music monday: letter written, mix made, neither sent

In a previous entry, I discussed the perusal of a pile of old letters and whether to keep or discard them. Among the pile were some words to someone else that I wrote. The following words not only reveal that I was still making old-school mixtapes five years ago but that I also had yet to experience many of my favorite bands in a live setting. A similar, up-to-date mix along the theme identified below would have a very different appearance, which I shall illustrate next week.

I planned to purchase cigarettes to accompany the night's creation of a mixtape for you. When living alone, everything feels like a major event. However, my plans stand thwarted because not a gas station, liquor store or tattoo parlor on Mustang Island carries American Spirits. This is not a tragedy, of course, though it comes close. Purchasing alcohol was a second consideration but drinking's always been more of an inhibitor than an inspiration when it comes to mixing music. I hold fire and smoke as creative forces, both carrying not just mystery but spontaneity. Many of my older journal entries still have the scent of cigarettes about them. With no such creative edge tonight, the enclosed might not be an altogether pleasant experience. Blame the various stores here in Port Aransas for not carrying the proper stock.

When making a mix like this one, I find it helpful to have a theme, and since I look forward to attending some live shows next month, I offer here a chronicle of my concert experiences thus far. Side A: Wish is a partial list of artists/bands I want to experience live (whether humanly possible or not) and Side B: Fulfillment comprises artists/bands I have experienced. If you have any questions, requests or suggestions, don't hesistate...

Side A: Wish
"You Don't Know Jesus" - Mogwai
Five Scots who create such beauty without singing a word. This song serves as a good explanation as to why they are near the top of my list of to-see bands.

"Happiness Is A Warm Gun" - the Beatles
All-time favorite band and one of their best songs. Of course, almost every song by the Beatles is one of their best.

"Curmudgeon" - Nirvana
I remember watching MTV with two friends and how we moshed when the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video was featured. One friend tripped and fell back into the den wall. Because of a later well-placed chair, his parents didn't discover the ass print in the wall for two months.

"Introduce The Metric System In Time" - the Hives
High-energy Swedes who know what punk is.

"Time" - Pink Floyd
Masters of the concept album, the Floyd knew how to construct songs of absolute truth, and the guitar work ain't half bad either. David Gilmour's one of the most overlooked guitarists in rock.

"Iron Clad Lou" - Hum
Far too many only know this band for their one hit, "Stars." Such a tragedy.

"Bullet In The Head" - Rage Against The Machine
Rather self-explanatory.

"Where Eagles Dare" - the Misfits
This was one of the first songs I learned on the guitar. It also opened the door to combination curse words.

"Easter" - Bill Hicks
We lost this man far too early; we need him all the more right now.

"Sorrowful Wife" - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
This is a brief sampling of the masterful artistry of Nick Cave. I thought about making an all-Cave tape, but figured easing in might be better.

Side B: Fulfillment
"Blueprint" - Fugazi
While not all that familiar with Fugazi, I know that I could not pass up the chance to see such a legendary group. This song was my favorite of the evening. Quite beautiful.

"Toxicity" - System of a Down
This is one of the few better-known bands I respect and like. The video for this song gets regular airplay on MTV and I heard it played live a week before I left for Texas. With Rage Against the Machine gone the way of the dodo, SOAD appears poised to take over that political podium.

"Bitches" - Mindless Self Indulgence
This SOAD opener are perhaps the most offensively fun band I've ever heard.

"You're The One" - the Trip Daddys
A psychobilly band from St. Louis, MO, and one of the best. Guitarist Craig alone was quite the scorcher.

"More Than This" - the cure
This legendary goth band performed as many old songs as new ones during their almost three-hour set (no openers!). For as much as I enjoyed them, I only have one of their songs.

"A Good Woman Is Hard To Find" - Orchestra Morphine
The story behind this group is much too long to recount here, but I'd be happy to do so another time elsewhere.

"Part Of Me" - TOOL
I saw these guys two days after 9/11, which made for a very emotionally charged show. It ended up being the most intense concert experience of my life so far.

"Inside What's Within Behind" - Meshuggah
From Stockholm, Sweden, they opened for TOOL to a chorus of boos, but I liked them. Still do.

"El Nino" - Henry Rollins
This man speaks the truth. Writer, performer and vocalist for the Rollins Band, Henry's a nonstop laborer for the cause of independence in an increasingly corporate world. Check out Solipsist, or one of his many other books.

"Paranoid" - Black Sabbath
These heavy metal gods blew me away on their first reunion tour with a stop at Van Andel Arena. This concert was the highlight of that first failed relationship.

"Let's Hear It For Love" - the Smoking Popes
While I saw the Popes during my first semester at Hope College, I remember them more for being played while Ben, Joe, Tom and I cruised down the mountain into Ashland, Oregon. "This is kickass So-Cal punk!" Ben exclaimed, and I swallowed the urge to explain that the Popes were from Chicago.

"Mouse" - Marzuki
I still have a crush on Shannon Stephens, all because I think she smiled at me once while singing this song. Marzuki was such a great band, a perfect melding of so many different musical styles who managed to still sound so original.