Mark Bishop

The first records I remember are Millie Small’s 1964 hit “My Boy Lollipop” and Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Just Like Me” (from a collection called “The Best of ‘66”). They were castoffs from my older siblings and both suggested that the world was a lot bigger than my village of Bolster’s Mills in Western Maine. These two tracks – both undeniable – led me to seek out more music that was different from what my classmates, friends, and family were listening to at the time. Fixations on novelty records and pop classical morphed into prog (Peter Gabriel’s Genesis, Pink Floyd, etc.), hard rock and powerpop (Cheap Trick, The Knack, The Jam) as I got older. Finally, in high school a classmate asked me if I had heard a band called Flipper. I had heard the Sex Pistols and Plasmatics and categorized them as ‘joke bands’ – the music was fine but it seemed like it was a lot more about the packaging than the actual music. Flipper seemed very different – harder and louder than any of the hard rock my denim vest wearing classmates were enjoying – but also so loose that it felt like the music could collapse at any moment. From there things escalated quickly as I tried to buy or borrow anything that could potentially sit comfortably next to Flipper on my shelf. In college I worked at WMPG, a community radio station affiliated with the University of Maine in Portland. I met people there who had similar backgrounds to mine who liked similar music – and then suddenly I was in a band, and then bands, playing Geno’s Pub and the uni student center for free beer. After graduation I relocated to San Francisco, continuing to play music and search out the new and intriguing. I have been here 31 years and still try to see the bands I love and new bands that have grabbed my attention. At a recent Circle Jerks show I joked with some other folks standing on the edge of the pit that we had finally become the “Pit Parents” I remember from the past: helping folks up, keeping the energy positive, loving the music. I hope to still be there for the next 20 years.

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