Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Introduced to "The Boss"

I heard on TV that today is the 40th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" album. 

August 25, 1975 was about 2 weeks before I started my sophomore year of high school, in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. 

I had never heard of Bruce Springsteen or his music prior to 1975. But by the time the school year was over I would. Here's how I was introduced to "The Boss." 

By the time Thanksgiving break came around in the fall of 75, I had decided that my 2nd year high school wasn't all that different from the first. There wasn't much school had to offer that interested me. 

But then, one morning in homeroom, it was announced that one of the teachers was forming a "radio club." The detail in the announcement that got my attention was "anyone interested in becoming a DJ report to the meeting after school."

At that point in my life my goal was to become the next Casey Kasem. I was interested like they wouldn't believe.  

I went to the meeting and became part of the group of a dozen or so students who would go on to help create the very small radio studio in a converted storage closet in the vestibule of the school auditorium. 

There was a small soundboard and a pair of turntables (vinyl records was still the popular music format in those days. Yes, I'm old) which connected to an amplifier hooked up to the school's PA system. So in reality it was more of an "intercom" station and not "real" radio.  

When it came time for station to go "on the air," the club's faculty adviser, Mr. Tomaino (an English teacher and the boys tennis team coach) made a decision I wasn't all that thrilled with. It was the Seniors that would get to be the DJs and the underclassmen would be their assistants. 

So in January 1976, I became the studio assistant to a Senior DJ. Essentially what that meant is that 3 of my study hall periods each week were spent pulling albums from the station's collection and then putting them away after they were played. 

Like the faculty adviser, I don't remember the DJ's name but I there were a couple of significant things I do remember about him. He started each of his "radio shows" with "Hello It's Me" by Todd Rudgren as his theme song. He was also a very very big fan of Bruce Springsteen. He played at least 2 songs from the "Born To Run" album every time he was "on the air." 

Initially I wasn't a fan of Springsteen's music; but I grew to like it. My favorite BTR cut was "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out." and it still is. 

The school "radio station" only lasted for a few months. I don't remember exactly why but my best guess was that as the school year progressed, the seniors got interested in things more "important" than being a study hall DJ. I also think it got some opposition from the school administration as well.  
It's hard to believe that been so long since those afternoons in WPHS studios. But its thanks to that Senior DJ I worked with, and the longevity of the career of Bruce Springsteen, I have a musical reminder about some of my favorite times in the hallowed halls of Phillipsburg High School. 
Ahh memories. 

No comments: