Steph's besty Manda is about 4 years younger than I am and she grew up very differently and she was into very different things when she was a teenager. A bit of back story. Sometime around 7th grade I accepted the reality that I was a goofy, nerdy, awkward kid who was never going to be one of the popular kids and I was never going to be tallest or strongest kid in school. There is only one thing for kid like that to do. Latch on to a counter culture that puts at odds with all those big, strong, athletic and popular kids. My poison at the time was a keen interest in Goth-i-ness. But we didn't call it that. We called it "progressive" instead. But the idea was similar, a bunch of kids wearing predominately black, crazy non athletic shoes like Doc Martins and listening to Depeche Mode. It was a fun time for me, very liberating. My parents had other ideas, they hated this look. They always wanted a son who cultivated the Brooks Brothers look. This encouraged me even more to want to be weird. Also, we lived in a very middle class suburb and that's a recipe for some disillusionment right there. I was lucky enough to pal around with some kids who had much older siblings, High School kids, or grown ups as far as we were concerned who were able to kind of let us know what the cool older kids were into as far as fashion and music. By 8th grade I was sneaking into clubs on the weekends with my friends. We'd rock eye liner etc. My parents knew none of this. I wasn't a trouble maker so it wasn't like they were always watching me. Plus cell phones and the internets etc didn't exist so there was no tracking my whereabouts. Needless to say they would not approve. I have to say as an older person, I'm, not 100% sure I'd be cool with my 14 year old kid running around with 16 and 17 years olds at some club either. But like I said I wasn't a trouble maker so it was really harmless fun.
My point is that music was so imporant to me then. Listening to bands like The Cure, The Smiths, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, Depeche Mode, New Order, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen etc. gave you an identity. I still love those classic bands to this day. In fact my first concert was The Cure in 1989. It was epic! Anyway, to paint a picture of the pop music scene of the time let's start by saying the obvious. There were no MP3s to download. You had to go very special record stores in order to look for "imports" as these bands were often filed under (To my knowledge the term Alternative wasn't used yet) if you wanted to find good music. Records you'd heard about were often sold out or they just didn't have them. Mix tpaes became very popular due to this. Also, as far as popular music was concerned. MTV still played videos, but they mostly were still playing hair metal bands at the time and Bell Biv DeVoe-ish things. We had 120 Minutes on MTV which played two hours of very cool videos late Saturday nights. I watched quite religiously. Anyway, radio was a dead medium if you liked what I considered good music. It was all "Top 40" as we called it. It wasn't until Nirvanna in 91-92 that good bands were brought into the mainstream.