"From the Desert to the Sea, to All of Southern California." - Jerry Dunphy

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tape Geeks

The ION turntable is a record player that hooks up to your computer USB port so you can transfer your LP’s to a digital format and put them on a your computer, CD or portable music player. You can also run another device through it, such as a tape player and transfer tapes as well. Phone Rat has kindly sent me his ION turntable so I can transfer my personal tape archive and maybe my promotional copy of Bob Seger's album "Back in '72".

My personal collection consists of tapes of family, friends, our band, and other various people and events. I may also copy a few tapes I made off the radio over the years. Us tape geeks used to sit at our desk with our radio and tape recorder and try to catch a song we couldn't get out of our head. I remember sitting at my desk on Haskell Ave. for hours trying to catch a clean copy “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors. I finally nailed it, minimal DJ interruption aside.

During the early 1980’s I would tape such things as Roy of Hollywood from KPFK, who from the Midnight hour on played tapes of Alan Watts, Mae Brussell, Dave Emory and a whole host of alternative programs. I also taped Bill Jenkins of KABC 790 AM who used to have a weekly paranormal show called "Open Mind" that was a precursor to shows such as "Coast to Coast AM " with Art Bell and George Noory. Late at night I would catch Ray Briem of KABC in the middle of a rant about politics or how much he hated electrified musical instruments. Other nights I taped the world with my Tandy recorder and Radio Shack (Sangean) DX-440 shortwave radio.

I have uploaded a few clips from my collection and of Phone Rat’s to the vannuysbbomers audio blog. It includes air checks from Phone Rat using his Pioneer RT 707, and a few snippets of comedy (Or not) skits we used to produce back in the 1970’s. While in retrospect these are silly, they were great fun for the Three Rats to make. We taped spoofs of TV shows and popular TV and radio commercials of the day. In 1975 Phone Rat and I visited Radio Rat when he lived in Phoenix Arizona. When we got back home we produced a tape to send back to him which included comedy bits and messages from many of our pals. When Radio Rat and I worked at Builders Emporium we made a spoof tape for a party we were having, of TV Shows we’d like to see with co-workers as the stars. I recently listened to it and had forgotten so many names.

Phone Rat’s main rig back in the 1970’s was a Teac 4300 reel to reel recorder which he used to record air checks and music. I started with a modest Panasonic stereo cassette deck I bought on layaway from Butler Brothers in Van Nuys where I worked. I later upgraded to a solid Pioneer cassette deck which I wore out. My portable recorders began with a cheap Electrophonic mono recorder bought at Hy-Lo Drugstore on Sepulveda Blvd in Van Nuys. When I wore it out I switched to numerous Tandy models. When I was in Junior High our neighbor Lucille gave me a portable reel to reel recorder. Unfortunately I no longer have it, or the tapes I made with it.

When I attended Los Angeles Valley College I had a modern art class for which I had to turn in a semester project. The class and the teacher were a bit silly. So I decided to forgo paint brush and pencil and make an audio piece of "art". One day I taped a microphone to my rear bumper and drove through the Hollywood Hills capturing every gear change and tire squeal. I then took the tape home and mixed the tape with Richard Nixon's Inaugural address and the song "One" by Three Dog Night. Ridiculous you say, well I got a "B" on the project.

During the 1970’s I made numerous trips to my hometown of Cleveland Ohio to visits my Mom’s family. I always brought my portable cassette recorder. Sometimes I would be sneaky with it but most times I would set it on the table and try to draw people out. Sometimes it was a conversation and other times a party. These tapes are priceless now that so many family members are now gone. Some family members, such as my Uncle Ed got into the tape thing and made tapes for me. We got silly and created fictional characters (Spies) for ourselves and we sent tapes back and forth across country.

So thanks to Radio Shack, Sandy’s Electronics, Electronic City, Cal Stereo and all the stores we haunted looking for electronics, stereos and tape stuff. May the big reel keep on turning.

P.S. Happy Birthday Radio Rat, you caught up to me.

2 comments:

Radio-soon Baseball Rat said...

thanks for the happy birthday....it was a quiet one..but then again so am I. i still have somewhere in my garage original R tp R's of the music formats we used to run on the first few stations i was associated with. i need to get my hands on a R to R and see what is on them...most likely oldies music...going to the audio blog to check on how silly we were...thanks!

Guitar Rat said...

I remember years ago going to your station and walking away with an arm full of 15" reels with music on them. unfortunately I no longer have them. I do have an LP set of some syndicated Love Song program you gave me. I actually came across it the other day. I'll bring it upstairs and see whats on it. I do know a "Rat" with a reel to reel player. Get out the tapes before you become Mr. Baseball!