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Monday, January 08, 2007

Forever young

My dad's comment about aging rockers made me think.

Unfortunately, many of those guys do not age well. The options appear to be:
1) Die early and leave a good-looking corpse;
2) Turn into a weenie.

My dad used to have what I considered a fairly extensive record collection, but my brothers and I hardly ever listened to them because we had our own records (Pete Seeger, Captain Kangaroo, etc.). This was the early 1980s. I also suspect that we probably were not allowed to touch his records because we might have damaged them.

We did listen to his tapes, though. The one I remember best had several different artists on it. This was what we would now call a "mix tape": someone had recorded his or her favourite songs onto a blank tape. I am pretty sure that it was my uncle Butch. He did not like to listen to the tapes he bought at the store. Instead, he would painstakingly record each tape onto a blank tape, and listen only to that one. He kept the originals in the back of his closet. That way, if his tape player ever ate his music, he would still have the original tape. I bet this saved him at least seven dollars over the ten years he did this.

Anyway, I listened only to side A of this particular tape. It was a mix of the Heartbreakers and the Clash and (I think) the Ramones. The Clash and the Ramones did not age well, but the Heartbreakers are still OK.

This was the first song on the tape. I have never heard it on the radio, but I think my brothers may recognise it because we listened to it so many times. This particular video is clearly illegal, but it is the best one I could find. That's Eddie Vedder (of Pearl Jam, for those who did not come of age in the 1990s) singing lead.


Kevin Holsapple said...

Someday your biographers will be interested to know that your father's record collection did not include the Heartbreakers or the Clash. It certainly included John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix, but there were more jazz and bluegrass records than rock and roll. Fr Chris Snow is the current curator of this collection.
I am fascinated to learn your recollections (and your brothers' recollections) of this period in our lives! It is great fun for me, and very often a surprise to me.

Steve & Megan said...

Odd, because I clearly recall this tape. It was labelled "Tom Petty" and you and I danced to it once when I was about eight years old. I was trying to show off my immense musical knowledge, and we had the following conversation:

Me: Who's this, Dad? Tom Petty?
Dad: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers!

This tape had two or three Heartbreakers songs and then lurched clumsily into "Should I Stay Or Should I Go". Nate and I spent some time trying to figure out the lyrics to this song. As I recall, we came up with something along the lines of "So if you want me up your back, come on and let me know, should I stay or should I go (come on and eat your brother's supper)".

It's too bad that Nate is not around, because I know this tape existed. Maybe Butch left it behind. We should call a forensic investigator.

I am not certain that the Ramones were on this tape, because I only listened to side A. I do have a very clear memory of you making a theatrical leap and shouting "THIS IS PUNK! THIS IS THE RAMONES!". I thought it was nothing but noise, but you definitely seemed appreciative, at least at that moment.

Bear in mind that this all happened over 20 years ago -- is it possible that your brain has become tired in your old age? :)

Steve & Megan said...

The more I think about it, the more certain I am that it was Butch's tape. The song titles were written out and labelled by artist (as I imagine you might have done), but you would never have made a sloppy mistake like confusing the Heartbreakers with Tom Petty the solo artist.

Besides, the only other homemade tapes I remember from those days were tapes featuring YOU. You owned original recordings.

Kevin Holsapple said...

I might have given the wrong impression. The tape certainly existed. I certainly had cassette tapes that certainly included the Ramones, the Clash, and the Heartbreakers.