In the 50s western music was banned in the soviet union, so bootlegs of early rock n roll were pressed onto discarded x-rays. That's it really. I have a list of things that I might want to write about, and sometimes it turns out the idea is spent after just one sentence. So let's talk a little more about bootlegs.

As Les Claypool of Primus started to drift towards the jam band scene after Primus imploded in the early 2000s I was exposed to the culture of legitimate bootlegs. Jam bands would allow fans to tape shows, some with pretty elaborate rigs, on the condition that these recordings were traded and distributed for free and never sold. Kind of the opposite of Pearl Jam selling recordings of every show for a while.

Via the Primus message board, long before social networks, I was in touch with people who would tape and trade bootlegs. To start a collection to trade with, I sent blank CD-Rs and return postage to people in the USA who I'd never met. They'd send me recordings of shows I couldn't attend and I'd start to learn and understand how the music was performed live. Which was extremely different from the albums. After a while I had enough recordings to trade for others, or to burn to CD-Rs for a new trader.

Bit Torrent changed all of this. For the duration of a Les Claypool tour I'd be waiting for recordings to become available on etree or nugs, and setlists to land on toasterland, where we'd get extremely nerdy about how often specific songs were played, teased, or vanished for years on end. My home built PC was running 24/7, seeding recordings and building a huge collection.

Between 2006 and 2017 I saw 21 Les Claypool shows, across 4 countries and 5 bands. He's on tour right now, with a band that ended shortly before I was able to travel to the USA to see shows with people I'd never met before but who I'd exchanged a large amount of mail and bits. I really am regretting not aligning my travel plans with at least one date now that recordings are starting to surface in even more accessible ways.

The sad part is that I don't have any of the traded CDRs anymore. Along with a lot of other possessions they were thrown out on my behalf in the name of reducing 'clutter'.

Don't let anyone change what you love.