I have to fess up.
I am a big fan of R.E.M. Huge. I have been since high school. When I finally saw them in concert in my 20s, I was so overcome with emotion it was like I was 13 and at a New Kids on the Block concert. I almost cried.
But that’s not the secret. In fact, I think I’ve mentioned the band in almost every post since I started the A to Z Challenge, and we’re only on day four.
No, my secret is that I have always credited my two older brothers for introducing me to the band. That’s not entirely accurate. It was really the actor Chris Elliott.
Remember Chris Elliott? He had a short-lived TV show back in the early 90s called “Get a Life.” It was about a 30-something paper boy who lived with his parents, and the opening credits feature Elliott riding his bike through his neighborhood delivering papers. The credits were set to the song “Stand” by R.E.M.
“Stand” had been on the radio, and I liked it, but I loved the show. I thought the credits were so funny, I became obsessed with the song.
My older brother, Curt, had the R.E.M. album it was originally featured on, so I permanently “borrowed” it from him. I would return it to his room every couple of weeks, but would always end up “borrowing” it back.
It was a great album. And while I may not have understood a lot of it, I liked it. A lot. It felt like my first real, grown-up album (well, not mine exactly). It made me want to build a better music collection. One that featured something other than Madonna and Whitney Houston.
When my oldest brother Tony found out I was listening to R.E.M. he started making me tapes of their older albums. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a big deal … it’s what siblings do … you pass music down to one another.
But Tony was one of my idols growing up. He’s 11 years older than me, and in some ways always felt a bit more like a cool, young uncle. And like your cool, young uncle, Tony has great taste in music. He likes it all – David Bowie, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Def Leppard. If Tony made you a tape of something, it was like receiving a gift from Johnny Fever.
This song, “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. I might not have known that if Tony hadn’t made me those tapes. And Tony might not have made me those tapes if I hadn’t stolen one from Curt in the first place. So, I credit them with introducing me to my favorite band.
But, really, for the record, I wouldn’t have known about any of it if it wasn’t for Chris Elliott. It’s just cooler to thank my brothers.