In December of 1994, my college's radio station had a giveaway of old records and CDs and things--overstocked or whatever. I picked up about seven CDs and gave my money donation to WUSM. Well, I had my work cut out for me, having now to listen to several CDs. I put them in descending order of which ones looked to be the most interesting in hopes that they'd get better as I went along. No luck with any of them: they were pretty bad... until the last one.
I had saved it for last because I judged the album by its great cover (way to go, Martin). The album was the Rheostatics' Whale Music, stamped "Promotional Copy." I fell in love with the first listen. I found myself in the next few weeks telling all my friends about this new band I'd heard. And no one here had heard of them, even some of my more hip indie friends from the big cities.
I made a copy of Whale Music for my car and listened to it anytime I went anywhere. I liked it better and better each time. This was something new, something different, the way modern music was supposed to be. Something good, a relief to me in 1994 when I was fed up with modern music and bought fifteen volumes of rock of the 80s. But that was because I didn't know where to look. I realized that at most all times in music, you gotta really dig for the good stuff. The Rheostatics helped break open that ground and now I have discovered lots of great bands.
I wrote the Rheos a letter (my first fan letter) and Dave Bidini actually wrote back. He wrote me on a Wong's Restaurant and Orient Lounge (of Antigonish, Nova Scotia) postcard. Ah, well, this was unheard of. I had to do something about this. I became a "Rheovangelist," trying to convince all my friends to make them big, one Sprout at a time.
Of course, I only had the one album. So, in May of 1995 I went out to the record store and bought the only other album available in the states, Introducing Happiness, which had most recently come out. Then I really fell in love. There aren't too many albums I can call "perfect," but this was one, except maybe for the naked picture of Clarkie on the lyric pages.
I was taking my time. It's not wise to buy all your Rheos at once. But I did eventually, on October 1995, mail my US dollars off to the Green Sprouts to get Greatest Hits (an idea for a first album title that I thought I had come up with) and Melville. Now I was a good little Sprout. I even have stickers (though I still don't know where to stick them: stickers are so permanent--I'll never get a tatoo).
In the United States, before online shopping became big, you had to break your neck to buy Rheostatics. I still needed the soundtrack to the Whale Music motion picture. I got a hold of the HMV Superstore February 1996 and they helped me out with that, though I understand it's out of print now. That makes me a rare collector, I suppose.
About this time (March 1996) I started making this page.
I got a hold of HMV in March of 1996 again for the Rheos' latest release, Music Inspired By the Group of 7, which I received in April. Then The Blue Hysteria in November. This was the first Rheos album I'd heard most of the songs to (live or demo) already, which was neat, though not something I like to do typically. I enjoy things being fresh.
The Rheostatics themselves as well as several fans found out about my little page here (Martin and Dave have written me), and I got to talk to all four when they came on the radio because of it. And when their wonderful Double Live came out in November 1997, Martin was kind enough to mail me a copy for my "support, work, and encouragement."
Then I faded away for a while. The Nightlines Sessions buzzed on through and I made do with a tape copy for a long time. I guess I didn't have as much time (or didn't take as much time) to run this page as well as I usually did. But when The Story of Harmelodia hit, I decided to get my stuff in gear and keep the page humming again. I got those latest two albums on CD in Dec 1999 (five years after I bought my first one).
Then I faded away for a while again after Night of the Shooting Stars came out. I was getting my PhD in English and finding a job as a college teacher and all that, so I had my reasons. I'm back now. I never really left.
Thanks to everyone who comes here and for your letters and things; I'm happy to hear from all of you. I hope that this page serves a need. I'll do my best to keep it booming. Love y'all. Rusty.
Copyright (c) Mar 1996 - Feb 2004 by The USA Rheostatics Page