In the early 1980s, teenagers in Lewiston, Idaho, learned what teenagers in Boston had learned years earlier, The J. Geils Band kicks ass!
A bit of history. My hometown had two “rock” radio stations, KLEW and KOZE, both AM. The FM album oriented rock station didn’t show up until the early ’80s. Some of my contemporaries managed to score some non AM friendly records… distant relatives, older siblings, ESP, I don’t know how, but my ticket away from Bubblegum Land was 100% MTV. The Music TeleVision Station hit our cable network sometime after its debut… I’m not sure when. I heard rumors around high school that So-N-So had MTV or MTV was only available downtown, not in The Orchards, where I lived. Whatever the case, in 1982 MTV came to MY house!
Not only that but someone managed to get MTV simulcast on the unused FM spectrum. Next thing you know we’re watching MTV videos and blasting the audio through my parent’s J.C.Penny stereo system! Multimedia!
I don’t remember the very first video I saw on MTV (it may have been Rush, how cool!), but I do remember Love Stinks!
It wasn’t long after when my musical sensei, Brent, had a copy of Freeze-Frame, the band’s 12th album. A party ensued and I, the lowly H.S. Junior, got tagged to play DJ while the cool kids drank and danced.
To be fair, I only had a couple of records to work with. Foreigner – 4, AC/DC – For Those About to Rock… those were the biggies. Wet hair, lather, rinse, repeat.
But the Bell of the Ball was Freeze-Frame, especially the song (#1 of course) Centerfold.
This video had everything! Dancing, attitude, pom-poms, lingerie… it was the epitome of cool! Man, why can’t MY high school be like that!) The album, Freeze-Frame, holds up well to my ear. The title track, Centerfold, and side 2’s Angel in Blue are all still solid, listenable and oft’ played tracks. The tracks Piss On the Wall and Rage in the Cage are also memorable.
As an aside, the lead singer of The J. Geils Band Mr. Peter Wolf recorded a song with country chanteuse Shelby Lynne called Tragedy, please listen and enjoy…