I am still living with your ghost*interrupted thought* Oh, hi there. You’ll have to excuse me, because when I hear any mention of Santa Monica, I immediately think of, well, you know.

It’s been kind of a traumatic week since returning from my weekend visit to Chicago. While I was there, Popdose colleague Robert Cass shared some disturbing news with me: according to Cass, the ’80s are coming to an end. As you can imagine, I was quite shocked to hear this.  I mean, I’ve heard rumblings of something called “the ’90s” (boy, I bet the music is going to suuuuuuck in that decade), and even talk of “20-10” something or other, but to hear Cass say something like that so bluntly and without warning — well, I was caught a bit off guard.

The weekend’s events took me back to this one time when I was growing up, a time in which Cass and I were still friends, long before the battles that would come later.

One particular day, I asked him if he had any Billy Squier in his CD collection. CDs are of course kind of new here in the ’80s, but since Cass and I are both innovative trendsetters, we were among the first on our block to get home units from Sony. Test units. (Huh-huh — “unit.”)

Anyway, it turns out that Cass isn’t far enough long in his evolution to know about Billy Squier. And damn, how can you miss him? We just got MTV in our household, and Billy’s been all over the music television, in living color. (Foreshadowing tells us that the “color” will come back to bite Billy in his spandex-wearing ass later in the ’80s, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.)

“Cass, how the hell did you miss hearing a stone-cold smash like ‘The Stroke’?” I wondered out loud.

“Dude, I don’t know. I’ve been busy playing Combat, and my girlfriend’s all mad because somebody stole her Cabbage Patch Kid.”

“Cabbage Patch Kids? Dude, that stuff is so 1978.”

“Listen here, Wardlaw — if you’re making fun of my girlfriend, I’m going to kick your ass.”

“What are you talking about? You’re nine years old and barely three feet tall. You’re not going to kick anyone’s ass!”

Realizing that things were getting a little heated, we calmed down, and I called Cass over to the computer (a Radio Shack Color Computer, for those who are interested) to check out an early prototype version of Wolfgang’s Vault via something called the “Internet” that I stole from that stupid redneck Matthew Boles. They’re telling me the Internet is going to be huge someday, which means Boles will figure out how to use it about 25 years after it’s no longer cool.

“What is Wolfgang’s Vault?” Cass asked. “It sounds like something that if I touch it, mom is going to ground me.”

“Oh no, that’s something else that she’s going to ground you for. Don’t worry about it.  Besides, aren’t you grounded anyway?”


“See, and you’re still playing with your very best friend. You’ll be fine. Now, let me educate you about Billy Squier. Just a couple of years ago he had an album called Don’t Say No.”


“‘No’ what?”

“You said, ‘Don’t say no.'”

“That’s the name of the album, you idget!”

*glaring at Cass*

“Anyway, on that album was a kick-ass song called ‘In the Dark’ and three other equally kick-ass rock jams.”

“Can we listen to it?”

“Sure, just click the player that’s above your head, dumbass!”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool. Whatever happened to Billy Squier, anyway?”

“What? Oh, you must be referring to karma’s visit to Billy, which happens later in this decade.”


“Yes, karma. We’ll learn much later that Billy Squier was apparently a real douchebag to Jon Bon Jovi when Bon Jovi was trying to become a superstar.”

“That’s funny. With a stupid name like Bon Jovi, that dude will never amount to anything. That would be like me trying to become a rock star using the name Richie Sambora.”

“Perhaps you’re right.”

*door opens and Mama Cass enters unexpectedly*

“Robert! What on earth are you doing?”

“Mom, I’m playing with Wolfgang’s Vault.”

“That’s it! YOU’RE GROUNDED!”

Listen to this entire show at Wolfgang’s Vault by clicking here. Actual events depicted above may differ slightly in real life.

About the Author

Matt Wardlaw

Matt Wardlaw is a music lifer with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. Of course you all have shoes older than that, but that's okay, Matt realizes that he's still a rookie. His byline has appeared in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis), Cleveland Scene, Blogcritics, Music's Bottom Line and Ultimate Classic Rock, among others. In addition to writing for Popdose, Matt also has his own music blog called Addicted to Vinyl where he writes about a variety of subjects including but not limited to vinyl. In his spare time, Matt enjoys long walks in the park, Cherone-era Van Halen and driving long distances to Night Ranger concerts.

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