July 29, 2003

1985: The Cure, "In-Between Days."

There once was this character in the Police Academy series who, I believe, was called Motormouth Jones, and his claim to fame, aside from ventriloquizing and doing "impressions," was being a human beatbox.

There was one song I could perform all the way through as a human beatbox, and that was The Cure's "In Between Days," which is on my list. (Sorry, no cool revelations here about how much I loved Grandmaster Flash back in the day.) So much so that I recorded it on tape, played it for my good friend Dudz Villanueva -- funny how he reappears in this story -- and he was utterly convinced that it was a drum machine and keyboard. (Yeah, I did the guitar part too!)

Back then, in Los Banos, there were no strict divisions between goths or punkers or preppies; The Cure (and the once-great Filipino band The Dawn) was the sound of Young Pilipinas. The Cure made a slightly belated splash on Philippine airwaves (though BLS, I think, was playing them long before) with the release of The Head on the Door; after that, the entire Standing on a Beach catalog conquered alt-radio. Students who had read The Outsider in Humanities 101 could now pontificate about "Killing an Arab;" jeepneys blared out "Boys Don't Cry;" my friends now knew the lyrics to relative obscurities like "Fire in Cairo" and "A Man inside My Mouth." I loved it all: Robert Smith's hair, that feline whine, all that dark jangly energy. (No, I never dressed the part -- too hot and humid to wear black and all that hair -- but I did have spiked hair.)

"In Between Days" was a pretty damned catchy single; it wasted no time on solos, it had a fairly simple organ riff I could play along to, it was a perfect three minutes, and the lyrics encapsulated the frustrations of my fervid teenage mind: "Yesterday I got so old / It made me want to cry / Yesterday I got so old / It made me want to die." I still remember wearing my cassette tape out: it was, if I remember correctly, the fourth song on Side One, and I would have to forward through "Kyoto Song," "In the Blood," -- all great songs though -- to get to it. And play it over and over, just to get that rush again and again.

Posted by the wily filipino at July 29, 2003 07:53 AM
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