I honestly can’t believe I have been carrying a boombox around on my shoulder for 10 years. I am always honored and humbled by the overwhelmingly positive responses from people that I meet. I never mind stopping and chatting for a minute and answering questions about why I have done what I have done for so long now. Though there have been some rough times through out the years, I would have never changed a minute of it.
On this momentous occasion I would like to announce that starting today every Friday (hopefully) for this rest of this year I will be updating this blog. I will share stories from the past, present, and even some of my future plans, so stay tuned because there are many big events happening this year!
I felt it was appropriate start by to going all the way back and tell you all the story of how the Boombox Guy came to be. It was the Spring semester of 2004, and it was the second semester of my freshmen year. I was a young, trouble-maker who caused problems with my RA’s, played video games instead of doing my work, and also looked very different.
Those honey combs behind me was the signature of one of the most notorious dorms at USC called Douglas, which we affectionately referred to as “The Dirty D”. It was room 605, a corner room, and I lived with my best friend Charles. Beside us was my other friend Elliot, and Chris lived a floor below us. Also I wouldn’t recommend looking for that dorm anymore, since it doesn’t exist.
One day Elliot burst into Charles and I’s room, like he usually did, but this time he had an old boombox with him. He thought it would be a hilarious idea to make mixed tapes and carry it around campus to annoy people. The problem was he didn’t know how to make mix tapes from CD’s or from Mp3’s. He thought the only way was to go flea markets to find old cassette tapes and hope they worked. Also the fact we had to duct tape the batteries into the back of it didn’t help out either.
I had some prior knowledge of mixing music, since I use to make movies in high school, so I told him to let me mess with it and see if we could make our own mix tapes. Sure enough I figured out the correct levels and the proper set up to take songs that I had on my computer and record to tapes using the boombox. It was a long process that had to be done days in advanced, but at least it worked.
On one early Spring morning, me and Elliot set out to do our first run carrying the boombox. We decided to always travel together as, we sort of figured we would get a less than warm reception. Eh… Let me be honest, I figured we were going to get our butts kicked, so at least we sort of had numbers. The first run was short, as it was only from the Dirty D to the Russell House (which is our student union at USC). Out of the entire mix there were only 3 songs I distinctly remember from that mix. They were:
Stomp to my beat by JS16 (Yes I’m a Dance Dance Revolution nerd)
Super Rad by the Aquabats
I Ran (So Far Away) by Flock of Seagulls (Just in case we had to run!)
Much to our disbelieve we received an incredibly positive reaction! We decided to keep doing it, but there was no way we were going to be able to keep this up every day. It took so long to come up with new ideas for mix tapes, and then create them. We decided that we were only going to carry the boombox on Friday’s. This way it would give us enough time to make the tapes, but also so we wouldn’t wear out the joke. From then on this was the tradition. “Only on Friday’s”, was our slogan.
Elliot carried the box for the most part, while I did the mixing. We traded off who carried it from time to time to change it up, and had some crazy adventures. A few times we were threatened by USCPD. Many administrators and professors hated us and we were cursed out a few times. Once we were chased down by a group of angry students. Another time we were banned from the Russell house for “inciting a riot”. Occasionally we would bust in to parties a la the Kool Aid man. Then there were sometimes we were actually invited to crazy parties. It was a blur.
We carried the boombox consistently until the end of our freshman year. At the end of the semester we had a party called, “The Weekend of Sin” (which actually lasted an entire week). I remember the last day walking to my English 101 class with the entire crew with boombox in-tow. It sort of funny after the fact because I had fill out an evaluation in not the greatest mental condition… Yeah we’ll go with that. On that final day I remember all of us walking to Capstone, since that’s where we were going to be starting Fall of 2004. Well… Not everyone. Many of my friends ended up not coming back to USC after freshman year, and this was due to either academic reasons, being caught up in drugs, or for personal reasons. Elliot was one of them. He realized that mechanical engineering was not for him, so he decided to go elsewhere to pursue something different. It was sad for the fellowship to break, but we all had to carry on. Now I had a tough decision at the end of that year. Was I going to let the boombox tradition fade away, or would I carry it solo from now own?…
I suppose you already know the answer to that question, but I will tell that story later in more detail. From then on I have been the boombox guy, who has went on to cause trouble and mayhem, while also giving back whenever I can. A mix between an academic, and a mad performer, who no matter what always tries to bring a smile to people’s faces.
I imagine many of you are wondering what is Elliot doing now. When I started writing this I was unsure as well, so using the power of the interwebs I looked up his phone number, and had a chat with him. Turns out he’s doing well, and as crazy as ever. Don’t ever change man.
Mostly, I talked about Elliot and I, but to be fair the start of Boombox Guy was really a team effort. Charles, Chris, Ivan, Ben, and Daniel were integral parts of it’s formation, and I thank them too for all of the opportunities this has brought me.
No I was not the original, modern boombox guy, and it was not my idea. However, I helped create it happen, I was an integral part from the beginning, and eventually I made it my own. I will readily admit that I don’t create, but I do innovate.
Until the next post!