Memories . . .

Originally posted September 13, 2015

So, we’re cleaning up the basement after some 28 years of living in the same old house – a house we moved into in a hurry and where we have been randomly throwing stuff into the basement ever since. In the meantime, I’ve upgraded most of my musical instruments, sold off most of my analogue recording gear, gone from leading bands to performing as solo or duet, led several hundred worship services, gone back to my acoustic/Folk roots as a performer, been laid off from day jobs (in the computer industry) about fourteen times, put three great kids through college, and stayed married. So as I’m sorting through boxes, I keep coming across things that I kept “just in case” that I really don’t think I’ll ever need again.

The biggest collection those things includes patch cords, adapter plugs for changing balanced mic cables to unbalanced and vice versa, for changing 1/4″ plugs to 1/8″ or from 1/8″ to 1/16″ or back again. I have apparently kept two of the six or so home-made balanced Y-chords that I built back in the 1970s when we kept playing places with a “house PA” that didn’t support a monitor mix, so I was splitting out the DI from our stage equipment to a separate mixer I could control on stage. Yes, this sounds crazy, but in those days, neither PA or home recording equipment were standardized, especially inputs and outputs. And we played a lot of 50-1000-seat auditoriums with Bogen PAs (six inputs with their own volume controls, no “sends” or EQ). More than once, we showed up for a gig and discovered the house PA or “snake” had been wired backwards, and if we wanted to use our SM-58s instead of the Radio Shack microphones they had onstage, we had to make our own adapter cables on the fly.

So, some 30 years after I stopped leading bands and some 20-years after I replaced my last 8-channel tape deck with an extensive MIDI and digital recording setup (most of which would be considered “obsolete” today), I still have a bin full of goofy patch chords and adapters, plus a lot of plugs, unwired cables, and soldering irons.

Those were the days.

Plus there was my LP cowbell and the adapter I bought our drummer so he could attach it to his drum stand, spare Roland power supplies since my partners in crime were always mislaying the originals, and countless other thingies that it seemed our lives depended on at one time that, until we started cleaning up the basement, I didn’t even remember I owned. Go figure.

Even the bad memories this collection of odds and ends brought back were good memories, if you know what I mean.

All of which reminds me that if you lived through those good-old-days, you might enjoy taking a look at my memoir pages. They include a memoir about my music avocation, which never quite became a vocation for more than a few months at a time, about the various instruments I’ve become attached to over the years, and even one about my 35+-year technical writing career (in case you wonder how it’s possible to be laid off 14 times in the same industry).

And if these recollections stir up any memories of your own that you’d like to share, you can comment here, and I’ll make it public as soon as I check to make certain you’re not selling Canadian pharmaceuticals or something. 🙂

Have a great day, all,



About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like,, and to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.

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