Cable TV was a new thing for me somewhere around 8th or 9th grade.
Growing up, we could never really afford pay television. I don’t recall how it was the change from that came about…I’m sure the extra income from Dave, my stepfather, had altered the economics of the single income household I was raised in with my mother and sister. Perhaps, with my sister well into high school and myself nearing it’s start, we’d finally badgered enough about missing the cool shows and exciting entertainment to get it into our house. Maybe our parents considered us finally old enough. Or maybe they just wanted something to watch themselves.
All I know is, much later than most, MTV was a new thing for me, a magical thing I’d only heard about from friends and caught glimpses of at their houses. This was back in the days of music videos and shows like 120 Minutes. Suddenly, I was presented with more music than I ever imagined existed, growing well beyond the limited local radio content of country, classic rock, oldies and pop. The one listenable (and excellent) radio station, Chicago’s Q101, was complimented with the television channel’s late night blasts of weird rock. Suddenly, I could see the bands James VanOsdol was always talking about and some he hadn’t even mentioned yet.
My first, my best, my most favorite of discoveries from those late nights of Pringles, Dr. Pepper, and music videos, was The Refreshments and their sort-of hit, Banditos. Little did I know, sitting there in my family living room with the volume low so as not to wake my parents, that I was discovering the band that I’d continue to carry with me fourteen years later, not as nostalgia, but as a current, relevant part of my ongoing life.
Now, of course, for those that know, the Refreshments are no longer and have not been for many years. You could call the current incarnation, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, a new band, but I’ve always thought of it simply as an evolution of the music Clyne and company continue to create to this day.
It’s the Southwestern sound, the guitars, and the fun pop. It’s the sounds of Mexico and the philosophy of “if you’re bottle’s empty, help yourself to mine…and here’s to life”. If ever there were a band for me (and I’ve spent most of life digging through vinyl, cassettes & CDs and bouncing around shows taking bands in), then this is the one.
RCPM and fans came up with a list of songs in recent years meant for the rest of the world, the ones who haven’t had the pleasure of singing along to the lyrics of Mexico arm-in-arm with complete strangers or driving country roads in the dark matching sorrows and hopes with Roger Clyne’s lyrics. The first list is The Magnificent 7 Part Uno! and it’s here and it’s free and it’s for you:
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Or the individual tracks:
So have a taste (Mekong is particularly excellent), take a listen. Help yourselves to theirs, and to mine. And enjoy. Here’s to life.