For years and years I have coasted by on sarcasm, offhanded putdowns, scorching retorts. And it's hard not to do that, especially when, say, you're in a college-radio context: torrents of lousy promo CD's flooding past you whenever you open the door, smarmy promotional types trying to oil the hinges of your heart with their feckless attempts at charm or bribery, the volume is just so huge that you need some sort of defense mechanism to keep the devils out of your little shrine to love, your little heart, the Raincoats records that you play on overcast days instead of listening to the fifty stacks of CD's with holes punched in their barcodes and little hope encoded in their shiny grooves; you need to shut it out.
And you shut it out, dismissive hand gestures, contempt. Conversations solely about bands you've never heard, or that you heard once upon a time back in high school, and there you are, explaining why they are unworthy.
But now I have decided: I am a lover, not a hater. Why did I start listening to music? I can't remember a time when there wasn't music in my life. I had a Disco Duck record, not even a real Disco Duck record. The back cover had a comic with the phrase: "But these aren't love beads... they're PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES!" It was trash, but it was good to put on the Fisher-Price record player. It was good to listen to my dad's Fifth Dimension record. It was good to listen to Sting when I got to junior high; even his most pompous moments were valid soundtracks for otherwise grueling junior high school experiences. You won't find me espousing the virtues of any of these groups today, but at the same time I will not dismiss them; they were important to me.
And who is to say that even the most seemingly wack shit is not valid for someone right as we speak? Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is a pretty bad song, risible guitar solo, banal lyrics, but it was good for kids in Iowa who lost their virginity in the back of a Trans Am to it. There is music that is being made today that I don't like: buffoonish rap-metal, slatternly shiny vapid teen pop, rehearsal-intensive math-equation-rock plotted out on graph paper by guys in thrift-store clothing and thick-framed eyeglasses in Portland basements, but the point is: I will pay no mind to it. I will concentrate on what I love. I am a lover, not a hater. I am a lover, not a hater. Repeat over and over until it makes sense.
So now what do we talk about? There are a lot of things. Politics is more important than music; it's way more important to discuss why thousands of people are dying in Afghanistan than it is to endlessly blather about why indie-rock band x is better, purer, more rocking than indie-rock band x-prime. And to act on it, not just talk. Your grandparents are important; if they're still around, give them a call. Love is more important than hate: it's way more important to express your love for Robbie Basho, Jean de Brunhoff's Babar books, the finer points of Indian cuisine, trees that are full of birds, than it is to grouse about how horrible it is that this band recorded their guitars through some cheesy effects box, or how dreadful it is that the sun never shines in Portland in January, or how hip and scenestery and hollow some certain show is.
I am a lover, not a hater. This site and this life will reflect this philosophy. Tape Mountain is all about love. Love is why I don't give any of my releases catalog numbers. Love is why I put things out that have zero sales potential. Love is why my hands smell like bleach and hard 1803 SE Washington #2 water whenever I make covers for Purest Blue Light. Love is gorgeous and love is full of energy and love can overcome low fidelity and shine through it and eely-slink into your secret nook where you are playing your Young Marble Giants record, your Javanese Court Gamelan Vol. II record, with hidden zeal. Tape Mountain will meet you there.