Friday, July 22, 2016

An Old Turning Point

Yesterday afternoon I got the package of the old Akai FX-F31 cassette deck that I used to own many moons ago, the same model I purchased via eBay. It was an inspiration purchase, or perhaps out of nostalgia, or a sense of self preservation. Recently, I went through a bin of old cassette tapes, and in the process of finding some mix tapes I was looking for, I also discovered my old childhood tapes I thought I had lost. The earliest of these dates back to 1980, when I was 10 years old. I had had a dedicated box for them, but as it turns out -- about 10 years ago, in the process of a move -- I had gone through those, along with many other cassettes that I no longer needed because I either had the CD, the LP, or the Mp3 copy of the record I had taped, and ended up using the empty cases of those for the childhood tapes that were of cheaper quality, thus never having cases. And I integrated those with the rest of the cassettes I kept, the vast majority of which were band rehearsals, or song ideas on guitar, fragments, snippets, and god knows what else. Ever the self-documentarian, even at a young age, I also discovered a recording of myself reflecting on those tapes, and my childhood, family, friends, things I was feeling, where I hoped I was going, feelings of loss - two of my grandparents had just passed away in the course of the previous year - and I had just arrived in Villa Park, Illinois, after leaving Oshkosh in what turned out to be the last time I would see my Grandma Nev before she passed away two months after this recording. It was January 8, 1991, about 3:00 in the morning. And I went on for about 45 minutes. I have to say, it was therapeutic - I'm glad I did that. I don't think I am capable of rambling or ruminating alone with a microphone for that long anymore. But I realized in a way it was probably a message to my older self, and I even said so at the time - having an imagined conversation with myself, or anyone among my family or friends who might some day be interested. This was 25 years ago now. I definitely sound younger, but more self aware than I was expecting. It was right before a major turning point in my life. That summer I would meet someone that would eventually - albeit indirectly - help lead me out here to the SF Bay area two years later with my dear friend, Jason Ries. And I can't help but think about why, at this time, would all of this present itself, and I would be compelled to choose to rediscover and listen to this particular tape and passage. Time will tell.

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