Sunday, January 2, 2011

It used to take hours to make a mix tape. Starting, stopping, rewinding, missing the cue, trying to find the right number of songs so there were no cut-offs. I would go to great lengths to find some random noise, voice mail message or little clip to fill the space. Levels all over the place, crappy turntable noise, highs and lows and lots of soul, I guess. I suppose the content would be the true barometer of soul. I can change the tone of a mix tape in a hurry with one shitty emo song or spoken word clunker. One time in my old Dodge mini-van my friend Sean Barney said "what did you record this on, Fisher Price?"
Today's mix tape took about ten minutes to assemble.
The Forgetters is the new band featuring Blake Schwarzenbach from one of my very favorite bands of all time, Jawbreaker. He took a long hiatus from making music (at least music that was accessible to the masses) and The Forgetters is just what I had hoped for. On the oppposite end of the spectrum, Reptile House is the very first band by Daniel Higgs from Lungfish, another of my all-timers. There are some country-fried songs, some random ringers, heavy instrumentals and Leatherface, who have been in heavy rotation for me the last few months. The Mr. Gasser and the Weirdo's song is Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's weird surf band from 60s. It's a bad song but I love anything Rat Fink related so that is my mix tape ruiner on this one. And you can laugh at the Kenny Rogers song, but if you sit down and listen to it, it's really a beautiful song....

1 comment:

  1. Dude,

    I've been spending copious amounts of time contemplating, sharing, and indulging in the "art" of the "mix tape" over the last 6 months or so. It all started with the fact that my new to me used 2004 Honda CRV has a tape deck in it (along with the CD player) and I recently found one of those oversized Rubbermaid tubs in the garage full of cassette tapes I've been lugging around with me from Kalamazoo to Colorado and back to Traverse City. First, there are some real gems in that collection of tapes - my favorite being a few of the mixes that John Shepard - from the days of the "The Bop Stop" would make for me while I worked there after much begging and some unusual payoff of some sort. He was a master - in that he actually had a little mixing board and two turntables to work off of - sorta a prophet of the DJ's to come :) Second, I've had a full on blast listening to old live show tapes that will otherwise never see the light of day - especially from my buddy Terry's "jam band" - The Bead Band - which really was a jam band before jam bands were cool - aside from The Dead and all....Finally, after another breakup, I had the chance to make a new "mix tape" for a new chick! Now that's where the rubber hits the road man, because it's not just about all of the elements that you so aptly conveyed in your post - but also setting and retaining just the exact right tone for that place that you are with that woman right this second.

    Thanks for the sharing and for compelling me again to think about hooking up the turntable (yep - got one with LOADS of vinyl) to the tape deck ( got a nice working one of those too) - and finally making a proper "mix tape" rather than a playlist from my copious song choices in my iTunes library.....I can see the albums scattered all over the floor now....

    Thanks for the memories and the inspiration!

    PS - to you and all your readers, if you haven't delved much into the potency of the "mix tape" think about reading "Love Is A Mixtape" by Rob Sheffield. A biographical novel about love, loss, music and redemption.....