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D80sV #36: The Romantics - Talking In Your Sleep

Daily 80's Video #36: The Romantics were ultra cool back in the 80's. And yet, they were kind of an enigma. They had a couple big hits and a couple great albums and then just went away. What's up with that? They were a little bit of a throw-back to the 50's or 60's melded with the 80's, similar to the Stray Cats, but to a much lesser degree. Enjoy the "cool" 80's effects, the pompadour-like haircuts, all that leather, the lead-singer who looks like he might be Billy Joel's illegitimate son, and the drummer who looks a little bit like Gary Oldman from Sid & Nancy.

D80sV #35: Blue Oyster Cult - Burning For You (Live and Interview)

Daily 80's Video #35: Okay, so back in the 80's people used to say the Blue Oyster Cult were devil worshipers. Hell, who wasn't back then? Kiss? Black Sabbath? Slayer? Who knows? I didn't see anything on Wikipedia. The only site I found affirming BOC's allegiance with the devil was this crazy site that claimed just about every rock and roll artist was satan-inspired, even Prince and Hall & Oats. Okay? Anyway, enjoy this great performance and interview. It's a little rough at first but still amazing. Donald Roeser (aka Buck Dharma), lead singer and lead guitarist can seriously wail on the guitar!

D80sV #34: Aztec Camera - Deep And Wide And Tall

Daily 80's Video #34: I remember seeing this video a million years ago and thinking it was quite silly. And then I watched it a couple years ago and loved it. Roddy Frame, who is basically Aztec Camera is a gifted guitarist and songwriter. Enjoy the great music, the stone washed jeans and other 80's styles, and bad quality of the video GRR I couldn't find a better version.

D80sV #33: 10,000 Maniacs - Trouble Me

Daily 80's Video #33: 10,000 Maniacs were a great 80's/90's band that hailed from my hometown, Jamestown NY.

I remember back in 1983, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Gustafson, telling us about a band her son was in, called, well, the 10,000 Maniacs. Her son was the bass player, Steve Gustafson. Okay, correction, apparently I'm misremembering that whole thing. I recently came in contact with Steve Gustafson and asked if he could confirm my memory. He told me this mysterious third grade teacher wasn't his mother. I thought, how odd, two Gustafsons in the Jamestown area not related to each other. Then he added that there was a large Swedish population in the Jamestown area. I can vouch for that, since both of my grandfathers were of Swedish descent, Danielson and Seastedt. I chalk the whole misremembering thing up to me romanticizing the past, which is something I tend to do, to reality's chagrin.

As for some other members of 10,000 Maniacs, lead singer, Natalie Merchant was the voice and social conscience of the group, as the main lyricist, and probably most publicized. Merchant's unusual voice blended perfectly with Robert Buck's exceptional guitar playing. When Merchant left in 1993, the Maniacs continued on with intermittent success.

As a side note, in one of the Maniac's offshoot bands, The Mighty Wallop!, which included original Maniacs keyboardist, Dennis Drew and already mentioned Steve Gustafson, my cousin, of all people, Ryan Seekings, played drums. This memory Gustafson was able to confirm in the email, proving that I'm not completely bonkers.

So, regardless of how real or unreal my memories are about the 10,000 Maniacs, I guess you could say I feel a little bit of a connection, if not kinship with them, as one of Jamestown's most famous native sons and/or daughters, not counting Lucille Ball, or to a much lesser degree, despised NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

As another side note, and a sad one at that, we lost Robert Buck to liver failure in December of 2000. I absolutely loved his guitar playing. I found it masterful and at times transcendent. RIP Robert Buck.

D80sV #32: Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better

Daily 80's Video #32: When I was a kid growing up in the 80's, to me, Howard Jones was the pinnacle of cool. In looking back at this video, a lot of his coolness seems, well, manufactured. Take that hair for instance. I thought that was the coolest hair back then. Now it seems like some record company style guru went ape-crazy on him, to, well, manufacture a pop star. You can't fault Howard Jones, he was a great musician and songwriter who happened to come out in the 80's. Nowadays, I don't even think he could be a pop star. And that's somehow sadder. Enjoy the crazy hair and clothes, the cult-member-like back-up singers, the random orange color motif, the equally random Charlie Chaplin impersonator, and even even more random, some karate dude, probably because Karate Kid was so popular during this time. I especially like it when the karate guy hits himself in the head with the nun-chucks, which is what I did, or worse, every time I used them.

D80sV #31: Toto - Rosanna

Daily 80's Video #31: "Rosanna" is probably in the top 10 of all 80's songs. This is a sprawling display of all of Toto's strengths: Incredible vocals (Steve Lukather and Bobby Kimball), stellar musicianship, complicated arrangements (written by David Paich), infectious hooks, and Porcaro brothers. Seriously, how many Porcaro brothers are in this band? Enjoy this classic 80's video! RIP Jeff Porcaro.

D80sV #30: Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy

Daily 80's Video #30: "Smalltown Boy" has got to be one of the first videos dealing with the troubles of being gay in an anti-gay society. Bronski Beat, with Jimmy Somerville's huanting vocals, really drive the message home. The video itself manages to get the point across without being over the top. Enjoy Jimmy Somerville's voice, great signature 80's synth sound, and video storyline.