I have a fond memory of my band driving 2 hours to a gig in the summer of 2007 and listening to NOFX's I Heard They Suck LIVE! album. Except we fast-forwarded through all the songs — we had kind of gotten over NOFX by that point — and just listening to the hilariously vulgar talking parts (which of course, we had all memorized by then).
Those bantering moments are always some of my favorite parts of live performances. And that's why, after a year and a half without live music, I've been enjoying Gavin Edwards' bizarro "mixtape" Having Fun On Stage With Everybody. Edwards, who is also the author of music books such as 'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: And Other Misheard Lyrics and Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton's Little John?: Music's Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, decided to create an audio collage using only the parts of live albums where there's no music. As he explains:
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.
25 years later, Edwards has finally uploaded his Creative Commons "mixtape" to Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and the Internet Archive, where anyone can listen for free and imagine themselves at the concert of their choice (sans music).
Having Fun On Stage With Everybody [Gavin Edwards / Rule Forty-Two]
Image: Public Domain via PxHere