Friday, December 14, 2012

Hogie's heroes: CHOM 97.7

Okay, so we're coming out of the 70's. My parents have divorced and I've moved with my Mom to live with my Stepfather at her Grandparents' house in St. Albans Vermont. St. Albans is about 15 miles from the U.S. border with the Canadian province of Quebec and I remember going to school with a lot of kids with French last names. While Quebec has a rich cultural heritage, from the American perspective it's main draws were:

Beer: Before the rise of microbrews, the main "Status" beer back in the day was Canadian beer personally imported from Canada. You could get Canadian beer in American supermarkets, but it wasn't as strong as the stuff sold in the provinces. Show up at a party with a case of Brador and you were hot stuff.

Strippers: Sometimes called "The Bangkok of North America" Quebec sure has a lot of strippers. While St. Catherine street in Montreal probably has the most, strip clubs can turn up in towns that amount to little more than a general store and a post office. Consequently, most of my trips to Quebec have been for bachelor parties.

Music: Montreal is by far the nearest large city to St. Albans, and thus a major concert destination. Also, back when I was in high school it's English language rock station was pretty much the main place to hear new music in the days before MTV.

CHOM hews to the classic rock format these days, but it used to have more new music in the mix. This had a major effect on Northern Vermont tastes in rock, as a lot of the new music being played was Canadian. While acts like Rush, Heart, and Loverboy broke through to the American mainstream, a lot of stuff that was popular at school was never made a dent in the rest of the country. I think the locals sort of liked the regional nature of that. To this day April Wine and The Tragically Hip remain major concert draws for younger Boomers and older Gen Xers. Here's a smattering of what the early 80's sounded like if you went to my school:


  1. Oh, I forgot about that great Payolas song! Thanks.

  2. Ahhh... the age of REALLY big hair! Agree on the Payolas' track--it's the only one of these that really resonate with me. Reminiscent of Police and some of tbe Brit bands at the time. The singer sounds a bit like Johnny Clegg (of Johnny Clegg and Savuka--South African mixed-race band for that time period).