My First Burned CD’s

I went to spend the weekend at Dalton’s place in Grafton years and years ago and we were going to use his new equipment to make CD’s!

Let me set the time period.

We were on the free early days of Napster.


Making your own CD’s was a whole new thing. Dalton had just gotten a scuzzy drive. He had set up his computer to use his new burner and made a few test CD’s. I was beyond STOKED. I went out and bought a 10 pack of blank CD’s. Not a spindle of 100, which now you can get for half the price I paid for my 10. These were not re-writable mind you. Just straight up CD’s.

After demo-ing his system and burning a CD and then playing it and watching my jaw drop… he put me in the drivers seat and walked me through the process. He had a 100GB external hard drive(at the time that was like astounding) that was full of music and my mind was literally blown.

I picked an album to burn, then songs to fill the rest of the CD (couldn’t leave any time unused) and we clicked the BURN button and watched as it cranked out a CD for me in a mere 20 minutes. I told you this was a long time ago.

I held in my hand a CD, created on Dalton’s computer for about $.50. Amazing. I wrote the name of the album on the silver side with a sharpie and put it in its plastic case. One down. I had spotted several albums I wanted to use the other 9 CD’s for while searching his external, so I got down to business. I started the CD burning software, loaded another CD to within a few minutes of full and clicked the BURN button again.

Hmmm………   whirrrr…….  bzzzzz…….

I got up and we started watching a movie.

When we heard the CD tray pop out, we pause the movie and went to check out the new CD. Ugh. On the screen there was a message that there was an error. We put the CD back into the drive and it didn’t recognize it as blank, but there was nothing on it either. Total loss. I reluctantly tossed it in the trash.

We set up a new blank, I loaded the album and songs and hit BURN again. We went back to the movie.

When the tray popped open again, I rushed over and was devastated. Another error! Arrrrrrg. Another one in the trash. 1 CD a success, 2 trashed, 7 left.

We decided between us that perhaps something was wrong with the album or one of the filler tracks and that I should try and burn something else. I know, but that was what we thought.

I loaded a new CD, picked a new album to burn, and I left off the extra tracks. This one would work for sure. Nope. 1 CD a success, 3 trashed, 6 left. Dalton was pulling his hair out. This had worked for him and never been an issue. We decided to do the thing that always works. Restart the computer.

The next CD we tried to burn after the restart worked! Woo hoo! 2 CD’s and like 4 hours of work.

In the end I took home 6 CD’s, one more failed and we immediately restarted the PC.

I remember driving home on Sunday afternoon in the silver Sunfire listening to my new CD’s. I cranked “Fatboy Slim – You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” as I made my way to the freeway, windows down, tunes blasting out on the CD player, not the poor old tape deck. I was now one of the cool kids who had his own homemade CD’s and Dalton was the high priest of burning. It was a long time before my PC finally died and we had to replace it with a PC that came with a burner standard.

I had also burned “Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water” which was short lived in my collection and a clear indication that I still had some soul searching to do.

What did live on from that session though was the CD “Sneaker Pimps – Six Underground”. This was a Dalton recommendation and I still love it. I filled out the end of the CD with some remixes of songs from the album that Dalton had downloaded. Nice. That was what homemade CD’s were all about.

I of course went on the get as deeply involved in burning as Dalton was. I was buying spindles of 100 CD’s at a time. Making them for friends and also using the CD’s to store what I had downloaded. Soon I had all kinds of CD wallets around the house and control was lost.

Dalton got into making CD covers the way I had been with making tape covers. I still have ones that he made me. His craftmanship was awesome. He loved to do photo mash-ups and even did disc labels too! Check out his handywork.

Rage Against The Machine – Woodstock ’99

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Nine Inch Nails – Rusty Nails

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The scuzzy drive set up of Dalton’s was the beginning of the CD revolution for us. It has led us to bigger and better things, but I will never forget that first batch of CD’s!

Ah, the days.

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