Jul 062008

In round-robin fashion, let’s share our rock ‘n roll regrets. I’ll start. Your regrets do not have to mirror my initial example in form or content. The regret could be over the buying of a particular album, like one of those Style Council lps. The regret could be about a public expression of rock beliefs among the wrong crowd. Just be honest.

I regret not buying Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on vinyl within a few years of its release. For years I was content to listen to friends’ and roomates’ copies, saving my precious few dollars for buying other records that no one in my circle of friends owned. Then, by the time I felt I should own the album myself, CDs were out and I didn’t want to be confused with some yuppie asshole who was coming late to the party. Cool record store clerks keep track of that stuff, you know. To this day I do not own Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. I keep thinking I’ll find a used, worn copy at some out of the way location, where my latecomer purchase may not be recognized and reported by The Cool Patrol.


  36 Responses to “Regrets, I’ve Had a Few”

  1. 2000 Man

    That clip is too long!

    I regret not having seen The Stones in 78 and 81. They were too popular for me, because I was 16 and I was “underground.” I was really worried about The Cool Patrol back then. I would have had boffo seats in 81, too. They were fifteen bucks, though!

    I regret not keeping track of some of my old albums. I traded some of them for more organic things, and gave some away because I thought I wouldn’t listen to them anymore, or traded them in because I was sure I’d be forced to pick them up on cd that way. It didn’t work.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    I, too, regret turning down the chance to see the Stones in the second row on either their ’81 or ’82 tour (Sammy will confirm if it was ’82, if he also had the chance to turn down that offer). A guy we knew in college scored a whole row of seats for $12 a pop from his union leader dad. The Cool Patrol was looking over my shoulder, and I succumbed to their pressure. Bastards!

  3. mockcarr

    I missed the ’82 (for a brief period – last, more like next to next to next to next to last) Who tour to my regret that way too. That beer poster was ubiquitous on campus and annoyed me too much with commerical sell-out properties. That and no more Keith, so was it really THE WHO anymore? Actually, they’d sold out in 1967 officially, and I just didn’t want to stand on a football field with lousy sound and not see anything but drunken louts hollering Teenage Wasteland.

  4. In 1982 or so, inspired by a picture of Joe Perry in the gatefold of Live Bootleg, I plunked down some serious dough for a B.C. Rich Bich.

    For those who aren’t familiar with this guitar, it looks a bit like the batman symbol turned sideways and the version that I bought had a locking tremolo and no less than 11 different knobs and switches on it (seriously, 11) for, you know, getting the Right Tone and whatnot.

    The irony of me having this high performance, shredder-type guitar is that at the time I was heavily into stuff like the Velvet Underground, the Stones and Muddy Waters.

    Unlike the Mod’s tale however, my story has a relatively happy ending in that I traded the Bich for a Strat AND a P Bass a few years later, both of which I still have. But I’m still plagued by the fact that I exercised such poor judgment in the first place. You may be able to atone for your sins sometimes, but forgetting about them is a lot tougher.

  5. Oh, also, I was bartending at the Warfield Theater in SF when Nirvana came through on their Nevermind tour. I requested not to work that show because I knew the crowd was going to be a pain in the ass. I’m not a big Nirvana fan but it would have been cool to see something that wound up being so big just when it was building up a good head of steam.

  6. BigSteve

    For reasons I can’t recall I passed on the chance to see the Live at Leeds era Who. And I do recall that it was student council meeting that made me miss the Band in 1970 or so. Lame. I missed the Doors too, but I don’t really regret that, though I think it may have turned out to be their last concert.

    It was also lame to think we could just drive to Baton Rouge to see the Sex Pistols without buying advance tickets, which would have been easy to do. And I have no Cool Patrol to blame for this.

  7. I regret falling into a black hole of classic-rock listening habits starting around 8th grade or so. Although, paradoxically, I do not regret seeing Pink Floyd at Vet Stadium on the Division Bell tour. I think of it as a hilarious biographical detail.

    I really regret not flying to England in 2002 to see Pulp on their forest tour. I decided to take a new job where I wouldn’t have enough vacation time to make the trip. There would eventually be no American tour, and the band instead went into deep freeze at the end of ’02.

  8. BigSteve

    I regret watching Joan Rivers interview GWAR just now.

  9. I regret purchasing a Spin Doctors album in high school (and not selling it back until last year). Ahh the best nickel I ever earned, although hip record shop employees have long memories of what you sell back as well. “Ahem, I’m not sure how I came to own this. My brother must have gotten some of his CDs mixed in with mine.”

    …and I regret not taking out my arch nemesis Van Morrison before he put out his gazzillionth album.


    I also regret not flying in England on one of Bruce Dickinson’s flights when he flew for Astraeus Airlines

  10. Regrets – Not picking up the message that I could have been backstage working in the hospitality area at Live Aid.

    Hey Mr Mod – the reason you never bought “Never Mind…” was that you had bought “The Clash” and I had bought “Never Mind…” the same day down in DC when were were college visting. We then exchanged tapes

  11. I regret not pulling the trigger yesterday on the 6 disc Gene Vincent box (the UK one).

    I have no GV in my collection and decided that needed to be rectified and so went searching yesterday. Even I couldn’t justify getting the Bear Family box but an amazon reseller had the other set for $56. I quickly went to half and eBay to see if there were any copies there. Nope. Back to amazon to get the set and it’s gone and the next cheapest one was $113.

    So, any suggestions on just what GV I need? And while you’re at it, same question vis-a-vis Eddie Cochran.

  12. Another regret that Geo will remember. Back around 1972, Geo wanted to go to the Main Point to see Randy Newman. Opening act was a then unknown Jim Croce. I talked a couple of other friends into going (“You’ll love Newman and this other Croce guy is from Upper Darby!”) and I drove us all there. First show was sold out. I couldn’t convince the other guys to go to the late show. Geo said he was staying, he’d find his way home somehow.

    My friends and I went down the road to the movie theater and laughed our heads off for 4 hours watching a double bill of “Take The Money & Run” and “Bananas”. A great night but I could have seen those movies anytime.

    Geo, how about a review of the Croce/Newman show? And how did you get home?

  13. BigSteve

    I recommend the Legendary Masters collection (was a double LP, now a single CD) for Cochran. It looks like it’s out of print, but Amazon has cheap copies.

    Speaking of which some guy has a ‘very good’ used copy of a 4-CD Cochran set up on Amazon for $2325.00! Wow.

    When I get home to my collection, I can see if I still have the vinyl transfers of a couple of really excellent French pressings of Gene Vincent albums.

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    Mockcarr, you are mistaken. The ’82 tour brought the Who to the Cap Center, in support of “It’s Hard.” I should know, ‘cuz I was there! I remember it being a pretty good show — the first on the tour, I think — and at the end, Pete actually smashed a guitar! The fact that it was a Schecter Tele knock-off sort of lessened the grandeur of the moment, but hey.

    On the topic of those ’82 “Schlitz and The Who Rock America” posters — I stole a box of them from the liquor store where we used to buy our Wiedeman’s, and I still have it in my basement. Folks are flogging the posters on eBay for, like, 10 bucks apiece. Like Chuck Berry and his fleet of worthless 1977 Lincoln Continentals, I plan to hold onto my poorly designed, shades-of-TRON , Kenny-Jones’-Head-is-Clearly-Airbrushed-Onto-Keith’s-Body posters until they’re worth thousands… then I’ll sell them to *you*. Get that checkbook ready!


  15. All time biggest regret: pissing away a ton of money in the early 80s on a bootleg copy of The Beach Boys “Smile” -hands down, the most overrated work of art during the last century.

    Al, 1 CD of Gene Vincent is enough for anybody. He runs out of steam after the first two Capitol LPs. Few of those 50s rockabilly dudes warrant a 27 disc Bear Family retrospective. The hands down, one exception, is the Buddy Holly 5 LP set that’s no longer in print. Once every couple of years, I plant my ass on the couch with the Goldrosen biography with the phono blasting the LPs and remain in that position until I’m through with the book.

    One could also argue for the Carl Perkins Sun box.

    One more thing, a couple of weeks ago, a clean out guy showed up at the flea market with boxes and boxes of bootleg CDs that he was selling for peanuts. In that load was a Dylan box set with about 7 or 8 discs called “Genuine 1966 Live”. Super awful shit but very fascinating.

    Hope all is well,
    E. Pluribus

  16. mockcarr

    HVB that’s why my post is entered as a “regret”.

  17. Yeah, The Screaming End is an excellent single CD compilation of Vincent. Satisfying, and at 20 songs as much as anybody should need.

  18. mockcarr

    And no, I don’t want a poster, I wouldn’t line a cat box with that thing! Schlitz is just bad spelling for what it tastes like and gives you later on.

  19. saturnismine

    I regret missing Endless Boogie at JohnnyBrendas on sunday night, you old freaking farts!!!

    Seriously, though, these stories are GREAT. I wanna hear about that Croce / Newman show, too, Geo. Lay it out there.

  20. hrrundivbakshi

    I’ll tell this one quickly for the benefit of new gearhead RTHers out there:

    I regret sticking to my budget when I bought my first guitar. I told myself I wouldn’t spend more than $300, so I walked home with a brand-new 1981 Washburn Eagle — instead of the 1960 Stratocaster the store owner was willing to sell me for $350.

    Explanation for the store owner’s bizarre behavior: this was in Africa, where presumably word hadn’t got out yet about the desirability of such things.

    Here are some more:

    I regret not going to the Camper Van Beethoven show Townsman Mockcarr tried to drag me to — the one where they played “Harmony In My head” as an encore.

    I regret not really caring all that much when my Dad introduced me to Stan Getz, Dave Bruebeck and Billy Eckstine back in the 70 and 80s.

    I regret missing the chance to see ZZ Top at the Solomon’s Island Aquatic Museum (?!) on the Buttfuck Eastern Shore of Maryland a couple of weeks ago. (I’ve yet to see them!)

    I regret never actually going to see the mbaqanga stylings of the Soul Brothers, when I could have, in person, back when they totally ruled.

    There are more, I’m sure, but those ought to do for now.


  21. hrrundivbakshi

    I meant introduced me to *in person*.

  22. trolleyvox

    I regret not buying that blue Mosrite bass for $500 from that guy above the hardware store in Chestnut Hill in the early 90’s. I thought I couldn’t swing it at the time. But I shoulda went for it. Played like butter.

    I used to regret not seeing the Who show at Vet Stadium (I even had a ticket), but then I saw footage of that tour with Kenny Jones and I ceased all regret. Kenny, you drummed so wonderfully on “Green Circles” and “Tin Soldier.” What the hell happened to you, man?

    I could’ve bought a copy of the “Butcher Cover” (still covered) from a friend for $50. But who had anywhere near that kind of scratch back then?

    I regret not having cajoled either Gimme or the Shimmers record more (either live or in the studio). That’s two bands I played in that had great songs and very little archival record to show for it.

    I regret not seeing the J. Geils band when I had the chance.

  23. trolleyvox

    Sorry, I meant the Who at JFK.

  24. Mr. Moderator

    I regret not buying a beat-to-hell ’50s Danelectro with a lipstick pickup at Zapf’s for $50 in 1979 or 1980! It was the day I bought my Strat, which I still own and love. Back then the $175 I’d saved for the Strat was all I could gather. That Danelectro sounded SWEET!

  25. Copy and paste any of the above stories, and insert “hesher-oriented pawnshop in downtown Albuquerque,” “1963 Vox Phantom VI,” “$195” and “not only couldn’t afford it but was about 90% sure it was hot.”

  26. Mr. Moderator

    I regret walking into a party, being introduced by a friend to someone who’d also just arrived, having that person ask me if I also liked a local Philly band from the ’80s that included some nice people who’s music I never did like, and then practically yelling in the poor guy’s face, “I hate [local Philly band from the ’80s]!”

  27. general slocum

    OK. It’s late and I have to get to sleep, so I don’t really want to go regret browsing at this hour. So let me just say, I did buy a copy of Freak Out at a flea market in 1983 at a firehouse near my folks, from a woman who was clearly selling some of her husbands cherished records without his knowledge. I did buy a Danelectro Silvertone with amp in case in 1992 for $75 at the pawn shop at Broad and Eerie. And, on one of Mr. Buskirk’s nearly faultless recommendations, I did buy that Bo Diddley funk collection. And Holy Shit, it is rocking my world right now! Thank you, karma, and good night.

  28. i failed to buy a ticket for the Beastie Boys at the Trocadero(small philly theatre) in 92. I thought, “i’ll just get a ticket there” duh. It was one of the first 5 shows of the Check Your Head tour. It was the 1st time they ever played instruments onstage.
    I just hung out in front of the theatre where i ran into this cute girl i knew and kinda wanted to get with. She forgot to buy a ticket as well. As the security thugs were frisking people, someone from her high school saw her and tossed her a giant bag of weed. He said,” I’ll meet up with you later to get it back.” Suddenly, everyone about to get frisked started handing us their drugs, knives, and brass knuckles(i swear) as if we were the contraband squad.
    So instead of seeing the Beastie Boys right before they got HUGE(again), I did a bunch of free drugs and had sex with a hot 17 year old girl.
    I somehow still regret not buying the ticket.
    Something’s wrong with me.

  29. shawnkilroy,
    The Beasties played the Warfield on that tour and I worked at that show. I’m not a fan of theirs but the show was really good. Still, I would trade the experience for a nice set of brass knuckles and some of that other stuff.

  30. My regrets I’m still trying to rectify: Not seeing more shows. I’m not sure of some of the ages of many of you, but I’m about to turn 33. I never had the opportunity to see The Beatles or The Who with Moon. I take what I can get. Most of the artists I love and admire aren’t exactly spring chickens, so if they come around me and tickets are somewhat reasonable, I try to catch them. I know the two times I saw The Who may not have been Moon-era/Leeds quality Who, but it was the freakin’ Who and as my buddy who attended the shows with me exclaimed at one point, “Everything that’s supposed to be happening is happening!” I must agree.

    So, my regrets are not catching Peter Gabriel in ’04. Not flying to England and seeing Brian Wilson premier Smile (Who can afford that?). I did get see Brian on the U.S. Smile tour, but I think it would have been pretty special to be in that audience. Plus, I could have finally seen jolly old England, the land of The Stones and The Beatles.

    Maybe my regret is not being born before 1975. But, that’s not my fault. It would have been cool to be at Newport in 65. Leeds in 70. Hell, it probably would have been cool to be at Altamont, because despite the bad vibes and whatnot, The Stones looked like they were kicking some ass. But, what do I know?


  31. Mr. Moderator

    TB, you are entering the prime years of your rock nerd life. I’m excited for you:) Rock regrets may start piling up now, but oh the stories you will tell! Right, Mwall?

  32. Is the regret of not having seen a particular live show the regret of not now being able to say you were at that show? Just the cool points you would now have in your ledger?

    It’s hard for me to think of any live show that changed my opinion of an artist in a positive manner. They either matched my expectations that I had via their records or they disappointed.

    A live show regret was only if I ended up missing a good time with my mates, or if something extraordinary happened that I missed (they met the artist!, someone got laid!)

    Concerts are such impersonal events for me(as opposed to listening to a record) that its hard to think anything special was missed. The stuff I usually remember most about concerts is: “all of my friends were there”, we scored a good buzz, that hippie douche-bag that sat in front of us, we chatted up some cool ladies, etc. Not that the music took me somewhere new that I couldn’t get to by spinning their disks.

  33. general slocum

    Mr. Frank:
    The stuff I usually remember most about concerts is: […] Not that the music took me somewhere new that I couldn’t get to by spinning their disks.

    O, Chicken! This is troubling. I need to pull up my virtual couch and ask you things like, “And when was the first time you knew concert disappointment? Had you at that time known the love of a woman?… or of any sort of mammal at all?” We need to have a drink over that one. But honestly, free associate or whatever, but I’m curious about that whole concept.

    Anyone else here feel that way about live music in general?

  34. Oh General, My General,
    Everybody funny, now you funny too.

    I attend the live shows of local bands pretty frequently, so I enjoy and appreciate live music, and the company of some mammals. But while you may defend the idea of the “wisdom of crowds”, can you vouch for the comfort or politeness of crowds?

    I should have said concerts and not live music. I dare, no defy!, anyone to say there was something positive to draw from being among 30,000 people watching the parody of the Stones or the Who doing their puppet show from 200 yards away.
    Love Costello, but some douche-bag screaming his/her head off at the first chords of Alison is going to bum me out. Worse, when they sing along. I’m easily distracted and quick to anger, sue me.

    “Wish I’d seen the Who at the Enormo-dome”, to me means wish I could say I was there.
    Sticking to my guns: nothing to get musically from a concert than either a matched expectation or a disappointment. Feel free to convince me that being in the presence of a strutting Mick and his leg warmers and knee pads gave you a greater appreciation.

  35. Mr. Moderator

    Chickenfrank, I was touched by your words on the typical concert-going experience. As you know, I’m also the sort who would rather listen to a record than see a show – for all the reasons you list. I have had a handful of transcendent concert experiences, including a few where I really liked the show even though I didn’t like the band going into it and didn’t like them that much more next time I heard one of their records following the show.

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