Maxell Tapes are, and were, a huge part of my life. To be specific, Maxell 90 minute cassette tapes. I have over 900 of them.
They were amassed over a 15 year period of time, and I probably have not added to the collection in 6 years.
My "hobby" involved with the collecting of the Maxell's, no longer exists, as the whole "enchilada of my hobby went online...and based on online streaming as well as CD burning."
The one constant of being a Grateful Dead fan was the interaction of trading tapes, trading amongst fans. There was no internet yet.
You would meet someone in your circles, (through a friend, at a social event) and one of 2 things would happen.
* a list a few pages long would be produced from the persons back pocket ( a list of their entire collection, single spaced with source taped from, generation, as well as equipment used to record the concert, and ratings -- kinda like a wine collection with ratings by the holder)
* stories exchanged, along with mailing addresses
This interaction would foster SOCIAL BONDS. Not to mention, great tapes could be traded amongst fans.
But, each tape had a story of how you acquired it, and more importantly YOU COULD PICK HIGH QUALITY RECORDED SHOWS.
But, you know what?
More often than not, it was the "average, or less than average, recording quality shows" - that for some reason got more attention from my cassette player.
I liked hearing a little crowd noise, I liked hearing a loud roar during "China Rider" or a little sing along from the back of the taper section during a stellar "Tennessee Jed" -- one line in particuliar signified a Dead show, and encompassed the parking lot scene, (for those of us who frequently got on the road, a overnight stay in the parking lot of the arena, or a local lot near the venue) -- this line needed good crowd energy...and no matter what, was the barometer to measure good crowd interaction.
"Drink all day gonna rock all night
The law come to get you if you don't walk right"
The main point is, I was DRAWN TO LESS quality tapes and shows --- and more to INFERIOR sounding cassettes, and shows to hear the ZEITGEIST -- and the SPIRIT of the unspoken moment.
I gave up sound quality, for FEELING.
The internet at large gives us more, more quality -- more experience at acquiring ...but AT WHAT PRICE?
None, to little interaction.
Kids today who are Deadheads, have never traded music. Kids in college can download literally hundreds of shows from servers in a weekend, and have a HUGE COLLECTION of shows -- AND CALL THEMSELVES COLLECTORS.
It's just a different medium, in a different age.
I hate to say I yearn for the old days, (old days, being pre-web for a Deadhead tape collector) but, I do.
The bonds, the acquaintances I made, the stories of each and every tape acquired -- "from a guy in Pittsburgh we met at a rest stop..." to the "Older couple at Shoreline Ampitheater who sent me stickers with each show I wanted..." -- to the guy on the Indian reservation at Compton Terrace in Arizona, that not only fixed my broken down car -- but gave me his list of tapes, and SENT ME 20 killer shows - expecting nothing in return..."
To today.....just go click on a link - and download the show to your computer.
It's "High Time" to bust out the Maxell's......and thank them for all they have given me, even though they are "old school."
I will let those old tapes tell a story - with each dusty opening of the hard plastic covering.
AAhhh, simplier times -- did I tell you I miss Jerry?