Welcome to the second half (Side B, if you will) of my riveting journey through time itself, in the form of a 20-ish year old mixtape. If you missed it, check out “Side A” here, and then check out Volume 1 here. If you’re too lazy/busy to click through those links, the gist is that I’m listening to this old-ass mixtape for the first time in who knows how long (it’s certainly been at least 5 years, but probably closer to 10), I have no idea what’s on it, and I’m sharing the results with you, gentle reader. Together we’ll have a laugh or two, and maybe learn a little bit about what makes ol’ Rev. Joel tick, aside from tacos, coffee, John Carpenter movies, and Tom & Jerry cartoons. Let’s get started, whadda ya say?
1. Bubbling through the mud and muck resulting from my short-sighted failure/possible inability to use Dolby Noise Reduction is “Bored” by Deftones. You may recall that Side A started off with “7 Words”, also by Deftones. Both songs are from their auspicious1995 (!) debut album Adrenaline, which is not as good as the albums that followed it, but is still a solid album. The foundation for what this band became was definitely in place on their debut.
2. “Bored” is followed by what seems at first be silence, but is in fact part of “Kinky Sex Makes the World Go ‘Round” by Dead Kennedys, dubbed over into near oblivion (as mentioned in Volume 2, I was real into DK at this point in my life). It sounds kinda spooky, and it goes on for a surprisingly long amount of time (not unlike the song itself), but Mitchell, Indiana’s own Circle of Illusions is up now, and holy smokes, this was a good band! I’ll write more about them another time. The song is called “Flow”, by the way.
3. Another track, another Circle of Illusions song, this one “Without Time”. Speaking of time, this band sounds very much of its time, which is to say 1997. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all.
4. Ahmahgawd, it’s “Us vs. Them” by New York Hardcore legends Sick of it All! This song is from their 1997 nutkicker Built to Last. I was a real sucker for any song with a bunch of gang vocals back then (it’s the same era as my discovery of the Misfits, and punk rock in general). Gang Vocals are still one of my primary musical weaknesses, but not as much as jangly guitar, sick riffs, and unconventional vocalists.
5. I suspected “Busted”, from the same album, might be next, and I’m glad my suspicions were correct. This is a superfast moshpit-inducer with lead vocals by bassist/kickboxing champion/NYHC legend Craig Setari. Sick of it All kick an unbelievable amount of ass, and I really hope I get to see them live again someday. “You wanna take, take, take ’til you have it all!/CAN’T TRUST IT!/Your busted ass!” Indeed.
6. Up next is “Long Whip/Big America” by Corrosion of Comformity, from their 1996 album Wiseblood, which I used to think was just okay, but which grows on me as I grow older (seeing COC live a couple of times in the past few years helped me appreciate the Pepper Keenan-fronted version of the band a lot more). This song is fuckin great. Back around the time when this mixtape was made, my buddy Travis would sometimes sing “maybe I’m wrong, but I think my dick is too long” to the tune of this chorus, and it always cracked me up. In fact, it still does. I apologize for nothing!
7. I definitely did not expect “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits to be here, but when I think about it, I do remember a period of time where I was really into this song and “Why Worry Now”, both from their bajillion-selling Brothers in Arms. Travis and I used to spend a lot of time driving around listening to music during this period, and he was a straight up Dire Straits fan. Like to the point where he even bought their other albums! I wil be flabbergasted if “Why Worry Now” isn’t next.
8. Consider me flabbergasted, although I’d be willing to bet that it used to be on here and I just taped “Spiderman”, from Greatest Hits Live by the Ramones, over it. I don’t listen to the Ramones nearly enough anymore. They really were just one of the very best goddamn bands that ever existed.
9. In the ultra-brief time that I wrote the thing about the Ramones, the song ended and there was like 2 seconds of very loud silence (curse you, lack of Dolby Noise Reduction!) followed by approximately 1.5 seconds a “Distorted and Very Out-of-Tune Guitar Chord” that was certainly played by Yours Truly. I had to pause the tape and collect myself for what might be next, based on said out-of-tune chord. I also had to pee and get more coffee, but you don’t need to hear my entire life story. Not when there are old-ass mixtapes to review.
10. Following that groundbreaking dissonant blast of musical genius (yeah, that’s the ticket!) is another 1-3 seconds of silence, followed by Yours Truly again, this time playing “The Same Note Over and Over and Over Again” on my old Les Paul copy. Listening to this now reminds me why I must remain vigilant against any thoughts I ever entertain about getting another guitar, or another bass, or a banjo, or whatever other insturment I think I want. I have no interest in learning how to play an instrument, I just wanna skip the learning process and know how to play. My lack of patience would’ve made me easy pickins for the Dark Side of the Force. It likely still would.
“The Same Note Over and Over and Over Again” gave way to what is, as of right now, at least one full minute of silence. Surely that’s not the end of our adventure. That would be even more disappointing than The Neverending Story was when Mrs. Circlepit and I rewatched it last year for the first time since we were kids. Yeah, I said it.
Real talk: y’all’s nostalgia is clouding your view; that movie is a turd. We’re given no reason whatsoever to care about Atreyu (or his horse Artax, for that matter, even though Artax is the only likeable character in the movie aside from the bookshop owner), and then when that damn wiener kid Bastian gets to return home and is asked what he’ll wish for next, he doesn’t wish to have his mom back, even though losing her seems to be the source of most of his troubles. No, he goes straight to using Falkor to chase and terrorize his bullies. “I’ll see you in hell, Mom, I’ve got terror to inflict!” I’ve read that Micheal Ende, who wrote the novel that the movie is kind of based upon, did not like the adaptation, and tried to sue to block its release and/or force a name change. He was unsuccessful, but he was not wrong for trying.
Also, I found this on wikipedia, and it made me laugh: “Gene Siskel said the film’s special effects and art direction were cheap-looking and that Falkor the luckdragon resembled the sort of stuffed toy you’d win at a county fair and throw out when you left. He also referred to Noah Hathaway [Atreyu] as a ‘dullard’ and said the film was ‘much too long,’ even after [Roger] Ebert pointed out the film was only 90 minutes long.” I like to think that Siskel responded to that with something along the lines of “okay, then it’s 90 minutes too long.” And I know it’s a kids movie, dammit, but I also know that kids movies are capable of being good.
For example, we rewatched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for the first time in 30-odd years (not to be confused with 30 Odd Foot of Grunts) last week. It held up much better, and it was quite good. It was funny and well-paced, and the special effects were really well done, especially for the time. It’s no Goonies or anything, but it’s light years ahead of The Neverending Story. By the way, Roger Ebert was critcal of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids after praising The Neverending Story, proving once again that critics don’t know shit about dick, and at least strongly implying that Roger Ebert may have been something of a dullard himself.
Sorry, I got a bit off track there. The tape stopped like 20 minutes ago, by the way. “The Same Note Over and Over and Over Again” was indeed the last “song” on “Side B” of Late 90s Mix (Save). That is indeed disappointing, but as it turns out, not as disappointing as The Neverending Story.
I’m pretty sure there used to be a couple of Sepultura songs on there at some point. Probably “Territory”, and either “Refuse/Resist” or “The Hunt” (maybe both). I was into Chaos A.D. real hard back then.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me. There’ll be more installments of Old-Ass Mixtape Reviews at some point. I gotta lot of old-ass mixapes. Thanks for reading, and if you like what you read, why not leave a comment and/or tell a friend?