'when all words fail, she speaks. her mix tape's a masterpiece'
In an effort to be more financially savvy and less soccer mommy, I've been driving our car on my short commute to and from work for the past couple weeks. The car is straight up bare bones and no thrills. That means my drive-time concerts have been staged with my backup band, Factory Installed Radio.
"I got a little feedback in my right ear. Can we fix that? No? OK. So about that hollow sound...Nothing? OK again..."
When FIR pitches a bitchfest at me and puts outrageous demands in their concert rider, I hit the road with my other band, Tape Deck Fantastic! (that's not me inserting an exclamation point at the end of the sentence. That thing is there because the band wants you to say it with enthusiasm!)(That exclamation point I just used there at the end of the other parenthetical sentence? It was put there because I had to put it there to drive home the point.).
Cruising the highways in the Hyundai, minus the lifestyle to which I've grown accustomed to in the mini with its CD player that allows me to pump up the jams from my iPod, means I've had to find old school ways to entertain myself, and nothing makes the kids today ask "What in the hell are those and what in the hell do you do with them?" like pulling out all my old cassette tapes!
(That's right. I just used the words "pump up the jams." Why, back in my day, we pumped up the jams while walking 20 miles to school in the driving snow. Uphill. Both ways...)
In particular, I've enjoyed reliving my amazing youth by blowing the dust off my collection of mix tapes. I have tons of these, thanks to the world that was unleashed upon me as a teenager when I'd finally made enough working part time at Target to buy a stereo with dual cassette decks. One of my favorite mixes is titled "Songs From 45s I Shoplifted From Musicland." Among the selections carefully blended on either side of the 90 minute cassette are Don Felder's Heavy Metal (Takin' A Ride), Chilliwack's My Girl, and The Tubes' She's A Beauty. This stuff holds up on a tinny sounding car radio now, my friends.
I used to spend a lot of time mastering the perfect mix tape. My ability to ensure you couldn't hear the pause button being hit between songs and tips on how to choose songs wisely so as not to run out of tape before tune at the end of a cassette earned me an A+ when I was assigned a "how to" paper during my freshman year in college. I probably should have just posted that paper here. It would have been shorter and more bearable for you who've come this far in this post. I once knew how to be brief in my writing. You have to be when creating a mix tape, because you only have so much room to cram the title and artist of each track onto the tiny cardboard insert that comes with each cassette. When I was satisfied with my productions, I'd then decorate them with various drawings or slashes of bright color spilled from the markers stored in my desk.
My collection of tapes represent a lot of hours of my life, and some of my favorites never stuck around long, for I gave them to friends, who'd often exchange one of their creation with me. One such gift I uncovered this week was produced by a college friend before he left to spend two years in Hungary as a Peace Corp. volunteer. Between each song you hear him fuddling with a mic to explain why he chose them and how they relate to our friendship. The tape concludes with his karaoke performance of Elton John's Daniel, performed at his goodbye party and made more passionate thanks to the many beers he'd consumed prior to taking the stage.
The mix tape that's been getting the most play this week must have been my attempt in 1990 to claim the title WORLD'S BIGGEST KLF FAN!!! What time is love? I don't know, but get hype to the rhythm. Every damn KLF song I own is represented on that tape. Alas, it's not one of my better mixes. We're getting funky fresh with Prince's My Name Is Prince, then bringing it down with some mellow kd lang and her Constant Craving, then whoops! Get your asses back up! KLF are all bound for mu mu land and want to take you with them.
They're taking me along for the time being anyway. I've mixed up my driving, so I have to mix up my soundtrack. Plus, score! I've rediscovered songs I'd completely forgotten about, like this one from World Party:
My days, my drives, and my music are as diverse as a good mix tape. I think I just may tour exclusively with Tape Deck Fantastic!