Old-Ass Mixtape Reviews, Volume 1: Beloved Songs

Howdy! I’m trying really hard to make sure I write something every day, no matter what. Right now I’m not feeling my main project, so I thought I’d try something new(ish), just to keep my brain moving. I have a bunch of old homemade mixtapes from way way back (most recently circa 2005), and I haven’t listened to most of them in well over 10 years. What I’m gonna do, from time to time, is play one of those tapes and write about it.

I plan to write while the tape is playing, ostensibly to write a real-time “first listen”-type review, but also to just force myself to write for a set period of time. I will not allow myself stop before a tape is finished, except in cases of emergency, or if the tape just goes kaput, which so far seems like a real danger with this first one. I’ll be surprised if I can make it through a single play without this tape literally (figuratively) exploding.

Readers of my old blog might recall my Old-Ass VHS Reviews there, wherein I would review an old-ass VHS tape featuring some kind of heavy metal band or bands. This’ll be similar to those. As stated above, I’ll write while listening, and then I’ll go back over it for some light editing – minimal overdubs, unlike this tape. This tape so far is like if mud made a sound.

Oh, “this tape” by the way, is called Beloved Songs. There’s no date on it, so I’m not sure when I made it, and I legitimately have no idea what’s on it. Anyhoo, here are some words about it.

Side One

1. First up is “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan. I don’t remember liking this song before Ministry covered it on their 1996 album Filth Pig, but I guess I did. A lot of people think Filth Pig is a real piece of shit, and honestly, I understand why a long-time Ministry fan might feel that way. I, however, am more of a casual fan of Ministry, and I really like Filth Pig. Especially the title track – holy shit!

2. “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin, or maybe something else…no, the chorus just kicked in, it’s definitely “Immigrant Song”. Is that a chorus? I don’t really know. Anyway, this song is dope. This recording sounds like it’s playing from the bottom of a 50-gallon drum filled with muddy water, and maybe a turd is floating on top. I might have to scrap this experiment and try another tape.

3. Is this “You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n Roses? I think it is. It started out as something else, and then this cut in. Oh yeah, Slash’s guitar is almost cutting through the muck. Duff’s bass is definitely discernable, but Duff is a complete badass, plus bass is almost the only thing audible on this whole tape so far. The longer this song plays, the more it sounds like if the band was playing live at an amphitheater, and I was listening from someone’s back yard like half a mile away. And it was kinda windy outside.

Side note: I sat in the living room with a tape in the VCR for three Fridays in a row in hopes of catching this video on Friday Night Videos so I could record it. Life before the internet (and without cable TV) was hard. You kids have no idea. Now get off my lawn.

4. “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin. This one is kinda clear. It still sounds like shit, but I could tell what it was immediately, and there was no doubt whatsoever. I fuckin love this song.

5. “Hey You” by Pink Floyd. This one is also relatively audible, especially once I remembered to turn down the bass. I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d listen to this tape ever again, but if things continue thusly, I might be able to get through it one more time for this. Holy shit! it got super loud for a sec, and then…
5a. “Nothing’s Changed Here” by Dwight Yoakam cut in during the guitar solo. Dwight is such a badass. Then after about 15 seconds…
5b. “Speak of the Devil” by Pirates of the Mississippi cut in for four lines of the chorus, and then…
5c. “Hey You” slid back in for literally 2 seconds, and then…
5d. “Where Are You Now” by Clint Black on the Big Ten Countdown on Indiana’s Country WKKG (101.5). Damn, y’all, that Bart Ellison had a smoooooth goddamn voice.

Shit, that was regular ol’ rollercoaster!

6. We now join “Monkey Business” by Skid Row already in progress. This song is so fucking good. Skid Row was so fucking good. Not just the hits, either – Skid Row was a goddamn beast from 1989’s Skid Row through 1995’s sUBHUMAN rACE. I saw them live on the sUBHUMAN rACE tour when they opened for Van Hagar (who were touring for Balance). I will never forget how immensly heavy Skid Row was that night.

Side One clicked off while I was telling you how motherfucking heavy Skid Row was, so I’mma flip it, reverse it, etc.

Side Two

1. Ooh, it’s “Fly Me Courageous” by Drivin’ N’ Cryin’! I haven’t heard this song in a long time. I think I still like it, but I can’t tell from this copy. I couldn’t even tell what it was until the volume shot up right at the refrain.

I was really into this song back when it was new, but I don’t remember ever listening to another Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ song.

2. “Brain Damage/Eclipse” by Pink Floyd. I was really into Pink Floyd for like 5 years in my early teens. It seems like that was pretty common among teenage boys back when I was one of them. I still like them a lot, but I’m less likely to put them on a mixtape these days. The tape has returned to sounding like muddy buttholes.

3. “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent. Man, Ted Nugent is such a piece of shit. I hate myself a little bit for liking some of his songs. I saw Ted Nugent live two summers in a row (1995 and ’96, I think), with Bad Company providing support both times. I wasn’t as acutely aware of what an asshole Ted was back then, but my memories of his band’s live performance are positive. Bad Company kicked every bit of ass both years. Also, lawn seats only cost 12 bucks.

4. “Traveling Riverside Blues” by Led Zeppelin. My discovery of Led Zeppelin coincided with the release of their box set in 1990, when I was 13. That’s a pretty perfect age for a dude to get into Led Zeppelin. Anyhoo, the box set included 2 previously unreleased songs, and this was one of them. Like the bulk of early Zeppelin, this is mostly just an amped-up cover of an old blues song, but I still dig it. I do prefer their middle period, though, especially Side Two of IV and the entirety of Houses of the Holy. I remember seeing the video for this on MTV at my aunt Connie’s house once. That was pretty exciting. I saw the video for “Sweet Child o’ Mine” once there, too. I’m getting of track, though.

5. HOLY SHIT! A live rendition of “Jesus Was Way Cool” by King Missile! I’m hoping future tapes have little surprises like this hidden inside. I feel like this must’ve been recorded off “Brave New World” on Rock 92 FM.

“If you were blind, or lame
You simply went up to Jesus
Or, well I guess if you were lame, Jesus would probably go up to you
Because it’s difficult, if you’re lame, to go up to Jesus”

And that’s the end. That was a fun little excursion. Look for another one sometime soon. Don’t look too hard, because I make no promises, but I’m gonna try to try. Thanks for reading! If you like what you read, why not tell a friend?

Don’t forget to follow Clockwise Circle Pit on Instagram and Facebook. I’m on Twitter too, even though I hate it, because it’s much easier to talk shit to Donald Trump and his kids (and Ted Cruz) there. So, y’know, follow me there if you want, but I don’t really use it for updates or anything.

Rando Review, Volume 1: My Day Off

Work was literally a figurative Hell On Earth these past few days. Indiana University hosted the Big Ten swimming and diving championships the last half of the week, and some 38 billion people descended upon the restaurant where I work in four days, with an estimated 12,000,065 alone from 4-11 pm yesterday.

Some people won, some people lost, and most importantly, all the motherfuckers who came to town for that shit are gone. Buncha off-menu orderin, half-and-half pizza eatin jackanapes. Anyway, that shit’s in the past now; I’ve had this whole day off, and it’s been pretty tight. Mrs. Circle Pit is out of town with her sister and their mom for a basketball game, so I’ve literally had the day entirely to myself for the first time in longer than I can remember. I approached the experience with no plan whatsoever, and if I may say so, I’ve done alright for myself.

I ate nachos for lunch while watching an episode of Key & Peele, I drank a bunch of coffee, and I’ve listened to Fully Completely by The Tragically Hip (a perfect album) and Hidden History of the Human Race by Blood Incantaion (weird, bitchin psychedelic death metal). I’m currently listening to No Good to Anyone by Today is the Day (it’s a fuckin banger, although there’s a chance the bass guitar in the opening/title track might’ve gotten me pregnant – stay tuned for updates), and am about to listen to Mirror Reaper by Bell Witch.

I also cleaned up my flower beds and built a raised bed for this year’s vegetable garden…

Our neighborhood is lousy with wildlife (seriously, it’s like a friggin Disney movie sometimes), especially deer, so I nailed chicken wire to an old pallet and leaned it against the fence to help minimize potential deer access from one side. It serves a dual purpose, though, as I can grow some kind of climber up it, i.e., zucchini, because that shit’s delicious.

I lined the bottom with several layers of newspaper (thanks, IDS!) and some dead leaves. I’ll be adding my soil soonish, and I’ll figure out some kind of cheap way to protect the other three sides from deer, as well as other woodland critters.

I’m gonna grow a tomato plant, definitely zucchini, and something else (some kind of pepper maybe?), along with some herbs and flowers.

I’ve wanted to build a raised bed for several years now. I’m not sure what inspired me to finally get on today, but I’m glad I did. It felt good to work with my hands, and the result is far from perfect, but I’ve spent way more time making way shittier things in my life.

Last but not least, the icing on the cake that is My Day Off: I picked up a copy of Phantasm on DVD at Big Lots for fuckin two dollars and eighty-eight cents! I owned a DVD copy a long time ago, and it disappeared at some point. I own a VHS copy, but both of our VCRs shit the bed in the past year, and I haven’t gotten around to replacing either of them yet. Now I own a watchable copy, and I intend to watch it very soon. Maybe tonight, right after I finish this dumb thing.

Now I’m chillin and enjoying some Ruby Bloom Amber Ale from Bloomington Brewing Company while I wait for Mother Bear’s to deliver my dinner. So far, I’d rate My Day Off a 9 stars out of a possible 10 stars. Your move, Mother Bear’s; show me what you got.

Thanks for reading, friends. Until next time…