Nothing says “I want to dance with you in zero gravity” like a homemade box set.

I recently made a “JohnnyBox” for a friend.

While it isn’t anywhere near being a complete collection, there are somewhere in the neighbourhood of twenty-five CDs in there, many without cases or proper cover art, which led to some fun when coming up with CD designs that allowed me to relay all of the pertinent information on the discs themselves. It also smells nice inside.

Because of the work involved, I rarely do this. But every once in a while it’s fun to put a thing like this together. There’s even a little ID tag on the bottom, in case the box ever tries to escape from its owner and ends up in the wrong hands. I’d decorate the outer shell, but I would just end up defiling it without intending to, and I kind of like the way it looks as-is.

And now for the main event. If you’ve been longing for a bloated collection of music that touches on some of my invisible adventures as a musical fish over the past almost-decade, you’re in luck, because the long-in-development OUT-TAKES, MISFITS & OTHER THINGS compilation is just about finished. My sequencing ideas seem to be working well enough, the first and third discs are in finished form, and all that’s left to do is finish mixing two more songs, hope the sequencing works out for the second disc, and then figure out how to package the thing.

I doubt it’s something that will interest many people. We’re talking about three hours of music and close to seventy songs here, and that’s after being whittled down rather savagely from the insane collection it could have been. Even in scaled-down form, there’s no way it can work as a proper album, and I’m not sure if anyone will have the stamina to listen to the whole thing in one sitting. But it felt like something that needed to be done.

I’m going to try and get it release-ready within the next month or so if I can. The main potential stumbling block is the booklet, which will be pretty thick, what with all the stories behind the songs. Worst case scenario, if no one wants to go to the trouble of making me something suitably hefty in booklet form, I’ll just put all the info up here on the appropriate album page.

I need to write/record some more ukulele-based songs now that I have a uke that doesn’t suffer from poor intonation. I also have an idea for a cover song I’m pretty excited about, though it might be difficult to incorporate into a proper album. Maybe I’ll put it up here if it turns out well enough. I think it’ll be pretty surprising. All I’m going to say about it right now is that it’s a hit from the ’80s that will be altered to the point of being almost unrecognizable, but the soul of it will still be left intact, albeit warped to suit my own purposes.


  1. *perks at mention of a cover* YOU KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD TOTALLY COVER NOW THAT YOU HAVE A UKULELE? Anything by Stephin Merritt. Please. PLEASE.

    (Ok nevermind, I really don’t have any right asking you for a song since you did write and record a song just for me already but… but… you + Stephin Merritt would be too great.)

    That box looks awesome. It actually looks how I imagine Pandora’s box to be. I wonder if that is a sign. :p

  2. Yes! I love those things. First thing I thought when I saw them was, “These would be just about the right size for me to stick a bunch of CDs in them.” I think I explained to one of the people working there that I wasn’t buying them for the candles so much as for the purpose of using them to make a box set of my music, and they looked at me like I was a little bit nuts. The candles are pretty nifty too, though.

  3. Are you serious, man?! Too much of me can be a very bad thing! I’ve seen what happens…heartbreak all around. Or maybe it was heartburn. The memory’s a little hazy.

    This particular DIY box set was kind of random, made for a friend who wanted as much music as I could give her. Some of the things I put in there are pretty old, and strange, and raw, and wouldn’t necessarily make for very pleasant listening from a musical standpoint. I’m not sure how many people would be into what I was doing back when I had a proper band (it was pretty angry, ugly music), and I don’t know if they still sell those candle-boxes at the Green Earth store, though I could check.

    But I’d be happy to give you whatever CDs you might want…is there anything in particular you’d like to hear? I could always just give you a bunch of copies of the 3-CD thing I’m finishing up right now. That’s going to basically be a box set in itself, and it’s sort of like a warped “greatest hits” album, only no one has really heard any of the songs before

  4. I did get the message…thank you for that. It surprises me that what I do would inspire anyone, but as Paul Newman said to Tom Hanks in “Road to Perdition” before being riddled with machine gun bullets, “I’m glad it’s you.”

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