NoMeansNo is the greatest band in the world. Lentil, incidentally, is the greatest soup in the world, but this post is about NoMeansNo. More specifically, this is the story of the first time my younger brother Mike heard NoMeansNo.
One day in 1989, I got home from whatever I was doing when I was 17 and went up to my room. Mike was in there. (Note: Had it been 1979, I would have attacked Mike on sight and choked him but by 1989 we were kind of like friends.) My record player was going and Mike was holding the jacket of my copy of NoMeansNo’s The Day Everything Became Nothing EP. “This is fucking great!” Mike squeaked. (In fairness, it is possible he did not actually squeak but he was 15 and he squeaked a lot in his younger days, so squeaking is definitely within the realm of possibilities.) I just stood there and laughed and laughed and laughed.
A technical note is in order here to understand what was so fucking funny. If you own or owned a vinyl copy of The Day Everything Became Nothing, you might have already guessed what it was. Maybe you had a similar experience. Maybe it happened to you or maybe it happened to a younger brother who, on occasion, came into your room to check out your records. The Day Everything Became Nothing was a 12-inch record, a size, in most cases, to be played at 33 rpm. The Day Everything Became Nothing, however, was a 6-song 12-inch requiring play at 45 rpm.
My brother’s folly was judging the record by its size alone, playing it at 33 rpm, a much slower speed than it was intended to be played at. What was coming out of my stereo speakers sounded like a drone metal band with Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show on lead vocals. Through the magic of technology, and with apologies to the band, let’s all travel back 22 years to that moment when Mike first heard NoMeansNo:
When I stopped laughing I explained to Mike that he was an idiot and that he had proved, once again, that older brothers are much cooler than younger brothers. I proceeded to play him the record at the correct speed. “Wow,” he squeaked (Again, it’s possible.), “that’s even BETTER!”
And what’s even BETTER than that, Mike, is the fact that NoMeansNo is playing Il Motore this Sunday night. See you there. Again.