#0098 IRON DJ: 1984

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As I started looking at songs, I realized that there was a ton of great music released in 1984, when I graduated high school. So much of it, though, falls into that category of “80s music.”  We hear it in elevators, barber shops, or shopping malls on any given day….all those songs that are compiled on hundreds of “Best of the 80s” CD compilations. So, I eliminated any of those right off the bat, with perhaps one or two exceptions, but exceptions that are so good, they justify their own existence on this mix. Many of the songs I listened to back then, but I heard a lot of them later in the 80s too. All songs were released in 1984. Besides too many big hits, I also kept away from some heavy favorites like Iron Maiden, Accept, and Priest and tried to include some different things (so that eliminated Aces High, Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had, and Jawbreaker).

At first I was trying to cram the songs I wanted into an hour long package. But then I thought about old cassette mix tapes. The ones that really sucked were the tapes that were 30 minutes on each side, or one hour mixes. 90 minute mix tapes were okay, but I really  liked 100 minute cassette mix tapes, which is the length that I ended up settling into over time. And so that’s what I made here. The longer format works for some mixes, and I think it works for this one too.

Hope you like it.

1. *Repo Man Theme (Instrumental) – Iggy Pop
2.  Death Ship – Hoodoo Gurus
3.   Wonderin’ – Neil Young**
4.  Wait – Wang Chung
5.  A Friend I Call Desire – Ultravox
6.  Got Me Under Pressure – ZZ Top ***
7.  Priestess – Wendy O. Williams
8.  Master and Servant – Depeche Mode
9.  Handsome Devil – The Smiths
10. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
11. Pink Turns to Blue – Husker Du
12. Jam On It – Newcleus
13. Ivo – Cocteau Twins ****
14. Mama’s Boy – Ramones
15. It’s My Life – Talk Talk
16. Realization – The Art of Noise
17. Nobody’s Home – Deep Purple
18. I Would Die 4 U – Prince
19.  Stay the Night – Chicago
20. Snaggletooth – Motorhead
21. 88 Lines About 44 Women – The Nails*****
22. Maybe Partying Will Help – Minutemen
23. 99 Red Balloons – Nena
24.  Show Me – The Pretenders
25. Slippery People – Talking Heads******
26. Fight Fire With Fire – Metallica

*          Repo Man
**        Ghostbusters
***      Spinal Tap
****    Making the Grade
*****  The Man with Two Brains
****** Red Dawn

#0093 – Anthropological Series – Summers 1986-7

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The idea behind the Anthropological Series is to capture what the DJ and those around her/him were listening to at the time, perhaps in a particular location or phase in life. RG had posted something about summer music on Facebook, and it reminded me that I had this mix in the works, so I put it together all formal-like. This mix includes some songs that I listened to during the summers of 1986 and 1987, when I lived on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. I worked at a local restaurant/bar/pool/marina complex there as a poolside cook, expediter, barback, dining room oyster shucker, and boat takeout delivery guy. Once a month or so all the restaurant, marina, and bar staff would have a cookout/kegger at night at the pool and play music and water volleyball.  I’d work 12-18 hour shifts Wed-Sat with a shorter Sunday, and hang out with bar staff Fridays and Saturdays after 2AM close. I drove my new used Subaru 4X4 hatchback to work, met lots of fun people, and wound up dating a fabulous lifeguard, much to my surprise. It was a great damn couple of summers! When I put this mix together I was surprised how strongly the music worm-holed me back to those days that I’d mostly put on the memory shelf.

Naturally, the music will not do that for you. However, the other thing is that, as much as we all love new music, old music is still good. Sometimes I forget this. Then I find an old cassette or LP that I forgot about and play it and I’m blown away all over again. However, I’ve also made this “anthropological,” so it’s not scrubbed for just the cool songs I heard then. It also includes a few that just remind me of the time period that symbolize stuff you’d hear at parties or on the radio, things like “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” or “Lean on Me.” So when I first made this mix it was just for me, but then I thought about the music on it, and figured at least one other person would like it, so am posting it.

Plus, with it being anthropological, I’m doing science a huge favor by capturing what a 19-year old was listening to in 1986. Musicologists living in their underground bunkers in 3056 will thank me. I don’t talk on it but threw in some movie and TV samples from the time.

  1. *On the Hunt – Lynyrd Skynyrd – There was a lot of Skynyrd around the Eastern Shore then, and I was listening a good bit to Nuthin’ Fancy and Skynyrd’s First and Last at the time as well. This reminds me of a dive bar called the Silver Dollar (I think), a place that, if you’d harnessed the misery there at the time, you could have powered a small town or maybe an amusement park.
  2. Planet of Women – ZZ Top – I know the old ZZ is the best and Fandango was one of my first cassettes, but I really dug Afterburner. I still love the whole release.  I had picked up the cassette for whatever reason and ended up playing it till it broke by the end of the summer of ’87.
  3. The Boy in the Bubble – Paul Simon – Of course the video for Call Me Al was hilarious, and I think I got this LP as one of my Columbia House 9 LPs for a penny thing. I ended up really liking this song.
  4. I Believe – REM – I was hooked on REM when I first heard Chronic Town, and didn’t slow down until Green. Back then they were underground alternative, and those early 5 or 6 releases were just insane.
  5. I Wanna Be a Cowboy – Boys Don’t Cry –  I first heard it at some party I went to. I picked it up on 45 an it’s just sort of stuck with me.
  6. **Light of Day – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Don’t remember much from the movie, but hell, Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett, I mean, c’mon! I picked up this 45 back then and it’s not a bad little song.
  7. Nice Boys – Rose Tattoo – I bought this cassette used at college in North Carolina in spring of 1985, and played the hell out of it. It busted too.
  8. ***Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers – I barbacked at Redeye’s lounge when it was part of the restaurant, before it was a huge outside dock bar. The bar was packed three deep in this tiny room, where, nearly every weekend, the same band played. This was the only song I could remember that they played because I always thought the guitar part was the highlight of their set.
  9. Red Rain – Peter Gabriel – Another Columbia House selection that really had some great songs on it.
  10. Stand By Me – Ben E. King – Stephen King’s story The Body was summer reading in his book Different Seasons, and this story was made into Stand By Me, a film for which this original song was re-released in 1986, so it was on the radio a lot. One of the all-time greats.
  11. Welcome to the Boomtown – David & David – Anyone alive with ears in 1987 remembers this song, just because it was always on the radio and was pretty different from everything else you heard. One hit wonders, but not a bad tune.
  12. Like a Song… – U2 – Had heard it before but acquired the War cassette and listened to it much more during this time period, along with insanely good Wide Awake in America live EP.
  13. Lean on Me – Club Nouveau – This is one of those mid-80s songs that you just couldn’t escape as that dance mix craze was ramping up. Somehow, I can tolerate it and actually enjoy it.
  14. It’s Tricky – Run DMC – What can you say? Sure, we’ve all heard it, but it’s still a blockbuster.
  15. ****I’m Goin’ Down – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA is a great album, and though I’d been hearing it for years, there were a few songs that I really liked, as they applied to my life in one way or another at the time. This is one of those.
  16. Learn How to Live – Billy Squire – I like Billy Squire dammit. Emotions in Motion is an excellent LP, and this is one of my favorites off that one that you don’t hear much.
  17. Don’t Care / Live Fast Die Young – Circle Jerks – I got turned on to the Circle Jerks and other punk in college, and this is one of the few punk cassettes I owned that I could listen to when away from college.
  18. Fire Still Burns – Twisted Sister – Ah, the death of early phase metal. The only band that stayed true through the 80s was Motorhead, and perhaps Maiden and Accept. The rest of my metal icons got lost along the way, and Twisted Sister was one of the brightest burnouts of all them. Come out and Play was a horrifically bad release. I bought it thinking it would be good, and it was just a huge let down. This was the only song of any merit on the whole thing. Metallica had been on my radar since Kill ‘Em All in ’84, and Accept’s Metal Heart had come out and was good along with Motorhead’s Orgasmatron, but really, for me, I was about to take a metal break for a few years.

Samples:

  1. *Evil Dead 2
  2. **Light of Day
  3. ***Jay Leno on David Letterman. This is when Letterman was new and good and everyone watched it. Leno was funny in the mid 80s, regardless of his status today.
  4. ****Raising Arizona
  5. Michelob Light Genesis commercial that was all over late night TV back then…

The Weightless Mix

Yepper, so I took 6 days last month to head down to a free place to stay in Lake Tahoe NV/CA, and spent 4 of the 6 days driving through parts of  northern CA into the Sierras, and out into central-western Nevada. Driving out west, or pretty much anyplace new, for me, removes most of the worries and responsibilities from my head for a short time. Out west, I tend to get a weightless feeling, which, after a few days, makes me want to buy an old 4×4 and some camping equipment and drive up into the hills for about a month, grow a beard, eat wild game and berries, and shoot at things with a rifle. Maybe next year.

Anyway there’s not too much that’s Earth-shattering on this mix. There’s some new stuff, but I tend to get down to tried-and-true songs on the road, because I don’t want my time wasted with a bunch of songs I’ve never heard of in the hopes that maybe I’ll hear something new and good. Time on the road is limited; this is not the time to try something new. It always takes me a while to warm up to new songs and bands anyway. I reserve that for when I’m sitting in front of a computer 8 hours a day.  But I will do extensive radio scans in the hopes of hitting some offbeat talk show, an animated preacher/religious drama, or some old songs that I haven’t heard in a long while, and some of that is reflected in this mix via radio scans and some older tunes. Listening to this mix is just like you were sitting in my car for 40 hours straight, only condensed into a little over an hour without you actually getting into my vehicle. I like this mix. But don’t take my word for it, just listen to these powerful testimonials:

Incredible. Just incredible. I mean, I hate every song on here and I can’t stop listening to this mix.” Quen Britmore, Time Magazine Music Review Team

There are times in each of our lives where we have to ask ourselves if we really are who we think we are. This mix forces you to do that. It grabs you by the nape of the neck and says, ‘Who are you?” Josh Starbrew, Nuclear Engineer, Brunswick, NC

I’ve always had a thing about birds. I just don’t like them. But this mix, well, that’s a different story.” Sarah-Ann Zicker, Web Application Designer, Knoxville, TN

I’ve never even been to Nevada. But it’s as if Kevin has captured the very essence of driving through a western state, except there’s no country music on it. I’m a little sweaty just thinking about it. I mean, that’s how good it is.” Tex Muffin, Utah State Patrol

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  1. One Be Lo – Smash
  2. Yes – Hold On
  3. Judas Priest – All the Way
  4. Peter Murphy – All Night Long
  5. The Psychedelic Furs – There’s a World Outside
  6. The Sisters of Mercy w/Terri Nunn – Under the Gun
  7. Bad Religion – Lost Pilgrim
  8. Soulfly – The Beautiful People
  9. Pro-pain – All for King George
  10. The Bee Gees – Jive Talkin’
  11. The Who – Join Together
  12. Ministry – The Last Sucker
  13. Covenant – Leviathon
  14. The Smiths – Rusholme Ruffians
  15. ZZ Top – Jesus just left Chicago
  16. Sammy Hagar – I’ll Fall in Love Again

#0024 – Staff of Life

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Staff of Life: A multi-course, culinary delight in time for the holidays, with ingredients from They Might Be Giants, Squeeze, Burning Spear, Cameo, Spearhead, Wesley Willis, George Carlin, AC/DC, Covenant, Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Marley, Steve Martin, Shenandoah, The Newbeats, The Hudu Gurus, The Proclaimers, The Pet Shop Boys, ZZ Top, Murphy’s Law, The National Lampoon, Jimmy Buffett, and Frank Zappa. Keep your elbows off the table. ( kevindreed[at]gmail[dot]com)