Thursday, December 10, 2009

Musical interlude: RIP Bruce Allen

I can't say guitarist Bruce Allen had a big impact on my life. I had friends who were much bigger fans of the Suburbs. I can only remember seeing the new-wave band, which hailed from Minneapolis, one time.

It was at the NorShor Theatre in downtown Duluth and it must have been in 1985 or so. The underage kids like me were sequestered in the balcony, but a couple of my friends -- the ones who introduced most of us to the Suburbs' music -- got down on the main floor. I remember spotting them near the stage and being bummed I wasn't down there with them.

I left the theater that night with a different perspective on not only the Suburbs, but live music in general. I'd only been to a handful of shows prior to that night, and those were all at the Duluth Arena. The Suburbs was my first show at a smaller venue.

I left the theater that night sweaty and hoarse -- and I barely knew any of the songs. As I've gotten older I've come to appreciate the band much more than when they were in their prime. They were an influence on the Replacements and did sign with a major label, yet the Suburbs never became more than the "go-to party band" in Minnesota during the early to mid 1980s.

The band is on my mind tonight because I found out Allen died Tuesday. He was only 54, which is far too young. I wish I had a better memory to share of Allen, who was also a noted graphic designer and created the band's logo. I'm sure my other friends have much more vivid accounts of Allen's impact.

For me, I still enjoy listening to the only Suburbs CD I own, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Suburbs Have Left the Building," a 1992 anthology. I've been watching videos of them on You Tube tonight and figured I'd share this one. Enjoy.

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