The music you listen to when you are in your teens and twenties never leaves you. Something about that impressionable age, when all experiences are new, the music gets planted in your soul. And sometimes, on rainy days like this morning, the thought comes to you out of nowhere, “I wonder whatever happened to that band X that I used to love.”
In the days before the internet this would mean running through your collection of cassette tapes, videotapes and CDs or maybe call up a friend to see if they had anything. Now that we have the internet all I had to do was type “Groovechild sick at last” in Google.
Groovechild was the band that ruled UNH when I was there. This was 1991-1995 so Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and flannel were in, LA hair metal bands were out. Flannel suited New Hampshire just fine, in fact I think it never went out. There was also a huge stoner subculture in New Hampshire so the jam bands were enormous – Phish, the Dead, etc.
Unlike the Dead and Phish, I have yet to meet someone who didn’t like Groovechild when they heard them. They made songs like “Riverside” which appealed to pretty much everyone but they also made epic long jam songs like this one:
It’s so crazy to me that footage like this exists. Here was a band that I thought I would never see again and now I can see footage of them from when I was in school 20 years ago.
Watching the footage I wonder “Why didn’t this band hit it big?” They had the sound, the stage presence and they set the crowd on fire. The ruled a small pond totally but never hit the national level.
Maybe it was my impressionable age but there were so many bands in the NH-MA area that were just so damn good that never got any airplay or press. Media outlets were limited back then and if you weren’t top 40 or on WBCN, forget it. But at the same time this forced bands to be resourceful. In 1993 I saw the band Percy Hill in the basement of our university student ghetto Young Drive. This was when they were just starting out and they grew into this:
But there was something so great about that. Going out to a live show, expecting nothing and being blown away. I saw some nameless band on a whim at the Middle East and the girl I was with shouted in my ear, “I’m having an AWESOME time!” I bought the CD and never forgot them, although just about everyone else did:
Friends of mine lived in Boston for the summer of 1993 and I remember them telling me about the Plough & Stars house band G. Love and Special Sauce. Before the internet, it was cool to say “I knew about this band before they were big.” It sounds stupid now but back then it took a lot of effort to find quality music. So yes, I knew about G. Love before he hit the national level.
Although they came along later, one last band that should have hit it big was the band Mr. Airplane Man. Two girls with a stripped down sound, drums and guitar, that’s it. Try this one, it should be in the soundtrack of some movie. I saw them at the Middle East and was deaf for half of the next day:
Thanks for running down memory lane with me. It was a fun afternoon.What little known local band from your youth do you wish got more press?