A few years ago my parents sold our childhood home and in doing so uncovered all the junk that my brother and I had left in the basement since we moved out. One item was a box of forty to fifty cassette tapes which showed up on my Oakland doorstep soon thereafter. These tapes are in a sense a partial documentation of my adolescence growing up in small town Iowa in the eighties.
You'll see as you finger through this book a fair number of hair and bad metal bands as well as a random new wave group here and there. I remember having far more tapes than these. In fact, there had to be a few hundred by they time I went off to college and CD's became the new standard bearer. The tapes documented in this book are those that for one reason or another I left behind – most likely because I was too embarrassed to have on hand as I introduced myself to a new group of peers as a freshman at college that influential freshman year when Nirvana and grunge had their day in the sun. This explains a bit why there are no Jane's Addiction, Sonic Youth, Metallica, R.E.M to lend me some semblance of indie street cred in this book. At some point all the tapes I did take to college were stolen out of my 1987 Toyota pick-up so all that are left are these artifacts of a youth cruising main street Saturday nights in an Iowa town of six-thousand.
This book is a permanent documentation, a lasting tactile memory, of these tapes and my teenage years. Once complete I'll likely throw out the actual tapes or post the entire box on Ebay. If for some reason I really want to hear Motley Crue, Fresh Prince, Frankie Goes to Hollywood or for some strange, self-fulfilling reason Poison I can always now just download a digital copy in a matter of seconds.
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