When I went to school at UW Milwaukee I met a friend, Paul B. It was the first time I had met a good friend in many years. His background was very different from mine, but we seemed to be pointed in the same direction and we hung out and dug on the same music. We became very close. For a while he actually worked with me at East Side Foods (much more on that later). He told me some very harrowing stories about his past and I respected him for coming through it all. We were friends when I lived in the dorms and he was a regular at my rented room in the house off campus (more on that later too). I was in a New Wave/Punk/Elvis Costello phase in those days, and Paul brought me back to straight up rock. It was during this time that Paul introduced me to (among other things) George Thorogood and The Destroyers. This was just good time guitar howling party music and I was in the exact right frame of mind to totally love it. In particular, the song “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” blew my mind. This was a cover of a BLUES song by John Lee Hooker, whom I was very familiar with. Paul loaned me all the old Thorogood tapes he had and I put together a smoking hot tape of the best songs from all the tapes. It blistered my speakers for the longest time.
Paul left school and did roofing for a while and got a room in an apartment across town with a few other guys and stayed there for about a year. It was harder to get together after that, but we did a few times. His apartment was on my bike route to the record store. His roommates were cool and we just sat around and listened to music and did typical college stuff. I recall vividly that they had framed pictures of rock greats on one wall as a shrine. Hendrix included… but I digress.
On one particular occasion we got on the bus and headed downtown to The Grand Avenue mall. It was a good time of window shopping and eating pizza in the food court. I took my camera (though I can’t really remember why) and I took the pictures that ended up becoming this tape cover.
First I had the George Thorogood tape in there, but eventually I replaced that with songs that I pulled from several different sources.
Now, Paul eventually disappeared from my life. He joined the Navy. He sent me a few letters and called me a few times, he was even going to be a backup groomsman in my wedding. He couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t draw a weekend watch on the wedding day, so we planned around that, but when the date approached I couldn’t get in contact with him and he never called or showed up, ever. I never found out what happened. After the wedding I did try to find him, but to no avail. So unfortunately, he is lost to history.
I still have this tape though.
Rock on Paul, wherever you are.
HARD PLAY HARD
- Winger on MTV Unplugged – Can’t Get Enough
- Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
- U2 – Numb
- U2 – Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
- The Mighty Might Bosstones – Lights Out
- Dramarama – Secret Track (#28 Hey Grandpa)
- P M Dawn – You Got Me Floating
- The Smashing Pumpkins – Quiet
- Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box
- Depeche Mode – I Feel Loved
- Depeche Mode – Walking In My Shoes
- Dramarama – Hey Grandpa
- Radiohead – Creep
- Ministry – Thieves
- Ministry – Stigmata
- Eric Clapton –CountyJailBlues
- Eric Clapton – Steady Rollin’ Man
- Jackyl – The Lumberjack
- Jackyl – Reach For Me
- Jackyl – Back Off Brother
- Jackyl – Brain Drain