Friday, February 3, 2012

School of Fish -- "3 Strange Days"

I lay down for a while 
And I woke up on the ocean 
Floating on my back 
And staring at the gray 
It was completely still 
Except the pounding of my heart 
Bringing me back to life 
From three strange days 

I left my job with the Federal Trade Commission on Friday, April 13, 1991, and headed for the airport early the next morning to fly to Los Angeles and monitor an infomercial shoot on behalf of my new employer.  After 13 1/2 years as a government attorney, I was entering a new world -- and my first three-day trip to Los Angeles was very strange indeed.

To sell car wax on TV, you
simply must set the car on fire
My new employer was a NYSE-listed infomercial producer and direct-response marketing company that went out of business many years ago.  During the three years I worked for that company, I probably attended 50 infomercial shoots -- the products featured included exercise equipment, kitchen gadgets, car-care products, skin-care and hair-care products, collectible dolls, better-golf aids, and fishing lures.  

Chuck and Christie
The celebrities and ex-celebrities who hosted or appeared in the shows ranged from Olympic gold medalists like Bruce Jenner and Mark Spitz to television stars like Jaclyn Smith and Chuck Norris.  

Some of those infomercials were shot on location, but most were created in nondescript television studios in places like Burbank, CA and Fairfield, NJ.  

Most of my trips were to Los Angeles, and I eventually got to know my way around L.A. -- especially the Burbank-North Hollywood-Glendale area -- as well as I knew my way around Washington, where I had lived since graduating from law school.  

The Jenners
I had my favorite neighborhood restaurants and even had a favorite radio station -- KROQ-FM, or "K-Rock," a Burbank alternative station that helped launch the careers of local bands like the Offspring and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  In the pre-Internet era, KROQ was the place you went to discover new bands.

KROQ was also the station where the Loveline program got its start.  Loveline started as a low-rated Sunday-night-only call-in show that focused on questions about romance and sex, but eventually grew into a five-night-a-week syndicated radio and television show featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky (an addiction medicine specialist who also hosts the Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew show on VH1) and comedian Adam Carolla (who went on to host The Man Show and Crank Yankers).

Loveline got some fairly titillating calls -- it was sort of the radio equivalent of the "Letters to Penthouse" section of Penthouse magazine -- but I hated it when Loveline was on KROQ instead of music.

Loveline's Dr. Drew Pinsky, Adam Carolla
There are a handful of songs that I will always associate with all those trips to Los Angeles 20 years ago.  One I remember vividly is "3 Strange Days" by the one-hit wonders, School of Fish.

School of Fish was a Los Angeles band that formed in 1989 and released an eponymous debut album in 1991.  (You can't go out looking to post about songs that were on eponymous albums -- you have to let them come to you.)  "3 Strange Days" was their first single.  The group released a follow-up album in 1993, but it didn't sell well.  They broke up shortly thereafter.  

Here's "3 Strange Days":

Click here if you'd like to buy this song from Amazon:

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