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A.J. Glaub is the social media and events coordinator for Elderly Instruments, but he is also a local rad dad and somewhat infamous Lansing-based musician and Eastside noise maker. He talked with City Pulse about a rusty-but-trusty piece of music equipment that’s been with him for years.
My favorite thing is a Realistic Stereo Mixing Console from the ’80s. A dear friend stuck it in my hands in 2004, suggesting I would know what to do with it. I was 20, I’m 35 and a half now.
Back in 2004, I was recently introduced to “internal feedback.” For the uninitiated, this is similar to when a microphone creates feedback, but inside the hardware and much more bonkers, diverse, strange and interesting. It’s like a harsh sine wave that’s all brittle timbre and/or blasting crunch with no chromatic control. You can try it at home, just plug an output into an input. This particular mixer responds in the most dynamic and exciting way.
It’s in rough shape. It was already pretty corroded when I received it. All the knobs are dented and broken from years of zero respect, from which it eternally rebounds. If you look at the bottom right corner, that dent is from throwing it across Mac’s.
I’d become obsessed with the most abrasive, inside-out, broken and free music equipment I could possibly find. I soon met like-minded friends on Lansing’s Eastside. We discovered the mixers sounded better when you poured beer into them. It’s exploded in sparks on stage at Mac’s Bar, right before I threw it across the bar. I once performed in a flooded basement, tingling with electric current from the exposed electrical cable the entire time. It’s had moods, eras, multiple lives and always gives me something new and exciting when I push it to create. The fuzzy lettering on it says “77 Han,” a nonsense naming of the device. The cartoon character is a stupefied Porky the Pig, or something similar.
This item holds extremely deep sentimental value to me. As I said, this was a gift from a very close friend who had a traumatic brain injury and was unable to remember me afterwards. I hold on to the memory of our friendship very closely.
These memories speak to a more disordered time of my life. While my current favorite things are healthy living and my relationship with my daughter, this item represents the “me” most people probably know or remember. It allows me to re-identify in a positive way.
I still make plenty of crazy noise, but now I’m a “scene elder”, and it’s important for me to be a good example and show that endless inspiration and self-care go hand in hand.
(This was edited and condensed by Rich Tupica. If you have suggestions for Favorite Things, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.)