Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Death of the Mix-Tape

The first place I lived once I moved out of my parents house, maybe 18 or 19 yrs old, was a house w 2 friends.
First thing I did was paint the entire room sky blue.  It was a corner room so I had two windows.  Surrounded by trees, so there was always a nice breeze coming through.

I collected Rolling Stones from my favorite bands,  framed the and hung them on a wall.  The goal was to collect their debut covers, not just a feature, but features as well.  I had about a dozen different covers.
Smallish bed in a corner, one dresser which was home to Id, my boa snake.  Mean little bastard.  
No television, just a stereo.
I had 4 speakers, definitely too big for the room, but they doubled for seating.

I was definitely an odd bird.  The house was active and fun, but I normally stayed away and in my room.  Friends would joke that it was my trick to bait people into "deep talks."

Actually, the room was just too sweet.  I was young, on my own for the first time, and just enjoyed being able to do what I wanted... so I stayed there and played music.

I dont know if theres ever a phase in life we can ever look back on and not say "that was an important time."  Every phase has its key moments that can budge us just 1 degree north, and it doesn't seem like much at the time.  But over and distance, that budge can create miles.  But this was an important time.
It was the mid-late 90's and music was passionate and purposeful.  I think this era was probably the end of solid music and great, great bands.  Guys like Keidis, Flea, Frusciante and Smith dont really find each other these days..  

So it was kind of a thing to do, make mix tapes.  Maybe you found some things and wanted to share with friends or friends with similar music taste or friends with opposite music taste but needed better taste or other friends.
Could be a theme or a "soundtrack," of something in mind or event together... could've been anything.  We'd exchange and listen and then ask "what was that about??" or say nothing but just agree or just understand.  Friends didn't need to actually say much then.

Many, many nights went by with just jokes, drinks and this stuff, I think the best drug possible... music.

It wasnt all grunge and indy rock... Grunge opened us open to the electric guitar and more questions.  Obviously, the name was always known but never the why.  It was that particular summer where I found a sound that made me believe in angels... or aliens.  Because I truly do not believe a human being can do something this perfect over and over and over again.  He walked cool, he talked cool.  He made sounds with this guitar that tap into brain waves we dont even have names for yet.... but you hear it and a chemical releases and you're not on Earth anymore.
Enjoy these 12 minutes....  (below)

And it made me love music even more.  I saved up a few bucks and bought an acoustic guitar, same model my friend had.  Id try to interpret tabs and find some similar sounds but with little success.  Eventually, my friend helped teach me a few (and solo)

And I saw that solo with a slide and I thought, "that looked really awesome," so I went and bought one.  I remember hearing his name only because he opened for Pearl Jam, but I was a closed minded D and didnt care unless I found it.  Kinda like Jack Blacks obnoxious character in High Fidelity.  So when I eventually found Ben Harper, I thought of the premise of Twins, the Arnold movie.  5 of the best brains and bodies in the world, mix their (cough) together and create a super baby.  If Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Page, had a baby...
I heard him say once "I'm a flawed human, but the music will never lie."  I related to that.  

When you're younger, you're more willing to ask questions and work in very way to figure it out.  You dont have much to lose, so you have big balls and you're cocky.  You're not afraid of losing.  Whats the worst that can happen?  Lose a car?  Walk to work, it was just 10 minutes away.  Lose money?  The only thing you need is food and rent, which was $200, I think, may have been less.  So you're stress is super low and your mind is free.  And like I said, you were more willing to ask questions...

This Is Blue Chip