By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
No telling what pushed up the price of the Bobby Soxx "Learn to Hate" single that was put up for sale on eBay -- the popular online auction Web site (www.ebay.com) -- on April 20. Most likely, the eventual winner, who goes by the handle "jarosis," was a fan, one of the punk rock kids who packed themselves into places like The Hot Klub to see Bobby Soxx and bands like The Nervebreakers, The Telefones, Quad Pi, and The Doo perform. Undoubtedly, the other bidders were as well. Everyone who placed a bid on the 1981 Bobby Soxx single could probably tell a similar story to the one that accompanied a photo of the disc on the site.
"I saw this guy fronting Stick Men With Ray Guns, opening for the Butthole Surfers in Houston circa 1981," the seller, "hakkalugi," wrote. "Dude had thick black horn-rimmed glasses and in between songs once he shouted 'Y'all wanna see my butt?' To which everyone answered a resounding 'NOOOO.' After this response he dropped trou, put the microphone up in there, and gave us some some mean flautulence over the P.A. This is the mother of all Texas Punk singles, need I say more?"
That impressive and vivid tale may have had something to do with the fevered competition for the single, which, when bidding ended on April 30, went for $174. Steve Dirkx -- who besides playing with his brothers Chris and Jerry in The Telefones, backed Soxx as a member of the Teenage Queers -- sent word of the selling price, along with a note that said, "The end times are here when Soxx goes for $174."
While the price is a bit surprising, the fact that the single showed up on eBay isn't. If CDNow.com and Amazon.com are beating record stores on new-CD arrivals and prices, auction sites like eBay and others have replaced stores that sell used discs. If you want a rare recording such as the Bobby Soxx single, don't waste your time combing the racks. Just keep your eyes peeled on the Internet; you won't have to wait long.
More than anything else, eBay has turned into the new cutout bin. Funland's Sweetness EP turns up on the site regularly for about $1, and copies of the Toadies' Rubberneck as well as discs by Deep Blue Something, The Nixons, Tripping Daisy, Hagfish, and others can be found for three or four bucks. In fact, most local bands don't rate much at all on eBay, even though sellers try to dress up records with terms like "rare" and "out-of-print" (OOP). But for all the dreck, occasionally there is something worthwhile to be found: a Bedhead single here, an old MC 900 Ft. Jesus disc there. But it doesn't have to be good to move on eBay -- it just has to be there.