Sir Bob. Courtesy photo.

I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS

No, this isn’t the same column you read yesterday, that started out with those same words. That was CURIOUS CITY and the Mondays thing fit right in, but now I’ll tell you the little known, sad tale behind that song title, in this NOTEWORTHY music column.

Although they had previous hits, “I Don’t Like Mondays” is the song that put ‘70s-’80s post-punk rockers the Boomtown Rats on the map. It topped the charts in the UK in 1979 and was their biggest hit ever in their native Ireland. It couldn‘t crack the Top 40 in the US, but was a concert staple.

It sounds like something a lot of working folk would mutter at the start of a week, doesn’t it? But the story is something much different and startling. Pretty ghastly and sad, actually.

BRats leader Bob Geldof was being interviewed at the Georgia State campus radio station in late Jan. ‘79, when he glanced over to the clattering telex machine to see what the news flash was. There had been a shooting at an elementary school in San Diego, as the children were arriving on a Monday morning, by a 16-year-old girl who lived across the street. She fired off 30 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle and eight children and one policeman were wounded, and two adults shot dead, the principal and a custodian, who both tried to shield the children. Further casualties were avoided because the police obstructed her line of fire by moving a garbage truck in front of her house. Smart.

Shocking enough for that time, a school shooting, but what caught Geldof’s attention was something the young shooter said.

A REPORTER REACHED HER

By phone while she was still in the house, before being taken by the police, and asked, why did you do it, “tell me why?” She answered, “I don’t like Mondays.”

She did not say, per the lyrics, “I want to shoot the whole day down,” but did add, “This livens up the day.”

That’s a pretty chilling response, especially from such a young person, Geldof thought. He couldn’t get the words out of his head and started writing the song on the way back to the hotel from the radio station. (Rats piano man Johnny Fingers now has co-writing credit on the hit, by an agreement reached last year with Geldof.)

The song was controversial because at the time school shootings were shocking and disturbing, not everyday occurrences like now, and hardly fodder for pop songs. And because the casual comment that became the title stopped you in your tracks, once you knew what the song was about. What is this world coming to? Oh, for the innocent days of 1979.

SHE LIVED ALONE WITH HER FATHER

An alcohol and drug abuser, in a squalid home strewn with empty booze bottles, both sleeping on a single mattress on the living room floor. She had little interest in school, except for an obvious talent for photography. When her school staff diagnosed her as suicidal and recommended she be admitted to a hospital for depression, her father refused permission. During tests while she was in custody, it was discovered she also had an injury to the temporal lobe of her brain, from an accident on her bicycle.

She used a Ruger semi-automatic rifle with a telescopic sight and 500 rounds of ammunition. Given to her by her father a month earlier. For Christmas.

“I asked for a radio and he bought me a gun,” she said. Asked why he had done that, she answered, “I felt like he wanted me to kill myself.”

SHE WAS CHARGED AS AN ADULT

And pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. On April 4, 1980, a day after her 18th birthday, she was sentenced to 25 years to life, and was sent to the women’s prison in Chino. At age 58, she is still serving her “indeterminate” sentence, a practice now outlawed by the UN Convention Against Torture. In prison, she was diagnosed as an epileptic and received medication to treat her epilepsy and depression.

Geldof said the killer “wrote to me saying ‘she was glad she’d done it because I’d made her famous,’ which is not a good thing to live with.” It is because of that, that I have not named her here.

THAT SONG

Made the Rats stars and gave Geldof visibility and a platform. He got involved in raising money to combat famine in Ethiopia, forming Band Aid with Ultravox’s Midge Ure. They co-wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” for an unprecedented recording by a choir of the world’s biggest music names, and it became the biggest selling single in UK history (a distinction it held for 13 years). The following year, 1985, they launched Live Aid, the biggest rock concert ever, 16 hours of the biggest stars, broadcast from both London and Philadelphia. (Phil Collins jumped on a Concorde supersonic jet so he could play in both cities on the same day.) It raised £150M for famine relief.

Geldof ran the show and was fierce in asking for money. Twice he had outbursts on the live broadcast using the “f” word, slamming his first onto a table and telling viewers to forget about going to the pub, just pick up the phone and send us money, and when he did contributions increased £300 per second. He was knighted “Sir Bob” at age 34 (an honorary title since he is not a British citizen), for his charity and music accomplishments.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

The first concert I attended after moving to LA in 1980, was the Boomtown Rats at the Santa Monica Civic (3/24/81). It was my son Chris’s first big show in LA but definitely not his last. During my two and a half years in charge of club advertising for the LA Weekly, and as a music journalist, I developed relationships with every club owner and booking agent in town, and Chris got right up front for so many great shows in great venues where he was still 10 years underage. Thanks, y’all. I should write a book.

R.I.P. KURT FISHER

And since I’ve broached that subject, I would like to bid a sad but fond farewell to Kurt Fisher, legendary proprietor of Club Lingerie in Hollywood, in my mind hands down the best music venue in town during the ‘80s. I just found out that he passed on Oct. 2. Somewhere in his 80s, I believe. So many astounding shows there, booked by the also legendary Brendan Mullen, from Big Jay McNeely honking sax laying flat on the bar to the Duke Ellington Orchestra playing from original charts to the Red Hot Chili Peppers first appearing in only their socks (strategically placed). When I wind up passing over, I hope those two have a great Astral Club Lingerie waiting for me.

R.I.P. too to Billy Joe Shaver, and of course Sean Connery. Maybe, folks gettin’ out before it gets worse.

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,500 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com