On his way out the front door, Willie slipped Biggie a cassette tape and said, "Make sure you guys listen to this." The original label had peeled away from the cassette. On the white blur that was left, Willie had taken a ballpoint and written, Best of the Raspberries. "One day Watershed could be this good."
We’d never heard of the Raspberries.
Willie threw his hands in the air and said, "Awwww." He told us they were from Cleveland and they were the quintessential power pop band. Melodic but ballsy.
We’d never heard the term power pop, either. To us, pop was Kasey Kasem and America’s Top 40. Richard Marx and George Michael. We were a rock band.
After he was gone, we put the tape into the deck, and we heard the scratches and pops of needle-in-groove. Willie had made this recording from vinyl.
The first song kicked in with big drums and a ballsy, Pete Townshend-esque guitar lick. Mama, yeah. Whew! belted the singer, and the bass and rhythm guitar slid in with a nicely-distorted crunch. Pretty damn rocking.
Just as quickly as I could form that thought, however, the song downshifted into the first verse, and the singer, sounding too much like every high school thespian I’d ever heard, sang, I-eye never knew how complete love could beeeeeeee. ‘Til she kissed me and said baby pleeeeeeese, go-oh all the way-eee. Any balls this song had ever had were now snipped-off and rolling around on the floor.
"What the hell is that?" said Biggie.
"This doesn’t rock," I said.
Herb laughed and cranked up the volume, "This fucking sucks."
Rock and roll was Keith Moon setting his drums on fire. Keith Richards smacking his forearm to find a virgin vein. Not whatever this Raspberry pansy was spouting.
Biggie hit stop on the tape deck. "How can this guy sing with all that cum in his mouth?"