- Looking at the Sun – Matthew Sweet
- Monday – Wilco
- Heavenly – Harry Connick, Jr.
- El Scorcho – Weezer
- Mellie’s Comin’ Over – Letters to Cleo
- Tree – Sebadoh
- Pulling Teeth – Green Day
- What’s the Matter, Baby? – Indigo Swing
- Can’t Hardly Wait – The Replacements
- Five State Drive – Less Than Jake
- Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley
- Crowns – Money Mark
- Seed – Sublime
- Sink to the Bottom – Fountains of Wayne
- Echo – Kristin Hersh
- You Mama You – Jude
- My Girlfriend’s Shower Sucks – Goldfinger
- One Sweet World – Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
- Cannonball – The Breeders
- Naturally – Huey Lewis and the News
- You Make Me Feel Like a Whore – Everclear
- Eye Know – De La Soul
- Lullabye – Ben Folds Five
- Super Rad! – The Aquabats
- Honey White – Morphine
- Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town – Pearl Jam
- Queue – Sean Lennon
- Rachel – Buffalo Tom
- Devil’s Haircut – Beck
- Waste – Phish
- So Far I Have Not Found the Science – Soul Coughing
- Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
THE LINER NOTES:
Tell a child that they cannot have the ball, the child will want the ball.
Tell a 24-year-old he cannot kiss the girl, the 24-year-old will be totally fine with it. Totally. Fine. Whatever you say. I’m cool. Totally cool. Yes.
Jason didn’t lay out many restrictions for our cross-country independent film production, but “not making out with any of his friends” was one of them. It was a reasonable request. We had a limited amount of time to film every sequence he had mapped out, so there was little room for such shenanigans. We accepted his terms. And thus began the month that changed my life. At the beginning of May, 1999, I was arriving in Los Angeles to film ROAD TRIP. Not this ROAD TRIP. Our ROAD TRIP. And by “our” ROAD TRIP, I mean Jason’s ROAD TRIP. The idea started while we were all living in Los Angeles– all of us recently graduated and believing everything was possible. And while I deserted and returned to Boston, Jason was writing and plotting. And his enthusiasm has always been contagious. Soon enough, there was a script, money, equipment, crew and cast ready to make a movie. I would be playing Bob, the lovable best friend to Steve and Bill, played respectively by Steve and Bill. In the movie, Steve gets dumped by his girlfriend and the three friends decide to blow out of Los Angeles on a cross-country trip to their friend’s wedding in Boston.
We filmed hard and fast in L.A., borrowing houses and apartments and office spaces. And if you weren’t on camera, you were holding a mic or arranging a set. We built green screens in the middle of a park. We duct taped lighting to car interiors. Everything was DIY and everything was awesome. We were only shooting in Los Angeles for about a week (probably less than), but it felt like we had filmed the entire movie in that time. But we hadn’t. There was so much more ahead of us, including a weeklong drive to Massachusetts.
This leg of the journey started with only five of us– Jason, Bill, Steve, me and our one-man crew/cameraman Brian. We camped and filmed at Joshua Tree. We stopped and filmed at the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing experience with some amazing friends. Jason kept us moving on schedule, and we soon found ourselves pit-stopped in a small town where an extension of Bill’s family lived. This gave me my first and last chance to reach out to Melissa. I don’t remember what we talked about during the call, except to tell her what we had done so far. It wasn’t a long call. It was a check in I needed to make if we were going to continue the rekindling of our on-again/off-again long-distance relationship. There were some long, straight, laughter-filled highways to drive next, including a “we-probably-just-missed-getting-killed-by-a-tornado” night in Oklahoma. And then, somewhere south of Chicago, our all-male filmmaking experience needed to pick up two more members– Andria and Kirsten.
They were both childhood friends of Jason, and they had always been a part of his earlier creative endeavors. That tradition would be carried on here and he was excited to be growing the crew by two. Now, I don’t remember exactly when Jason laid out the ground rules for Andria and Kirsten joining us, but he made it very clear there was to be no hanky-panky of any sort. (Though I’m quite sure he didn’t actually use the term “hanky-panky.”) No flirting, no hooking up. Hands off, boys. Whether he wanted to avoid drama during the production, or that he had some sort of romantic history with these women was unclear, but as we detoured to rendezvous, he reminded us again to not get involved with either of them in that way. And we were totally fine with that. Totally. Fine.
And then we met Andria and Kirsten.
THAT’S GREAT, BUT HOW’S THE MIX?:
This is a great mix. I might have the date wrong, but it’s a great mix. And it opens with an artist you don’t hear about much these days: Matthew Sweet.
I forgot how much I love Matthew Sweet’s debut. This particular mix pulls from the usual slate of bands I had in my collection at the time, but with an emphasis on tracks less used. So that’s why we have “Looking At the Sun” instead of “Girlfriend.” And later, instead of “Alive” or “Daughter,” there’s “Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town.”
Super Rad! is a veritable who’s who of my mid-’90s college years, with highlights from Morphine, the Breeders, Everclear, Green Day, Weezer and my favorite girl-fronted band of the era: Letters to Cleo.
And of course, there’s the title track. This is the only mix (I think, as I’m scanning through the upcoming cassettes) that uses an included song as the title of the tape. If I’m remembering correctly, and I’m sure I am, I found the cover picture while the song was playing and this chef was, indeed, super rad.
This mix also provides redemption for having had to listen to Dave Matthews’ cover of “All Along the Watchtower” on the last mix over and over and over again. Here I included his Live at Luther College version of “One Sweet World.” It wasn’t a conscience course correction at the time, but I apparently knew my future self would need the DMB palate cleanser.
PLEASED TO MEET YOU:
I heard Jude for the first time on WBCN in Boston. Yes, there were in fact times I wasn’t listening solely to one of these tapes. And when I wasn’t, I was listening to WBCN. The song I heard was “Rick James.” It was fun and funny, mixing acoustic guitars, a funky bass and some power falsetto. I probably picked up the album at Newbury Comics for $6.99. “You Mama You” was the song off the album that grabbed me more.
WAIT. WHAT? WHY?:
Honestly, there’s not really any track here that comes off as a misstep or mistake to me. The only two that might seem out of place to anyone beside me are the a cappella songs “Heavenly” and “Naturally,” by Harry Connick Jr and Huey Lewis and the News, respectively. But if you’re me, these are just right. And I even kept them symmetrical by giving them the same placement on either side. I couldn’t tell you which of these I like more, so I’ll share here the one I liked first.
THE SUPER ULTRA MEGA SONG:
I thought picking the best song off of this mix would be a difficult choice. There are a lot of good tracks on here from my favorite bands at this time. One great song would end, and I felt my choice was made… until the next great track started. I thought it was going to be a difficult choice. And then “El Scorcho” played.
Now play the “slightly out of order” Spotify playlist: