When I was in 7th & 8th grade - a couple of things really did it for me. One was soccer, and the other was ska music. I had never heard of ska music until the summer of 1998, when I befriended two older (high school!) snack-bar workers that were in a local band. They were called 'Jumpsuit Jerry', and they blew my little mind to smithereens. All I had ever really ‘heard’ of music was the stuff my parents would play - the Beach Boys, the Carpenters and Queen. When I first heard ska, it was so different - it was fun, it was off balance, and it was filled with serious / not-so-serious summer-y optimism.
The two elder Jumpsuit Jerry members were pretty awesome and introduced me to a new world of bands - classics like the Specials, the Selecter, Madness, and lots of newer 3rd wave ska bands. I loved this one local band called 'Big D and the Kids Table'. They were from Boston and had a split album called "Shot by Lammi". I inherited it through a friend's older brother (that's how the beautiful 'music sharing vortex of reverie' works). "Shot by Lammi" quickly became something near & dear to me.
This album made my overactive brain content. "Shot by Lammi" was a weird confidence builder and a BIG breath of fresh air. It definitely made me embrace my adolescent goofiness a little more. Not really 'class clown' goofiness - this was more like an 'Indiana Jones' loving, let’s do jumping jacks at the bus stop, excellent speller kind of goofiness. When I was 12, I didn't really know what was going on: I was best friends with my parents, my relationships with girls consisted of passing notes between classes and having phone conversations about how big our science teacher's ears were. My Friday nights consisted of 'going on the computer for half an hour' and telling people in chat rooms that I was a Doctor living in California, who was also the heir to the Snickers bar candy empire. My main point here is that in an indirect way Big D and Jumpsuit Jerry definitely caused me to embrace whacky, kooky, wholesome fun. This was something I could never get from Queen, or the Carpenters.
I actually bumped into David McWane at a bar on a summer afternoon in 2011. I was with some friends, and we all kind of drooled a little, pointed and then said hello - it was awesome.
[Tim Cahill is a lover of dogs, an eater of foods, and a self-proclaimed sideburns activist. He doesn't have a Twitter, who has the time? But here is a picture of Tears for Fears he quite enjoys]