02 December 2008

The Days of Mixed Tapes

Back in the 80's and 90's, making mixed tapes was an important past time. I can't count how many I have in my parent's garage (though my mom probably knows, as she asks me to get rid of them almost every time I go home...sorry Mom!), most of them taped from the radio. When I got a new stereo and a CD player, I graduated to making tapes of songs from the CDs I owned...probably a little Janet Jackson mixed with some Trash Can Sinatras or something.

But the ultimate validation came when someone finally made ME a mixed tape. Making a mixed tape was not something to be taken lightly; songs were carefully chosen to set a mood, convey a feeling, introduce someone to something they wouldn't otherwise listen to. To me, getting a mixed tape made me feel so special. Seems silly now, but back then...

The first mixed tape I ever got was from my friend Howser (well, his name was Doug, which we changed to Doogie, which I changed to Howser, as in, M.D. He humored me). I think I had stolen borrowed a tape from him, which had an odd mix but I just loved. He decided it was time I listen to better music, which to him, was punk. So he made me a tape called "Intro to Punk," which had a variety of covers on the "fun" side and awesome music on the "serious" side.

I loved that tape.

We sat together and listened to it, him explaining the various bands to me, making me listen to the words...all the words. When we'd see a poster for a show, he'd point it out and we'd go. I must say...it was much easier to have someone tell me what to listen to!

That tape got me through college and then some. I am surprised I didn't wear it out. When I was having trouble with my lacrosse coach, I would put it in the Walkman, go to the Wall, and throw the shit out of the ball to the rhythm of Samiam's "Bad Day" or "United Cigar" by Good Riddance. They had the perfect anger rhythm, and I got super strong...too bad my coach hated me and still wouldn't play me (um...not bitter or anything).

Somewhere along the line, the actual tape got lost. But not too long ago I found the tape case with all the songs listed, and have been able to download a lot of them. I've been listening to them lately, which causes me to look crazy walking down the street, whipping my head around to the beat. It also makes me want to be back in Yosemite 35K dissecting every part of every song. Oh, and it makes me want to go play some lax, too!!

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