Integrity Mix

#900: Integrity Mix Again

[Integrity Mix] was an idea that came from Kevin.  For a while there, he was making a new mix CD every month, made up of the best stuff he was listening to in the last 30 days or so.  The idea was, you’d have a neat chronicle of your most impactful listening experiences.  And a good mix CD in general.  —  From Record Store Tales Part 46:  Integrity Mix


RECORD STORE TALES #900: Integrity Mix Again

In the years before beginning to publish my writings, I poured my musical creative energy into making mix CDs.  I spent hours on them.  I tested them in the car before giving them them “OK”.  I called them “Integrity Mix”, after one of Tom’s favourite words.  Integrity.  Music with integrity, people with integrity…that was Tom’s word.  The concept of the CD originated with Kevin, one of the guys I worked with at the very end of the Record Store.  Kevin and I had a falling out over the way I portrayed the store, but he deserves credit for many things, including these mix CDs.

The idea was simple.  Make a new mix CD every month (or so), made up on songs you were into during that period.

It was a great concept and one which I latched onto with gusto.  I made many, and some months ended up getting double CDs because there was just too much music that needed to be remembered.  Each one had a cover, though some were just simple track listings, some were more elaborate.

It’s fun to put things away and not look at them for a long time.  That’s what happened with these discs.  When I switched gears to writing on a daily basis, I wanted to listen to full albums.  Mix CDs started to collect dust.  I hadn’t looked at my Integrity Mixes for about five years, but noticed them in a corner and thought it might be fun to have a look.

What I discovered was, without even having to play a single track, I could see by much of the artwork just what I was into at that given time.  Here are all the covers I made with some kind of art:

February 2008:  Arrested Development

September-October 2008:  “Bird is the Word” via Family Guy

December 2008-January 2009:  Kenny Vs. Spenny

February-March 2009:  Battlestar Galactica

January 2010:  UFOs

February 2010:  Dedicated to my buddy Chris Thuss who had just left work

June 2011:  Super Troopers

May 2008:  Transformers

The music often reflected the shows I was into.  “All Along the Watchtower” is a key track on the Battlestar Galactica disc.  You can find tracks from movie soundtracks.

Kevin was right about doing that.  Looking back at these discs, the tracklists, and dates, I can clearly remember events from my life.  I don’t have to guess when it was — the discs are all dated.  Brilliant idea Kevin.  I feel bad that we fell out, and I’m sorry that I ever hurt him.  I hope he would have enjoyed that his idea had legs and I kept going with it long after we worked together.  Credit where credit is due!










Part 223: The Bird

Bird bird bird bird is the word

RECORD STORE TALES Part 223:  The Bird

I hated doing bank runs.  Bank runs were required to make sure we had plenty of change in the register.  The denominations we tended to run out of most frequently were $1’s, $2’s, and $5’s.  Because we were buying used CDs (often offering between $1 and $6 per disc) it’s understandable how we could go through a tray full of $5’s in short order.

We’d run out all the time and I was sick and tired of getting in shit for running out of $5 bills.  I started a routine: once a week, we did a massive bank run that would always last us through the weekend and into the Monday.  Then, people complained that we had a lot of change to count in our register – but I never ran out anymore.

I’d call the bank up, and place my change order.  One time over 10 years ago, I brought one of my employees with me to do the change run.  The reasons for this were twofold.  One, I was carrying a lot of money and I liked having another person with me as backup.  Second, it was a good way of showing him how to do the change run for the future.

There’s usually a special “business line” at the bank that lets you cut the crowds.  We went into that line (overhearing a few people sneer, “how come they get to go before me when I’ve been waiting 20 minutes?”).  We got our change fairly quickly, and headed back out.

We got into my car and and began to make our way back to the store.  There were two traffic lanes heading out:  One a left-turn only lane, and one a right-turn or straight lane.  We were going straight, so I stopped at the red light.

We sat at the red light, shooting the shit, talking about music, when we both noticed a persistent honking behind us.  I looked over my shoulder and I saw a lady in a red car behind us yelling, and gesturing wildly.

“Is she honking at us?” I asked Chris, a little confused.

“I think so!” he answered.  “I think she wants to turn right.”

I watched her a bit in my mirror.  I think this only made her more angry, because her movements became even more animated.  I couldn’t make out what she was yelling, but she sure was letting it out.

“This is kind of weird,” I said.  “Nothing I can do about it though…I’m still going straight!”  I don’t think she knew we were both in a straight/right turn lane.  Maybe she had a disorder that rendered her incapable of reading street signs.

“The light’s green…just gun it, I’ll flip her the bird,” Chris said.

She had beaten Chris to the punch though, already waving her left hand in the air, finger up high, yelling and screaming at us as she finally made her right turn.  I was just glad she didn’t follow us to the store, which was right across the street!  People can be really weird about stuff like that these days.  And that’s the story of the weirdest bank run we ever did.