston, Dec. '93

It wasn't really a mix, it was simply Bowie's 1973 LP Aladdin Sane on one side, and on the other, a new, self-titled debut LP by Suede, a UK group I'd never heard of. Although apparently, that's because I wasn't reading any issues of the British music press that littered the XYC studios. During '92-'93, Suede were the most-hyped English band since the Sex Pistols, and when their debut record dropped in late March '93, it was the fastest-selling UK debut since Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Welcome To The Pleasuredome in 1984.


Mel, however, was tuned in. At the time, she was living in a tiny house on one of the streets of Northside that ran west off Church Street, a little ramshackle shotgun shack. She was really excited about Suede, and thought they were the reincarnation of glam-era Bowie. So she made this tape for us to play on our roadtrip. It added some rockin' flavor to everyone else's preferred vibes (hip hop for Derek, deep house for Lem, and 70s funk for me).

I was hooked from the first song (So Young), because their debut album was a freaking classic, a neo-glam masterpiece.



It didn't hurt that it was probably also the first time I'd ever heard Aladdin Sane (except for the better known tracks Panic in Detroit and The Jean Genie).



For the next seven years or so, this tape never left whatever car I was driving at the time. Even during the period I was rocking my deathtrap '84 Mazda GLC that lacked a tapedeck and I had to cart around a little boombox in the back floorwell. The Suede/Bowie tape became part of my essential driving soundtrack. I’m shocked it's still playable.


Don't know what happened to Mel Benner, because she graduated and left town the next year and I never saw her again. I can't find a Facebook or other definitive link for her, but she was a track star at UNC, and I did find mention of a Melisssa Benner in PA who was still running in charity 5K races as of 2009. So hope she's doing well.

While googling Suede to see where they are today, I found out they're back together and touring Europe right now! They've got a UK gig coming up at London's 02 Arena on December 7. Not that I'm gonna hop on a plane and go, and unfortunately, they're touring without their original lead guitarist Bernard Butler, who co-wrote all the songs on their first LP and played a huge role in shaping their sound. But surely it will be a great show, and for that reason alone, right now seems a particularly appropriate time to be looking back to the moment 17 years ago in a Northside driveway when we were preparing to embark on yet another memorable Pink House road trip and Mel first turned us all on to Suede.

"This is dedicated to all those who will contribute to the New England Tour '93, whether in the city or on the road..." – Lem, 12/21/93, 2:32 am

1 comment:

  1. I was a MASSIVE suede fan back in the day (no surprise, I'm sure, given my Brit pop tendencies) ...there was even a span of time where I had declared the song "My Dark Star" as a personal theme song

    ReplyDelete

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