Listen: Take The Skinheads Bowling / Camper Van Beethoven Take The Skinheads Bowling.mp3
Do you remember 120 Minutes in the 80â€™s? It was on around midnight, Sundays, back when MTV still played videos. Iâ€™d been lazy and hadnâ€™t bothered to go see Camper Van Beethoven although they were a bit of a buzz. The clip for this came on, and even more than the footage I immediately loved the song. Couldnâ€™t get a copy fast enough the next day. Went right down to Tower and there was the 7â€³. This was just before actual vinyl singles started to be phased out by the labels, like their album counterparts – replacing them with cds. A great way to make everyone buy all the music they already owned again for twice the price. Sounded like an impossible plan, but it worked. Anyways, Tower on 4th & Broadway was the place for singles during the 80â€™s. The whole south wall of the shop was lined with 7â€™s. All the big titles, which included many, many acts not getting play but filling the Ritz and other big venues had their releases racked (as many as 50 copies) right next to the chart hits. You had to check the place about twice a week because once say, the new Smiths/kd Lang/Cult singles sold through, there would be the new Sisters Of Mercy/Replacements/Del Fuegos taking their slots, and on and on. Plus they stocked even more obscure bands – and imports as well. These would exist in 10 count amounts tops, all in bin rows just below the wall racked quantity titles described above. So you had to stay on your toes. Good fun though.
I quickly made my way to a few Camper Van Beethoven shows, where â€˜Take The Skinheads Bowlingâ€™ was the absolute highlight for me every time. The record sounds a bit thin nowadays, but it has such a great pop chorus, kinda silly lyrically maybe, but who cares. Years later the band evolved into Cracker. Just for the hell of it, fate dealt a coincidental card: their bass player Sal lives in the building right across the street from me. I was well pleased when he told me heâ€™d been a member of Sparks, even playing on their BIG BEAT album. Weâ€™ve since played and traded many singles. Heâ€™s another record nut. We figured we live on one of the few blocks, maybe only blocks, in the solar system where 2 copies of The Synâ€™s â€˜Created By Cliveâ€™ exist. Again, small world.