#374 with Russ Van Cleave|
Friday, October 02 2015
I'm sure just about everyone has some mix tape or mix
CD or mix playlist (or whatever else gets passed around these days) that
they've received from someone at some point that opened them up to whole new
collections of bands and artists that might have otherwise been relegated to
obscurity. This podcast is
dedicated to one of those collections; a mix tape a friend gave me circa 1994 that opened me up to
a world that I've since shared with The Replacements, Naked Raygun, The Jam,
and a bunch of other great music.
I suppose it’s safe to say that the best days of the "mix tape" are
behind us. I know there are quite a few collectors and distributors out there
who remain stalwart disciples of the cassette format. But I don't expect we'll
see the cassette format regain its former glory as the preferred mode of music
sharing amongst the general population.
That being said, I suppose that this installation of my regular podcast could
be considered nostalgic. This go around, I decided to pay tribute to a great
mix tape my friend Bean made for me circa 1994. I came to college in 1992 eager
for new music. I had a background in ‘80s metal and, towards the end of high
school and the beginning of college, was starting to familiarize myself with a
lot the easily accessible "punk" and "alternative" bands of
As I started to involve myself more in college radio, I eventually met Jeff
Douglas, colloquially known amongst friends as "Bean." Bean asked me
what I listened to and, after a moment of reflection following the short list
of bands I recited, said, "I'm gonna make you a tape." What I got
from him a few days later ended up being one of the most memorable collections
of music anyone has shared with me.
At this point, I believe I have accumulated a CD or record containing every
song on that tape save the one exception detailed below. There are some bands I
have left off in the interest of keeping the runtime for the podcast from
getting out of control. But, while I still have a few brain cells left upstairs,
I decided that it would be a good idea to document what I recall of that mix
tape as part of a Razorcake podcast. Enjoy!
To download the file to your computer, right click the link below and select
"save target as..." It's a hefty file, so it may take some time to
download to your computer. To play the file without downloading (it
depends on your computer's configuration for playing music files), just click
it. Your media player should recognize what to do with an mp3. (If it doesn't,
you're on your own.)
RAZORCAKE PODCAST #374
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In the subject put “Podcast.” Hope you enjoy listening.
Pegboy - "Strong Reaction" from Strong Reaction (Quarterstick)
The Replacements - "Takin' a Ride" from Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (Twin/Tone)
Kraut - "Pyramids" from Complete
Studio Recordings 1981-1986 (New Red Archives)
Dag Nasty - "Circles" from Can
I Say (Dischord)
Squirrel Bait - "Sun God" from Skag
Heaven Plus 8 Bonus Tracks (Homestead)
Henry Rollins & The Hard-Ons - "Carry Me Down" from Let There Be Rock (C/Z)
Fear - "More Beer" from Live...
For the Record (Restless)
M.I.A. - "Tell Me Why" from Lost
Boys (Alternative Tentacles)
Youth Brigade - "Boys in the Brigade" from Out of Print (BYO)
Gorilla Biscuits - "Sitting Around at Home" from Start Today (Revelation)
Naked Raygun - "Home" from Raygun...Naked
Agent Orange - "Bloodstains" from Living
in Darkness (Posh Boy)
The Jam - "In The City" from In
the City (Many Door)
Sid Vicious - "Something Else" from Sid Sings (Like Something Madonna Sings About)
Pegboy: There are a handful of songs that made such a strong impression that
the experience of first hearing them is forever burned into my mind. "Strong
Reaction" is among them. From the first 30 seconds comprising the opening
guitar chords and the rhythm section entrance followed by Larry Demore's first
lines, I was an instant Pegboy fan. I'm fairly sure Bean put Pegboy track 1,
side 1 on this tape and so I felt it appropriate to make it the opener here. After
I tracked down a copy of the Strong
Reaction/Three Chord Monte CD, it was stuck in the stereo for months
The Replacements: Among bands that I’ve been introduced to by way of the mix
tape that have gone on to have some impact on my life, the Mats have to be at
the top of the list. Bean put several songs on this tape. “Take Me Down To The
Hospital” from Hootenanny was the
earliest in the track listing, but he rounded out the rest of side 2 with the
first few songs from Sorry Ma. To
bring everything full circle, twenty years after hearing them for the first
time on this mix tape, I finally got a chance to see the Replacements in Philadelphia in May of
this year. I expect it may be the only time I will ever get to see them. They
opened with “Takin’ A Ride”.
Kraut: Great cut and the first song I ever heard by this awesome New York punk band. Their
first ever show was opening for The Clash. Where do you go from there?
Dag Nasty: Prior to the mix tape, I had heard of Dag Nasty mostly through my
interest in Minor Threat, but I knew nothing about them other than that they
had a funny name. When the semester ended, I went back to my folks house to
spend the summer. After repeated listens to this song, I sought out a copy of
the Can I Say & Wig Out At Denko’sCD at the local record store. I think I listened to that CD and The ReplacementsTim every day until I left to go back
Squirrel Bait: I liked this song right away, but it took me awhile to come
around to the full-on glory that Squirrel Bait had to offer mostly because it
wasn't always so easy to find my own copies of the songs. When I finally picked
up the Skag Heaven Plus 8 CD that
contains the debut Squirrel Bait EP
it all came together for me. Some may be more familiar with Slint and Bitch
Magnet that members of this band went on to form after their break-up in 1988.
Henry Rollins & The Hard-Ons: This is an interesting one. I remember seeing
this on the track list and being somewhat perplexed about what it was I would
soon be hearing. Henry Rollins was a darling of the “alternative” press at the
time so it was hard to not be familiar with him. But the Hard-Ons were
relegated to being one of those bands that you’d hear about in middle school
because they had a funny band name associated with male genitalia; no one I
knew actually listened to them. The A-Side to the record, that is now among my
favorite 7"s, is a cover version of “Let There Be Rock”. Sold!
Fear: “What’s interesting is how time
and space are interrelated…you see, the square root of the negative one times c
which is the speed of light times time is the same equivalent univentional
directional...we just want to be friends with you all share this Christmas
feeling here...and some of our inner selves...if you know what I
M.I.A.: This was one of my favorite songs on the tape from the get go. M.I.A.,
unfortunately, seemed to remain among the more elusive bands that Bean put on
here for me. Years later I found a cassette of After The Fact, one of their later releases. But it wasn't until
the early 2000's, that I was able to track this song down when Alternative
Tentacles re-issued all of the early M.I.A. material. Sadly, lead singer Mike
Conley passed away in 2008.
Youth Brigade: I'm not as readily familiar with the CA Youth Brigade as I am
with most of the bands on here, but I love this song and have it on this comp
containing a bunch of their early material, including most of their first albumSound & Fury.
Gorilla Biscuits: This Buzzcocks cover was my first introduction to GB.
Naked Raygun: This song was the tip of the iceberg that hinted at the wealth of
music just beneath the surface that is the Naked Raygun catalog. After I found
a copy of Raygun...Naked Raygun at a
used record store there was no turning back. The rest of the dominos fell
quickly, until I had fully immersed myself in what would become another one of
my favorite bands.
Agent Orange: There were a few months where Living
In Darkness was in heavy rotation around my place. Incidentally, their
covers of "Miserlou", "Pipeline" and "Mr. Moto"
actually went a long way towards getting me interested tracking down a lot of
60's CA surf rock.
The Jam: This song was another pebble that launched an avalanche. I had heard
"In The City" covered before but had yet to hear the original until
it found its way onto this mix tape. After I found the a copy of the In The City album, "anything by The
Jam" made its way to the top of my shopping priorities whenever I found my
way into a record store.
Sid Vicious: Lamentably, I do not believe this is not the version of
"Somethin' Else" that made it to the original mix tape. I believe
that version was the studio recording that Sid recorded for The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle that I
will probably delve into at some point during my life. Instead, this is the
live version recorded at Max's Kansas
City from the Sid
Sings record. I'm admittedly not much of a Sid Vicious fan but felt obliged
to include some approximation of this performance in this podcast for
completeness. I guess that just goes to show that not everything that gets
thrown against the wall will stick. Nonetheless, I do like the song. But, it
ultimately piqued my interest more in Eddie Cochran than it did in anything
else which certainly hasn't been a bad thing.
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