|Devo's Freedom of Choice LP is the first piece in my vinyl album collection.|
One of the very first vinyl albums I remember buying with my own money is Devo's Freedom of Choice. As a younger kid I spent most of my birthday money on Kiss albums, so this is probably the first serious album I ever bought, although most people seemed to think of Devo as little more than a novelty band and a one hit wonder. To me that never seemed to be true. I just got it from the beginning. Even at 12 I knew this was some serious shit to be dealt with. I probably got almost none of the lasting significance of what this band was about back then, I just dug it more than I had previously dug anything else. I couldn't have told you what albums they had done before this one, but I was hooked. Oh No, It's Devo only solidified my affection for the band.
We rarely watched Saturday Night Live in our house because my father was off work and if he wasn't dragging us off somewhere to drink beer and work on cars, he just didn't like the show very much, but on Friday night there was a comedy show called Fridays, and that one we did watch. I remember seeing Devo perform "Gates Of Steel" and "Girl U Want" before the album ever came out, so "Whip It" wasn't even the first song I heard from this album. Fridays developed a reputation for showcasing a lot of the alternative and new wave music of that era, bands that weren't established enough for SNL. It was just the more cutting edge show, and skits like "Diner Of the Living Dead" were proof of that.
Where did I buy Freedom of Choice? At the Ben Franklin store in Byron, Illinois. Same place I bought most of my albums. I believe albums generally cost $8.99 then, so I don't feel too badly about paying roughly twice that much for the album 25 years later. The owner and his family lived across the street from us, and for 25 years I've wanted to unburden the guilt and confess we nicked AC/DC's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album from his store the night of my 12th birthday party. Sorry. We played it 27 times that night, and that's not even possible. We always had a pretty high end setup in our house, with expensive Kenwood and Pioneer products, so it's likely unless I invest in some expensive gear that I'll never hear this album the same way I did when I first heard it.
I'm hoping to save enough money this month to buy an original energy dome, but that seems a little extravagant. I'll probably pass this year and wait until they come around again next Halloween. It makes me happy to have this album again facing outward from the shelf into the room like a monument to the enduring power of geekdom.