Sunday, November 11, 2007

Press the eject and give me the tape.

Tower 2.jpg

O.K., So a pre-recorded copy of Journey, Infinity is the one that doesn't belong in these three photos. Just wanted to make a historical point: Journey and Neal Schon were cool way before Milch ended The Sopranos and "Don't U Forget About ME"! Inspiration for this entry comes from Rob Sheffield, Thurston Moore, Robin James, John Oswald, Nick Hornby, DiMo, Ben D., Blue Velvet and everbody ever at KZSU, Dane Johnson, Gleester, and Jeff Erickson @ Stanford, Gorjus, Gene Clark, Kicker of Elves, Alec Eiffel, Sally J. Nordan, the Rev. Joey "the tape of GEL" Pensak @ Mississippi State, the whole gang @ URY but especially Simon and Stephen H (as below will make clear) and all other contributors to the art of the cassette mix tape.

Like I said last week I was "digging in the dirt" well rearranging a closet and I came across a bunch of old cassettes. You remember them, they were after vinyl but before CDs. Yeah I know I already made that same lame - - - joke in the last blog entry. So sue me, my "professional" writing staff are on a picket line outside Black Rock. This is such a rich topic that I'm gonna preview it today and spend the rest of the week highlighting the three eras of my mix tape existence.

Here's a small catalogue/photo essay/playlist of some of my absolute favorite old mix tapes. From the all vinyl all the time mixing-board eras at URY and KZSU right through the CD revolution to the cusp of the digital encoding revolution. ca. 2001/2. Unless otherwise stated all tapes compiled by G E Light. I won't discuss my Harvard -era party mixes (1981-5) as I consider them juvenalia only and of little histoical interest.

1985-6 The URY Years

State of the Nation (9/11/86) compiler: Stephen Humphries
Untitled (Fall 1986) Compiler: Simon Aldous
[Motown Mix] (stolen from out of my 1984 Jetta in the Blackwelder Parking Lot, Escondido Village, Stanford along with the car's original Am-Fm Cassette radio and thus deleted; BTW, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Dischord Records fame lived in the same grad student housing village as a kid or so the story goes; hale and farewell to a fellow DIYer)
Brit Sounds* *Irish, too/Funky Soul/Solely Funk
"A Mixed Bag" Tape: Rock Comp/Soul-Funk Comp

I've blogged elsewhere about my first radio station. Somehow I stayed away from 'HRB as an undergrad, my bad!

One special one I want to share today:

Sonya's Sisters Solidarity Mix

That should really read Sonja, my "double secret probation" bad.

Sonja Lyubomirsky

I hope like Altered Image's fetching Clare Grogran aka The "real" Gregory' Girl, "she [Sonja] could be happy" with the following play list! I should mention this is seven years before Lillith Fair, having been produced on October 7, 1990.

Side A

Billie Holiday-All or Nothing At All
Aretha Franklin-Respect
Freda Payne-Band of Gold
Sinead O'Connor-The Last Day of Our Acquaintance
Everything But The Girl-Apron Strings
Kate Bush-This Women's Work
Voice of the Beehive-The Beat of Love
Penelope Houston-Bed of Lies
Julie Cruise-Falling
Sarah McLachlan-Steaming
Kirsty MacColl-You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby
Consolidated-Dysfunctional Relationship

Side B

Eurythmics w/Aretha-Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves
Nancy Sinatra-These Boots Are Made for Walking
Queen Latifah w/De La Soul-Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children
Sarah Vaughan-The Sweetest Sounds
Patti Smith-Gloria
X-Ray Spex-Germfree Adolescents
We've Got a Fuzzbox (and We're Gonna Use It)-XXsexx
The Slits-Typical Girls
Barbara Manning-Every Pretty Girl
Michelle Shocked-My Little Sister
2 Nice Girls-I Spent my Last$10.00 on Birth Control And Beer

Sonja Lyubomirsky was born in Russia, emigrated to the States and graduated summa cum laude in pyschology from Harvard (1989). She started at Stanford, when I was halfway through my decade there and lived in the same dorm complex, Rains Houses, where I was Head Graduate Resident Assistant. It remains a vibrant social haven for bedraggled graduate students as Rains E-Drops, the dorm's online newsletter attests. Of course, back in the day we had an annual social budget of $78,900.00 what with 789 residents at $25/individual/quarter. That buys a lot of Price Club jumbo popcorn bags, believe me! Below are some typical Rains colloquia:

Another Price Club Special.JPG

Marjo says "Darn That Price Club Popcorn!"

typical rains courtyard

Rains Housing Office Courtyard

If memory serves, Sonja lived downstairs in the first building on the right; she certainly laid out on this green, not a sight soon forgotten.

Rains Graduate Seminar

Another Midweek Graduate Seminar, Rains Houses, Willis Courtyard

Hidden Valley BBQ 7:11:90

Rains Hidden Valley BBQ, July 1990

Don Fujino on the extreme left was my longtime Rains 12A Roommate. He did a PhD in High Energy Physics at SLAC and now is at back in the Bay Area researching at Lawrence Livermore Labs or so I last heard. We'll be seeing a lot more of Don to follow. He made his blog photo debut as "a Cluster of Grapes" here. The Stanford Baseball Player in that photo was Martha Meaney now Murray, who is a highly respected Orthopedic Surgeon at Childen's Hospital Boston and an assistant professor of orhopedic surgery at the Harvard Medical School.

Grillin' w:the Bones.JPG

Grillin' w/ Big Bones, Willis Courtyard

Big Bones BBQ II

The Famous Sequel: Big Bones BBQ II in Willis Courtyard

rains adopts pescadero beach

Rains Community Service Team Cleans Up Pescadero State Beach

got  your sno cones here!

At the Stanford Community Carnival Behind Rinconada

Bill, Phil, Tallis, Vi et al.

Some of My GRA Staff in action outside Willis Lounge

Don and GE outside Rains 12A

Don & GE outside Rains 12A, Halloween 1991

Rains Pumpkin Carving 91

Rains Pumpkin Carving Contest, Halloween 1991

The winner was, of course, the pictured EE grad student who wore his creation on his head . . . and in a lanslide.

"Caesar" Don--Rains Ski trip_1.JPG

"Caesar" Don, Rains Ski Trip

Tahoe @ sunset 3:92

Rains Heavenly Ski Trip, Sunset over Tahoe, March 1992

Rains Casino Nite staff.JPG

The Better Half, Rains Casino Nite Staff, Hacienda Commons

Charades from Hell.JPG

Charades from Hell, GRA Staff Training, Bodega Bay, 2001

GRA Staff '93-Angel Island

Rains GRA Staff, Angel Island, 1993

Do you Lindy?.JPG

Do The Lindy 101

Rains Daquiri 1991

And finally . . . 'ritas @ Rains Party 14C

Yup we played only slightly less hard than we worked, studied, and researched. Sonja and I both graduated with PhDs in 1994. She's been a very successful Professor of Pschology at UC Riverside for a hopefully lucky 13 years. Not sure about that crosstown/cross valley Santa Monica to Riverside commute on the 10 though! Next year when the following book really drops, she could become a PHENOMEMNON making the circuit from Oprah to Leno to Dave and onwards . . .

The KZSU Studio B-era

The vast majority of my mix tapes hapened here, but then I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years from 22 to 32 years of age and had total access to KZSU's incredible vinyl treasure trove not to mention briefly a coveted station-wide master key. Perhaps the largest record library in the Bay Area, even if fully a sixth of it is in hard-to-access deep storage cardboard boxes.

Rock Mix/Jazz Mix ca. 1987
Da Berg (The Oak Creek Mix) 1/15/96--last mix made in Palo Alto
S.F. Seen 5/21/90
Blue & Black 3/21/90
38A Quake! 11/3/89 17 Days after this which I helped clean up on the 14th
The Best of Wednesday Night Live: Second Anniversary Special compilers: Ben D. and Steve V.
Halloween 10/31/88
selected $WINGIN' UTTER$ compiler: Dane Johnson
[Dane also happened to be Kevin the original bass player's MA Thesis chair at SFSU; Wickersham wrote about Turiya -- a Sanskrit literary/theological concept -- compared with Jouissance. Dane writes, "I agreed to chair the thesis only if he promised never to include mention of either concept directly or indirectly in any Swingin' Utters song. He agreed." Wickersham more recently has been in SF's The Workin' Stiffs]
Starkvegas and my cd to cassette mixes: The NAD 6325 era AKA pre-Nero, pre-iTunes, pre-MP3s

The local mix tape culture had 2 epicenters, often overlapping, The English Department at Mississippi State and WMSV also on campus. These tapes often come with the odd vinyl track played through a Denon Dp-25F turntable. And they tend to have some space between tracks, as I didn't have a mixing board or fader handy when constructing them.

The Sub 3:00 Mix/The Summer of Love Mix 7/7/98
Local NE MS Music 3/6/00
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Peel (local indie rock from the Golden Triangle) 4/3/01
Light Shakespeare 8/26/97
In A Country State of Mind 8/1/97
SAA in Bay Area Mix Easter 1999 3/29/99
the tape of GEL compiler: Joey Pensak ca. 6/2000
The Dee-n-Wendy BV mix 2/5/01
Brit Pop Mix 5/1/3/99
Jabber Rock 2001 Mix 4/24/01

Next Time URY and Stephen and Simon's competing takes on the the "State of the Nation" UK, Fall 1986.

Sad Coda 9:28 pm CST

Sonya's Sisters Solidarity Mix is dead, long live the mix. As old tapes are wont to do, it slowed down but kept spooling out tape. It was on a techno track by Consolidated so it didn't sound to weird at first. I was across the room. By the time I realized what was up, it was too late. The tape split as I sprinted boomboxwards. I guess I'll just have to virtually recreate the thing from MP3s. C'est La Vie.

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