The Restoration Project: Who?
There were really just two of us who pieced this project together, but of course many thanks are needed. First and foremost is to Dave Rabbit himself, without whom these iconoclastic broadcasts never would have been made. That goes for his partners Pete Sadler and Nguyen as well.
I would also like to thank my good friend Chris O’donnell who first turned me to Radio First Termer in my 1989 Honda Civic LX somewhere along the plains of Kansas. To Buster Crabb, the man who gave that first cassette to Chris O’Donnell and served in the Vietnam War and who experienced first hand both the magic of Dave Rabbit, and the horrors of war.
Another thank you goes out to Chris Ragazzo who was so inspired after hearing these recordings that he has been in touch with Dave Rabbit since and continues to try and pioneer a some sort of a film project documenting Dave’s legacy. He constantly reminds me that it was not just my own experience that made these files so engrossing.
Of course I would like to thank partner in this project is Matt Holzman, a radio producer who did most of the ProTools work and had access to the audio archives from his station. On that note to Ray Guarna for doing the noise reduction and eq on the original Radio First Termer broadcast.
To Corey Deitz for breaking the story of Dave Rabbit resurfacing literally days after we had finished this restoration project.
To my freinds over at hippopotty.com for their support and continued output in the world of shared music.
To my sister Rachel Cline, who forced me to make this website more legible, more accessible and just plain old, better.
The Restoration Project: Why?
Why, because war is horrible.
At the time I first heard these recordings I was old enough to be considered for the draft. After hearing these recording I had made up my mind that I would do whatever it takes to avoid enlisting, conscientious objection, moving to Canada, it did not matter, whatever it takes.
Dave Rabbit had a profound effect on me. After that first cassette listening I could never get those sounds, thoughts, feelings, out of my head. As the internet grew, I would sporadically send out queries on anything related to Radio First Termer. At some point in the mid 90’s I finally hit pay dirt and indeed found mp3 files that were from the exact same cassette that I had first heard. It seemed odd, and amazing that the very same files on this website I had found were the ones I had heard so long ago on that cassette. In retrospect it is not weird at all, those are the only files that have survived.
I made my own first pass at a restoration from those audio files, I pieced them together as best I could and made a single 80 minute compact disc that I distributed to a select few people in my life. My feeling is that this material can be pretty hard to listen to and not necessarily for everyone.
Then, In 2007 I finally decided it was time to complete the project. The only disappointing part of listening to these recording was the fact that the music tracks were so great, but you couldn’t turn it up due to the audio quality. So using the excuse of my annual offering to a music sharing group I belong to entitled hippopotty, I partnered with a friend to replace the tracks with crystal clear digital copies. We went out in search of the original tracks, which in some cases meant a trip to the out of print world of Amazon and on one extreme case meant an mp3 that was emailed to me by a complete stranger. (oh, it is the only mp3 sourced audio file in the group). Then we basically “remixed” the audio files in protools using the new tracks where ever possible, but never removing any of Dave Rabbits unforgettable dialogue. We decided not to mess with the pitch/ speed of the original files as they added a an every vibe that, real or not, added a true sense of time and place. Those three discs are what I have included here for your listening “pleasure”. Please be forewarned, there is some sketchy, profane content and may not be suitable for all.
In putting this site together my biggest problem was deciding what to deliver? For me the greatest way to listen to these files is continuously and in some sort of transcendental state of mind, like on a long drive. So I was mixed as whether to make a downloadable version in full quality that you could then burn to disc and listen to on your own time vs. making the files ready to stream? I opted for the latter, but if you are interested in getting a hold of a full quality version, please contact me.
The Restoration Project: How?
The process of restoring these audio files was fairly straightforward. We first had to round up all the original music files. In most cases it was merely a trip to the radio station CD library where one of the restorers works. That furnished us with about 60% of the material. The next level of discovery was scouring places like allmusic and Amazon’s used sales because many of the tracks were not currently in CD release. After we got through those there were still a few tracks that posed real problems locating, yet in all but one case we were able to find a loss-less version. For that single problematic track the only version we could find was via anonymous email after posting and searching on many music collecting websites.
For the Radio First Termer broadcast portion we got lucky again, because right around the time we started this project a much higher version quality surfaced on the internet. This is what we used for our restoration, we still did a single pass of noise and distortion reduction, otherwise we left them untouched. After we had all the elements in place we encoded everything into ProTools.
For the mix there was a lot of futzing around with the fades between the new and the old material since the original content was slightly off speed. We felt this odd, otherworldly audio sensation only added to the overall effect, deciding to leave the speed uncorrected. The results are a little jarring at times, but we felt that the other all presentation was what we were after.
We then finalized the audio and divided up the files into three parts, each one fitting on a single 80 minute compact disc.
That is pretty much it.