Thoughts From the Satellite – Building The Perfect Beast: The Lost Art of Mix Tapes
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a DJ. Like Rick Dees, only not a douchebag. I'd be like Dr. Johnny Fever, sitting in the booth with a bottle of cheap booze, spinning the wax for my devoted followers and fellow lovers of rock and roll. Obviously, my dream came to fruition. Only we’re not spinning anything anymore and there are very few Johnny Fevers out there, just a bunch of Les Nessmans.
Luckily, I grew up in the age of the cassette tape and all of the joys that came along with it. With my dual cassette deck stereo, I thought I was the epitome of awesomeness. I made mix tapes like they were going out of style. Little did I know at the time, they were going out of style. But, here in The Digital Age, I've learned a few things. One being, what used to take hours, or sometimes days, can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes. I can create a playlist in my iTunes library faster than The Fresh Prince dropped DJ Jazzy Jeff. The possibilities are endless. Sure there are your easy, run-of-the-mill playlists like, "80s Mix", "Death Metal", or "Polka". (Did I just say that?) But, I prefer to create a list that's a little more of a challenge to the listener. Some sort of common bond between songs, while still being able to complement each song with another. I mean, you can't have Pantera's "I'm Broken" followed by "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap. There are obvious reasons why but first and foremost, it just doesn't flow.
I usually throw something together and test it on my wife. "Katie", I say. "Do you know what these songs have in common?" and I'll fire up White Lion's "Radar Love" and Metallica's "Disposable Heroes". She'll play along for my amusement most times and half-heartedly answer, "Songs from 1980 something". I, of course, say, "No, those are songs written and performed by Danish guys". Meaning, Mike Tramp and Lars Ulrich. She then rolls her eyes and leaves the room. Needless to say, that list still needs a little more work. I don't know any other Danish artists except King Diamond and I would surely meet the same fate as his Grandmother and find myself at the bottom of a staircase if I put him anywhere near Mike Tramp.
Despite my wife's effort to NOT play my little game, I'll continue to find the perfect playlist. I've got a few in mind: "Bands that Mike Portnoy has been In" or "The Jay Michael Scott Geography Mix" featuring Kansas, Boston and Asia. Maybe one of Alex's favorites, "Bands that go by Initials", like ELO, BTO, ELP or God-forbid, OMD. I might even make one for my wife, "Angsty 90s Chick Singers". That might deter her eye rolling for at least one more week. Maybe.