Wednesday, September 27, 2006

STOP DISCO

The other night, as the fiance and I ate sushi and celebrated the hard work we'd done on our lovely, newly painted (pink) living room, we discussed the music we want to play at the wedding. I don't know why he said it, but he asked if we'd be playing any disco. To which I replied, hell YEAH, we'll be playing some disco! That shit makes me wanna MOVE, baby!

Back when I had just graduated from college, and was still in between life and love and hell and happiness, I traveled on a weekly basis from my little haven in LA to Santa Barbara on Wednesday nights to meet up with a best friend and dance the night away to the sounds of the Disco Pimps as they played in this little hole in the wall bar someplace in SB. We were both single, we were both pretty, and we both loved dancin' to the Disco Pimps' awesome grooviness. I'd never been very into disco, really, but the band was so fun and good that I quickly learned all the standard disco tunes, learned the electric slide, and just let my own pimpiness flow all over the damned place. Then, when the bar would close at about 1 or so, I'd hop back in my car and drive my ass back to LA so I could work the next day, or whatever. I can't remember how long this went on for, but I do remember doing it a lot. I met a very cute guy at that bar once, and while I got his number and he got mine, I never heard from him...so I continuously returned to the bar in hopes of running into him again eventually. Never did. And then I stopped going as often, until I stopped driving up there all together with such regularity, as I had become an official grown-up. (And I think that's when I moved to Kansas the first time...I can't remember, honestly. And that's the problem with disco, it seems. Rots your brain. Ooh, but it rots it so good!)

I wish I could have the Disco Pimps as the band at our wedding, dammit. That would be rockin'. Sheeit.

Anyway, this whole conversation and little memory of my dancin' in SB days took me back even further in time, back to when I was growing up in Whittier, California, driving around with mom at the wheel of the station wagon we had dubbed "Le Bus" (literally...it was on the license plate and everything), and seeing stop signs that had the word "DISCO" scrawled crudely in spray paint beneath their main message (i.e. the "STOP" part) all over town. I remember asking my mom what that meant, and as we were a family that didn't really listen to disco so much (we were an Eagles, Supertramp, Dolly Parton lovin' bunch...although I do remember the Bee Gee's being thrown in there now and then...), and she explained that some people were tired of the genre called "disco" and that's why they did that. As though it were some sort of political campaign, I suppose. Like a "Stop Apartheid" sign, or an "Impeach Bush" sign, or something. But these were normal old "STOP" signs that had been turned into a crude statement that certain people wanted to make about their dislike for disco and those people that liked it. (Because disco made people gay and encouraged them to become drug users, I bet they thought. Hell, they might've even thought that disco caused cancer, or what have you.)

Actually, when I think about it, it was probably the early punk-rock crowd that were responsible for the "STOP DISCO" movement...so they probably didn't give a flying shit about the gayness or drugs or the cancer involvement or non-involvement, as it was. They probably just hated polyester and Gloria Gaynor and all things Bee Gee, and had easy access to spray paint and devil-may-care attitudes about being caught damaging public property.

Anybody else remember this sort of shit? Was it a Southern California thing, or was it being done all over the US? The fiance doesn't remember it, but that might be because he was born a whole 4 years after me, so maybe the "STOP" signs were all cleaned up in South Bend by the time he was old enough to notice shit like this. (I was born in '74, at the height of the disco movement, I think...) Let me know how it was in your neighborhood when it came to disco. And if you're too young to relate, go out and buy yourself some "Best of" disco albums, and dance freely in your living room to the grooviness, baby. Good times, good times...

7 comments:

"The D" said...

Disco used to cause cancer and gaynessness. Now house and techno music will turn you gay and cause you to do drugs. And county will make you kill your self.

flowerparts@yahoo.com said...

oh yeah - they did that in iowa too. i'm sure there are still some that say STOP something or other in the small towns i grew up in/around. i especiallly remember one saying "STOP me"

flowerparts@yahoo.com said...

oh yeah - they did that in iowa too. i'm sure there are still some that say STOP something or other in the small towns i grew up in/around. i especially remember one saying "STOP me"

lyn said...

i never saw the stop disco signs, but i definitely saw the disco pimps a few times. they ruled.

Xavier Onassis said...

As someone who graduated high school the year before Faith was born, I remember very well why disco had to die!

The conceit of my generation is that the 60's MEANT something. That the music of the 60's MEANT something. We were protesting Vietnam, trying to legalize marijuana, fighting for justice, tearing down old walls; and all of that was reflected in the music.

(EDITORS NOTE: Mostly we were just getting high and trying to get laid.)

Disco reduced music to its most basic and meaningless common denominator...if it had a good beat and you could dance to it, it was good.

No Dylanesque lyrics, no Hendrix Star Spangled Banner guitar genius, no tortured Janis Joplin-like vocals, no 20 minute drum solos (OK, I know that a drum solo is nothing BUT a "beat", but try to dance to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Go ahead, try. And if you do, post on YouTube 'cause I wanna see it).

That's why we had a bug up our ass about disco. We felt it was meaningless, mindless, pander-to-the-masses crap.

But you can bet your sweet ass that we all got our hair styled, put on polyester leisure suits and headed for those discos because that was the only way we were going to get laid.

Faith said...

If you find a video of someone dancing to that on You Tube, XO, you must alert us all to it, kay? Holy crap, that's funny.

Thanks for the perspective, man. You felt the same way about disco that I do about much of what is considered "alternative" music these days. I feel it.

Xavier Onassis said...

Yeah, and I feel the same way about rap.

Except that everytime I try to explain why I don't like rap, I sound EXACTLY like my dad explaining why rock and roll wasn't "real music".

Getting old sucks.