Do you remember back in the day when you would make “mix tapes” for your friends? Did you do that? I did. In fact I made it an art form. My friend Greg and I used to challenge each other more or less to come up with the best mixes we could and give them interesting titles. Once he presented me with a tape that had a sticker on it which read “Warrant and winger and Poison Oh My!” The beautiful thing was that Warrant and Winger and Poison were all nowhere to be found on that tape. Nine Inch Nails was there with Head Like a Hole (that tune made it on almost every mix we created), but no Warrant, no Winger, and definitely no Poison.
In retrospect, I had given him a mix titled the Rock Your Socks Off Mix. Side one was presented as “Athlete’s Foot or Painted Toenails” while side two promised “Sweat Socks or Nylons.” It was a simpler time.
By the late 90’s the mix tape had gone the way of the dodo and was almost replaced by the mix CD. Making mix CDs was fun, to be sure, but it never caught on the way that the mix tape had. Maybe this was because it was considerably more expensive to make a CD than a tape, or because CDs just seemed a more permanent fixture. You couldn’t just erase a CD. Not easily, anyway. Also I was growing up and the older I got the less important mixing the Inspiral Carpets with the Charlatans U.K. seemed to be.
But I never outgrew music itself, of course.I don’t make mix tapes anymore, or mix CDs. Life is much more digital these days, so I make playlists just like everyone else. I don’t usually give them cute names anymore or insert audio clips from episodes of The Simpsons (I really used to do that, I swear), but the mixes live on to some extent. My tastes are literally all over the proverbial map when it comes to music and I likr to think that is reflected in my playlists. I’m listening to one now, for example, that I’ve called Beelzebubba. That’s kind of a cute name I guess, but its the title of an album by The Dead Milkmen, so I can’t take credit for it.
And yes, before you ask if I am really going to do this, I intend to go through the playlist item by item and explain briefly why each song is there. Music is very important to me. Deal with it.
Beelzebubba starts out with Chick Habit by April March. It’s a song perhaps best known for it’s inclusion on the soundtrack to Death Proof and plays over scenes and images of the three girls kicking the living shit out of Kurt Russle.Ms. March’s pixie voice singing “Hang up the chick habit, hang it up Daddy” just seems like the perfect way to start a modern mix. Although the mix is not all that modern as you’ll see.
Stigmata Martyr by Bauhaus is next.It features Peter Murphy chanting presumably to Satan and Daniel Ashe playing guitar with a fork. What’s not to love about that?
Next up is The Beach Boys’ Wouldn’t it be Nice? Because that’s from Pet Sounds and Pet Sounds is one of the finest albums ever recorded. I really don’t like the Beach Boys much, but I do love that album.Had I been in a different mood that day I may have chosen God Only Knows instead, but I picked this one.
Next is Shadrach by Beastie Boys. It comes from Paul’s Boutique which is possibly the greatest rap album ever recorded.
Get Back by the Beatles is next up. My version comes from Let it Be… Naked, but I also love the one on the Love soundtrack. Who doesn’t love the Beatles and why are they so broken?
Beck’s Loser is next because “in the time of chimpanzees there was a monkey.”
Paranoid by Black Sabbath is next just because I love Black Sabbath and Paranoid is a definitive tune by them.
Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen follows this. Sure Born to Run is a better song by Bruce, but Dancing in the Dark typifies the Born in the USA era like no other. Also the video had a very young and very sexy Courtney Cox.
If You Leave Me Now by Chicago is next. I just like that song.
Then comes London Calling by the Clash.Rolling Stone named this the top album of the eighties, after all. I followed this with Train in Vain. Two songs by the same band right after each other is bad form, and they’re both from the same album too. When I listen though I usually choose the “shuffle all” option, so I think its all right.
Next I have Lean on Me by Club Nouveau. Told you I’m all over the place.
I Heard it Through the Grapevine, the cover by Creedence Clearwater Revival is next. Marvin Gaye’s version is better, but this is from Cosmo’s Factory and it is awesome.
Next is Friday I’m in Love by the Cure. How can you not love that song?
Then we have Killer Wolf by Danzig. There are few things as perfect as this heavy metal Elvis. Also the CD insert from that album unfolds into an inverted cross, How cool is that?
Space Oddity by David Bowie follows this. I think it is one of the beautiful mysteries of life that I got to live at the same time as Bowie. This song illustrates his perfection in so many ways.
Punk Rock Girl by the Dead Milkmen is next. As far as silly songs go, this may be the silliest. “We asked for Mojo Nixon, they said he don’t work here. We said if you don’t got Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin’…”
Peek-a-Boo from Devo is next because I love Devo.
Then we have The Way We Swing because its album Sex Packets is probably the second best rap album ever.Digital Underground FTW!
Money for Nothing by Dire Straits follows this and reminds me of those “I want my MTV” ads in the mid eighties.
Then comes September by Earth Wind & Fire because I felt I had to include Earth Wind & Fire.
Love Game by Eminem and Kendrick Lamar is next because Em is a genius and that’s a great song.
The Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim is next because right about now the funk soul brotha.
Next is In the Mood by Glen Miller. It’s a classic song and my only more favorite version of it is probably by the Henhouse Five Plus One.
Touch of Grey by the Grateful Dead is next, because I just had to include the Dead and I’ve heard Truckin’ more than enough times.
This is followed by Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N Roses.This is because Axl Rose always was kind of a jerk and that’s what rock n roll is about.
Straight Up Nigga by Ice T appears next because although I don’t like that word I do like when its used properly in music. John Lennon comes to mind (Woman is the Nigger of the World) as does Patti Smith (Rock n Roll Nigger). And both of those people are white.
The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden is next because it really is an epic song like all Maiden songs and the fear I had of them in my early teen years proved to be unwarranted. I freely say now what so many people said then: Maiden fucking Rocks!
Pig’s in Zen is next. Jane’s Addiction that is and some people should die. That’s just unconscious knowledge.
Next up is Beth by Kiss. That song, more than any other, reminds me of my days as a child when my brother and I would put on Kiss “concerts.” We would dress up in Kiss makeup and lip sync their songs for the other neighborhood kids. This was not odd behavior by the way, but something that all the kids seemed to enjoy doing. We were geeks. I was almost always Peter Criss, so Beth was my song.
Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin is next on the list and though it sounds like it was recorded immediately after Robert Plant slammed his finger in a car door, it rocks harder than pretty much any other song except Kashmir.
That leads into Gimme Three Steps by Lynyrd Skynyrd because its a great song about cuttin’ a rug at a place called the Jug with a girl named Linda Lou..
Next is the venerable industrial anthem Thieves by Ministry. I love the chainsaw guitar and the R. Lee Emery samples. You’re just a great big fuckin’ pimple waiting to be squeezed.
Black Dog by Led Zeppelin keeps the rock rolling here.
Holly Holy by Neil Diamond is next because I love Neil Diamond.
Head Like a Hole follows. Nine Inch Nails FTW! Today just like in 1993 it always makes it to the mix.
All Apologies by Nirvana. Cobain was the voice of my generation, after all.
Suicide Solution by Ozzy Osbourne because I loved the Satanic panic. That’s followed by Flying High Again. Breaking my “two songs one artist” rule, but hey, it’s Ozzy!
Flashlight by Parliment because who is better than George Clinton? At anything.
Next we have You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon because we are still in the real world, after all.
I Love it Loud, the cover by Phunk Junkeez. Because fuck the president.
Money by Pink Floyd is next because I’m all right, Jack. Keep your hands off my stack.
Toll Free by the Latin group you’ve never heard of, Plastilina Mosh. I first discovered Plastilina Mosh on Napster, so around 2002 or so? I was chatting there with some guy and he told me about them and transferred me a song called Human Disco Ball. It was amazing and I’ve been hooked on them since.
Controversy by Prince. He’s dead now, show some fucking respect. And excuse me breaking my rule again because Little Red Corvette is next.
No Sleep Til Cleveland by Prophets of Rage, the act that features Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine fame) and Chuck D. (Public Enemy), among others.
Bring the Noise by Public Enemy is next because what better way is there to follow the Prophets of Rage than with Chuck D., Flavor Flav, and Terminator X?
Killer Queen is next because if there is a God, Freddie Mercury was a gift from him to the entire world. Of course, I don’t believe in God, but that’s okay. Queen and Freddie Mercury are still divine in nature.
Blitzkreig Bop is the next song on the list because who is better than the Ramones? In fact I feel it is an actual sin that we live in a world where all four original Ramones are dead, but Justin Bieber still draws breath.
Sir Psycho Sexy is next because the Red Hot Chili Peppers used to be just that cool. I mean one of them is called Flea. Deep inside the Garden of Eden, standing there with my hard on bleeding…
Superbeast is next because I can’t hear that Rob Zombie song without remembering the old Twisted Metal 3 days.
The Rolling Stones are next with another two track entry. First is Paint it Black followed by Start Me Up. The first because it is the perfect Stones song and the second because they were touring Tattoo You when I saw them in 1981, my first official concert.
Tom Sawyer is next by Rush. Easily the most memorable track from the Regiment Under Satan’s Hand. They stick around as well for the next track, Free Will. I always thought they were a bit of an afterthought to the whole Satanic panic thing. After all, they’re Canadian. How scary could they be?
Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols is next because I can’t forget the beginnings of punk. Johnny Rotten and Sid Viscous totally rocked it, never mind that whole murder charge against Sid. I specifically remember a “news” story reported on Saturday Night Live in about 1978 or so that said Sid couldn’t get a fair trial due to his name so he would henceforth be known as Sid Not Such a Bad Guy Once You Get to Know Him.
Scarborough Fair/Canticle by Simon and Garfunkle. Just because.
Mommy’s Little Monster by Social Distortion because I always loved Social Distortion and they represent one of the proudest moments in my life. In high school and immediately after I fancied myself a musician. The fact that I never learned to play an instrument was secondary. Me and some other high school clowns I knew formed a band. We were awful but it didn’t stop us from trying to play shows.We got one at a place called Vivian’s, an old church in Tempe that had been converted to hold punk shows. We got on stage one night and played one song. The other “actual” acts followed, including Social Distortion.So I like to say we “opened” for Social Distortion. I did get to meet Mike Ness briefly. Nice guy.
Bus to Beelzebug by Soul Coughing. If you took beat poetry by someone like Allen Ginsberg and set it to music, you’d have Soul Coughing. And you’d love it.
Mickey Mouse by Sparks. I only just heard of Sparks a few years ago. It was Lisa who introduced me to them. Apparently they’ve been around forever and they’re awesome.
Subliminal by Suicidal Tendencies. I was an ST kid. I used to draw skeletons on a white dress shirt and wear it over a tee shirt, and wear faded ripped jeans that had band names scrawled on them in black magic marker. Life was good in the eighties.
Oh my god! THREE songs in a row by one band!? Yes. Because They Might Be Giants is just that awesome. Here they come in with Birdhouse in Your Soul because I’m your only friend, I’m not your only friend but I’m a little glowing friend… That’s followed by Ana Ng and Youth Culture Killed my Dog. Did I mention I love They Might Be Giants?
It Makes a Fellow Proud to be a Soldier by Tom Lehrer is next because he was awesome. He’s also they guy who sings the periodic table of the elements to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan music.
Clowns by Too Much Joy is next. Their second album was somewhat lackluster (the one single I remember was the uninspired Crush Song) but I always loved Son of Sam I Am, which is where this song comes from.
Sushi Girl by the Tubes. The Tubes were fun for a while in the early eighties. I remember them doing this song live on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow Show I believe it was. I remember the performance culminated with Bill Spooner shoving fish and rice into his mouth, making a mess of everything.
Next comes Zoo Station by U2. I was always a huge U2 fan in the eighties and felt I had to include them, but I didn’t want a recognizable hit. This opening track from Achtung Baby is perfect.
Runnin’ With the Devil by Van Halen. From the days when rock was about having fun and nobody had more fun than that band’s front man David Lee Roth. This is before the days of Van Hagar and the idiocy of entries like OU812.
Goin’ Back to Cali by LL Cool J. Man, I don’t think so. And the ladies love Cool James.
The Time Warp because I always loved the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I even enjoyed the recent televised remake with Laverne Cox, an actual trans performer as the sweet transvestite Dr. Frankenfurter. I don’t think it was necessary, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
Gimme the Car by the Violent Femmes because they were perhaps the greatest act of the eighties.
Werewolves of London by the late great Warren Zevon. Because how can you not love that song?
My this is a long playlist! Next up is Buddy Holly by the nerdiest nerd rock band in the world, Weezer.
Yoda by Weird Al Yankovic because I’ve always loved Al and this song is one of his best. Also in the early eighties i had heard this before I ever heard Lola by the Kinks. Naturally I thought the Kinks were parodying him. Silly me.
Pictures of Lily by the Who is one of my all time favorite songs. From the Who it’s second only to Squeeze Box.
La Grange by ZZ Top is the next tune here because it is just perfect rock. A-hey now, now, now…
I finish the list out with three tunes that personify the nineteen eighties. Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cindy Lauper, You Spin Me Round by Dead or Alive and I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow. Cindy Lauper because its just a fun song, Dead or Alive because Pete Burns was a god, and Bow Wow Wow because I really wanted to fuck that girl.
So that’s pt for the Beezebubba playlist. It is 83 songs that take about five and a half hours to listen to, Now I’m off to make another one.