The Joup Friday Album: The Fixx – Shuttered Room

Shuttered RoomI don’t believe I have ever been without access to a record player. Not to say I’ve always been as into Vinyl as I am now; the collecting bug is, I believe, a mild form of mid-life crisis (thanks to the one episode of Mark Maron’s podcast I listened to for helping me to figure that out).

Beats Harleys and prostitutes.

So there’s always been a player at hand, along with a small collection of favorite albums to listen to on vinyl: My dad’s copy of L.A. Woman and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida; the pristine first pressing of Def Leopard’s Pyromania my older cousin Jill gave me when she outgrew hair rock a few years before I did (I’ve never outgrown that particular album, though). Then, in the mid-to-late 90s, after my first long-term relationship ended and I began forming and playing in bands with my friends, it was Mr. Brown and Joup’s Sonny V. who re-introduced me to the pleasures of vinyl. My parents’ garage was detached from the house, separated by a parking area behind the house, and above that garage was a one-room, studio apartment where my Grandma Noerenberg lived many of the final years of her life. After she was moved for more continuous care, that room became a dark, blank slate, only to be transformed a few years later into what my friend’s and I dubbed The Dysfunctional Fuckhouse. This was were Wink Lombardi and the Constellations formed and practiced. Where Schlitz Family Robinson rose from Wink’s ashes, where we spent most of our free time as late teenage/early 20s musically obsessed males writing, playing and recording music. And it’s where my family’s old turntable went when the living room stereo in the house proper was updated to include a 51 disc changer. With that old Magnavox table and and an antiquated receiver, Brown brought over a collection of Vinyl he’d had for years, and we had a small collection that contained something to fit most of our moods. Isaac Hayes’s … To Be Continued, The Isaac Hayes Movement, and Shaft OST; a few Led Zeppelin records, and more modern copies of Mr. Bungle’s Disco Volante, Assembly Line People Program’s Demonstration and a couple Touch N Go records that escape me at the moment. The point is, having these albums in that place kept vinyl close to me, even while our lives were becoming more and more digital.

When I moved in ’06, one of my initial joys in Southern California was going to thrift stores and looking for vinyl. I found some pretty cool stuff this way, too, but perhaps none that I’ve listened to as much as Reach The Beach, by criminally underrated British band The Fixx. The two singles on this record – One Thing Leads to Another, and Saved By Zero, were among the oldest songs I could remember loving, back from my early 80s childhood, when I would go to bed every night with a small transistor radio dialed in to the local rock station at the time, WLS. When I happened upon the album these songs were taken from in a Salvation Army bin – not another track on which I was familiar – I bought it and attempted to investigate The Fixx’s deeper cuts.

What happened at first is what often happens in a situation such as this, namely I couldn’t get over the two songs I knew long enough to actually hear the rest of the album. Then, as is often also the case, while acquiring a habit of putting an album on in the background while I wrote, the other eight songs began to gel for me, so that subsequently it wasn’t long before I began looking for another of the band’s albums to absorb. At some point Shuttered Room made it into into my hands, and what happened next was the same prejudice I’d showed Beach’s non-single tracks at first now filtered up to a higher level: I couldn’t get into Shuttered Room because I always just wanted to play Reach the Beach.

This went on for years. This past week, however, something about Shuttered Room clicked and I’ve been playing it A LOT, getting to know the songs, and growing to love the record for what it is. If you’ve not heard it, give a listen. I can’t stress enough just how awesome I feel The Fixx’s music is.

Tag Melissa!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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