The Man Who Did Hops

friendI recently wished an old friend happy birthday on Facebook. Nice guy. We’re not in touch, but we’ve both moved forward in our lives. It’s all good.

I’m going to tell a story about him, but I’ll be vague on some of the details because I suspect the law was being broken. Let’s go back to the late seventies.

FM radio was quickly moving past AM, but a few powerhouse stations with big budgets and staffs still did exist. Radio then and radio now are different like flying then and flying now are different.

My friend was the nighttime jock on a big major market station. They played top-20. He was a very good disk jockey. Great timing and power.

He and I worked as competitors in two different markets. We met, had a lot in common and became friends.

Through the station he had one outside gig. On-the-air he promoted a weekly ‘hop’ at a local suburban Catholic high school, then split the gate 50/50 with the priests.

Today’s club disk jockey’s have more sophisticated gear, but in the late 70s he was state-of-the-art. The gym was immense.

They packed them in. If you were 13-18 it was a place you could be with the opposite sex and your parents could reasonably trust it to be safe.

I went with him one warm Saturday night. It was crazy, a sweaty mass of dancing kids their internal organs vibrating to the intense and distorted sound. The acoustics were nightmarish, to be kind.

Toward the end he excused himself and met with Father. He came back, packed up and we went back to his place. We were carrying a loosely bundled blanket–almost a bindle&#185.

At home and with his wife now joining us, he put the blanket on the ground and opened it up. It was a large pile of one dollar bills!

My guess is he was making 50 percent or more of his legit pay on Saturdays… and in cash… and with the Catholic Church!

This was one of the more memorable nights of my life. However, what I have to thank him for is having terrible cocaine!

I guess I’m burying the lede. Too late.

I had never done cocaine. In the late seventies the bad parts weren’t well publicized. He had some.

I snorted a few lines.

Is this common? Some rolled through my Eustachian tube and into my throat. The back of my throat numbed. That feeling was so unpleasant, I never touched the stuff again.

Happy birthday friend. Thanks for the good memories of a fun Saturday.

&#185 – h/t Stefanie Fox

4 thoughts on “The Man Who Did Hops”

  1. Great story, thoroughly enjoyed it. Only thing I would take exception to though is the dating of FM radio usurping AM. Here in New Haven it would be the late 60’s not 70’s. WYBC presented a huge challenge to AM, and (if memory serves) most of the large circle of friends I grew up with would never touch the AM dial (no buttons then)after YBC presented their “new” format. I would roughly guess 1967 or 1968 really saw the emergence of this. I remember being a teenager and walking down to their studio, sitting there late at night and the jocks letting us pick albums from the library that they would play. Wow. What a golden time that was!

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