November 04, 2005

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part XV

It was Monday, November 4, 1985.

I haven't posted much about the week and a half since my (I later learned) fateful encounter with Tom Myhre. There's really just not much material. The days after the demonstration were a blur; a long, beige blur. Most of the time, I sat at my host's kitchen table, poring over want ads, making phone calls, bundling resumes into envelopes. Noon, if I was lucky, meant a trip to the post office to mail a couple of rap sheets out. But nothing much came back.

After my initial flurry, there weren't many job interviews, although not for lack of trying. I remember the occasional foray out onto the freeways, whose pace and idiosyncrasies I was slowly starting to figure out.

The thing I most remember from the next ten days was music; while the actual goings-on of that week and a half are lost to mundane, beige history, I can remember the songs I heard on the radio, each associated with some thing or activity or place or feeling: "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits, which I heard for the first time ever on WLOL-FM with Hines and Berglund as I turned out onto 494 for my first rush hour; "Shout" by Tears for Fears, driving down Cedar Avenue, dejected after another loser job interview; "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister, in the background after my host left for work and I started getting down to business; "I Just Died In Your Arms" by, er, Cutting Crew, in the same chair six hours later after probably a dozen phone calls and a few abortive conversations with disinterested hiring managers who'd no doubt heard from plenty of unqualified college grads already that day; "If You Love Somebody" by the newly Police-free Sting, as I sat and stared at MTV and wondered how Sting had gone from the great Police frontman to being perhaps the blandest presence in pop music; last, and worst, "We Built This City", which was everywhere - on MTV, on all the top-forty stations, at gas stations, everywhere. Hearing it, I wondered if the Cold War were perhaps lost after all; the notion that in 1985 a video director would think twenty seconds of footage of Craig Chaquico playing a guitar solo compelling struck me as oddly East German. I shivered and moved on.

There had really only been two big events: On Wednesday, November 30, I got a call back from Bruce Huff, the executive producer at KSTP, asking me in for an interview on Monday. And on Friday, November 1, I moved from the couch in Burnsville to an apartment on 37th and Minnehaha in South Minneapolis. The move, natch, was no big shakes; all my stuff fit in the back seat, with probably enough room left over for a passenger or two, if I'd needed. The guitars, of course, rode in front with me. It took me two trips to get my stuff stowed in my room, followed by a trip to a ratty mattress surplus joint on Lake Street, where thirty (of my rapidly-dwindling store of) dollars got me a single mattress, no box. I took it home, flopped it on the floor, and took a nap.

That night, of course, came the first big culture shock. There was a little hole-in-the-wall bar across the street, "Jimmy's Steaks and Spirits". I walked across Minnehaha for my first big one-beer night out - and figured there was no better way to break in my new place than to store my first six-pack in my first fridge. I flagged down the bartender. "Could I get a six to go?"

He laughed and kept moving.

Huh? "Do you do off-sale?"

He looked at me like I'd asked for an oil change. Asking for a six-pack to go - the great North Dakota after-bar-trip tradition - was illegal?

Friggin' nannystate, I thought as I paid my $1.75 tab and left.

The interview was scheduled for Monday at 3PM. I got a nice, early start - which was a good thing, since true to my rapidly-developing tradition of incompetence at navigating in the 'burbs, I got lost, taking Highway 36 to Snelling (AKA "MN 51") instead of Highway 61. 51, 61, what's the difference, right?

But I regrouped, got to the interview on time, and was escorted back to talk with a woman, Jean, who was the producer for a guy named Geoff Charles. Geoff wasn't there, so Jean - a thirtyfivish redhead with a manner that could charitably called "flinty", took over. The job she described - call screener for Charles - was a new one. While I'd prided myself on having done just about everything one could do in a radio station, talk radio was a whole new animal for me.

The interview went well, but not spectacularly. I walked out of the station telling myself you said you were done with radio. This interview probably makes it official. I didn't expect I'd gotten the job.

A phone call from Jean a couple of days later confirmed this. I pretty much gave up on the idea of radio - especially talk radio, which just didn't look like my thing. No big.

I hunkered down for a long-term search.

Posted by Mitch at November 4, 2005 12:09 PM | TrackBack

"Minnesota, the state where nothing is allowed"

One tiny reason to hate Joe Soucheray a little less maybe?

Posted by: Marty at November 6, 2005 12:39 AM

The Producer Price index (PPI) last week showed a bigger-than-expected rise in wholesale prices, but little in the way of so-called core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices Diamonds

Posted by: Diamonds at January 19, 2006 09:41 AM

Hi I just *bumped into* your blog while doing a search for Hines & Berglund...I grew up listening to those guys...I just loved their funny "Up Your News" commentary on current events and fondly recalled them playing "(I Don't Wanna Work) I (Just) Want To Bang on The Drum All Day" on Fridays...

Keep up the nice blog... glad you stopped using red text though (ouch, my eeeeyeees!)

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