Friday, August 21, 2009

Hot Red...Chili..Who? Peppers?

I used to have this MAD skill!

When I was in junior high/early high school, I had this uncanny ability to call in to a radio station and win prizes! Who KNEW!

Going to Middle and high school in Dekalb, Illinois, we had our own radio station. It was called WDEK and it played current Top 40 hits. Pretty much, that's all I listened if an artist wasn't played on WDEK, then I had NO CLUE who they were.

Oh memories...

Well, each night WDEK played the "Top 8 at 8," which was a countdown of the top 8 requested songs of the day. Once the countdown ended, there was a contest...The 8th caller would have 8 seconds to list Title and artist, in order from 8th all the way to #1

I got this!

I would sit up in my room, waiting for 8:00pm to come, with my notepad and pen...waiting for each song to play, and practicing how fast I could say them!

"Vision of Love" by Mariah Carey
"Escapade" by Janet Jackson
"It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette

Sometimes I would get a real tough one and have to SPEED read it:

"How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" by Michael Bolton

Yikes! night, I was ready as always...The #1 song had just played, I had the phone in my hands...
I had already called the number in advance and hung-up...that way all I had to do was hit re-dial when the time was right!

The DJ said, "Ok, I am taking the 8th caller..."



- "Hi, Who is this?"
- " name is Paul"
- "Paul...You are the 8th caller! Can you name all 8 songs, title and artist?"
- "Yes!"

Of course I did. I was a seasoned Professional at this by now...

- "Congratulations! You Won! Your prize is 2 tickets to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing at Northern Illinois University."


So...I won two tickets to a band that I had never heard of. this point, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were a brand new band, who were starting to gain a following as a college band. Since NIU is a college, and in DeKalb, that's why they were performing there.

I was a freshman in high school. Listening to Pop/Top 40 music.
I had no clue.

And who would name themselves after a vegetable? I'm NOT going to see this band...

So, i never picked up the tickets from the radio station. No loss...

Well...within that same year, this song hit the Top 40 airwaves called, "Give It Away" by none other than the RHCPs. Then, it was followed up by a HUGE hit called "Under the Bridge."

I loved both songs.

My dumbass was kicking myself at this point. You know...if we had internet back then...and Youtube, and other ways to hear music online, I probably would've done some research on them. BUT...back in the day, it was either buy the album, hear it on the radio, or nothing!

Damn! Why didn't I go to see them before they got HUGE?

Apparently they had been a band since 1983. Who knew?, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have become one of my favorite bands. I love it when one of their songs randomly shows up on my ipod. So creative, so smooth, so talented....

However, I have YET to see them perform live.
If only I would've known...

I didn't make that mistake with Amy Grant, though!


  1. You have another mad skill, the fact that you can crack me up so often by reading your blog. Another nice one, Paul Benjamin.

  2. We had a nightly countdown in my town as well. I was never able to call in and win, though. Your story brings back memories. haha!

  3. It's a good thing Fall Out Boy wasn't around back then. You would've lost.

    "This Aint a Scene, It's an Arms Race"

    "Sugar We're Going Down Swinging"

    "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me"

  4. Great blog! Love your writing.

  5. I am also very fond of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and have been for years. I have seen them in concert a couple of times.
    If they come back to Chicago, I recommend that you get tickets.

  6. So funny, Paul!!! A senior invited me to that concert with him and a group of friends and I said no b/c I hadn't heard of that group and I figured they'd all be smoking pot and getting in trouble and I was a freshman wimp. Um...duh :) CAB used to bring in awesome concerts to NIU. I think they are gone now, but it doesn't really matter since I'm too old to go to any concert on campus, anyways (unless Elmo Live! comes back to the convo...then I'm in ;) Thanks for the memories!!! (Amy Fontana)