Lurking back in the shadows of forgotten times and unfathomable eras, there existed a breadth of ‘spanse… a realm of fantasmagical proportions. A much simpler time…a warped whirlwind of brainwaved skewed off-kilter confusion and didactic dichotomy…
Yes. Yes children. A time before…… THE INTERNET.
OH NO! WHAT?!?!!
Believe it or not, but if you were born before ~1990~, you may recall this strange time of pay-phone use, dictionary reading, Britannica wielding, and even ‘stop at the gas station to ask for directions-ing!’
Nowadays, you simply just talk to your smart phone, and it tells you how to do life. Literally. All of it. Siri is super stupid, but she is still way smarter than most college freshman! And don’t even get me started on the hyper-intelligence of google!
Now, when it comes to music; the internet rules! Every piece of recorded music ever to exist is on the web. Every day, more and more ways to access that music come into existence. With a tap or a click, you are listening, watching, and consuming at an all time faster rate than Skynet, then before you know it you will have brain cancer, but at least you have the digital discography of B4-4! If there ever was a guilty pleasure… they are it!
There are a few older farts who contribute here at B.G.M. that happen to have discovered some of this ancient music in ways other than through a “DEVICE” that endlessly streams the endless amount of information,known as the World Wide Web.
So, let’s see how that happened! History lesson time, kids!
Eddie Carter: Old School Mixtape Madness
Eddie really went into full Nostalgia mode on this one, and compiled a beautiful reminiscent repertoire of mixtape memories! He couldn’t help himself! Here are 8 songs he lovingly discovered before the internets got it’s hooks in his beautiful ears!
When I was growing up (as I seem to be the oldest contributor here), I used to love making mixtapes. The joy of sitting and listening to a song from beginning to end, just to make sure you hit the stop button at the right moment. Listening to the weekly chart show with your finger hovering over the pause button, so you could edit out the DJ. Getting a tape from a friend with songs that would soon become your Walkman hits, tape trading, the works.
Even when you could make CD mixes, then you could make better covers (which benefited people like me, who have the artistic ability of a dead newt!).
Now, it is so easy to make a mix on Spotify or iTunes, it takes the art out of it.
Even the cover I made for my contribution was incredibly easy, but it was an example of the cut and paste job I did in real-life with CDs (apart from the photo of me with long hair, that was just for shits and giggles). For clarification purposes, En-Tacto was my childish name for my fake record label. It had a logo based on the KLF Ghetto-blaster pyramid.
The songs were all songs which I either found out about via mixtapes from friends, or free cassettes from magazines (which were basically free mixtapes in my eyes).
Helloween – “Eagles Fly Free”
The only song by German Power Metal act Helloween that I can stand; but if you’re going to enjoy a song, might as well make it their best! It is OTT with many instrument solos, high screeching vocals and one of the catchiest riffs this side of Iron Maiden. It is truly awesome for all the wrong reasons, shame the rest of their stuff is awful.
Dead Kennedys – “Too Drunk to Fuck”
A song that you could not play in front of your parents, so it was perfect for the Walkman. The third punk band I ever heard and the first to make me think punk was worth it. This was due to hearing Napalm Death first and being disappointed by the Sex Pistols and The Clash, as I was led to believe that punk was the world’s most dangerous music. After Napalm Death, nothing is. I love the aggressive energy of this song, the puking at the end of the song, the frantic release of passionate bile from the band.
Pixies – “Is She Weird”
They might have released better songs, but this was among the first I heard and the one that stood out. The slow beats, the shouting and that guitar tone! Frank Black would go on to create better songs, but this one made me a fan of the Pixies.
Faith No More – “Let’s Lynch the Landlord”
A cover of the Dead Kennedy’s classic which was released as a b-side to the song “A Small Victory” off Angel Dust. It was always perfect for the end of a tape, when you were running out of space and needed a small, but classy song to fill space!
Airhead – “Funny How”
My love affair with the cheesy British Indie Pop song is the stuff of legend up here, to the point that my friends will moan in unison when it is mentioned (I am sure you guys will do soon as well). It is an incredibly cheesy love song, a tale of yearning when a potential lover does not even know you exist. But it also shows that the singer only loves this person as they don’t love him back, so he is as fickle as the other person. I had this on 7” single, I wore it out twice over!
Prodigy – “Charly (Original mix)”
Their first hit single and a darker beast to the one that hit the charts, it was a surprise when I first received it from a friend many years ago. It showed the younger me that not all electronic music was (as I thought, in my silly teenage way) shit, that there were places where good boys feared to tread. This one still gets the adrenaline going, it still makes me shiver and reminds me of winter walks along the coast of North Tyneside.
Kerbdog – “On the Turn”
I first heard this song on a free tape from Kerrang! magazine; so in my eyes, technically a free mix tape. They were part of the third wave of grunge acts and never made it as big as I hoped they would, but they still hold a special place in my heart.
The Wildhearts – “Girlfriend’s Clothes”
Another act close to my heart, this song about secret cross dressing is a blast! Another b-side track (from the single “Caffeine Bomb”) is a blast of punk riffs and rock sensibilities that showcases what a genius nutter Mr Ginger Wildheart was at the time!
Jeremy Erickson: “Jeremy” by PEARL JAM
When I was a kid in the 80s and early 90s, I had different and random exposures to the music of the time. My parents had the local Christian radio station playing 24/7, and I would be lucky to hear Al Denson, Petra, Churck Gerard, or the Imperials. Lucky, but not really impressed.
Sure my elementary self got excited to hear the riffs of Stryper! They were hot; but little did I know that my musical horizons were about to be ripped open!
Without the internet, or even a home computer, discovering music was still a chore. You had to tune in at the right time, to the right station, or dig and dig through cascading mountains of CDs to find what you needed in your life.
There was no Shazam.
Honestly, I don’t think I used a computer to look up music until about 1999 or 2000, and even then the dial-up and buffering wait times were so long, you could make a sandwhich, conquer Vectorman 1 and 2, and then listen to 2/3 of whatever music video you were loading on Real Player, before it had to re-buffer 35 more times! Painful.
Enter TEN, the debut of then relatively unknown grunge emotive band, Pearl Jam. Released in 1991, when I was a mere nine years of age, I can vaguely recall hearing of this song entitled “Jeremy”, primarily because that is my name.
I remember people saying things like, ‘Hey, it’s your song!’
This all really did not click until I was a bit older, probably 12 or 13. I was riding home from school (not my favorite place to be), and one of the passengers pointed out that ‘my song’ came on the radio. I intently listened to “Jeremy” and finally realized how good and how relevant of a song it was.
At the time, you didn’t hear Pearl Jam or Nirvana on the radio too often like you do now. They were still bands that were alternative; when that word actually meant something; and I felt like this alternative gem of a song meant something to me. Partly because the lyrics were applicable, and it bore my name; but also because it is almost like that song found me.
Today, in any streaming service you use, you get recommendations based on what you listen to.
That sort of happened to me with this song, but without any interfering technology. Just a DJ deciding to play a song that he or she hopes people will like.
These days, you will most likely hear “Jeremy” at least twice on the radio during your work day. Frankly I am kind of sick of the song; but it will always remind me of how I discovered it, and all the pre-internet memories that come with it.
Brandon Perras: MixTape Obsessions
If you hated school as much as I did you needed to give yourself something to look forward to, and mix tapes were one of those things; 5th grade up through my junior year of high school (before mix CD’s took over), mix tapes were going around my circle of friends like head lice.
We would give them to each other as a way to share new music or as a replacement for some sappy, bullshit love letter for someone that you had a crush on. The track choices were thoughtful and customized and we would get creative with the artwork and/or throw on some surprise track that isn’t listed on the liner notes.
I was all about seeking out the most bizarre or obnoxious songs or recordings I could find and filling up the remaining tape with it.
Some of my go-to’s were songs from The Frogs album My Daughter the Broad, “Kuntz” off of The Butthole Surfer’s Locust Abortion Technician, this bizarre tape of Snuggles the Bear that must have come from a serial box that is probably the most saccharine and obnoxious song ever written, and bad top 40’s pop from free cassingles that record stores in Burlington would have at the register.
Here is a photo of some of the mixtapes that have stayed with me all these years.
Since my circle of friends had quite an eclectic palette of music, I was definitely exposed to a lot. The music would range from punk, pop, goth, industrial, hip-hop, hardcore, metal, noise rock, post rock, electronic, ska (unfortunately), emo, screamo, etc.
I am still obsessed with making mixes for people so hit me up if you want a mix CD.
Jon: “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)” by DEFTONES
This month’s theme was a tough one for me because half my life of listening to music was pre-Internet music discover. So technically I should be listing out literally everything I ever listened to pre-2000.
There have been a ton of bands that have had a profound effect on me, but in order to fit the theme of the post I decided to go with “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)” by Deftones.
My first exposure to them was on local “alternative” radio and hearing “7 Words” and thinking that it sounded like a Korn rip off. Boy would that initial impression prove to be really wrong.
When Deftones were getting around to dropping their second album, Around the Fur I caught the video for “My Own Summer (Shove It)” on MTV’s 120 Minutes (this program was crucial to my pre-Internet music discovery) and decided I would snag it.
Later that month Deftones were on 120 minutes again being interviewed this time and they were talking about their new single from Around the Fur “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)”.
Chino mentioned that he was trying to create these super feminine sounding vocals to counteract the heaviness of the song. This concept was mind blowing to me at the time because music up until this point was either aggressive or mellow in my eyes and could not be both.
Then the video played and while it seems kind of lame 20 years later, it was everything I wanted in band and a video at the time. It was just them playing for the most part.
After witnessing the video I was straight up hooked and I would sit in my Junior High classes all day and replay the video in my head and wait patiently until I could get home so I could que up Around the Fur in my CD player.
My supreme love for Deftones still continues to this day.