A couple of nights ago I was going through some of my old things and I decided to dig out the old recording that one of the bands I used to be in made. Why I wanted to do this I’m really not sure because to be quite honest, that tape fucking sucks and in the 6 or so years since it’s creation I haven’t ever played it for anybody close to me. Sure others have heard it but remember, there were 3 other people in the band and they for the most part seemed to be far more pleased with this auditory atrocity than I was.
Right from the first time I heard it, and I’m talking about from the mixing stage right through to the finished product, I absolutely hated this thing. It was way too rushed and we didn’t have the time to fix a lot of small mistakes or to do some of the things that we could have done to make things a lot better. Not only that, but my voice sucked back then a lot worse than it does now. Why anybody thought I deserved to sing in a band at that point was beyond me but I was happy to do it and I’d do it again. It’s not even like I was all that horrible, I wasn’t. I was vocally competent, it’s just that I’m miles beyond that point now and thinking back on it I almost feel bad for inflicting that era of my vocal abilities on people.
But ok, now that I’ve gone way off point, I’ll stop rambling about how much I sucked and go back to how much I hated this tape.
I was so ashamed of it that I took the 2 copies of it that I had and pretty much locked them away, never to be heard by anybody. My family, my best friends, girlfriends, none of them have ever heard it. Beyond the few initial listens I took to it, I didn’t listen to it either. I had actually put it pretty far from my mind, only talking about it when the subject of suck ass recordings came up with friends. Then about a month or so ago, all of that changed.
I was having a conversation with a friend who insists constantly that she’s really bad at playing her musical instrument of choice and that I never want to hear her play it because I’d probably laugh at her. I really wanted to hear her play so I thought of the only thing that could possibly be worse than anything she could inflict on me, that old tape. I made sure to tell her of the significance of what I was offering her here, the chance to hear something so bad that I wouldn’t even use it to make fun of myself in public. Something so horrible that I hadn’t even played it for people I love out of fear that they would disown me. I even went so far as to mention that this for me was one of the ultimate signs of trust because I thought enough of her to unhide my shame and share one of my lowest points with her.
She didn’t bite on the offer, but for some reason that didn’t stop me from wanting to hear the tapes again. Were they really as bad as I remembered? Did I really suck that hard? Were the mistakes that the other guys made really that noticeable? I had to hear it again just to make sure, so the other night I dug it out of hiding and prepared for the worst. What ended up happening though was even worse than the worst that I had planned for.
Slowly and carefully I put one of the tapes into the stereo and pressed play. Nothing happened. Thinking I might have had the wrong side, I flipped it over and tried again. Nothing, and then something weird happened, the tape stopped and auto-reversed itself. As somebody with a bit of experience repairing tapes, this profoundly pissed me off because they’re not supposed to do that in the middle of a side.
I took it out and looked at it and my worst fears were confirmed, the tape was pretty much fucked. It would only play for a second or 2 and then stop. I played around with it trying to fix it to no avail before giving up on that one and trying out the other copy I snagged just in case this happened. Much to my shock and surprise, this one did the exact same things, right down to the same side of the reel being messed up in the exact same way.
I’ve never heard of a tape going bad because of under-use, that’s just weird. And why of all the tapes I own did it have to be those 2? It’s not fair. I could even understand if 1 copy went screwy, but both of them? Somebody hates me, and I’d be willing to bet that it’s probably somebody who’s heard that tape.
So now I want to ask some questions of the people reading this.
1. Do any of you know how to repair cassettes and would you be nice enough to give me some tips on how I might be able to fix these things without taking them apart? That’s one aspect of tape repair that I’ve never been all that good at, I usually end up messing things up more than they were in the first place so if I can avoid doing that I’d love to know how.
2. I know that some of the people who read this site know me personally and probably knew me and the other 3 guys in the band back when we made this tape. If I can’t fix either of my copies and any of you folks happen to own one, can I have it, or at least a really good quality dub of it? I’d even pay for shipping if you wanted, I’d just really like to have a functioning copy of the thing, bad as it is. It’s still part of my personal history and lots of people don’t ever get a chance to do something like that so it’s one of those things that I’d really like to get back if possible.
Thanks for reading this thing all the way to the end and if anybody out there can help me, feel free to email me or post a comment.