This morning I was listening to Boombox by The Lonely Island, and it made me remember my first boombox and the first music I ever played on it.
When I was around 7 or 8, my parents bought a Commodore 64 for my sister and I. It was pre-floppy disk, we used data cassettes instead. Loading time for the lone game we owned, Pacacuda, (think Pac-Man as a fish) was about 5-7 minutes. Frustrating as a child of the early eighties; the kind of wait time that would have you dousing your console in kerosine today.
When my dad finally folded and bought a disk drive, the 64 assumed its position in my heart as the best computer of all time. At first, just changing the text colour in the word processing program (SpeedScript) was entrancing. Yeah, I’m easily amused. Then came the games.
OMG the games.
Pole Position. Break Dance. Lode Runner. Pac-Mania. Spy vs Spy. Skate or Die. When I got a little older, there was Maniac Mansion, The Summer and Winter Olympics, Dream House, Rags to Riches, and lest we forget: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Dad had a friend named Leroy who pirated games, under the top secret hacker moniker: “Cracked by Leroy.” Leroy had every single Star Wars action figure and play set in his basement, set up in a way that suggested these were not for his kids to fuck around with. This was serious business. He probably had a neckbeard too, I don’t recall.
In 1985, Activision released The Music Studio. This program allowed you to “compose” music by placing large colorful musical notes on a staff. I think there was a more technical way to use the program, but I was 8 years old, and therefore preferred the pretty notes. It also included a bunch of pre- programmed public domain songs for you to listen to. When you selected a tune from the song library, a transcribed version appeared onscreen as it played. So what I’m telling you is that I was making and listening to electronic music way back when most of you chumps were still playing tag.
In 1987, my parents bought me a boombox. I don’t remember any specifics, just that it was the coolest fucking thing I had ever seen. I filled it with double D batteries and carried that bitch around on my shoulder with all the attitude you’d expect from a white, ten year old girl in the suburbs. I took that motherfucker to the beach, and you can bet I only turned it down a little when other people’s parents told me to.
All I had to listen to at that age was the radio and my parents music: The Hopelessly Outdated Rolling Stones and Billy (who IS this guy?) Joel. But I was badass. I managed to record some tracks off The Music Studio. There may have been some kind of archaic sound output, or I may have just held the boombox up to the monitor speaker and pressed the record button. Greensleeves. Air on the G String. And an epic remix of the latter by yours truly, titled Farts on the G String. Next.Level.Shit.
So what I’m telling you is that I was making and listening to electronic music AND blasting it on my boombox, back when you were still in the sandbox, bitches.