How To Make A Mix Tape For Chuck Klosterman
Let’s say that pop culture essayist Chuck Klosterman just bought a 1986 Oldsmobile. Chuck Klosterman decides he wants to keep the original radio and tape deck instead of putting in something updated. Let’s also say that Chuck Klosterman hates iPods and decides he would rather listen to cassette tapes than mp3s through the radio.
Now let’s say that you and Chuck Klosterman are friends. One night while you, Chuck Klosterman, and some other friends are hanging out, Chuck Klosterman asks each of you to make him a mix tape. You, music snob that you are, want to make Chuck Klosterman the best mix tape of all the tapes he is about to get. Your hope is that, of all the different tapes his friends make him, your mix tape is the one Chuck Klosterman most often wants to play while driving to some rocker’s suicide location or wherever else Chuck likes to drive, and later congratulates you for making him such an amazing mix tape.
So, how do you make a successful mix tape for Chuck Klosterman? After all, this guy most definitely knows more about music than you, and just making a mix of 80’s power ballads might seem cute, but you know you need to do better than that in order to capture the attention of Chuck Klosterman. So, what do you do? Luckily, I am God’s kid, and therefore know everything, and I’ve decided to help you out. So, if you are indeed friends with Chuck Klosterman and he does one day ask you for a mix tape… this is what you need to do in order to make Chuck Klosterman an amazing mix tape.
Track 1: Start Chuck Klosterman out with an attention grabber that becomes a light reoccurring theme
Some might think it would be best to start with something mellow and simple first, then move into something a little louder. They would be wrong. This is Chuck Klosterman you are making a mix for, not some random person you want to make out with. Your mix might only get one chance in his Oldsmobile tape deck, so you need to make these first few minutes count. This intro needs to be something he will want to rewind and listen to again. This intro needs to be something that, when Chuck Klosterman has a friend in his car, he will say to that friend, “I’ve got something on a mix tape that you have got to hear, fuck” (not Jesus cussing, that would be Jesus quoting Chuck Klosterman cussing. Jesus thinks cussing is a sin and Jesus doesn’t sin. Chuck Klosterman is a sinner and by habit, cusses often. Jesus does kinda hold this against him, but only because it’s a sin and Jesus considers sin to be something pretty serious, however not too serious that the death of Jesus doesn’t take care of it, so if Chuck Klosterman asks Me for forgiveness, I’ll hook him up. So back off him and think about your own sins you need forgiven from, sinner). The best example for an intro would be a fun and wild quote or sound byte that Chuck Klosterman would find amusing. If you know how to turn streaming video into mp3 and then format that to cassette, you could lead the tape off with some sound bytes that you cut and pasted together from a Chuck Klosterman interview with Bill Maher found on any of Chuck Klosterman’s book pages on Amazon.com. The interview is awkward and many of the quotes would sound entertaining if taken out of context. You could then intersperse a few of these random quotes throughout the mix tape, making sure the best quote is used to intro the mix tape and the others are interspersed lightly in-between every 5 songs. Another option that would require less work would be to make a Sasquatch themed mix tape, starting with a possible Sasquatch sighting 911 call and then interspersing short audio clippings of possible Sasquatch howls… all of which are easily retrievable by searching “Sasquatch howls and 911 call mp3s” in Google.
Track 2: Hit Chuck Klosterman with a great rock song he might not already know.
This is difficult to do. Chuck Klosterman clearly loves music and spends much of his day thinking and talking about music, so coming up with something he doesn’t know will be difficult. But I never said this mix tape for Chuck Klosterman would be easy. Your best hope here is to try to beat him to the punch. This is where your music blog surfing skills will come into play. Chuck Klosterman simply doesn’t have the time to listen to every single rock and roll song that some random blog thinks is the next Pixies meets Pavement dashed with some Wilco to give it that Americana but still rockin’ feel. This is where you can swoop in and make your move. The blogs started bragging about Gnarles Barkley in December of 2005, and it didn’t start getting heavy radio play until 6 months later. So, you need to troll through the blogs looking for the next Tapes ‘n Tapes via last February and not Tapes n’ Tapes via now. You need a great song by a band only 3 other people in America know about, and you need to make sure this mix gets into his hands before this band has the number 3 most downloaded track on Hype Machine. This song has to be more than just fresh sounding, this song has to be ripe sounding... like so ripe that Rolling Stone labels them a “Band To Watch” in their March 2008 issue. Again, this will be very difficult and few are up to the task of downloading so many mp3s and rummaging through them like a comic geek at a flea market. This song is out there, and if you have the time and courage, you can find it. Only then will Chuck Klosterman enjoy your mix enough to praise it.
Track 3: Hit Chuck Klosterman with a great rock song he might have heard from a band he might know, but hopefully overlooked
This is also quite difficult. Here is where you delve into the back catalog of a band and try to find an overlooked nugget of gold. Perhaps from a B-side, a movie soundtrack throwaway, or an odd “Peace in the Middle East” fundraising compilation… or maybe it’s a song that was on a hugely successful album seemed overshadowed by the rest of the album, this song has to shock Chuck Klosterman in a way that makes him surprised he didn’t know how great this random song is. Even riskier, but with possibly greater pay back, you can attempt to put a song on that Chuck Klosterman might have overlooked by a band he has never really loved. A perfect example would be older R.E.M. Everyone already has an opinion on R.E.M. and Chuck Klosterman is no different, but one is less likely to fast forward a mix tape as it is to skip with a mix CD, so if R.E.M. was on his mix tape, he might give this one song by them one more chance, so make sure to choose wisely. I would suggest a rockier non-single number of theirs from the IRS years, such as “Just A Touch” off of Lifes Rich Pageant or “Life And How To Live It” from Fables Of the Reconstruction. Stay away from bands that are too popular with music snobs, such as Radiohead or Beck, but don’t dig too deep and put on a song from Neutral Milk Hotel that isn’t on Areoplane or Avery Island. I don’t care how great you think “Little Birds” is, it is not worthy of Chuck Klosterman’s time. Finding the right song here is scary, but follow your heart and take a risk… and if you choose wisely, you will still have the attention of Chuck Klosterman.
Track 4: Hit Chuck Klosterman with a not too cheesy novelty song
This track is to recover from any damage your last risky attempt to entertain Chuck Klosterman might have made. Although this sounds like a throwaway song, picking the right novelty song that isn’t too cheesy is not nearly as simple as it sounds. For example, nothing by “Weird” Al or anything already deemed novelty by the Dr. Demento type crowd. Again, you have to dig below the surface of novelty in order to entertain Chuck Klosterman. You know that Chuck Klosterman has a deep love for heavy metal, so you also can’t simply throw on some old Twisted Sister and think it’s cute because that is borderline insulting to Chuck Klosterman. Your best bet here would be to foreign language cover of a song that he already knows. For example, “We’re Not Going To Take It” is not a smart move, but “Nosotros No Lo Tomaremos” would be genius. Another option would be finding great 80’s heavy metal from other countries, such as the hugely popular Asian J Rock force known as X Japan. Chuck Klosterman would absolutely fall in love with the song “Rusty Nail” by X Japan. Also, it is fact and possibly scripture that you can never go wrong by putting a Ween song on a mix tape for novelty purposes. If you did not know this, perhaps you shouldn’t be trying to make an amazing mix for Chuck Klosterman.
Track 5: Hit Chuck Klosterman with a beautiful ballad.
Again, this is not nearly as easy as it sounds. You can not simply throw “When The Children Cry” by White Lion on this mix tape and think you’ve scored a ballad hit with Chuck Klosterman. The 80’s ballads are clichéd and by placing and 80’s ballad on a mix tape for Chuck Klosterman is beyond condescending. However, going the complete opposite and finding a rare gem by Kristin Hersh isn’t going to cover it either. This ballad has to be as non-cheesy as possible, especially since it follows a novelty song. You might not consider Kristin Hersh to be cheesy, but this is Chuck Klosterman we are talking about and if he even thinks she is slightly cheesy, that would make this song following that last novelty song simply too much for Chuck Klosterman to take and he will eject your tape and possibly not even finish the whole 90 minute mix tape that you worked so hard to win him over with. This ballad has to ooze not only cool but a fragile beauty that might cause Chuck Klosterman to get emotional. To do this, you have three options. You can go with a ballad hit that you know Chuck Klosterman has already purchased more than once, but hope it is simply so good that he will like it on there anyway. A lesser hyped Rolling Stones or Beatles song could both work. The second option is to go with a ballad he might not know, but should, such as “10:20AM” by Spoon or “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron And Wine, although that song too is a risk due to its length. The third option which is almost too dangerous to mention would be to pick the perfect ballad from a band Chuck Klosterman most definitely would despise, with the hope that the ballad is so good that it surprises Chuck Klosterman that this song was actually written by the band. This is practically impossible and I only put this on the list to be thorough. For example, if you could find a ballad by Barenaked Ladies or Toad The Wet Sprocket that is so heartbreaking that Chuck Klosterman might actually forgive the song from being performed by the said performer. The bands used in that example do not have actual ballads that would impress Chuck Klosterman, but bands of their caliber would be fascinating to Chuck Klosterman if you could find a ballad that could affect him emotionally.
Track 6 through the end of the mix tape: Repeat the above steps until the 90 minutes are up.
By keeping to the pattern of odd audio to break things up, the cool rock song, the random rock song, the overlooked song, the novelty song, and the ballad, you should be able to entertain Chuck Klosterman with your mix tape, as long as you have the heart, determination, and the gift of picking perfect songs. As Chuck Klosterman would attest, very few have this possibly spiritual gift, and it can be argued that it is not learned but inherited. Many have tried to impress Chuck Klosterman with their music tastes, but few can figure out the Pandora’s box that lies in his rock and roll heart.
You might want to put a personalized finishing touch on the mix tape. Something at the very end of side 2, when all the songs are over. Recording yourself saying a little something directly to Chuck Klosterman would show him that you were in it to win it and you pulled every trick you know in order to keep his attention for 90 minutes. This recorded message from you to Chuck Klosterman should not be too heart felt or serious, just a simple fun shout out, such as “Chuck Klosterman is a Ninja Killa!” or “Hey Chuck Klosterman, Deez Nuts!” This playful ending will make Chuck Klosterman smile, like a nice dessert after a meal. And in regards to mix tape cassette case art, stay away! Chuck Klosterman would be wierded out if he could immediately tell by looking at your mix tape that you are really trying hard to impress him.
Somewhere between Kiss and Beyonce lie Billy Joel and Def Leppard, all music that at one time or another has won over the hardened heart of Chuck Klosterman. Steer through those waters if you dare, and with Me by your side, you just might make Chuck Klosterman a mix tape that he will love, but I doubt it. Good luck.
X Japan - Rusty Nail.mp3
Possible Sasquatch Sighting 911 Call.mp3
Possible Ohio Sasquatch Howl.mp3
Possible Sierra Nevada Sasquatch Howl.mp3
Possible Mississippi Sasquatch Howl.mp3
Special thanks to The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization for sharing all those wonderful possible Sasquatch audio files. Find out more about Sasquatches at their site, www.bfro.net