Mixtape Time Capsules: Driving Mix, c. 1992

A mix-tape, whatever its intended purpose, is also always a time capsule. A record of a person, a place, a set of feelings, a time that felt like forever, and then wasn’t.

Last week I opened a box and a little piece of the ’90s fell out: the first driving mix-tape I ever made. There’s no date on it, but I’m pretty sure it’s from the spring of 1992, since that is approximately when I would have gotten my license. Fun trivia fact: I learned to drive on the Beltway. In a Chevette.

Anyway it is a hilarious cultural trainwreck and I kind of love it, not least because a mix that starts with Dwight Yoakam, dips heavily into, among other things, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Elvis Costello in the middle, and ends with Ashokan Farewell probably does still sum me up as a person reasonably well.

Also, I have a terrible pop music problem and every time I listen to Five Seconds of Summer’s She Looks So Perfect I start laughing when they get to I got a mix tape straight out of ’94 because, dudes, I was there, I remember, and most of that, so not romantic.

Warning: may cause cultural whiplash.

Side I

Dwight Yoakam, I Sang Dixie – NICE OPENING SALVO, Seventeen. What, had you listened to Guitars, Cadillacs and Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose too many times?

Dwight Yoakam - I Sang Dixie

Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch – Clearly I started making this mix when I was in a bad mood. Let’s face it, that was probably just my default mode, because: seventeen.
Bruce Springsteen - Human Touch

Elvis Costello, Veronica – This is what I mean by “not romantic”: a New Wave pop song about Alzheimers!
Veronica - Elvis Costello 1989 New Wave Pop Hit

Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar On Me – I got to hear this live a couple of summers ago, and you know what: those riffs have aged like fine, fine wine. They belled out over the sea at Jones Beach and I rose and swayed gently, grinning like an idiot and doing my best not to air drum.
DEF LEPPARD - "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (Official Music Video)

Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, Science Fiction Double Feature Picture Show – I was a sheltered suburban child and I am at a loss to explain how I even knew about this movie. P.S. Thank you, whoever introduced me to the dark side.
Rocky Horror Picture Show Science Fiction/Double Feature

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kings Road – Tom Petty was my first show (in 1989) and in many ways my first fandom, which I was in pretty much alone, because I had no-one to discuss him with in the ’90s, because my friends were more into Robert Smith. He just put out another record this year – Hypnotic Eye – and you know what it is BANGIN’ and he puts bands 3/4ths his age to shame. I also had mixes that were just Tom Petty songs, drawn from all of his records c. 1992, which I also used as driving mixes. That was what we had to do in the dark ages before iPod shuffle, y’all. Trivia about this song: There’s a street in Los Angeles called “Kings Road” and every time I crossed at that corner this song started playing in my head.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Kings Road

John Mellencamp, Again Tonight – I appear to be feeling better! Yay!
John Mellencamp - Again Tonight

Blondie, The Tide is High – Ah yes, here we are, the Songs For Dumb Boys section: part 1. Dear Seventeen: It wasn’t worth it, but I appreciate your determination anyway.
Elvis Costello, Miss MacBeth – This is actually a demo version, not the one from the record, because that I couldn’t find that one. But you get the general idea. It’s missing some of the depth and punch and all y’all should go and buy Spike so you can properly appreciate this song about the ways becoming an old maid can twist a person. It’s one of those tunes that falls into the “sometimes you read good stories, other times, the book reads you” category. Then, this was a cautionary tale; now, it still is, I guess, but I feel a certain amount of sympathy for Miss MacBeth and her daily love songs and corrosive rage.
BoDeans, Good Things – This one kind of lightens the mood, and kind of . . . doesn’t. Mostly I love that the person who uploaded this video went with 4+ minutes of dash cam somewhere broad, green and flat, because this is a driving mix, after all.
BoDeans Good Things

BoDeans, Paradise – I am not sure why I went all Two for Tuesday on BoDeans here, other than I really loved all of the songs Black and White and couldn’t choose just one.
BoDeans - "Paradise" - 11/4/11 - Radio Woodstock 100.1

Jimmy Buffett, Great Filling Station Hold-Up – Songs for Getting The Fuck Out Of Here, part 1: this is a silly song about dumb criminals, but also reflected my burning desire to graduate from high school and get out of town.
Jimmy Buffett-The Great Filling Station Holdup


Side II

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Thing About You – Songs For Dumb Boys, part 2a. I’m still not much for mystery, not going to lie.

Tom Petty- A Thing About You (Live)

Bon Jovi, Bad Medicine – You might be a lite-country-playing grown-up now, Jon Bon Jovi, but I remember when you had big riffs and ridiculous hair and acid washed jeans, and I loved you best. More or less. I suppose it would be more accurate to say I loved you best in a four way tie with Axl Rose, James Hetfield, and Tommy Lee.
Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine

Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, Over At The Frankenstein Place – In this case the light in the darkness was the possibility of college, where I might meet other weirdos like me. (Spoiler alert: I did.)
Rocky Horror Picture Show - Over At The Frankenstein Place

Elvis Costello, This TownThis Town is a very satisfying thing to hiss under your breath while driving back from the grocery store, is all I can say.
This Town by Elvis Costello

J. Geils Band, Centrefold – The family of a deceased alumna gave my high school a jukebox for the cafeteria, because she had loved music, and we used it to play this song every single day for a solid year. I think they took it away not long thereafter.
J. Geils Band - Centerfold

John Mellencamp, Crazy Ones Songs for Dumb Boys, part 2b. They weren’t actually crazy, it just felt that way, at the time.
Richard Marx, Angelia – Any ’90s mix that does not include at least one Richard Marx song is historically inaccurate because between this one and Right Here Waiting he was everywhere.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, You and I Will Meet Again – I know exactly which boy this was in reference to, and, listening to the song again, I realized: we did. Almost twenty years later, almost exactly as the lyrics said: in a far-off place (Penn Station), I recognized his face. We stopped to chat for a minute, and then he vanished back into the commuting crowd.
You And I Will Meet Again - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Tesla, Lodi – Tesla – I saw them live recently (kind of) too, and, you guys, it was awesome. This is more on the theme of How The Hell Do I Get Out Of This Town?
Tesla - Lodi [Live]

The Forester Sisters, Mama’s Never Seen Those Eyes – One of the mysteries of old tapes: where did I get these songs from? Most of them I know I bought the tape. This one I really have no idea. I can’t imagine it was still on the radio, so I must have. Also, this is a whole lot of wishful thinking. Someday, Seventeen, someday. I promise.
Forester Sisters Mamas Never Seen Those Eyes

Alice Cooper, I’m Your Gun – Holy awkward transitions, Batman! I am baffled that I didn’t select Poison or House of Fire, here, but, oh well. The ways of Seventeen are cloudy and mysterious, I suppose.
Alice Cooper - I'm Your Gun (from Alice Cooper: Trashes The World)

Gerardo, Rico Suave – I actually bought his tape; it was pretty good. But this was the song that was inescapable. Did you know: Gerardo is at least partially responsible for Enrique Iglesias being signed to Interscope! Apparently he’s a youth pastor now.
GERARDO - Rico Suave HD

Ken Burns’ The Civil War soundtrack, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Ashokan Farewell – Again: good lord, THAT is a transition. I don’t think I ever watched the mini-series, I just listened to the soundtrack. A lot. Ashokan Farewell also ended up on the graduation mixes I made.
Folk Alley Sessions: Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band, "Ashokan Farewell"

2012: A Year In Pictures: July – September

Alex Greenwald and Z Berg, JJAMZ, Webster Hall, New York, NY, July 10, 2012
Michael Runion, JJAMZ, Webster Hall, New York, NY, July 10, 2012
JJAMZ, Webster Hall, New York, NY, July 10, 2012
Lita Ford, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Bret Michaels, Poison, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
C.C. DeVille, Poison, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Bobby Dall, Poison, Nikon at Joes Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Ricki Rockett, Poison, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
IMG_6354Poison, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Rick Allen, Def Leppard, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Rick Savage and Joe Elliot, Def Leppard, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Phil Collen, Def Leppard, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Def Leppard, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
Marcy Playground, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA, July 28, 2012
A. Jay Popoff, Lit, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA, July 28, 2012
Mark McGrath, Sugar Ray, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA, July 28, 2012
Art Alexakis, Everclear, Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA, July 28, 2012
Art Alexakis (Everclear) and Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray), Bank of America Pavilion, July 28, 2012
David Kuckhermann, Beacon Theater, New York, NY, Aug. 30, 2012
Dead Can Dance, Beacon Theater, New York, NY, Aug. 30, 2012
Larry & his Flask, Webster Hall, Sept. 29, 2012
Frank Turner, Webster Hall, September 29, 2012

Friday Link Session


  • Brendan Toller, who brought us I Need That Record!, has a new documentary in the works about musical jack-of-all-trades Danny Fields (it’s difficult to encapsulate Fields’ career because he’s done so much, but he had a hand in the careers of the Doors, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, the MC5, Lou Reed, etc.). Read about the film here and follow the production progress on Facebook.
  • In 1977, Marc Bolan (T. Rex) had a short-lived music variety show on British television. Marc ran for six episodes, kicked off with a performance from the Jam, included awkwardly-choreographed dance routines, and was overflowing with glitter and lip-syncing. Stuepfaction has gathered all six episodes for you to watch.
  • File under: Really? Here’s footage of a collaboration between Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hothouse Flowers and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, circa the early 1990s.
  • As to collaborations that have been proven good, RZA and the Black Keys have come together again to produce a track for RZA’s upcoming directorial debut The Man with the Iron Fists. You can listen to “The Baddest Man Alive” at Fuse.
  • If you’re into toys, Mike Watt has been added to the Aggronautix “throbblehead” line, which also includes the likes of Roky Erickson, J Mascis, GG Allin, Keith Morris, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Jello Biafra and more.
  • The Savage Heart, the new album from the Jim Jones Revue, is streaming at Q.
  • There’s an hour of recorded-for-television concert footage of Thelonious Monk on YouTube. This past Wednesday, October 10, would have been Monk’s 95th birthday.
  • Learn about Cleveland-born, world-famous Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in the documentary I Put a Spell on Me.

Postcards from the Pit: Lita Ford / Poison / Def Leppard, Jones Beach, 7/13/2012

It was a Friday night, hot, muggy and still. The buses to the show – now reinstated, THANK YOU, NASSAU COUNTY – were jam packed with music fans and people coming up off the sand. Mostly I was hoping it wouldn’t rain. The Jones Beach Ampitheater doesn’t have a roof and unless there’s lightening, the show goes on.

By the time we finally got there, Lita Ford was already on the stage, though I don’t think I missed more than a song and a half. This is one of my favorite pictures from the evening. Look at that grin!

Though I’m fond of these two as well. Lita Ford is a bad-ass, y’all.

And one last one, taken during Close Your Eyes Forever, her (in)famous duet with Ozzy Osbourne, which she sang by herself because as she wryly pointed out, he wasn’t there to help. Her chords crashed majestically, though. It was one of those times that I could feel why it is that I love this kind of music. The way the notes ripple and surge and tangle and then finally descend in a waterfall of sound.

She closed down with Kiss Me Deadly; the crowd let out a tremendous yell as soon as she finished the intro, and during the song there were people dancing in the aisle. I turned that song up whenever it came on the radio, and I never expected I would be able to hear it live. Honestly, it was exhilarating hearing those defiant chords ring out and watching all of the women around me – and it was mostly women, my age and older – with so much joy on their faces as they sang and waved their arms and banged their heads.
Poison was up next. And, y’all, I think I may have lost track of the number of times I’ve seen this band – its either 6 or 7 – and every time is, well, it’s nothing but a good time. (I’m sorry, that was really bad. But true!)

I really do think Bret Michaels is a national treasure, glittery cowboy hat and permanently installed bandanna and all. He’s a rock star in a way that is out of style these days, which makes him easy to mock, but you know what, he knows what he is and he owns it.

He gets up there and glitters big, does his thing for people who love him, and he clearly loves them back. And the songs he’s singing are just as much fun today as they were the first time I heard them. I still get a tremendous charge out of listening to C.C. DeVille’s solos soaring upwards.


And then it was time for Def Leppard. I think I almost didn’t believe it was really going to happen until they walked out and started playing. They began with a new one, Undefeated, which flowed gracefully into Rocket as if they had been written days and not decades apart.

They played several new tunes, but a lot of older favorites, too, including Animal, Hysteria, Love Bites and Armageddon It.

Towards the middle of the show they came out and sat on the stage where it extends out into the pit, and became a tidy little Def Leppard-pod. I took a bunch of pictures of it, but this one is my favorite:

I’m fond of this one, too:

They closed down the main set with Pour Some Sugar On Me with the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs and dancing on every available free patch of ground; the encore was Rock of Ages. It was a fabulous show.

The tour resumes tomorrow, in Florida, and continues through mid-September.

August Video Challenge: Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar On Me

From Hysteria, which turned 25 (!) yesterday.

I went to see Def Leppard live a couple of weeks ago – they were headlining, Poison and Lita Ford were also on the bill, and it was my last show before the bar exam ate my face – and honestly, you guys, hearing this one live was thrilling.

I have pictures to share later, but for right now, here’s Def Leppard, c. 1987:

Friday Link Session