Flashback Friday 12/15/97: it’s the 20th anniversary of my first band’s first CD release, so I asked myself, why not celebrate with shameless Photoshop mockups of my Mojo Wire album artwork redesigns?

I created all-new PDF booklets for all four Mojo Wire albums and set them up on Bandcamp as “digital reissues,” because people can be a bit weird about their first band. Especially if their first band was actually three different bands. Here’s what I said about it on mybandrocks.com:

IT WAS TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY…and we still haven’t really learned to play. But who cares, right? The Mojo Wire’s debut CD-R album Battery Acid Blues was released on this day in 1997 and there was no going back. We went on to terrorize the eardrums and taste of the wider populace at UCSB and Isla Vista for five more years, all because Bryn and Adam wrote some goofy songs, asked Keir to play bass, and then got Brandon to agree to play drums and record it all for posterity.

To celebrate, Keir designed digital PDF booklets for all four Mojo Wire albums from 1997-2001, each available for FREE DOWNLOAD on the Mojo’s Bandcamp page. Why free, you ask? Well…you’ll understand when you hear them. They’re basically unlistenable, but that doesn’t mean they ain’t fun. For us, anyway. I mean, wouldn’t YOU want to validate your current brilliance by dragging everyone else through some wildly headstrong ancient juvenilia? Sure you would.

The second digital reissue up to bat is the second Mojo Wire album, from April 1998. Don’t ask us why we called it Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor. We don’t know. Seriously, we don’t remember much from that time. Some of the songs on this one were always fun to play, but most haven’t held up well, and not even rad NASA images of Jupiter can make up for that. Why Jupiter? Well, most of the photos of us from back then aren’t usable. Late ‘90s, you know? It really was a wild time.

The third Mojo Wire digital reissue is Seaside Hamlet Skids, from April 1999. It’s got a perfect sequence of songs, many of which went on to be played much better than they’re represented here. The vibe is a sort of surf-folk-noir mix of Baja and Isla Vista, done in mono (like all the Mojo albums) and was surprisingly tough to remaster. It’s an interesting listen, though, because it caught us growing as writers, musicians, and people at an odd time where we weren’t what we’d been before, but hadn’t yet become what we ended up being.

The fourth and final Mojo Wire digital reissue is You’re On Your Own, our last demo CD-R from June 2001. It took a while to make, and it shows. The thing can’t decide if it wants to be a collection of new stuff, a live album, or a remake-fest—and so it ended up as a hodgepodge of all three. However, there’s some killer stuff there, much of which stayed in live setlists for years. The cover art doodles are fun too; they harken back to the first album in the best way.

Each Mojo Wire reissue is packed with bonus tracks—outtakes, live rehearsals, and general aural implosion—plus the aforementioned 20-page PDF booklet, complete with pompous essays from Keir for every album. If you’ve kept up with our adventures over the years, you’ve probably already read them all, but what are creative anniversaries for if not for blatant, ham-handed recycling?

Anyway, we hope you forgive whatever musical/social ineptitude you may discover therein. We were young, pretty, and dumb—but it was too much fun to not see through to the ignominious end. Check it out at mybandrocks.com. Thanks for indulging our 20th anniversary nostalgia trip!