You probably have a few questions about my mix tapes after reading my list. Let me answer them:
1. What is my greatest mix tape? This is very tough but if someone held a gun to my head, “Castrate Donald Rumsfeld” would win.
2. Do I have a philosophy or system for a mix tape’s musical progression? No, although I know some mix tape aficionados have very rigid mixing philosophies. I go strictly by feel, the moment. I do, however, like juxtaposing hits and rarities, sometimes from the same artist, sometimes from completely different musical genres. For example, Prince following Merle Haggard.
3. What song appears on the most tapes? No contest. “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones: studio version, a dozen different live takes, bootlegs, Keith singing it solo.
4. What song do I most regret putting on a mix tape? Easy. “Get into the Groove” by Madonna. Also, anything by Pavement.
5. Is there an artist you wish you would have included on more tapes? Yes. Thelonious Monk. His music mesmerizes me and makes me write sentences in my head in concert with his piano playing.
6. What’s the best mix tape someone made for you? 1) “The Fuck Truck” series by AS; “Confessions of a Love Child” by AM. The former included Polaroids for covers and the latter introduced me to some new incredible music, that now of course, is classic alternative rock.
7. What’s the best non-musical riff to ever appear on a mix tape? “Greed is Good” speech by Gordon Gekko in Wall Street as it fades into Jane’s Addiction’s “Been Caught Stealing.” A close second is a Cherokee Indian war chant.
8. What’s my favorite song from a band that’s totally disappeared? “Drinking on the Job” by The Rainmakers, with its immortal line, “The generation that would change the world is still looking for its car keys.”
9. What’s my favorite obscure line from a big rock star or band? Tie. “I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for from “Tattooed Love Boys” by the Pretenders and, “Let’s put our hands together and start a new country up,” from “Cuyahoga” by REM. I pretty much do that every time I make a new mix tape. I like to think my creation is the sonic Declaration of Independence and Constitution of a new country all rolled into one.
10. Do you know anyone better at making mix tapes than you? Yes, my ex wife, Cindy. She taught me the art of naming. She was the greatest mix tape maker I ever saw. And she always illustrated or water colored her covers.
11. Did you ever make a mix tape with someone? No.
12. Is there any artist’s record that is an absolute must to have around when making a mix tape? Yes. Buddy Holly. He’s got a few great rocking songs that clock in at around 1:30 and are perfect fillers at the end of sides.