1985 was a big year for me. I graduated high school. I started college. But bigger than those events was Vanderbilt's radio station, WRVU 91 Rock, increasing their wattage. Where once I had to struggle to barely receive their signal; suddenly I could pick up the station throughout Rutherford County. I'd listen to it everywhere I drove and tape the station when I was at home. Those cassettes often contained some great songs by local Nashville artists. I recorded the station on cheap tape and most of them either broke or were lost. So I figured I would never get to hear some things ever again.
Modern technology to the rescue. I've found mp3's of a couple of my favorites from back then. I really liked Tom Littlefield's band The Questionnaires before they signed a major label deal which saw them release a couple of over produced albums. Their demos were much better. "Red Tears" was one that they re-recorded for their debut and it just got the life sucked out it. The original version has a walking guitar line that really adds some charm to a lyrically strange tune (the dude's crying metaphorical blood, jeesh) that is pure honeydew power pop. "Slug City" was the song by them that I liked best. Apparently an homage to the city of Smyrna, TN; its a great "Surf City" ripoff that I would always crank the volume up on.
The Wayouts were another 91 Rock staple and I didn't know anything about them. They must have broke up before the wattage increase. I recently learned that Jeff Cease was part of the band. He later played in Rumble Circus (perhaps a more mature Wayouts?) before joining the Black Crowes for a spell. He also played in Rayon City Quartet a few years back. "Do You Think I Care" by the Wayouts is great simple rock and roll with a little bit of a punk snarl to it.
The mp3's are dubbed from old 91 Rock carts so the sound qualtiy isn't the best, but it's close enough for rock and roll.
The Questionnaires - "Red Tears"
The Questionnaires - "Slug City"
The Wayouts - "Do You Think I Care"
Thanks to Allen Sullivant for the mp3's.