Days of Lore

Nerd alert
I’m by no means a sci-fi nerd … not that there’s anything wrong with that. Although, one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits was when William Shatner played himself at a Star Trek convention and asked one of the attendees if he had ever kissed a girl. Ha! Good stuff. Of course, after that comment there is an army of Trekkies (or is it Trekkers?) telling me in Klingon to “VorSagh yISop ej bIhegh SoSnagh wI” … which isn’t very nice at all.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. While I would never sport plastic pointy ears and go to conventions and tell everyone to live long and prosper, I am to this day fascinated with the idea of time travel. Who isn’t? I know it’s theoretically impossible (so sayeth Carl Sagan), but it’s still fun to daydream about going back in time and witnessing some of the events that shaped our world. For instance, the first thing I would do if I had a functional Flux Capacitor is visit the year 1974, to see for myself a young band called KISS playing a small club in NYC and freaking the living shite out of people.

Ha! You Trekkies are sooo lame!

Old news
Working on this week’s cover story in honor of the CN&R’s 30th anniversary was sort of like traveling in time. We have all of our issues bound in hardcover books, going all the way back to 1977. Like a nerd (but not a sci-fi nerd) I could easily spend hours sifting through the old volumes and looking at old ads for when Huey Lewis and the News and Joan Jett played on campus (not at the same time). Or the great $6 haircut deals at Christopher Js. I know … the Trekkies are looking cooler by the minute.

But I definitely nerded out when I talked to some of the people who were part of some exciting times in music in Chico. I’ll refrain from gushing and sounding like too much of a fanboy. But it was fun, and interesting to hear what they had to say about it all. Check it out on page 16, and be sure to go to for the full versions.

My dad listened to the Bee Gees
Not shocking to anyone (at least I hope not), there is a record that’s been re-released to coincide with its 30th anniversary. No, not Never Mind the Bullocks Here’s the Sex Pistols. Not Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I’m talking about the album that made it OK for guys like my dad to tap his finger along to a somewhat watered-down version of music that was being played in black clubs and gay discotheques in New York. Sorry, dad … you have Teh Gay.

I’m talking about the double-album whose cover features a young John Travolta doing the California Hustle, while a ’60s British folk group stands proudly behind him in tight, white jump suits. Saturday Night Fever has sold 15 million copies … right there with Guns ’N RosesAppetite for Destruction and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

I love the record. It used to be stowed away on the guilty-pleasure shelf (I don’t really have a guilty-pleasure shelf), but about 15 years ago a friend of mine played it on vinyl and I rediscovered songs like the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” and Yvonne Elliman’s version of the brothers Gibb’s “If I Can’t Have You.” You know you love them, too. And “Disco Inferno?” Sheer brilliance.

The movie’s not bad, either. And there’s more to it than a young, chiseled Travolta shaking his ass in a tight pair of bell bottoms—heavier elements of racism, drug abuse and rape also are part of the plot.

Of course, Travolta’s come a long way since then—resurrecting his career with Quentin Tarantino (damn that Tarantino!) and most recently putting on a fat suit to play the part of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. At least I think it was a fat suit …