Teenage Mixtape

An old friend, one from when we were teenagers, sent me a message tonight for no other reason than to tell me she was thinking of me because she was listening to an 80s alternative music radio stream and she realized just how many bands I had introduced her to back then.

Apparently, she still has a bunch of mixtapes I made for her back then of bands that were considered outre and obscure at the time, but that have since gotten famous, a few of which have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

She thanked me profusely for introducing her to all kinds of genres and bands she wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.

It made me smile. And I thanked her for her kind words.

And then… I got a little sad. I can’t entirely explain why, or maybe I just won’t, but it made my evening bittersweet.

So, in that spirit, I’ll ask whomever wants to chime in:

You’re sixteen or seventeen and you’re listening to a mixtape. Which songs and bands are you listening to?

14 thoughts on “Teenage Mixtape

  1. Back then I had never made or been given a mixtape (I would eventually put together a goth/metal tape for Halloween, but I was in my twenties at the time). The closest I’d come prior to that was when I would record songs off the radio, but that ended up being a haphazard mix rather than a planned one, and as none of those cassettes have survived the ages, nor my recollection the ravages of time, I can’t list any of the songs that I ended up taping at that age. Also I was really into listening to entire LPs at the time, mostly metal, rather than the mixes favored by my goth, hip-hop, freestyle, and house friends. The few albums I can recall having on vinyl when I was 16 or 17 include Megadeth – Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying, Metallica – Master of Puppets, Fifth Angel – Fifth Angel, Grim Reaper – Rock You to Hell, Slayer – Reign in Blood, Voivod – Rrröööaaarrr, and Metal Church – The Dark.

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    • I can relate — I was the one doing the making of mixtapes and handing them out like candy at the time. Like you, I was more into the album experience and, aside from a few hardcore mix tapes, folks rarely gave them to me. I usually had the albums I wanted anyway. But, I have a rarer GG Allin mini-LP with “I’m a Fuckup” that I wouldn’t have had if a guy I knew hadn’t made a mixtape for me. I think he was the only person I knew who had a more diverse and larger collection of LPs than I at the school. Of course, he followed that tune up with Mel Torme singing “New York New York”, so…

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      • lol… I actually now recall a guy giving me a tape but it wasn’t a mixtape exactly. It was two different albums, one on each side. The A side–the one he really wanted me to hear, was M.O.D.’s “USA for M.O.D.” which I listened to on my Walkman for a few minutes before switching the cassette over to the B side with just a push of a button. “Oooh… what’s this?” I asked him after a few seconds. “Oh, that’s just Manowar, he said.” Just Manowar… I later discovered the album was named “Battle Hymns.” I’ve been a fan of Manowar ever since.

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        • I don’t know if anyone ever introduced me to Manowar. I recall the name, probably from working a used record store in the late 80s or when I did the Borders Music gig in the mid-90s, but metal was more of a casual listening experience for me. If a friend listened to it, I might listen to it, or even add it to my collection (e.g., Metallica), but I didn’t seek it out. Well, it was fun to listen to Impaler or GWAR (was GWAR metal? kinda, I guess), but that’s just because they offended people.

          I always leaned more post-punk. Except when I didn’t (hello Queen, BeeGees and ABBA before it became cool to listen to them again).

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          • I kind of went from metal to goth, since a lot of my friends were goths and I’d go to the clubs with them, and along with that came post-punk, new wave, darkwave and industrial. I used to listen to this Long Island radio station that played a lot of post-punk and new wave, which is how I first discovered Joy Division. Then I got into punk rock via The Misfits. And in the space of a year or so (when I was 18/ 19) I went from dressing like what they called a “rocker chick” to a more goth style, trying my best to look like Vampira. But I never stopped being into metal or going to metal shows. I got really into King Diamond and Mercyful Fate (still am), Type O Negative, and a very few death metal bands, especially Obituary and Morbid Angel. I saw all of them live except, I think, Type O. Ah, the memories… lol

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            • Memories indeed. I managed to do a passing Robert Smith/Simon Gallop back in my goth period — at least I had people tell me (unprompted) that it was obvious I liked The Cure because I looked like I belonged in the band. All very Pornography and Head on the Door eras. Joy Division and Echo were my secret pleasures, but folks are still sending me Bauhaus memes (along with the Cure ones) all the time. Or making jokes about how I tried to “convert” them into Missionaries (or SoM fans).

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            • lol. I still have a World Deliverance Tour tee somewhere that is probably the only item of clothing that survived from that time in my life (only because I rarely wore it). But I don’t deserve the name of Missionary because I’ve only heard a couple of songs by The Mission and I’m only what you might call a casual Sisters fan, though I would’ve liked to have seen them play live.

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            • Sister were a disappointing show when I saw them a while back. It was mostly about being far too loud for a medium-sized venue and Andy being Mr. Self-important Arrogance. The mix was so bad that I had a hard time telling what songs were being played.

              I was also disappointed in the Cult when I saw them during the Sun King period. Ian was so drunk he could remember the song, let alone the lyrics for the songs and he basically kept say fuck as many times as he could.

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            • The Cult is another band I never saw live. I had Electric on vinyl though, and then I bought Love on cassette, liked that album even more, and bought Sonic Temple which I liked a little less than Love, but I don’t remember if that one was on cassette or CD. Ceremony I definitely had on CD. I remember playing it over and over and my mother hating it for some reason. It’s not something I’d bother listening to today, though. Except for Sweet Salvation maybe…

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            • I go through my Cult phases. Every once in a while I hit the entire catalog and then I’m good for a spell. I’m most drawn to Dreamtime and Love, but the later albums get a good spin when I’m in the mood.

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