I know I've told my "how I got into SA" story before, but since it was GDU that did it for me, I'll tell it again here. Besides, I hear it is mandatory to write in this thread.
At this time in 1992, I was 14 and had no idea who SA was. I listened to the top 40 stations. My cassette collection consisted of Belinda Carlisle, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Wilson Phillips, and Mariah Carey. I think the only non-girl pop tape I had was "The Simpsons Sing the Blues." I liked a handful of rock or alternative rock songs, but I was quite happy to sing along to my girl pop tapes.
Spring 1993 I was 15, and I am pretty sure I heard "Somebody to Shove" on the radio when I was flipping through stations. I still didn't know who SA was, and I thought "wow, shoving people is mean," and didn't give the song a second thought. June 1993 we were visiting my grandma in Pittsburgh. Monday night I had MTV on and videos started back up after a Beavis and Butthead episode. MTV tells me "There are over one million youths lost on the streets of America." Ok, thanks for the info. Oh wait, this is a video. This is a creepy video with kids in awful situations and there are missing kids' photos. These are some weird looking dudes singing this song too. When I got home at the end of the week, I told my friend Joanna about the creepy video with the weird looking band.
During the summer of 1993, as you guys all know, we couldn't escape this video on MTV or the song on radio. The song grew on me and I got de-sensitized to the video (though now, I don't like watching it late at night). I saw SA on the cover of Rolling Stone while I was in a airport layover and read about them. I learned that there were other, earlier albums and that this band that was new to me was not new overall. Of course, I reported all this information back to Joanna and little by little we found out more stuff about the band. We learned that Straw Hair, Lumberjack Bob, Mophead, and "Andrew Shue" were really Dave, Dan, Karl, and Grant. On August 14, 1993, we learned that SA would be on a Saturday Night Live rerun. We watched. This marked the onset of Joanna's big crush on Dave as well as us watching Saturday Night Live. Yes, I committed the date to memory.
August 24, 1993 (I had to look up this date with the help of an old calendar-I keep my Simpsons calendars) was the day before 10th grade. My grandma was in town and gave me $10. My mom and I went to WalMart that night. I wandered off, used my $10 to buy GDU, hid the tape in my purse so my mom wouldn't see, and listened to side 1 that night and side 2 the next night. I figured, if I didn't like the music, at least I'd have an address so Joanna could write to the band. Luckily, I did like the music, even though it was very different from all my girl-pop stuff and I admit it probably took a few listens to really really like it. By this time I was also watching 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation in the hopes of catching more SA videos and got introduced to alternative rock in general. It's probably due to "Runaway Train" that I got into Pearl Jam, REM, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, and the Jayhawks. Joanna and I kept trying to beat each other to getting the SA back catalog first; she won, but whatever I didn't have yet she would dub for me on a blank tape. My Christmas gift from her that year was a dub of "Hang Time." I think her mom was slightly more comfortable than my mom with the change to alternative rock, so she asked her mom to order the old tapes. I was still hiding my alternative rock tapes for about another year, and added to my SA collection when I could find a tape here and there in the store. Also, I no longer thought of them as "a weird looking band." Dan, with the pretty blue eyes, was my first rock star crush. Visual appreciation of Dave came a few years later when he tamed his hair a bit. Joanna delighted in this and played Elton John's "Daniel" on the jukebox at my 16th birthday party.
I mentioned the August 24 date because it's cool to me that I went to a show on the 19th anniversary of my GDU purchase.
I was a fan throughout high school and I tried to catch and tape their interviews on tv or performances on the late night shows. I know I talked about SA many times with my friends and shared their music with my friends (probably to the point of annoying them!), but I only got to my first SA show a few years later. Unfortunately, SA played near me in 1993 but I wasn't really a fan yet, so I missed them during that tour.
My fandom grew significantly after finding message boards, going to shows, and making friends on the message boards that I would see at the shows. So while I was a big fan in high school, I probably wasn't a superfan till college! I didn't think back in 1993 I would go to 39 shows and meet the band a few times, as well as make close friends from an internet message board...but I did!