Having Fun On Stage With Everybody

(Photo taken by me at a 2013 M.I.A. concert at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles.)

Back in 1995 (or thereabouts), I made something—a mixtape? an audio art project? an interstitial supercut? banter-o-rama? Well, I cut together an hour-long cassette tape that was sufficiently its own thing that a quarter-century later, I’m still not sure what to call it. It did have a name, which was Having Fun On Stage With Everybody. It answered the previously unasked question “What would a live concert album sound like with all the songs taken out?”

I dubbed two copies and sent them to my friends Rob Sheffield and Ted Friedman. And I figured that was about the natural size of its audience.

A quarter-century later, here in the year of our internet 2021, I realized that while this project wasn’t for everyone, it was possible that the interested listeners might number in the previously unthinkable double digits, or maybe even triple digits. So I am pleased to share it with you: check it out on Bandcamp, on SoundCloud, or at the Internet Archive. It’s absolutely free at all of those places (and I’ve given it a Creative Commons license: in keeping with its audio-scavenger aesthetic, you’re free to slice it up or use it for your own purposes, so long as it’s not for commercial gain).

The sound quality reflects the limitations of its sources (vinyl to cassette to digital files), just as the material reflects the limitations of my record collection back then. If I was making this today, I’d make different choices (but honestly, I’d probably just tweet about it as a thought experiment rather than spending the time required to make it a reality).

Oh: the title was drawn from the record that inspired me: Elvis Presley’s 1974 album Having Fun with Elvis on Stage.

I believe that this project is a textbook example of fair use, but it won’t shock me if it runs afoul of copyright bots, so if this is something you’re interested in, I suggest you listen to it and/or download it as soon as possible. Enjoy Having Fun On Stage With Everybody!

posted 23 July 2021 in Unpublished and tagged , , . 3 comments

3 Comments on Having Fun On Stage With Everybody

  1. Stephen S. Power Says:

    This is a lot of fun–and I have way too many of these albums–but how in the world does this mix not begin ironically with Ronnie van Zant saying, “What song is it you want to hear?”

  2. Gavin Says:

    Ha! Well, it’s in there, but I wanted to start with band introductions and end with bands saying good night. There’s a whole section about the song they’re about to play, and so RVZ anchors that.

  3. Gina Arnold Says:

    This is so cool! I think there’s a lot to be said about it post Covid, so I posted it to the sound studies caucus site of the ASA and the sounding out blog in case some sound studies scholar wants to dig in. Cheers.

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