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Dead Media Tapes to release Steve Rosenbaum’s debut 8-track cassette

Inspired by The Banana Splits

Time warp — after posting old recordings on Facebook, Steve Rosenbaum, was contacted by Dead Media Tapes about producing an 8-track album.
Time warp — after posting old recordings on Facebook, Steve Rosenbaum, was contacted by Dead Media Tapes about producing an 8-track album.

Steve Rosenbaum can trace his journey as a musician back to two sources. The first was receiving a toy guitar and the second was The Banana Splits TV show. One fateful day, he was in the cereal aisle of his local grocery store when he noticed an ingeniously placed item designed for impulse purchase — The Banana Splits’ LP We’re The Banana Splits.

“I must have made my mom buy it for me,” Rosenbaum explained. “I actually still have it, and it’s a beautiful sounding record. I think around that time I probably said, ‘I want real guitar lessons.’ That was about it. I joined my first band when I think I was in 7th grade.”

Rosenbaum was playing in a jazz-fusion high school band when the Ramones came along and ignited his interest in bubblegum pop. When he arrived at the University of Michigan a few years later (fall of 1978) he found a group that offered a new opportunity — performing his own songs.

“I was like, ‘I can actually write a song, and they’ll play it,’” he explained. “I sat down and just did it. I wrote a song that had a verse, chorus, and a bridge. It was fully formed. It wasn’t like I wrote crap for two years and finally figured out this was a song. Those songs are pretty much what I still write. They loved them.”

This band gave Rosenbaum a taste of performing his material, but it was his next stint, three years in a cover band, that really turned him into a polished player. “Your chops get really good when you play four sets a night, three or four nights a week,” he said. “And my voice got a lot better, because I had to sing so much.”

The rampant performing set him up perfectly for his next landing spot — Los Angeles. He worked as an electrical engineer during the day and spent nights playing at local clubs. He had his closest brush with L.A. fame while playing bass in the cowpunk outfit The Lonely Bulls. Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) produced a demo for the band, but it failed to land the coveted record deal. “We were drawing big crowds, but nothing really went anywhere,” Rosenbaum reminisced. “We just reached a point where we said, ‘What are we doing?”

Rosenbaum moved to Maryland in the early 90s, where he commenced a 20-year musical hiatus. A common thread with all the bands he played in through the late-80s was zero physical releases — but he did have plenty of his own demos. These were primarily produced on boomboxes and 4-track recorders. He started posting these songs in different Facebook groups, and then something that seems like it should have only been possible in the late-70s happened. Nathan Brown contacted him to see if he was interested in releasing some music on 8-track cassette.

Brown’s company, Dead Media Tapes, specializes in manufacturing 8-track and reel to reel tape, but it exists as a small record label as well. They will be releasing Rosenbaum’s first ever physical, musical artifact, the 23-song compilation Have A Cool Summer!, on June 20, 1977… I mean 2021. It will be available on both their popular 8-track cassette and reel-to-reel tape formats, and a purchase of either will also include a complimentary digital download (good luck tracking down a device that can play MP3s!)

The compilation covers 1979-1989, but Rosenbaum caught the gigging and songwriting bug once again circa 2010. He now lives in San Diego and performs around town with his trio, Mess Of Fun. The group formed so Rosenbaum would have a backing band for an International Pop Overthrow event about ten years ago, and it has stayed intact since.

“They’re my music buddies in San Diego now,” Rosenbaum said. “We still get together every couple of weeks through these horrible waiting-around-for-the-bars-to-open-again times just to pow-wow.”

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Time warp — after posting old recordings on Facebook, Steve Rosenbaum, was contacted by Dead Media Tapes about producing an 8-track album.
Time warp — after posting old recordings on Facebook, Steve Rosenbaum, was contacted by Dead Media Tapes about producing an 8-track album.

Steve Rosenbaum can trace his journey as a musician back to two sources. The first was receiving a toy guitar and the second was The Banana Splits TV show. One fateful day, he was in the cereal aisle of his local grocery store when he noticed an ingeniously placed item designed for impulse purchase — The Banana Splits’ LP We’re The Banana Splits.

“I must have made my mom buy it for me,” Rosenbaum explained. “I actually still have it, and it’s a beautiful sounding record. I think around that time I probably said, ‘I want real guitar lessons.’ That was about it. I joined my first band when I think I was in 7th grade.”

Rosenbaum was playing in a jazz-fusion high school band when the Ramones came along and ignited his interest in bubblegum pop. When he arrived at the University of Michigan a few years later (fall of 1978) he found a group that offered a new opportunity — performing his own songs.

“I was like, ‘I can actually write a song, and they’ll play it,’” he explained. “I sat down and just did it. I wrote a song that had a verse, chorus, and a bridge. It was fully formed. It wasn’t like I wrote crap for two years and finally figured out this was a song. Those songs are pretty much what I still write. They loved them.”

This band gave Rosenbaum a taste of performing his material, but it was his next stint, three years in a cover band, that really turned him into a polished player. “Your chops get really good when you play four sets a night, three or four nights a week,” he said. “And my voice got a lot better, because I had to sing so much.”

The rampant performing set him up perfectly for his next landing spot — Los Angeles. He worked as an electrical engineer during the day and spent nights playing at local clubs. He had his closest brush with L.A. fame while playing bass in the cowpunk outfit The Lonely Bulls. Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) produced a demo for the band, but it failed to land the coveted record deal. “We were drawing big crowds, but nothing really went anywhere,” Rosenbaum reminisced. “We just reached a point where we said, ‘What are we doing?”

Rosenbaum moved to Maryland in the early 90s, where he commenced a 20-year musical hiatus. A common thread with all the bands he played in through the late-80s was zero physical releases — but he did have plenty of his own demos. These were primarily produced on boomboxes and 4-track recorders. He started posting these songs in different Facebook groups, and then something that seems like it should have only been possible in the late-70s happened. Nathan Brown contacted him to see if he was interested in releasing some music on 8-track cassette.

Brown’s company, Dead Media Tapes, specializes in manufacturing 8-track and reel to reel tape, but it exists as a small record label as well. They will be releasing Rosenbaum’s first ever physical, musical artifact, the 23-song compilation Have A Cool Summer!, on June 20, 1977… I mean 2021. It will be available on both their popular 8-track cassette and reel-to-reel tape formats, and a purchase of either will also include a complimentary digital download (good luck tracking down a device that can play MP3s!)

The compilation covers 1979-1989, but Rosenbaum caught the gigging and songwriting bug once again circa 2010. He now lives in San Diego and performs around town with his trio, Mess Of Fun. The group formed so Rosenbaum would have a backing band for an International Pop Overthrow event about ten years ago, and it has stayed intact since.

“They’re my music buddies in San Diego now,” Rosenbaum said. “We still get together every couple of weeks through these horrible waiting-around-for-the-bars-to-open-again times just to pow-wow.”

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