In '92, I was spending my nights playing in places like The Lonestar Roadhouse with the band Red River Sidney & The Wang Rocks or I was hitting open mic nights at joints like The Bitter End & The Sidewalk Cafe. I spent my days - as best I could - staying awake, hoping to sound relevant and collecting a measly paycheck as a little grunt at a massive NY ad agency.
Times were booming for ad agencies in the 90's (not that my bank account knew it). Lots of money was changing hands and lots of middle & senior execs were partying like it was still the 80's. Hell - some of the original 3-martini-lunch Mad Men that started my agency were still hanging around and were (more or less) in charge (over-seeing operations from up on a floor in our midtown skyscraper that I never had a reason to visit).
That year's Christmas Party was - as one would expect - debaucherous. Take too many under-paid, over-worked 20-somethings - provide them with hours of open-bar and not enough food. . . .the most career-minded & prudish of future female ad-executives let button #2 on her blouse - then #3 - then #4 - come un-done. . .all sorts of drugs appeared on VPs' office desks (and no one batted an eye or closed a door), a year's worth of sexual-tension between otherwise happily-married coworkers (married to someone else, that is) comes to a head in the kitchen pantry. . .oh, the stories. But if you worked in the city in the early 90's, I'm not telling you anything new.
Our clients (we had one in just about every major category) gave all kinds of ridiculous goodies - which the sr. execs raffled out to the drones (of which I was one). Miraculously, my name was drawn for a $1,000 gift certificate from our airline client. Holy crap! That was damn near a paycheck! (Did I mention that we were under-paid?)
That gift certificate got me and my girlfriend at the time from JFK to Ocho Rios on a 747, to Negril on a bus and into a beach-front property for 3 nights (we'd figure out the next 4 nights once we got there). It wasn't long before we met a super-cool couple on the beach that were also from NYC - he was a graphic designer and she did A&R for Capitol Records. We had a blast with these guys and - naturally - we spent a good amount of time talking music.
About a week after our return to the city, I received a package at work from Capitol's offices in NYC. Inside was a CD from an unknown band called Radiohead (the name of the album was "Pablo Honey") as well as a promotional t-shirt for the band. The note inside read "From what you told me, I think these guys would be right up your alley. They're having a hard time of it here in the States so far - but I LOVE THESE GUYS! I think they have what it takes to be HUGE!"
I popped on the CD. BOOOM! Mind blown. I've been a Radiohead lover ever since.
Thanks, Allison! You were right. They've done pretty well for themselves.
Oh - and happy birthday to Thomas Edward Yorke (born today in 1968).