Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Cartridge Family

Film & Zine Celebrate the 8-Track
by Tom Warner (City Paper, May 29, 1996)

Russ Forster's "8-Track Mind" zine: shaped like its subject matter

More articles from my back pages, recently scanned in...this one was about Russ Forster's zine 8-Track Mind and documentary film So Wrong They're Right, which celebrate both 8-track players and tapes and the devoted subculture of "Trackers" who covet them. (8-track cultists include members of the band Gumball, who own some 25,000 8-track tapes; their 8-track collection had been previously documented by Chip Rowe in the Washington City Paper and in Rowe's fanzine Chip's Closet Cleaner.) Forster's So Wrong They're Right made its Baltimore debut during a one-night-only screening on June 2, 1996 at Skizz Cyzyk's Mansion Theatre. At the end of my interview with Forster, he cautioned that the 8-track collector's lifestyle is not for everyone - it's for nonconformists who are sick of being told what to hear and how to hear it. "So what if the tape unravels and grinds to a cacaphonous halt in the player?" he asked. "I'd rather feel pain than feel numb." (The numbness came in 2001, when Forster published the final issue of 8-Track Mind.)

A sidebar to the article listed what Forster called "the 8-track Hall of Fame" - the eight 8-track cartridges most coveted by collectors. Metal Machine Music - Lou Reed's record-contract-breaking exercise in dissonant feedback, which was ideally suited for the endless-loop format of the medium - topped the list (as shown below):

Related 8-Track Links:

You can still buy the DVD from Other Cinema:

Watch So Wrong They're Right trailer (YouTube)

Watch "World's Largest 8-Track Collection" (YouTube)

As of 2010, this obsessive collector had amassed 500 8-Track players and 61,837 8-track tapes. Wow.

8-track Heaven (www.8trackheaven.com)
Founded in 1995 by Chip Rowe, Malcolm Riviera and Abigail Lavine (who passed away in 1997)


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