This year for Christmas, amongst a ton of other awesome loot, my most generous parents gave me a 1GB MP3 player. This little unit is compact, sleek and lovely. And the perfect gift for little ol’ me! Thanks, folks!
Now, I know what you’re thinking – how could I, the guy who loves music so much, make it to the end of 2007 without a portable MP3 player?!?! Well, when we moved to this small town a couple of years ago, I did buy a discman that played MP3s on CDRs, but it sucks – it skips tracks for no reason (even in the middle of tracks), it skips if you even breathe on it, and it goes random play even if that option isn’t selected. Suffice it to say, it hardly gets used.
But I am quite excited by this new development. Imagine! Customizable playlists of tunes that I can take everywhere I go, and it fits into my pocket! No discs to carry! The mind boggles! … Dear KMA Readers, I know that all of you know this stuff already, and that you’ve been savvy for years. Please bear with me, as I don’t seem to get out much.
But then I to got thinking about what I should put onto this new unit for its first-ever download, and I hit a bit of a panic. You see, I’m weirdly sentimental about such things, and I will always remember whatever was eventually selected. For example, I can tell you for certain that the first CDR burner I had (years and years ago, ’96 or ’97, if memory serves me correctly) was first used to make a mix on a 74 minute Verbatim disc, the first song being the Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up. A completely appropriate song, of course, and I recall turning to my buddy Brian when the disc worked in the stereo and our eyes lighting up with glee at the implications of such technology… but I’m one hell of a geek for remembering such a thing. And so, I knew I had to make this first download to the new unit absolutely count.
And that’s when I emailed James with my dilemma. What should I do? Suddenly 1GB seemed small. I mean, my music collection is rather… extensive. Should I try to make a mix (and leave so many countless awesome songs out)? Even just my favourite must-have tracks would be more than 1GB, by far! Or what about having it be only albums – Canadian artists only, or my favourites of all-time, or just classic punk records, or… etc etc. Hell, I could fill 1GB with, for example, just the Rollins Band! Whatever is a guy to do?
Of course, James was eminently sensible and talked me down (mostly) from my panic. He reminded me that it’s completely easy to replace music on these things, so I could just put on what I wanted and when I get tired of it, change it. Of course.
Well, I’ve dithered for these past two weeks since Christmas, and it was only today that I’ve finally made my decision. I feel absolutely great about it, because these are songs that fill me with so much happiness and joy, not to mention how they get my brain firing on all cylinders. So the player’s now full to the brim with awesomeness.
And what did I choose, out of all of my zillions of options? Well Dear KMA Readers, think about it for a moment… What could you believe, without a doubt, would be my ultimate choice?
Guided By Voices. 453 tracks of it. Wahoooooooo!!
It’s all of their main albums, from Forever Since Breakfast through to Half Smiles Of The Decomposed. And there’s also every EP and single I own (which is most of them). And there was space, after all that, for last year’s Live From Austin, TX set too. Kick Ass!
Now, this means I had to leave off the huge stack of side-projects and Fading Captain stuff, and both Suitcase box sets, and some of the Hardcore UFOs box set, as well as all of his solo stuff pre-and-post GBV, and a couple of other live recordings, but still. Imagine my glee!
And so now you’re asking what was the first song I heard when I plugged in the headphones, set the player to random (by choice, this time) and pressed Play? What will be the song that I remember (for all time, because I am obsessive) as the first track to come through the headphones of this new little player?
Weed King, from the venerable 1992 album Propeller. Yummy!
And so, in the (newer to me) tradition of James’ naming all of his electronic gadgets, I hereby name my new MP3 player Weed King. All Hail the Weed King! Long may he reign o’er us.
And “Long live Rockathon,”* indeed!
*That’s a line from the song, in case you missed the reference. It’s OK. It happens.
List Of Stuff Included:
NB Obsessive fans will notice a lot of gaps in the following list. These gaps are because either A) I haven’t yet found the missing pieces for my own collection, or B) what’s missing is on vinyl only (so far) and therefore not in MP3 in my collection. Yet. And even at that there was 1GB of stuff under the GBV name! Brilliant.
From 1995’s Box:
Devil Between My Toes
Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia
Same Place The Fly Got Smashed
King Shit And The Golden Boys
Vampire On Titus
Under The Bushes Under The Stars
Do The Collapse
Universal Truths And Cycles
Half Smiles Of The Decomposed
Forever Since Breakfast
The Grand Hour
Get Out Of My Stations
Fast Japanese Spin Cycle
Clown Prince Of The Menthol Trailer
I Am A Scientist
Sunfish Holy Breakfast
Hold On Hope (both the US and UK versions)
The Pipe Dreams Of Instant Prince Whippet
The Official Ironmen Rally Song
I Am A Tree
Everywhere With Helicopter
Back To The Lake
The Best Of Jill Hives
Hardcore UFOs Disc 2 – Demons and Painkillers: Matador Out Of Print Singles, B-Sides and Compilation Tracks
Hardcore UFOs Disc 3 – Delicious Pie & Thank You For Calling: Previously Unreleased Songs and Recordings
Live From Austin, TX (Austin City Limits, 2007)