Imaginary Brazilian Revolution

Brazil is a state of carefree serenity. Brazil is attained by forsaking sanity.

Return . . . I will . . . to old . . . Brazil.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

High School in the Late 80's

Lyman: As I've been exploring Rock/Pop music I've been curious about history. Not so much in the sense of who made what music and when, but how people have experienced music. Since you're so old and you came of age in an entirely different era from me--you: late 80's, me: early 90's; you: genX, me: genY, I guess (okay, I know we're only 6 years apart, but you were aware in the late 80's and I wasn't)--I'm going to interview you here, assuming you're willing. Of course you are. Let's get on with it then. Just go to the posts page and click the button to edit this one and type your answers underneath each question and republish. Then I'll hit you with more questions and so on.

Tom: Give me an overview of how you saw the world in the late 80's. Were you aware and concerned about things going on in the culture and in the world? Or were you just focused on chicks and money?

Lyman: It seemed that there were very few things that were of worry. The Reagan and Bush era was in full bloom and it seemed that Reagan could do no wrong in the eyes of Utahns. So, for me personally, girls and sports were all that mattered.

T: What was the social structure of your high school? You know, who was cool? What kinds of groups were there (mods, goths, F-dudes, etc.)? How did you fit into this structure? Did you have a label?

L: There were no goths or mods (by those names anyway). We had F-dudes, preppies, jocks and skaters. Every one of the groups we had thought they were the coolest. It seemed that people not associated with these groups tended to think the F-dudes as cool only because they seemed to be the rebels. In any other state, they may have just seemed stupid and slow, but in Utah where most kids were pretty sheltered, they were going against the norm. I can't really say that I fit into any one of these groups. I went through stages sort of like Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. I went through a skater stage, but never really was very good so that didn't last long. I also went through a F-dude sort of stage. That is when I tried smoking and alcohol and listened to really crappy music (there are some songs from that period that I still enjoy, but for the most part the Big Hair Bands really were terrible.) I think I was mostly a jock just because I loved playing sports, but I was never really good enough to get the cockiness that is usually associated with jocks. I would need to talk to some of my friends from that era, but I don't think I ever had a specific label. In fact, I had friends from all the social groups. I forgot about one group that was started around that time, probably by people who didn't like any of the other labels. It was called the norms. They just wanted to be thought of as normal. I think I may have fit into this group as much as any, because I didn't really fit into any of the others.

T: Do I remember correctly that there was a kid who went by Soda-Pop? What was he? An F-dude? A punk?

L: Soda-Pop. Wow, now that brings back memories! He was actually a Breakdancer. Do you remember that? I heard a joke that went something to this effect: Do you know how breakdancing was invented? It was when kids started stealing hubcaps off of speeding cars. It really described it well I think. It was a few years late, like most trends to Utah back then. It was like nothing we had ever seen. It was so energetic and crazy. I actually see a lot of the dance moves nowadays and can definitely see the breakdance influence. Soda-Pop became the most popular kid in school instantly after a talent show where he showed off his killer moves, dude. After the trend ended, he had a hard time shedding his name. In fact I still can't remember his real name. He ended up getting me into skating a little several years later. In the end (of my experience with him anyway), he was a jerk. I caught him stealing one of dads little tape recorders and I know he also stole at least one bike from someone. I disassociated myself with him pretty quickly.

T: Were certain kinds of music associated with certain groups?

L: It seemed that is was the music you listened to more than anything that associated you with a particular group. Even more than your clothes and style. F-dudes listened to Heavy Metal (Metalica, Quiet Riot, AC/DC, Ozzy, ect.) Prepies to top 40 (Madonna, The Bengals, U2, INXS, ect.) Skaters seem to have been the group that explored the "weird" music more. The listened to I don't remember anymore, but some of them were like The Dead Kennedys, The Mighty Lemondrops, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies. I'm pretty sure it was when I was hanging with them that I first heard Violent Femmes. Jocks and Norms were allowed more freedom with there music because there aren't many NFL players that sing. Jocks only limitation was that it had the be exciting. It had to "pump you up!"


At 3/18/2006 7:37 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Awesome! I love this stuff. I get some more questions up soon.

At 3/24/2006 7:32 AM, Anonymous Susan M said...

What on earth were F-dudes?

I'm an 80's child, and if you want to know what my high school was like, just watch any John Hughes 80's teen movie.

I was the basketcase girl.

The groups in my school were the wavers/punks, jocks/preppies, geeks, and just the normal kids. I was a waver/punk, but there were so few of us, my friends were mostly all just normal kids.

And I remember being very scared of nuclear war. I was sure the world was going to end in nuclear war in my lifetime. (I wasn't LDS as a teen.)

At 3/24/2006 10:58 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Ha! F-dudes musta been a Utah thing. The term was out of use by the time I made it to high school (class of '97). I think it would've been what we called Stoners (not to be confused with the Skaters, who also used drugs). The stoners were still listening to Guns n' Roses and Metallica when I was in high school, while most everyone else who liked rock had moved on to Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. There was a certain brand of stoner, though, that had adopted gangsta rap by then (these were all white kids).

So did you dress in black and color your hair? Might wavers of your era be considered proto-Goth? Or is Goth groups in high school a phenomenon of the 90's? There was a goth dude in my school (which was the same one that Lyman went to) who wore dresses and capes sometimes.

At 3/25/2006 9:22 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

Lyman wore dresses and capes sometimes.

At 3/26/2006 7:52 AM, Anonymous Susan M said...

Goth started just before my high school days, in England, with the Batcave. You've never heard of the Batcave? When I was a teenager, I SO wanted to go to the Batcave.

Bands like Bauhaus, Specimen, the Cramps...

I ratted my hair up like Robert Smith and dressed in black (sometimes--paisley was also very big for punks/skaters/wavers back then). I wasn't goth though--goths would put white facepaint on. I knew a couple girls who would dress goth occasionally at school. I mean, there were two.

In junior high I'd put crazy make up on, I wanted to be Jordan. This chick here:


I have very few pictures of me looking punky/wavy from those days, but here's a couple:

Goth Susie

Robert Smith twin (I'm in the blue)

Psychedelic, man

Laugh all you like.

I think we called the metal stoner guys rockers. There were two rocker chicks who were just incredible, looking back on it now--totally glam rockers, they were doing it up big time everyday at school. Spandex, leather jackets, big hair, make up.


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