I stood in the doorway, still teary-eyed from goodbyes with my parents. There, before me, sat the first lesson of my freshman year in college.
Peter Otto had a blond mohawk and twirled a shiny butterfly knife. He had already adorned his side of the room with posters of his favorite bands: The Meatmen, Dead Kennedys and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
“I guess I’m your roommate,” I said and he pointed to the lower bunk. I was chubby, an Eagle Scout and a mama’s boy. But I had one cool card I could play — a boombox that played compact discs, a relatively new music format.
But with only two CDs — a synth-pop album by Kenny Loggins and the debut record from Bruce Hornsby & the Range — there would be no cool, not then anyway. Otto wound up being the best roommate I ever had during two college tours. Some of his music made it into my CD collection, which accelerated in the fall of 1985, but I doubt he ever took to Loggins.
Nearly 30 years later, I keep reading stories that eulogize the CD, report plummeting album sales and lay out how the music industry is now taking its product directly to customers through social media, streaming services or direct downloads from a group’s website.