Giving music a label seems to be the best way to sell it. Punk was not working, new wave was. But for those of us who wanted something with balls, we created the term “power pop”. It was hook laden music with those thrashing guitars we had grown to love in the punk scene.
Bands like The Jam were leaning towards that sound. Joe Jackson emerged as a power pop version of Elvis Costello. These artists wanted hit records. Record companies wanted to create a sensation. The masses ate it up.
British bands like The Records, The Motors, The Jags all fell into the power pop category. For the US is was The Knack, Cheap Trick, The Pretenders, etc. It seemed like there was a new band every week. They were getting airplay. New music was finally accepted.
I was happy for them, but sad for me. I liked most of it, but it wasn’t the same.
There was some new music coming out. No Wave started up in New York. bands like James White and The Blacks, Lydia Lunch were too weird for me. I couldn’t get into it.
The Los Angeles punk scene had bands like Black Flag and X. I wasn’t feeling it anymore.
Record World was getting boring. Some of my closest friends moved on.
I was just about ready to do the same.
One of the regular customers at Record World was Steve Weinhouse. Steve was a good guy. We shared the same musical gene. He turned me on to some great bands. Specifically Sparks. Loved four or five of their albums. They are still around today creating new genres of music. Ron Mael is the genius writer. His flamboyant brother Russell, the singer. Very unusual and fun band to get into, but not for everybody. Thank God for that.
Aside from Sparks, I was back to exploring old music. I got heavily into pop music, even Abba (I admit it). Motown, soul, and early 60’s music turned me on.
When I saw the suburban sewer rats buying Billy Joel and The Knack at the same time, I knew it was over.
**Steve Weinhouse turned out to be comedian Steve O (not the jackass guy) and later Steve Ochs, writer of Rugrats. he lives in L.A now and still listens to Sparks.