Music

COLLEGE ROCK REDUX: CHESTER FRENCH

Sounds
Collegerock
Photographs courtesy of Retna UK/Universal Music

In the early to mid-eighties, college rock referred to scruffy bands like the Replacements, 10,000 Maniacs, and the Violent Femmes. Today's iteration harks back to that time but in a Rob Lowe-meets-Duran Duran sort of way—which makes sense, since college rock circa 2008 is crisp Ivy League-born pop. Following the success of Columbia grads Vampire Weekend, the effervescent new It band Chester French, a Harvard-educated duo, are finally releasing their springy, much-hyped debut. Here, a look at college rock's valedictorians, then and now.

THE SOUND
The Replacements: A blistering mix of punk, rock, and heartfelt songwriting
Chester French: The Zombies if they hung out at hip-hop clubs

THE STUDIES
The Replacements: Beer for breakfast (later a song title). None of the original members graduated from high school.
Chester French: D.A. Wallach majored in African-American studies, Maxwell Drummey in social anthropology.

THE LOOK
The Replacements: Flannel shirts and the occasional diaper (worn onstage by lead guitarist Bob Stinson)
Chester French: Pastel plaids and boat shoes

THE VENUES
The Replacements: Basements, dive bars, and even divier bars
Chester French: Their dorm-basement recording studio and college bars

SMART CAREER MOVE
The Replacements: Deciding to sign with a major label, Sire Records—six years in
Chester French: Getting a demo into the hands of Kanye West's manager

MUSICAL HIGHLIGHT
The Replacements: Of all their now classics, none is better than "Color Me Impressed," from 1983's Hootenanny.
Chester French: It's early, but their ode to high-maintenance girlfriends, "The Jimmy Choo's," is insanely catchy.

CELEB FRIENDS
The Replacements: R.E.M. The two upstart groups toured together.
Chester French: Pharrell Williams, who signed them to his label after a fierce bidding war with West and Jermaine Dupri

THE GROUPIES
The Replacements: Twentysomethings in white Hanes tees and tattered $10 jeans
Chester French: Twentysomethings in white Ray-Bans and tattered $300 jeans



"She Loves Everybody," set to pictures of the band.

Details Newsletters
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement, and Privacy Policy.
Subscribe to Details
Newsletter Sign Up
  • Get the latest in men's style, grooming, diet, fitness and pop-culture trends every Wednesday. See Sample
  • Get the most popular articles, blog posts, and slideshows of the past week every Saturday. See Sample
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement, and Privacy Policy.
AROUND THE WEB
Powered By ZergNet
Subscribe to Details

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest in men's style, grooming, health, and pop-culture news every day.
Will be in accordance with our Privacy Policy