Sunday, April 20, 2008

Songs from the dust, How Seven Days in Sammystown burried the Beverly Hills Cop

The "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack was the first tape I ever owned. It had that song "Axel F". To this ten year old boy it was the coolest song in the world. It really spoke to who I was as a person and what I wanted out of life. Then I heard The Far Side of Crazy, a minor college radio hit by the newly reformed Wall of Voodoo. The album was "Seven Day's in Sammystown". After hearing this album I wanted virtually noting to do with Top 40 Radio. I liked the song "The Far Side of Crazy" so much I signed up to lip sync for my fourth grade talent show. A few days later I got stage fright and erased my name from the list. I don't know what would have happened if I had preformed but I think it may have included the "stop button" on the square, green public school issue tape deck being pressed early. What ever the case I have never regretted keeping my admoreation for that song to myself that year. Also on the album was "Black Board Sky" a pulp fiction type song with the line "My head is ticking like a bomb on a subway train." I waited years to use this line in a real life situation. Sadly the situation never arose. There was "Museums", from this song I was introduced to the word "Anthropologist" and still have an affinity for the word to this day.
It was 1986 and I listened to Wall of Voodoo consistently for the next few years. However, over time I found new musical interests and the tape began to gather dust in my humble yet growing music collection. Eventually I moved onto compact discs and it was stored away. My love for the album never diminished I just knew it so well I didn't need to listen to it any more. Until now, fifteen years later.
On my last trip to my mothers home in Utah I rummaged through some of my old things and pulled out a few tapes I had not heard in years and brought them back home with me. Some of them that made it are, A compilation of 12" Remixes from The Cure, two mix tapes I made - One from Junior High and the other from High School, A mix tape from an ex-girlfriend (some people think it's weird that I still have this... But it's a really good mix.) And of course Wall of Voodoo. The tape has some garbles and warps and sounds like I am listening to it from a distant memory. And to make it worse it's not even the actual album. I never owned it. All I ever had were cheap copies. I had to make a second duplicate on the verge of the 90's because I had worn the first one out. Not spending the $9.99 to buy this album at the Toad Tape in the Ogden Mall still haunts me. Even still, when I walk into a record store I take a moment to look in the "W's" just to see if any one has traded in a copy- It's been out of print for nearly two decades. I found a couple of discs for sale on line but they are selling for almost $400 (that is my annual Coca-Cola budget) so I just can't justify spending that much on one album. (I can't really justify spending that much on Coca-Cola either. They don't need the money. Maybe I'll switch to RC Cola.) Even if it was the most influential album of my life I just can't do it. Nor do I think it should be done. So instead, it's on continuous play in our car. When you have a tape with a good full album on one side and a not so good album on the other side, continuous play means- a listen then a rewind then repeat. I had forgotten how slowly tapes rewind but it's been worth it every time.
Sorry Axel F, you didn't have the staying power.

Wall of Voodoo - Far Side of Crazy

Elbow - "One Day Like This"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008