Saturday, January 02, 2021

The Time Has Come

This was a frequent number played by the bands at high school and college dances toward the end of the evening. 

There was a period where we didn't call them "bands," though but "groups." Groups were cooler.  Bands were like what your school had at football games. Bands were like Desi Arnaz, or the Copacabana (of which Barry Manilow did an artful takedown a few years later), or Stan Getz.  I mean, you might as well have a quartet, or an ensemble. Geez. That silly snobbery didn't end until "The Weight" became popular in the States, which was a few years after it was released.  The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's name could be regarded as a bit ironic. Such were the subtleties of whether you were one of the cool kids or not.  You either picked up the cultural cues that "group" was cooler than "band," or you didn't. No one had to say it. 

If it went away and the fashion changed a few years later, so much the better, if you were keeping up with it.  If you were very good at those social shadings and could write clever insults about it, you went into popular journalism. That's basically what Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich brought to the table for the NYT. They reassured their audience that they had picked up the cues correctly, and if you had any doubts, they would broaden the hint so that you stayed on the right team. Ferociously good reading of cultural cues, and it does take some intelligence, though I wouldn't call it intellectual.


Sam L. said...

I have a cassette tape with that song on it!

Donna B. said...

I was in band in high school and college. I didn't have a chance at being cool.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yeah, and I had lots of friends in band (I played clarinet 4th-8th grade and knew plenty of them, and many doubled over into garage bands anyway) but still considered myself cooler, such was my personality. I did sing in church choir, even though it wasn't cool, because I loved it. CS Lewis references the spiritually protective nature of such loves in his Screwtape Letters.

Grim said...

I like the bit at 1:03 where you can see the guy generating the psychedelic video by bouncing a lens on a fluid with some oil in it.

RichardJohnson said...

I was in band in high school and college. I didn't have a chance at being cool.

The guy that played the sousaphone for band and pep band in my high school- is there an instrument more uncool than the sousaphone?- also played bass guitar in a rock band. He went on to play bass guitar for 40+ years in mostly country bands. He only stopped playing in bands for work at a day job so he could pay off his mortgage before retiring.

I didn't want to say "garage band" because they were rather skilled. They could play any of the hit songs- I especially recall their version of "It Ain't Me, Babe" -while I view garage bands as three-chord wonders. Three of the 5 also played in the school band. Two of the five spent most of their ensuing years trying to earn a living as a full time musician.

Country bands? Well, he was in the folk club in high school.

At my nerdy high school, band members were respected, even cool.