Sopa Box

There have been a lot of posts about SOPA and PIPA.  There are lots of blogs, etc. with information about what it is, links to the bills themselves, etc.  I am only going to comment on a part of this…

This is one of the first tapes I ever owned (see images below).  I grew up listening to music from as far back as I can remember.  The first Led Zeppelin song I remember as a “very” little kid was “Immigrant Song”.  First Pink Floyd song was “One Of These Days”, first Fleetwood Mac song was “Oh Well”, first Deep Purple song: “I’m So Glad”.  My dad would buy albums and immediately record them to Reel-to-Reel.  I grew up listening to “albums” and a select few “mix tapes” my dad would record on to Reel-to-Reel.  Living in Europe for 10+ years, we didn’t exactly watch very much TV.  What we did do though was listen to a lot of music and AFN (Armed Forces Radio Network) in the mornings as dad got ready for work and we got ready for school.  I grew up primarily listening to Rock music.

When we first got back to the U.S. in early 1980, I remember going to the record store with my dad, remember seeing “Off The Wall” and “The Wall”.  Also remember seeing music videos for the very first time on HBO’s Video Jukebox.  “The Winner Takes It All” by Abba and “Rapture” by Blondie, “Cars” by Gary Numan and “Whip It” by Devo were the first videos I remember seeing.  It was in 6th grade music class that we sang karaoke to popular songs of the day.  I particularly remember Barbara Streisand’s “Woman In Love”, Stephanie Mills’s “Never Knew Love Like This Before”, Christopher Cross’s “Sailing”, Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” and “A One In A Million You” by Larry Graham.  Kevin Grogan would lead us on the bus in “We Will Rock You” chants as we all stomped feet and clapped.  It was so loud when we did that.  My first exposure to real “pop” radio type stuff.

Living in Italy ’81 to ’84, we were hardly ever home, always at Carney Park, playing outside or going on weekend trips.  We still listened to music, not quite as much.  Radio was basically recording songs off Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown on Saturday mornings.  The first tape I ever owned was Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” on side A with Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” on side B.  Billy Joel’s “Nylon Curtain” side A, Paul McCartney’s “Tug Of War” on side B.  I also had Supertramp’s “Breakfast In America” on side A with “Flashdance” on side B the Fall of my Freshman year I had recorded to go with my Sony Walkman that I bought off of Robin Lehr for my away Cross Country Meet trips.  Which brings me to this tape.  I recorded 1984 off of Casey Britain via crappy microphone!  It sounded horrible, but I had it, and I played it over and over again.  Got VH I, II and Diver Down from John D’Vonzo.  I used to “borrow” for days at a time, Shane Terracio’s “Caress Of Steel” and “A Farewell To Kings” tapes.

When I got back to the U.S. in late ’84, I listened to a “lot” of pop radio and UK basketball while I would do homework late nights.  After moving onto post in the summer of ’85 to Fort Knox, I met Richard Doan, who was a classic rock freak and huge Rush fan.  He turned me on to WQMF radio in Louisville (which Candi next door said it stood for “Queer Mo Fo’s”).  Late at night, they would play albums in their entirety.  The Kinks Live (don’t remember where) and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” were some of the first crappy sounding recordings I recorded off the radio.  So at that point, I was really into what pop radio had to offer rather than the diversity of albums that my dad had bought in the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s.

Fast forward to college, which for me was the crappiest time in music.  We either had the choice of Hair Metal ballads, Garth Brooks country rock or “college” radio.  I got so sick of R.E.M. and U2.  So sick of it, I used to mock them with my own “Losing My Erection” and “Shiny Happy Penis” versions of their songs.  From about ’89 to ’91 music just downright sucked for me.  Luckily for me, Nirvana was discovered and that changed everything for about the next 10 years. I bought quite a handful of tapes from the CBS  Club while in college of classic rock bands, etc. that I had been wanting to find, including 1984.

The first Compact Disc I ever bought was AC/DC’s “The Razor’s Edge”.  I didn’t even own a CD player yet, but I recorded it onto tape the first chance I got.  The next one I bought was Concrete Blonde’s “Bloodletting”.  My CD collection over the last 22 years has since grown to nearly 1400 CDs and 450 LPs (half of which I inherited from my dad).

Getting to a point, when I was in high school, I didn’t “buy” much music.  I bought Rush’s “Exit Stage Left” and The Cars “Heartbeat City”, got Tears For Fears “Songs From The Big Chair” for my birthday.  The rest I recorded off the radio or recorded off my friends.  That’s what we all did.  These days, kids have a lot more music resources that I had in the form of the internet.  To me, the internet is kinda like the old radio days growing up.  You find something you like, you record it, play it to death until you’re sick of it.  Music that really stuck out, or really defined a period of time in my life, I did in fact buy eventually.  If anything, I see the internet as damn near a free marketing tool for bands to gain exposure and to, hopefully in turn, spur some sales of their music.

Nowadays, I don’t ever listen to the radio, but I do catch Spotify, You Tube, various Band Facebook pages, etc.  I have discovered more music in the last 5 years that I would have NEVER discovered had we only had access to “radio” airplay.  There is a ton of music out there.  With the increasing online piracy, etc. the RIAA cites “millions” of dollars of lost revenue.  I don’t know if I entirely agree with this, but I do believe that (among other things) that has caused a dramatic increase in prices of concerts.  Matter of fact, so high, that I skipped seeing Rush for the first time in 23 years last summer.  It’s as if in the past, bands would release an album, then tour in support of the album to market themselves and generate sales of their albums.  Nowadays, it seems that a band has to release music for next to nothing to market themselves and then make money by touring itself, hence higher ticket prices (along with ticketing agencies making a killing).

I do have to say, if you do like a band, buy their music.  And if at all possible, try to buy it directly from them.  Buy their merchandise, support them, go to their shows, help spread your interest about the band to other people.  Help artists use the internet to gain exposure.

Just remember the next time (if) you download music illegally, just because there’s no one there to patrol you, it’s still shoplifting.  Downloading without paying isn’t “Free”.  If you feel like you like a group/artist but feel justified in not paying for it, at least listen to it via Spotify or some other revenue generating type of service in which the artist(s) will at least get paid something.  A LOT of GREAT bands are out there trying to make a living and trying to bring their music to you.  Artists make the world go around.  Artists take you to another world from whatever crappy world you were in before you took the chance to listen or took the time to go see them perform live.  These artists are models for null inhibition and unrestricted expression that most people can’t do.  It is a gift, a gift to you.  Show some appreciation.

If music means as much to you as it does to me, you’ll support the artists in which you listen.  Go to their shows, walk away with the feeling of “Holy Sh*t!”

As far as SOPA/PIPA go, there are already measures in place, though not perfect, that don’t give the U.S. Government absolute power that can be exploited and abused.

Van Halen 1984 Tape Case Front

Van Halen 1984 Tape Case

Van Halen 1984 Cassette

Van Halen 1984 Cassette


About dutterman

Live and work in Terre Haute. Married to Mariah who I met my sophomore year at Rose-Hulman in 1988. We have two children Kourtney 17 and Austin 13. I've been a competitive runner since 1982.
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