Lost in the Supermarket

Back in the early 90s, when I was living in New York City and Top Management was in grad school in North Carolina, my imaginary friend Chris came to live with me for a while. Chris was the only person I knew who had a cooler job’n me: he worked at MTV News. In fact, he was the main writer for Kurt Loder the day Kurt Cobain’s death was announced. Much of that day was given over to reporting on that story and providing background and context. Given that, obviously, they had no lead time for story preparation, Chris was writing on the fly and at one point was hearing Kurt say over the air words that he, Chris, had typed only about forty-five seconds earlier. A pretty harrowing experience on top of a sad day.

Anyhoo, one of the many benefits of working there was the free CDs. Thanks to discs cast off by the likes of Tabitha Soren, he scored stuff such as Peter Gabriel’s Us, Brian Eno’s Nervenet and the Shutov Assembly, XTC’s Nonsvch, Metallica’s Black Album and Sonic Youth’s Goo. Given that we were living on a shoestring budget and our audio equipment consisted of the cheapest boombox I could find, hooked up to Chris’s discman and that neither of us had brought any of our collections with us, these discs were manna. And pretty much all we had to listen to. So we did. A lot. I learned to appreciate XTC and Sonic Youth (although I still think Goo’s one of their weakest albums), my love of Brian Eno was renewed (although Nervenet did and does nothing for me) and my appreciation of Metallica confirmed.

There was one other album we had, a band called Lost in the Supermarket who released an eponymous album on JRM Records, a small independent label. Since Chris had dozens of discs to choose from each week, I don’t know how this one managed to make the cut. But as we had rather a dearth of options, we gave it a try. And were very, very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I’d guess only the Metallica and XTC albums got more play that year.

Who was Lost in the Supermarket? I don’t know. Where were they from? Got me—there was no indication anywhere on the CD or booklet. What’s their music like? College rock in the mold of the Connells or DBs, I guess I’d say. Good playing, good vocals, good arrangements, a nice variety of styles. Good solid accessible rock and roll, something of which there is never nearly enough.

So what happened to them? As far as I can tell…nothing. Googling turns up no information on them, although popping the disc in iTunes does pull up the song titles; of course, the fact that their name is also the name of a Clash song makes a websearch a tad difficult. But even googling the record label doesn’t help—if the label’s got a site, I haven’t been able to locate it.

Did they just release the one album? Were there others? Was the band a regional success? Was it just a lark or were they crushed that they didn’t go on to become huge rock stars?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that every few years I still pull the disc out and give it a spin. And each time I wonder if I’ll wonder what I ever heard in it. But so far that hasn’t even come close to happening. Instead, I listen to Lost in the Supermarket and think about luck, about popular taste and the fickleness of fate.

I remembering reading that my boy Bruce Springsteen was obsessed with the idea that the perfect pop song was played on the radio, in Iowa, at 3:30 in the morning once…and only once. That’s haunted me ever since.

I think about that when I listen to Lost in the Supermarket. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming they were the greatest band ever, and this certainly isn’t the greatest album ever—I don’t think Revolver or Born to Run or London Calling or Murmur or Nevermind is in much danger of being toppled from their places in the canon.

But it deserved more than it got. Not to damn with faint praise or nothin’, but it was certainly as good as Hootie and Blowfish’s Cracked Rear View. Why did that go on to sell three trillion copies and this just disappear, leaving barely a trace?

I don’t know. No major backing? Not photogenic enough? Certainly no one in the band seems to have had the rich baritone of Darius Rucker. Is that all there is? Maybe. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe they broke up right after the CD was released. Maybe it was never supposed to be a permanent thing. Or maybe they simply weren’t lucky.

Whatever it was, if Bob Fuller, David Klabo, Niko Lorentzatos, Bryan Patterson or Matt Stover ever google themselves, I hope they discover that somewhere out there there’s at least one guy who remembers their band and thinks that their album was pretty swell, and whose life is at least a bit better for having heard their music. Thanks, guys.

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About the other scott peterson

Writer of comics and books and stuff.
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12 Responses to Lost in the Supermarket

  1. Cate says:

    Intrepid Google searcher Cate, reporting for duty. They have a Myspace page at:
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=82018799
    One of my favorite bands from the 80’s is The Records. Equally difficult to search for. Excellent Power Pop, though.

  2. scott says:

    Interesting. I wonder.
    I could be wrong, but I think that’s a different band. But maybe not. I was thinking they looked too young, but it occurs to me that maybe it’s just an old photo. Neither of the songs on there are on the album, and it sounds like a different singer. And I reckon two different bands could have chosen to use the same great Clash tune as a name.
    But, yeah, maybe it is them. In which case, lookit you, bein’ all Ms. Marple and whatnot!

  3. Andrea says:

    *laugh* You inspired me. Right now I’m listening to Winter Hours’ myspace page. Back when the world was still young, I once made the tragic mistake of buying The Style Council’s truly horrible ‘The Cost of Loving’ instead of the WH album…For 20 years, every March, I’ve found myself singing “They called her the hyacinth girl” and then banging my head against a wall thinking HOW DOES THAT SONG *GO*? Also, as you can imagine, difficult to google. I’m not sure if the wait was worth it…but at least now I finally know the rest of the chorus…

  4. shannon says:

    They have good taste if they named themselves after a Clash song – and one of my favorite Clash songs, too. I have a cd from an 80s band called the Mighty Lemon Drops. They actually had a video on MTV for a while. But I don’t know what happened to them. Every so often, I play that cd and I love it all over again. It’s amazing how much music stays with you.

  5. Matt says:

    I decided to google LITSM last pm when I happened upon your website. I was the drummer in Lost in the Supermarket. Unfortunately we broke up many moons ago but it’s great to hear that someone is still enjoying our music. The myspace link is in fact the same band and has a couple of songs on it from an EP recorded a couple of years after the cd….bit of a different direction. I didn’t know the myspace page existed….looks like the work of our guitarist. Anyway, I appreciate your comments and am glad that you still enjoy the cd.

  6. scott says:

    Matt!
    Hey, man, thanks for letting me know. And thanks putting out a great album–your work in particular was great: tasteful yet assertive when called for. Really super stuff.

  7. Karl says:

    FWIW, I stumbled here looking for the album art, as I’m completing the dump of my collection into iTunes. Matt modestly refrained from offering any biographical information, so:
    Lost in the Supermarket was a college band in southwestern VA in the early to mid nineties. Strong performers with good songs and a sense of humor: Going “one track deeper” after a cover of “Brick House”, for example, they also covered “Lady”, well before Faith No More ever did. Likely doomed from the get-go by the fact that all of the musicians were college educated, with some pursuing graduate degrees. Since everyone had a plan B, plan A never took off.
    A shame nobody at MTV ever gave it a spin!

  8. David Klabo says:

    A friend of mine sent me the link to this blog. I was the guitar player for LITSM (Hi Matt!) This my space site is definitely our band, but probably put up by Andrew, who was playing bass for us at this time. He’s the guy in the front row of the picture on the site. The two songs on the site are songs from the EP we did a while after the CD. I actually was listening to the old album on my iPod the other week. Hate the guitar sound now, but still like the songs. Those were good times, and it was a fun band to be in. Scott – glad you still enjoy it.
    Karl is right – the guys in the band are now doctors, Lawyers, Minsters, IT consultants, commodities traders, and ad-men. I think Jason Meeker who played drums for us for a while after Matt left is still giging in the Boston area (he played with a decent band, Ms. Pigeon there for a while, but I think they disbanded.)

  9. scott says:

    David!
    I believe I’ve made clear how good I thought you guys were. But I can’t possibly convey how tickled I am that it seems like Left of the Dial has sorta kinda turned into a reunion for you guys. 🙂
    Thanks for the update, fellas. And thanks for the fine, fine music.

  10. Bob Fuller says:

    Hey Scott,
    Left on the Dial is my new favorite blog. I’m Bob Fuller, the first generation bass player for LITSM. First, I want to thank you for providing an opportunity for this virtual reunion. I still feel really close to these guys even though time and distance have been obstacles to regular contact. I was talking to Matt today for the first time in a long time and he told me about your blog. It is great to see that Dave (Hey Klabo!) knows about it too. We’ll let the others know.
    Second, I want to thank you for making my day. I don’t know if Metallica or Peter Gabriel or XTC have ever responded to you, but your comments about our music (and the fact that you remembered us at all)mean a lot to me and to us. It is hard enough to get affirmation and recognition for the things we do today, so it is nice to know that somthing we did “way back then” was important to someone. Whatever it was we gave to you, you just paid it all back with 20 years of interest.

  11. Bob Fuller says:

    Oops! I mean “Left of the Dial”. Still my new favorite.
    Bob

  12. Mike Shaff says:

    I had “Lost in the Supermarket” play at my wedding in 1994. They were a band from Charlottesville Va. and played the College circuit. Loved the guy ‘s!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the memories!!!!!

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