I'm moving from Placentia to Seal Beach next week—my fourth relocation since 2001—and once again, I'm forced to confront a moral quandary: what the hell am I supposed to do with all the CDs that were given to me by hopeful Orange County and Long Beach bands looking for ink back when I was the Weekly's Music Editor?
Should I sell them? No, because that's just not cool on so many, many different levels—these are (or were, in most cases) struggling local bands, not lavishly wealthy major-label acts. (Those major-label-act CDs, I sold years ago—how do you think I was able to take my mom to Ireland for her birthday back in 2000?) Besides, it's not that I'd get a lot for that HB Surround Sound disc (which I'm keeping, anyway…it's not every day that someone writes a song about what a dick you are because you slammed them in a review).
Should I donate them? Possibly, to maybe a library or a thrift store, but I keep envisioning some methed-up singer-songwriter stumbling across the CD he optimistically made 10 years ago – before everything went to hell – at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army shop, flashing back on what his life has become, then suiciding right then and there.
Should I throw them away or drop them off at a reputable plastic recycling company? Well, that just seems like such a waste. It's not like most of these tunes are so wretched that a single listen would give you eardrum cancer (though there IS a lot of that). Surely there are folks out there who'd find some of this music worthy of their attention.
Should I cruelly force them upon Music Editor Dave Segal? No. I like Dave, and want him to keep working here.
Should I try and return them to the bands and musicians from whence they came? Impossible. Addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addys change, and the Weekly can't spring for the postage.
It's not like I'm getting rid of every local band CD. Quite a lot from my 1998-2005 era have joined my permanent collection at home—you'll have to pry my Peepshot, Sparkle*jets UK, Jay Buchanan, Third Grade Teacher and a mess of others from my cold, sweaty hands. As for the majority of the rest, I'm still keeping the music, thanks to the miracle of MP3 file conversion programs. But after that job gets done, these things are just clutter…