These recordings are NOT FOR SALE. Nor will I do B&P trades any longer, due to lack of time and increase in demand. Please do not ask me about my collection unless you have something to trade from my wish list.


   

      
      
      

 

 

 

Related Pages:
The Short List - a summary of the Genesis audio/video collection, with links to the detailed entries. Also includes a quick reference to releases by the various remastering groups (Hogweed, FAde, BURP, etc.).
The Wish List - shows I'd like to obtain.
Bootlegs on the way (News page) - recordings I have received recently, wot you probably won't see listed in the Live Recordings section yet.
Best Genesis Bootlegs (my picks)

 Hi, my name is Steven Genzano (AKA Blue Snaggletooth). Email me
Welcome to the Live Recordings section! This is really the core of the site, and details my entire unofficial Genesis collection. Just to be clear right off, THESE RECORDINGS ARE NOT FOR SALE. The sale of bootlegs is illegal--I do not buy them, and I do not sell them. I trade. Or give. See below for trading guidelines and basic information about live recordings. Otherwise, plunge right in by clicking one of the buttons above. Enjoy!


LIVE RECORDING GUIDELINES AND FAQ
If you've already visited my "Huh?" page FAQ (the question mark button in the bottom right corner of the home page), then you'll be familiar with this layout. The questions are listed directly below, and below the questions are the detailed answers. Click on any of the questions directly below to go directly to the answer to that question. If you have a question that's not on this list, or if you need any clarification, or if you'd just like to jaw with me about Genesis (and tell me how great my site is--I always enjoy those emails ;), feel free to email me.

1a. What is a bootleg? Are there different kinds? What does it mean when a recording is called "first generation" or "second generation?"

1b. What is trading? Is the collecting of bootlegs illegal?

2. Can I give you money for your bootlegs?

3a. I just found out about Genesis bootleg material, and I'm desperate to get some. I understand that there is a large trading community, but I don't have anything to trade! How do I start my collection? Can you help me?

3b. How do I stay away from "bad traders?" How do I tell good traders from bad ones?

4. What is a "weed"? How do I get in on one?

5. Can you provide a simple list of guidelines for trading with you, or for trading in general?

6. What kind of CD burner should I use? Is there any way to exactly copy a CD without adding errors or pauses between tracks? What is SHN/FLAC/APE? How do I make an SHN disc? Do you have SHN/FLAC/APE shows?

7. Do you do blanks and postage trades?

8. I have music on tape. Can I transfer it? Will you trade CDs for tapes?

9. Do you trade video for audio, and vice versa? Do you only take Genesis, or will you accept music by other bands? (Also happens to answer the question: What is a VCD?)

10. I want [insert name of song or gig here]. Where can I find it? How do I find out if you have it?

11. I am from [insert name of home country here]. Where are you from? If we are in different countries, will you still trade with me? How will this affect postage costs?

12. I have a show, but I'm not sure where or when it's from. Where can I find information about bootleg venues and dates of performances?

13. How do you rate the quality of your shows?

14. How do you feel about artwork for bootlegs?

15. Do you have a favorite brand of blank CD? Would you prefer I use a specific brand? How do you feel about writing on CDs using a marker or pen?

 

Answers


1a. What is a bootleg? Are there different kinds? What does it mean when a recording is called "first generation" or "second generation?"
A "bootleg" in this context is generally a live music recording (in audio or video format) which was created without the permission or knowledge of the band involved. Some bootlegs are more "official" than others (i.e., some are produced and distributed by record labels with various qualities of artwork included, and some can even be found in record stores), but by definition no bootleg is sanctioned by the band and none can really be considered "official" releases.

There are indeed different types of bootlegs. An Audience bootleg is created when a member of the audience attending a live show smuggles in a tape (or nowadays, CD or digital) recorder and records the show as it happens. These are generally the lowest quality bootlegs, and are often subject to the most problems involving incomplete songs and "cuts" in the gig from the recorder being turned off and on. Other problems with audience shows are ambient audience noise (chatter, applause, cheers, boos, singing along, whistling along, vomiting, etc.) and "microphone bumps" (when the person recording the show shifts his equipment, accidentally rubs it against something, or--sometimes intentionally--blows into it).

Another, more reliable type of show is a Radio show. Radio shows can come in several types themselves. When a band's live performance is broadcast over the radio, a fan can easily produce his own radio show by sticking a tape in his stereo and taping the broadcast. Also, sometimes the radio station or the program has the rights to the performance and releases the recording "officially"--you can buy it, and no one will arrest you for doing so. This is basically a contradiction of what I said in the first paragraph about bootlegs never being official releases. A bootleg, however, can also be an unlicensed duplicate of an official release. Radio shows in particular, even if they are sold by the rightful owner, are usually sold in a limited number and quickly become out of print and difficult to obtain--which, in my mind, makes it okay to own unlicensed duplicates of them. It is also possible to obtain the "master reels" or "soundboard tapes" from a show recorded for radio broadcast--I don't know how these things leak, but they do. The master tapes are the Holy Grail of the radio show world. A radio show generally is much better quality than an audience show--the master tapes (or the versions called "pre-FM" or pre-broadcast), which would generally come directly from the equipment recording the show, are the ideal example of this quality advantage. However, if a show was just taped off of a stereo, signal strength and broadcast quality become an issue. As with any bootleg, the age and generation of the recording can cause the quality to widely vary. Also, some countries and some stations are better than others at producing a radio concert (some Genesis shows from Madrid, in 1987, for example, featured only very meagre samplings from the band's gigs--and what little there was was summarily ruined by the commentators' custom of talking over top of the music!). Some radio shows consist of smatterings of songs from various venues and dates, with any stories or introductions provided by the band members removed beforehand, and sometimes the songs themselves having been edited due to time constraints.

Which leads us to the even more highly desired bootleg type: the Soundboard show. Of course, radio shows technically are soundboard shows themselves; the live performance is recorded to the board and then broadcast on the air (it can be "simulcast"--that is, broadcast as it is happening--or broadcast after the fact, often after having been edited or remastered in various ways, as described above). However, radio shows, again as hinted earlier, can become severely edited and distorted before being broadcast. The best way to avoid this meddling is to snatch the original soundboard reels. Bands such as Genesis did not just record their shows in preparation for creating live albums or for broadcast over the radio; they taped them for posterity, creating recordings of hundreds of live shows in the process which will probably never see the light of day through official channels. However, through some magic which is highly illegal, these tapes can sometimes leak to the bootleg community. A soundboard show is not a guaranteed perfect, complete recording--probably due to the illegal manner in which they must be obtained, such shows can sometimes be severley incomplete, with cuts and edits, or have speed problems due to having been copied to a lower quality tape before being distributed. Also, being a very raw capture of the sound of the band's instruments, soundboard recordings are generally not mixed or "remastered" in any way and this can result in some strange sound quality. Radio shows have the advantage of having gone through this process, and can often have a fuller and more well-rounded sound (IMO). In a soundboard tape, you will hear little or no of the audience cheering--you'd be surprised how much energy this sucks out of a recording. Radio shows obviously do not have as much audience noise as an audience recording, but depending on how well they've been mixed, they can really add a nice "live" feel to the recording; whereas raw soundboard shows, without the audience levels, can often sound distinctly "sterile." However, in the bootleg community this problem is often alleviated by non-profit remastering groups, who will take the raw tapes from the board (or the lowest generation copy of those tapes that they can get their hands on) and remaster them to make the sound fuller and give it more depth.

What I'm saying is, though the soundboard is generally considered to be the best possible recording of a show, it can still come in widely varying incarnations. One type of recording that is often confused with soundboard is the OAM or open-air microphone recording. These are rather rare, at least in the area of available Genesis shows, but they do exist. In this case the recording is made by the road crew but not at the soundboard--usually it is a microphone positioned backstage, picking up the ambient sound in the hall. The resulting recording is just a glorified audience recording, but because of the conditions under which it is made the sound quality is generally much better than audience, and not as good as soundboard.

Now usually a bootleg is a recording of a band's live performance, before an audience. However, sometimes a bootleg can also consist of material from a Studio recording. For instance, several discs of material exist from Genesis recording sessions for their albums, with the band doing multiple takes of songs that would eventually end up on their studio albums (and some which would end up as b-sides). Since these "shows" come directly from the recording equipment in the studio, they at least start out at very high quality. However, due to the same issues controlling soundboard show quality, studio recordings can often end up sounding very hissy--in fact, I don't believe I've ever heard a studio bootleg that sounds anywhere near as good as a studio album. Still, in the bootleg world, one certainly wouldn't turn up one's nose at such things.

Another kind of cross-category of bootlegs would be the rehearsal show. This would be a soundboard or audience recording of the band rehearsing or doing a soundcheck before the actual live gig. Several of these exist in the known Genesis bootleg oeuvre.

Speaking of the "known" Genesis bootleg collection; one of the ultimate shows you can get is a hidden one, a show that is not commonly traded and generally barely even known by the normal run of trader. These are probably exculsively soundboard, because the reason they are hidden is because of their even more than usually questionable legality. They have been handed out to a very few, exclusive bunch of people on the solemn promise not to be distributed any further. This makes them very hard to get unless sometimes you are able to provide something just as valuable in return for the hidden show: which is very difficult to do unless you somehow already have another hidden show. Tough, ain't it? However, lately such hidden shows have been getting leaked to the larger Genesis trading community by individuals and remastering groups, so perhaps the days of sitting around on chat rooms complaining about elite and snobby Genesis traders with hidden show collections are almost over. (Some collectors in the know provide a look into the hidden world of Genesis shows on their web sites; one obvious example is Simon Funnell, whose giant database of live recordings does specify the existence of hidden versions of shows. I have no idea how comprehensive Simon's information on this is, but given the rest of his information, I would suggest that it is fairly comprehensive.)

Now let's talk about the generation of a recording. Here the definitions can be fuzzy (this idea will be expanded upon later). The main principle is this: the first recording made of something (like the tape you make of a radio broadcast, or the tape you record while sitting at the concert) is the master. A recording duplicated from that first recording is first generation. A copy made using the first generation recording as its source is second generation, and so forth. Because of the concept of trading (explained further in the answer to question 1b), recordings are often distributed in just this manner, jumping from person to person and increasing a generation level each time; and, depending on the fidelity of the duplicating equipment and the dedication of the people doing the duplicating, this can severely affect the sound quality.

Anyone who doesn't believe this should simply try copying an audio cassette tape onto another tape and compare the two (or, better yet, dub a VHS tape and compare the copy to the original). Some people will tell you that it doesn't work this way with digital media, and that copies of CDs are 99.9% the same as the originals. Well, if they tell you that, they are flat-out wrong. CD-copying, if done improperly (or even if done as properly as possible), can introduce all kinds of errors, including scratches, pops, skips, and pauses. Therefore, the higher the generation of a recording, the more likely that its quality is not all that could be desired.

Of course, following this logic, what one would want ideally would be a first generation recording, or at least one with a low number; because of this, people offering shows for trade may boast that they have low generation recordings--in fact, it is so much in their interest to claim this that the definition of a "first" or "low generation" recording often gets stretched considerably. For instance, a recording from a soundboard master reel would definitely be a "first generation" recording. However, a "silver disc master" release of one of the more "official" bootleg labels (such as one released on the famous "Highland" record label) would also usually be considered "first generation"--even if the original bootleg was created from a copy of the soundboard reel. People can tell you they have "low gen" recordings, but who knows what they consider to be low? And who knows whether they really know what generation their recording is? For a long time I found it almost pointless to trust information given to me about generations, since I had no independent way of verifying this; but Simon's database of shows with check-able track time listings has helped make a certain amount of verification possible.

Keep in mind, however, that if you pick up a show that is a weed, and has been weeding for some time, you know without question that it is a very high generation recording, and that it is even more prone to errors than a high-generation recording that was not weeded. For more information about weeding, see question 4.

Back to FAQ


1b. What is trading? Is the collecting of bootlegs illegal?

Trading is how I got the huge collection I have today. It's as simple as it sounds: someone gives you what you want, you give them what they want, you both walk away happy. It's once you get into the details that it gets complicated, and, for beginners, it can be utterly bewildering. Usually traders meet on the internet at one of the sites where such people congregate. Perhaps they have a list posted on the web, maybe in the form of a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet (or a web site, like mine). One fan finds another and they email each other and finalize a trade: so many shows for so many shows. Then they make the copies of the shows the other person wants and mail them off. If they have been lucky enough to find a reliable and honest trader, they will soon recieve a package in the mail containing the stuff they wanted. See the answer to question 3a for more information on how to get into the trading business; see question 3b for tips on how to avoid meeting "bad" traders.

In the old days of bootlegs, I don't think trading was a very common practice. Generally, people bought and sold their bootlegs for money. This is where the illegal bit comes in. You who are just entering upon the world of bootlegs may be worried about the legality of continuing your progress therein. Is it illegal to own bootlegs? To trade them? The answer to this is, as far as I know, no. (However, if you get arrested, you are not allowed to say, "Steve told me it was all right!" to the nice policeman.) Bootlegs are only illegal if money changes hands. If you buy or, even worse, sell a bootleg for money, you are technically giving money to a private individual for a recording made without the band in question's permission. This money should be going to them--it is their music, they have the rights to the recording (or their management, or some huge corporation like AOL), and should be seeing any profits that arise from that recording. Or something like that. Anyway, it's the money that's the real issue.

Thus, if you only trade for your music, there is no reason why you should ever be arrested for having bootlegs, or for giving them freely to others. I wouldn't go around shouting about your collection to your local law enforcement officer, but if he happens to be in your house and happens to see your bootleg collection sitting in your favorite CD tower, he is not going to start shaking his head and pulling out his handcuffs.

In fact, Tony Banks himself has happily endorsed the distribution of Genesis bootlegs (though he certainly hasn't helped to make them easier to get at)--there's even a place to discuss trading and bootleg recordings on the band's official site discussion forum. In Tony's opinion, those who go around collecting the bootlegs are the big fans who have already spent all their money on the official releases, so anything they do beyond that is just fine--the band already has all the money it's going to get from them. This is a cynical way of putting it, but it's basically true.

The other thing about bootlegs that is technically illegal but does not involve money changing hands is the trading of officially released material. If you have ever read the FBI warning that comes up in front of any of your pre-recorded video, you'll know what I mean. If you buy a new Radiohead album at the store and then burn ten copies and give them out to your ten friends so that they, too, can enjoy Radiohead--guess what! You've committed a crime! The same crime people commit every day when they give copies of computer software to their friends. Your ten friends with the Radiohead CD should have paid Radiohead money for the privilege of listening to Hail to the Thief. Instead, they have basically stolen it. In the same light, all the copies of official videos that are listed in my Video section are technically illegal. The reason I accepted these technically illegal items is because I really wanted them and could not get them in the official way--mostly because they were out of print. When an official release becomes out of print, I basically consider it fair game for duplication and distribution. So the line between legal and illegal does get fuzzy, but I have my rules--complicated as they may seem--and I try to stick by them.

The official release thing will become a problem if you want certain items listed on my compilations page. I have some tribute albums and official video stuff on there that are actually official in nature--and, additionally, are easy to buy over the internet or in most stores that carry such things--and therefore, if you ask for them, I will have to refuse to copy them. Copying them for you would be taking money out of the pocket of the band, and we certainly wouldn't want to take any money from our poor heroes, would we?

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2. Can I give you money for your bootlegs?
NOOOO!!!! NO, NO, no, and once again no. Never, ever, give anyone money for a bootleg. Never buy a bootleg. Why not? Other than the fact that this is unquestionably illegal (see my answer to question 1b for details on what I consider to be legal and illegal about bootlegs), it is also utterly unnecessary. You don't HAVE to give people money to get bootlegs. I can honestly tell you that of the hundreds of shows in my collection, only one of them was acquired through a money transaction. And that one was early in my collecting days, when I didn't know any better.

I never accept money for bootlegs from anyone. I don't even accept postage money from people in a blanks and postage trade (if you don't know what that is, and/or want to know more about my policy on it, see the answer to question 7). I do actually spend money to get bootlegs, but not by directly buying them. There was the upfront investment of a CD burner (which, if you have an up-to-date computer, probably already has one installed in it), then the periodic purchasing of blank discs, mailing materials, and postage costs. The cost of all these things is minimal compared to how much it costs you to buy a bootleg. If you know where to shop, you will be able to find cheap, dependable CD-Rs and packages that will allow you to get more than ten shows (twenty discs of material) for probably less than the cost of one bootleg.

Perhaps your reasoning for buying bootlegs is that you can find no other way to get them. You know about trading, but you don't know where the traders are and you have no material to trade with them. This is the same situation I started out in, and look where I am today! If you want some tips on how to be a successful collector, check out my answer to the next question, number 3 (for good measure, also see numbers 4 and 5).

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3a. I just found out about Genesis bootleg material, and I'm desperate to get some. I understand that there is a large trading community, but I don't have anything to trade! How do I start my collection? Can you help me?
The hardest thing about collecting unofficial Genesis material is starting out. If you can't buy bootlegs, you have to get them through trading. But if you don't have any bootlegs, how can you trade to get them? It's as perfect a catch-22 as one could ask for. One feels a desperate and helpless annoyance at all the smug traders sitting around talking in their discussion forums about how they have such and such a show and want to get such and such a show, none of them paying any attention to the uninitiated people who don't have anything to trade at all.

Well, there are several ways that you, the uninitiated, can become one of the smug people who can sit back and laugh at what you once were. Probably the easiest way to build up a huge collection very quickly, provided you have the technical know-how, is to visit a torrent site. They are on the internet and if you get the right software and have a high-speed connection, you can download shows immediately without having to trade anyone anything (the genius behind the torrent system is that, as you are downloading the show, you are automatically allowing other users to download pieces from you--so technically you are trading, though in a much less social fashion, and without the postal costs).

The downside to using torrenting is all of the technology involved. You have to have high-speed internet, you have to know where a good site is, have the right software to download the stuff, and then have the right software to deal with the compressed files that you download so that they can be expanded and put onto media that you can watch/listen to. The lengthy download times also obviously have a certain effect on your ability to perform other internet-related functions.

What I think is the best way to enter the old-school trading world is to join a mailing list devoted to Genesis music and/or video. Yahoo! has several. I don't actively belong to many of them, so I'm not sure what the scene looks like, but the one I am most familiar with and recommend the most is called genesis-trades (my Links page will tell you how to get there). Here, those without any material to trade with, and even those who don't even have a CD burner, can expand their collections by picking up weeds (don't know what a "weed" is? take a trip on over to question 4!). Once you pick up enough shows from weeds, you have a basis of shows from which to begin your trading career. Of course, there is a certain flaw to this process which the cleverer among you will have already spotted: if the only traders you know are on the mailing list, and the only shows you have are from the mailing list, then everyone you can trade with already has everything you have to trade! In reality, this is not strictly true: mailing lists are very amorphous beasts, which are always losing and gaining members. Some people go on vacation from weeding and trading, then pick up the mailing list a month or so later and send out a post that they want to catch up with all the shows they missed--the perfect opportunity for you to trade all your new shows for even more shows! Also, once you have this source of weeds, you may be satisfied enough that you won't feel the need to trade with people--you can simply continue picking up new weeds as they appear. In addition, if you know how to phrase your post right, you may be able to convince someone on the mailing list to weed out a particular show that you want.

Then, of course, there is always the option of looking outside of your one, narrow mailing list, into the much broader field on the internet, for someone to trade with. There are plenty of private individuals out there who want to trade, and if you know how to put the right keywords in the right search engine, you can find them. There are also other mailing lists that may not have been inundated with the same weeds as your mailing list and thus may have people on them who want to trade for the material you have gotten. A great source for finding good, dependable traders is the Genesis official site--there are a bunch of real nice people on the discussion forum who want to build up their collections.

Though I'm a big fan of the Yahoo! mailing lists and did a lot of my best trading as a result of genesis-trades, it was not entirely how I got my start as a trader. As I recall (ah, it was so long ago--the heady days of 2002...), a lot of the shows I got in the beginning of my career were due almost entirely to the kindness of fellow fans. I would act pathetic in emails and ask them if they had stuff they could give me, and amazingly, quite a few of them simply mailed me discs with no obligation. I owe a lot to these people, and in an attempt to pass on the good karma, I have made it a habit to help out beginners in the field. So even if you can't pick up a weed, if you find a kind individual and whine enough, you may just get some stuff which will help launch your collection. Once you start, you'll be amazed at how quickly it can grow (in fact, see question 4 for the dangers of over-stretching yourself).

At this point, some of you may be considering emailing me and asking for bootlegs with no obligation. That's cool. I get more of these emails than I would have expected, and I usually end up helping the person out. I used to be just as kind as those few people who helped me--just sending people discs with no obligation if they asked for them. Now, however, I'm not quite so nice. I have some guidelines for getting discs from me, when you have no tradeable material. First I have to determine if you really don't have anything to trade--I don't only do audio discs for audio discs. People have sent me vinyl, tour books, articles about Genesis, video, etc. There's always a chance that, even if you have only one Genesis show, it will be one I don't have. I have also been known to accept non-Genesis bootleg material; for more info on my trading habits, see question 5; for info on my non-Genesis proclivities, also see question 9 (or visit the Others page). If you definitely don't have anything to trade, and you want music from me to start your trading/collecting career, then you can move on to question 7.

Back to FAQ


3b. How do I stay away from "bad traders?" How can I tell good traders from bad ones?
Some of this is covered in the "musical sources" section of my Sources page, which is a part of the Links section. There, I list a whole bunch of names of people I have traded with in the past with success. There is also a site called "Citizens of Hope and Glory," located here, which has a nice listing of established good traders and a smaller list of affirmed bad traders in the Genesis community.

Some of you may not even be aware that there are such things as bad traders. Unfortunately, they exist, and they are a bunch of lazy deadbeats. The most common bad traders, though they can hardly be called "traders," are those on mailing lists who take advantage of weed offers without fulfilling the honor system obligations inherent to those weeds. Some of you reading the answer to question 4 may have already realized the potential flaw in the weeding system: sure, you can say that you'll weed your show on to three people once you receive it, but nobody can make you do it. This results in people who will pick up weeds and then not bother to burn copies like they're supposed to, getting free music without helping the Genesis community. Some weeders are very vigilant and watch for these people by checking the mailing list posts to make sure that the winners of their weed receive and weed on the show. Bad weeders will often hold off suspicion with excuses that can often be rather convincing, like "I was on vacation," or "I've been really busy" or "I had a death in the family." Some of these excuses are genuine, but all too often they are made by people who just are too lazy to burn and mail CDs and know how to take advantage of others.

In the weeding community, things can be done to stop such people. Once you've correctly identified them and given them a fair chance to make amends by burning the required discs, if they still have not heeded your warnings, the site administrators can ban them and hand their name and email address to other sites for banning. The comfort of a mailing list community like this makes one somewhat protected from these kinds of people: measures are in place to prevent or stop them. However, when it comes to all-out bad traders, prevention is a bit harder. Most of my trade propositions come out of the blue from unsolicited emails from people I don't know. I have no way of knowing who these people are, and whether they really have the shows they claim to have. Once we've set up a trade, I can send them my share of the trade, but they don't really have to send me what they've said they were going to send in return. A very devious bad trader can easily set up a huge trade with you, take the ten or maybe even twenty discs you send him, and never speak to you again. This isn't really too much skin off your nose--you sent some guy a nice collection of music for free, and the only thing you're really down is some time, some blank discs, and some small cash for postage charges--but it can be a mighty blow to one's sense of fair play and pride. You've been had! It's galling.

There are a couple of ways to prevent being screwed in this manner. One is to always instigate your own trades by contacting people you find sites for on the internet. Though this is not a cast-iron rule, generally a person with a detailed trading site is a reputable trader and has not built their whole web site merely as a trap to lure in people and steal their music--the real bad trader will not wait for people to contact them, but will email you. Also, though certainly not a cast-iron rule either, people you've spent time with on discussion forums are usually real fans and are not taking time out to chat about the band just as part of a devious plan to screw you over. You can probably trust those people to not be bad traders. On the other hand, if someone contacts you for a trade, the simple way you can tell if they're on the level is to just wait until you've received their package before mailing yours (you can even tell them that you are going to do this at the beginning, just to put all your cards on the table).

But maybe you're thinking that you'd like to get some profiling characteristics of people who are shady traders? Well, I'm not sure how much I can help in that area, because in the several years that I have been in this business, I have probably only met one intentional bad trader--but I was admittedly able to recognize the fact that they were bad, and never actually traded with them. This trader contacted me via email asking if I would like a trade. They used broken English (this is NOT a characteristic of bad traders--there are plenty of good traders out there who have been forced to learn a very primitive amount of English in order to expand their collections) and provided a list of shows that was incredibly comprehensive. I wondered right away why they even wanted to trade with me, since they seemed to have basically everything on my list anyway. However, I picked some shows from their list, and they picked some shows from mine. I thought they had picked some very odd shows from my list, so I sent them an email explaining that I had better versions of the gigs they requested, and that some of them were not very good shows and they might like to choose others. At this point, email contact stopped. A few days later, I received a duplicate of this person's initial introductory email, just as though they had never spoken to me before and hadn't set up a trade at all. It was at this point probably that I noticed a discrepancy between the name of the person as identified by their email ID and the name they were using to sign their emails. Still willing to have a go at it, however, I emailed them explaining the fact that we'd already instigated a trade. Then I went to Citizens of Hope and Glory and discovered that one of the names this person was using was on the list of bad traders there. I never got another email from that person.

One thing about this person that is characteristic of most bad traders is the varying name; because exposure means banishment and blacklisting from the social core of the trading community, bad traders will assume multiple identities and even multiple mailing addresses to avoid capture (in the same way that hardened criminals gather aliases--except that on the internet, it's even easier to hide behind a fake identity than it is in real life). Of course, a bad trader will probably not be stupid enough to provide you with more than one mailing address; but in my case, you saw how the multiple names cropped up. Another quality that you may notice in bad traders, and which is also apparent in my example, is the fact that their collections are generally large and also much too good to be true. Bad traders will often say they are the proud owner of some major relic of Genesis history--something that will have you saying to yourself, "Wow, I didn't think that existed!" And in fact, it probably doesn't. Don't trust people with huge trading lists who contact you offering to trade.

Also, staying in the community, as with the mailing list example, is a good way of staying safe. If you are in communication with official site discussion forum peole and mailing list people, you will be in a good position to be alerted of the names and email addresses of people who have screwed other people. Not to make you panicky, but even with these precautions, it could be easy to encounter unintentional bad traders. These are people who do not set out to screw you over, but end up doing it anyway. Maybe they start a trade with you when about to move into a new house, or just before their college semester begins, or some disaster befalls them right before they get a chance to burn your discs (these are all common excuses of actual bad traders). There's little chance of avoiding these people--it's part of the adventure of trading, really. And generally unintentional bad traders will make it up to you in the end, if given enough time and if you pester them in just the right way.

In closing, I would like to say that in my experience, bad traders are few and far between. If you stay within the known Genesis community and if you follow some common sense rules, you can generally stay away from con artists like these. And even if you do end up accidentally falling in with a baddie, as long as no money changes hands, no real damage has been done to you; in fact, you can look at your actions as having been unexpectedly generous of you, giving a lot of music to someone and asking nothing in return. You're nicer than you thought!

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4. What is a "weed"? How do I get in on one?
A weed is one of the great parts of the bootleg trading community. It is an efficient and generous method by which a show can be proliferated amongst many fans. The way a weed works on a mailing list is as follows: a member of the list will post a message offering a copy of a show to the first three people who reply to their email (sometimes the weeder will put a restriction on those who can win, generally a geographic restriction that will keep his postage costs low). The nicer weeders will also offer shows up to the "burnerless." There is sometimes some controversy in mailing lists over offering copies of weeds to burnerless people, since a show in the hands of a burnerless person stops the weed right there; but once a weed gets really played out on a mailing list, people will send their show to almost anyone, including the burnerless, in order to fulfill the weeding obligation. But I have digressed. The "obligation," assuming you are among the first people to reply to the weeding post (and assuming you have remembered to include your mailing address in the email--a crucial point, that!), is to weed the show yourself on the mailing list to three other people once you have gotten (and listened to!) your copy of that show.

(The smaller-scale alternative to the weed is the vine--exactly the same as a weed, except the show only goes to one person at a time. This slows the distribution speed but decreases the chance of errors being introduced.)

You may already see the advantages of this process. Let's imagine a weed for a moment. Someone decides to weed a show in their collection that they think everyone will enjoy. This is person 0. Person 0 weeds his show to three other people: persons 1, 2, and 3. In good time, having received their copies of the show from person 0 and checked them to make sure they have no errors (a very important step in the process! as I will discuss in further detail below), they each weed the show out to three other people. Person 1 sends his copy out to persons 4, 5, and 6; person 2 weeds to persons 7, 8, and 9; and person 3 to persons 10, 11, and 12. We see that in very short order--really only two steps away from the initial weeder--the show has been passed to a dozen people. This is exponential growth, people.

There are weeds and there are weeds. Some weeds are just shows taken from the private collection of a kind fan, who thinks he has a nice copy of a good show and wants to spread it to some people. This is very nice, but depending on the person and the show, the quality and definitiveness of the recording can be unreliable (especially once the thing starts getting forced through the gauntlet of a weed). There are more reliable alternatives in weeding. You may not be aware of this, but out there in the Genesis community there are multiple remastering groups dedicated to cleaning up and releasing to as many fans as possible their favorite Genesis recordings. There are now-defunct groups like FAde and Hogweed whose releases are still circulating, plus plenty of other groups like PRRP, Digital Brothers, and GASP, and their numbers seem to be swelling all the time. Some of these groups will weed their shows on mailing lists just like the weed I described above--Hogweed, for example, had its own mailing list dedicated to only Hogweed Project releases--but some other groups have their own method.

There are problems inherent to weeding. See my discussion of "generations" in question 1a for an idea of what can happen when people who don't fully understand how to use their CD burners copy lots of discs without checking them. At this point, suffice to say that weeding can introduce errors into the recording which are then exponentially reproduced and (often) augmented by later generations. Conscientious people who actually listen to their discs before blindly passing them on to the next three recipients may notice errors and try to halt the weed in an attempt to figure out where the error came from and get some copies that are clean. This is a very complicated process, however, and generally people don't seem to bother trying. (Another way of preventing the weeding errors is to use SHN discs, but this is work intensive, requires additional software, and most people don't do it. If you want to know what SHN is, check out question 6. Yet another method for avoiding the problems of weeds is to get your shows through torrent sites--see question 3a if you don't know what those are.) The result is that, yes, you can get a lot of music through picking up weeds, but it will probably not be as good as some other people's unweeded copies. You gets whats you pays for.

One of the lessons here is to always listen to your recordings before you give them to someone else. I can't stress this enough. I can't tell you how many times I've received defective or just plain fake or incorrect shows from people, which required long delays and resends of discs to fix, all of which aggravation and waste of time could have been avoided if the person had just listened to the damn show before trading it on. You'll see me bring this up again if you read question 5.

At this point in your collecting career, you may not believe this, but it's actually very easy for people collecting weeds to over-stretch themselves and collect their music too fast. This is how people can end up sending shows on before they've had a chance to listen to them. If you're new to the weeding business, and have no music, but you do have a burner and you want to start weeding, you could sit on your mailing list on a good day and pick up maybe a dozen weeds (this is a bit of an exaggeration, but not out of the realm of the possible). What you may not realize, however, while drooling over all this impending new music to enjoy, is that once you receive these dozen bootlegs, you have to copy each of them three times and mail them to all those different people. Let's assume that each of your dozen shows is two discs (most shows are two discs). Multiply this by twelve and you have 24 discs. Each of your 24 discs must be duplicated 3 times to send out to all the people you have to weed it to. 24 times 3 is 72. So in one day you've cut out a job of work for yourself: you have to listen to 24 discs, burn 72 discs, and mail 36 packages (twelve shows three times each--actually it will probably be less than 36 packages, since you'll probably get the same person coming in on more than one weed)! Suddenly you can go from wishing you could get all this great Genesis music to wishing you had waited a while. My advice: try not to take on more than you can handle. Limit yourself.

If you've read this far, you probably already have an idea of where to go to get weeds. But I will elucidate more explicitly. One way is to join a mailing list (Yahoo! has some great Genesis-related ones, including my favorite, genesis-trades). The other is to find the website of a remastering group and ask them about how they distribute their shows; I have links to a couple of these groups (as mentioned earlier) on my Links page. Another way is to simply get yourself onto a Genesis discussion forum and ask around (this is a great way to answer any of your Genesis questions--you'll get plenty of answers, though not all of them will be right). Actually, in the past the discussion forum has been a good spot itself for picking up free music. People are known to do giveaways on there with no weeding obligations attached (though I believe weeding is generally considered the polite thing to do).

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5. Can you provide a simple list of guidelines for trading with you, or for trading in general?
Yes. In fact, I'd love to! Thank you for asking such a considerate question.

Actually, a lot of the answers to the other questions on this page end up dealing with a lot of the issues I might include in any list of guidelines, but I'll try to consolidate and write about some larger issues here. First of all I'm a big believer in communication. Be truthful, forthright, and honest about what you have and what you know about it. Also, try to keep up on your email--don't start a trade and then go on vacation for a month without telling the person. This will not win you any friends on the other end. In my earlier days, when I was more anxious about getting shows and more worried about when they would arrive, I was always happier when the trader I was working with let me know when each step of the process was completed: when he had finished burning my discs, when he had mailed them, and about how long it would be before I could expect to get them.

Another important point is accuracy. This ties in to one of my cardinal rules, which is to always listen to your shows before giving them to other people. I have received literally piles of incorrect, misdated, or badly recorded shows due entirely to the fact that the trader did not listen to the master disc before copying it. If there is a major problem with any show, or if the date is at all questionable, I'd like to know about it beforehand, instead of finding out later. Now maybe you don't want to go around researching the gig dates and venues for all your shows--that's understandable. But there are one or two fairly dependable and easy to use resources for gig dates on the web (see question 12 for more information on this).

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to audio shows is pauses. Some burner software and some careless users of burner software can cause dead air of varying lengths to be inserted between the tracks on a copied CD. Most of the time the pauses are incredibly short in length, down to a fraction of a second--but this is still long enough to disrupt the flow of the music and annoy the heck out of most hardcore traders. No live recording should have pauses between tracks (the problem is most noticeable and most annoying when medleys are broken across tracks that have pauses, but it's also annoying in other places). Some pauses, even if short, can cause hitches or even hiccups in the recording, and are known to add pops or scratches. If you possibly can, always make discs without pauses. Choosing the right burner software can help solve this problem very easily. For more info on this, consult question 6.

Another tip for beginning traders and for traders whose trading is becoming heavier and more hectic is to always keep good records of your trades. I personally have a separate folder on my email program where I keep all trade-related emails, so I can remember what has been decided upon in the trade, what details the trader has supplied about himself and his shows, and of course what his email address is in case I need to email him again (traders can also be women; I am not sexist, but in my experience they are usually men, which is why I am using male pronouns).

I also maintain an additional, separate text file in which I write barebones descriptions of all trades I am in the process of completing and all recently completed trades, along with details of what point I am at in a trade. I write which shows I'm getting, which shows I need to give in return, the mailing address of the trader, and whether I have mailed the package to him yet or not (and sometimes if I'm very good I also note the date at which the other person sent their package, so I know when to expect it). I usually keep all this information until I have listened to all the shows and put comments on my site--then I consider it discardable.

Some people make a note of the name of the person they got each show from by writing it on the discs or on the cases somewhere--I don't actually do this myself, but I still think it's a good idea. Just in case anything is wrong with the show or if any question ever comes up about the origin or details of the show, or just in case you want to remember who helped you out when, it's good to remember who gave you what. If you are trading with a lot of people at once, this kind of record-keeping will help prevent errors like sending person A's discs to person B instead, or forgetting to burn all the shows person A wanted, or leaving some of the discs for person A in your living room instead of putting them in the package. It will also keep you from going crazy trying to juggle all those people and places and trades in your head.

Again, these are just some basic tips for trading; the real detailed guidelines and other vital information is included in the rest of this FAQ. Even if you are a bona fide trader and not a beginner, I recommend that you at least skim through the rest of the questions--it could be helpful! And please, if you have any tips or questions for me, feel free to email.

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6. What kind of CD burner should I use? Is there any way to exactly copy a CD without adding errors or pauses between tracks? What is SHN/FLAC/APE? How do I make an SHN disc? Do you have SHN/FLAC/APE shows?
I don't consider myself qualified to really make technical pronouncements (which quickly become out-of-date anyway), but I do have some slight personal experience with burning CDs at least. I can't help you shop for your burner, but I can tell you that you don't actually need a re-writable drive to burn audio CDs if that's all you want to do; and that a really cheap, non-name-brand burner will probably be cheap for a reason: because it sucks.

If you want to do particular things with your burner, like make VCDs and/or be able to make good copies, you don't really have to look around for a special burner. The more important thing when it comes to details of burning is the software that you use. Some software is definitely better than others. I use a Mac with Roxio's Toast. Toast is an excellent Mac program for burning, but I don't think it's available for PC machines. Perhaps Roxio makes a Windows program for burning, and if so I'd recommend that (if you are one of the many unfortunate Windows users out there). Another good burner program that is for Windows is Nero. These particular programs will hopefully allow you to figure out very easily how to remove pauses from your discs. You need to find software that will at least give you the flexibility to easily remove all pauses. Keep in mind that by default all audio discs MUST have a two-second pause at the beginning of the disc, on the first track (just make sure you're not putting that pause at the end of the first track--it goes before).

To avoid adding errors to copied discs, like scratches or skips, all you have to do is make sure you don't copy your discs too quickly. Usually when you buy a burner, it has a maximum write speed atttached to it. Actually, a CDRW drive generally is described with three different speeds, which are probably the write speed, the re-write speed, and the read speed, in that order; mine, for instance, is labeled "24x10x40x." The read speed (in this case, 40x), the speed at which the drive reads a disc placed in its tray, is always the highest number. The write speed (24x), the maximum burning speed of the laser, is never as high as the read speed (probably because it takes more time to burn a disc than to read from it, logically enough). The re-write speed, the maximum speed at which the burner can burn a re-writable disc (10x), is always quite a bit slower than the write speed for a normal CD-R. CD-RWs or rewritable discs are very good as reusable data storage devices, but they can't be read by every drive, especially when it comes to stereos and CD players; it's better to use a normal CD-R to make an audio disc, which is fine because they're cheaper and can be burned at a faster speed--you just won't be able to write over them or add to them in any way once they've been burned. If you mess up when burning a CD-R, it's time to go get another CD-R.

The little "x" next to the numbers in the maximum speeds described above is like the multiplication symbol, and is read "times." Thus the write speed of my burner is "twenty-four times." This means that the burner can hypothetically burn something twenty-four times faster than the real time in which it would play (note that real time playing speed is NOT equivalent to the "read speed;" it's just how long your audio track is). A simple example: let's say that my maximum burn speed is actually 20x. If I burn an audio track that is 10 minutes long at that maximum speed, it should take 1/20 of 10 minutes or .5 minutes (thirty seconds) to burn. Considering the actual real-time playing length of the track, this is really good time we're making. In a more realistic hypothetical case, I might burn a 60-minute audio disc at 16x, which would take 3.75 minutes or 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

It's all very well to have a nice, high maximum speed, but a good rule of thumb to go by when making audio discs is to never burn a disc at the maximum burning speed. In this way, you have a much better chance of avoiding the errors that are introduced onto a disc whose laser cannot keep up with the assigned writing speed (usually due, as far as I can tell, to an inability by the burner to read the source material fast enough). One good, dependable way to avoid errors when copying an audio disc is to extract all of that disc's tracks to your hard drive and burn the copy from the hard drive files. Otherwise, you'll be copying from disc to disc, a method known as "burning on the fly." This requires two disc drives, the burner drive and the drive holding the original disc (the "read-from drive"), and also requires a fast and very dependable read speed on the part of the read-from drive. When I copy "on the fly," I generally lower my burn rate to 4x, to help account for any disruptions or lags in speed on the part of the read-from drive. This is very slow, but it usually guarantees that the CD laser does not outrun the read-from drive and mess up the copy. The best way to guarantee this, however, is as I said to copy the original to your hard drive and read from the hard drive instead of the CD drive. The hard drive can read information a lot faster than the CD drive, and will usually allow you to up your write speed to something like 16 or 24x at least.

How do you know what is too fast a write speed for your burner? Well, after multiple burns, you'll get used to what your burner can handle--also, the burner should be able to tell you what its maximum capabilities are (as described above). Finally, your burner software should have a feature for testing the speed--it does a dry-run of reading from one of the CD tracks to see if the read speed is fast enough to match the write speed specified.

I for one have basically given up burning on the fly--I always extract the disc to my hard drive when copying it. When it's on the hard drive, I burn at 16x and generally the burning process for one disc does not last longer than around 4 or 5 minutes (as approximated in my example of the 60-minute disc above). With 4x burning on the fly, it takes about 15 minutes for me to copy one disc. Do the math! The only downside to burning off your hard drive is that you have to first copy all the audio files to the hard drive, which is hands-on, somewhat time consuming (though it doesn't take 15 minutes per disc), and requires that the hard drive involved have enough free space; the one advantage to on-the-fly burning is that you can just hit record and walk away.

Of course, even if you burn at a very slow speed and from your hard drive, there is still a miniscule chance that the copying process will add some tiny pops or some such to your copied disc (I really don't find this to be a major problem and I usually don't care about it at all, but some people do). Another consideration is a disc that is going to be weeded; people who are familiar with weeding or have read my answer to question 4 will know that weeding can cause lots of errors to get introduced into a recording. To try to prevent something like this from happening in the course of multiple copies being made from a master disc, people make use of SHN discs, or lossless compression files.

SHN (of FLAC or APE) is actually a compression format ("Shorten") that makes normal AIFF and WAV audio files about half the size as normal. It is a "lossless" compression format, meaning that you get a smaller size file but you don't lose any quality in the process. There are other compression formats, like FLAC and APE, but they all behave the same basic way. The SHN is a data format, which means once you have your lossless SHN files you burn them onto a data disc and send it on. The person at the other end is hopefully able to de-compress SHN files and convert them back into the original audio files, then burn their own audio disc that is in no discernible way any different than the original master copy. This certainly cuts down on errors in discs. All it requires is that you download the Shorten software (or preferably software that can encode/decode multiple compression formats--my current chosen Mac software is xACT, which can deal with SHN, FLAC and APE), which you can probably find through a simple search on the web. I think all software of this type is available for both Mac and Windows. It compresses and uncompresses (encodes/decodes), so you can convert audio files to compressed files and vice versa.

(These compression formats are used on shows downloaded from torrent sites, so if you're going to get a torrent, you will also need software that deals with compressed files--see question 3a if you don't know what torrents are.)

I do have this software, and I do actually have a few data discs with compressed audio files, but I actually don't use them much and all the shows I have listed on my site will be traded using regular audio burning techniques. If you want me to convert to SHN, etc., I can, but keep in mind that most of the audio discs I have have been burned by other people, probably over multiple generations, and whatever errors could have been added in are probably already there--SHN doesn't make the disc any better than it is, it's just a very good way to copy the data. Also, using SHN to trade uses up a lot of blanks, because you have to burn the audio disc onto another blank after receiving the SHN disc. I usually find it to be too much trouble to bother with. However, I can see how it could have a lot of advantages when you are weeding a show, and I recommend it in that case (see question 4 for info on weeding).

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7. Do you do blanks and postage trades?
The short, misleading answer to this question is "no." The slightly longer answer is: "I do something even better."

First of all, for those of you who don't know, a "blanks and postage trade" (or B+P) is the kind of trade a very beginning trader would make to get music from someone. If the someone with music agrees to it, the beginner will fill a package with blank CD-Rs and a list of what shows they want, include a self-addressed envelope with return postage, and mail it all off. The trader on the other end, not having to provide any of the materials necessary to give the other person music (since the beginner has provided the blanks and the packaging for return mailing), simply has to put in the time to burn the discs and drop the thing at the post office. (In some versions of this system, the trader may ask for double the required number of blanks, so that they at least get some blank discs out of the deal.) This is something that, unfortunately, your bigger traders will not do; the people who have the most music and are therefore in the best position to really help others with blanks and postage deals are the ones who get swamped the most with requests for free music and, thus, are the ones who are least likely to do it.

I for one do not believe in blanks and postage. It involves money, and I don't like the idea of money, even for postage or in the form of postage, travelling around in bootleg-related packages. The way I work is as follows. If someone asks me for music, but has absolutely nothing to give me in return except for the promise that they will be eternally grateful (and maybe will remember me when they acquire something later on that I might like), I generally ask them to just mail me some blank discs and I will burn them for them (no postage and no return packaging required, in other words). There are rules for this, however:

1. I don't like the number of blanks to exceed 10--that's about as much as I'm willing to give you for "free," and I think it's a good basis for which to then be able to trade with other people and start building your collection that way, instead of simply with handouts.

2. I prefer brand name blank discs (CD-Rs), though which brand I'm not particular about. Maxell, Imation, Fujifilm, and most other well known brands all work fine (for more info on what kind of blanks I prefer, though it's basically a reiteration of this, see question 15).

3. I hate it when people mail the blank discs in their full size crystal cases. Don't do this. It makes your package bigger and bulkier, increases the weight and the postage, and the cases always, ALWAYS get cracked when they go through the postal system, no matter how much bubble wrap you put around them. Plus when you send me the discs in the cases, I am obligated to send them back to you in the cases, which increases my postage costs as well. You can buy blanks on a spool and then put them in sleeves for transport--or better yet, I believe some CD-Rs come pre-packaged in sleeves.

4. Make use of the handy-dandy "bubble-pak." Any office supply store will have these bubble-wrap-lined mailers that are fine for shipping blanks. Though the crystal cases always get smashed in shipping, you'd be surprised how little protection is necessary for the blank discs themselves, beyond the simple bubble-pak packaging and some kind of individual sleeve covering. For added support, a rectangle of cardboard slipped in along the length of the package or sandwiching the blanks themselves will really help--though even this is not necessary and will probably add to the postage costs.

5. It always helps to include a list of what shows you want in the package, even though I will probably have kept the email in which these details were finalized.

I think that covers that. I don't like it to get around that I do this, or I may have to stop doing it--with my method, I have to pay for the postage on all these things, and I wouldn't want to get inundated with requests, as it would sap my free time and my money. But I did get into this whole web site and trading deal to help people get music. So if you really need help, don't be shy.

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8. I have music on tape. Can I transfer it? Will you trade CDs for tapes?
I can transfer tape onto CD if you can't. I'm willing to take an audio tape if it has a recording I want on it and it's only in that format, though I prefer CD. I will trade pretty much every Genesis-related item for any other Genesis-related item--the only barrier to this is working out an even trade with varying media, and the issue of whether or not the medium chosen is capable of duplication. I've had people send me their own tour booklets, without being able to duplicate them, since they just didn't want them anymore.

If you'd like to know how to transfer a tape, I can give you a vague idea of how I do it myself. I have a very tiny tape deck from RadioShack with what's called a "Y-cable" plugged in the back. It's a Y-cable because the left and right audio jacks on one end combine to one "in" jack on the other end that plugs into the audio "in" port on my computer. I then use my chosen audio editing program (Adobe Premiere--not a very common choice, and very expensive if you actually buy a copy) to import the sound from the input port. The unfortunate part of this is that you can only import the audio in real time--meaning, you have to play the whole tape at normal speed to import the whole tape (no "24x" here). It's possible to capture a tape piecemeal, trying to start and stop the tape and the import from song to song and get track-length audio files out of it. What I do, however, is import a whole side of a tape at a time and break it up into tracks afterwards using my audio-editing program. Of course, your ability to do this will be limited by the capabilities of your chosen audio-editing program. Also, you'll need the appropriate in-port on your computer for importing sound--on some models, this may require adding a card to the machine. Keep in mind that files for CDs have to be AIFF or WAV format--to get even more technical, 16-bit sound with a 44khz sample rate, but you probably won't need to worry about these niceties.

More information on the type of media I accept can be seen on question 9. More information on certain technical aspects of the burning process can be seen in question 6.

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9. Do you trade video for audio, and vice versa? Do you only take Genesis, or will you accept music by other bands?
As mentioned in question 8 and possibly elsewhere, I will trade anything in my collection that I can duplicate for anything Genesis-related that interests me, regardless of whether it's audio, video, memorabilia, interview, rehearsal, live gig, or studio outtake. In a basic video for audio trade, it is usually customary to trade 1 for 2 (one video show for two audio shows--though actually I usually count it as one DVD or VHS for two audio discs, which is really one show for one show). When it comes to VCDs, which are CD-Rs with compressed video material on them that play in most DVD players, I usually treat them the same as an audio disc.

I am also open to creating custom CDs from material in my collection, or repairing tracking errors or hiccups or pauses in CDs you have.

As for non-Genesis material, a little explanation. The reason I got into trading was solely to expand my Genesis collection. In fact, I didn't even used to accept material from solo members of the band, because it distracted me from my main purpose. However, sometimes when I'm trading with someone they won't have Genesis material that I want, but they do have good solo member stuff or they have live material by other bands that I'm interested in. Just to humor them and get them the Geneis music they want from me, I sometimes accepted and do accept this not-strictly-Genesis material. In this way I have gathered a certain amount of utterly non-Genesis music, mostly just to be able to trade with people who wanted my Genesis music. Non-Genesis stuff I got in the past was from the following bands: David Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Police, Queen, R.E.M., Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen, Yes. I may even expand this list if you happen to have something by another band I like (the Talking Heads, for instance). Go here or click the "Others" button from the top of any page of my Live Recordings section to check out details on all my non-Genesis shows, including track lists and fairly accurate date/venue information.

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10. I want [insert name of song or gig here]. Where can I find it? How do I find out if you have it?
To a certain extent, this question deals with the organization of this site and how to navigate through it. To figure out those basics, you can look at the site map which can be reached from off the "Huh?" page (the question mark button on the main page). Hopefully the way this section of the site is organized can be answered fairly clearly by going to the top of this page and checking out the large array of buttons.

My audio shows that are not compilations are organized by tour chronologically on the larger section pages, and are also all listed on my Short List page. If you don't know the date of the gig you want to find, there are several ways to find dates and venues (see question 12 for that information), including other sites, certain Genesis books, and my own set list page which may help to narrow down what tour your show is from if you know what songs are in it. Simon Funnell's The Movement has a pretty powerful search feature.

If your bootleg has some kind of catchy name, like "Master of Chicago" or "No Replay At All," you could also search for that name. However, bootlegs often have multiple names and not everyone uses the same name for the same gig--the best way to find a show is by its date, venue, or location. Of course, this kind of information is all too often incorrectly labeled on shows, but on my larger pages I usually try to mention these kind of issues. Simon Funnell's web site The Movement also has a good list of "fake shows," along with their correct dates. If you're just looking for a particular song, the find feature will work just as well for that.

Of course, the easiest way to find out what I have is to either take a browse through my web pages or just email me.

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11. I am from [insert name of home country here]. Where are you from? If we are in different countries, will you still trade with me? How will this affect postage costs?
I live in the United States of America, on the east coast of that nation, in the great state of New Jersey. I have no objection to trading with people from other countries; some nations I've sent packages to: Israel, France, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and various South American nations (even Texas!). As long as I can understand your English well enough to set up a trade with you, I am willing to complete the trade.

As for postage costs, they definitely do increase when it comes to international mailing; how much this will set you back on your end depends on what country you're in. For instance, it is my understanding that South American countries like Argentina have very high postage costs for international packages. In the US, as long as you keep the weight and size of the package down, international mail isn't too outrageous.

When it comes to mailing a package, I send international packages by standard air mail and domestic shipments by US first class. For a little while I sent stuff priority all the time so that it would arrive quicker, but I've since decided the additional two or three days this saves is really not worth the additional expense--this is especially true when it comes to international or "global" priority. International air mail usually takes about a week to get to its destination if I send it to Europe, though sometimes it can take several weeks, even up to a month. Domestic packages sent from point to point within the US only take a few days, usually not longer than a week.

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12. I have a show, but I'm not sure where or when it's from. Where can I find information about bootleg venues and dates of performances?
There are several places to go for information about Genesis and solo live dates and venues. I like to use multiple sources when doing my own research for this site, because you'll find that information does not always agree and that a certain amount of comparison and weighing has to be done. I try to use some reliable and dependable sources, such as Simon Funnell (owner and operator of The Movement, the best source for Genesis information on the web, period, which has a huge gig database with fairly well-researched dates and venues), the official Genesis web site (which at one time at least had a very nice gig guide), Alan Hewitt (author of Opening the Musical Box: A Genesis Chronicle, which includes a detailed gig list of Genesis and solo performances), and other bootleg web pages (I'm a pretty big fan of "Halley and Peter's Genesis List," which is a nice collection of bootlegs with some okay venue information and also detailed track lists that are a good way of finding out whether you have a correctly dated show or not--Simon also has this feature, though it's always better to look at more than one source when attempting an identification).

It's possible that if you have a show with no identifying information whatsoever, you'll be entirely lost as to where to even begin looking for its date or venue. However, this information is very important to have, especially if you ever intend to trade the show to someone else--I know I for one would not want to get a show whose origins were unknown or dubious. I'd have no way of knowing whether it was something I already had or not! One other possible aid might be my own reference page, the Set Lists Through the Ages page which can be reached through my Lists page and which details all of the various set changes that can occur over the course of a tour.

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13. How do you rate the quality of your shows?
Most--actually I think it's safe to say all--bootleg sites and/or lists provide a rating system to give prospective traders an idea of how good various shows are. A lot of them make use of a letter grading system, with A+ being the best and F (or F-; ouch!) being the worst. Just to be different, I use a complicated wording system that unfairly weights the ratings toward the positive:

Very Poor - Poor - Fair - Good - Very Good - Excellent

I also heavily employ hybrid ratings. Good-Very Good, for instance, falls between those two ratings. I am also known to use the rating Very Good-Good which, believe it or not, is a different rating than Good-Very Good (Very Good-Good is slightly better, because its name begins with the higher rating--get it?). The hybrids only ever combine ratings that are next to each other in the scale; for instance, you'd never see a "Poor-Good" rating, because a rating that was of that type of quality would be better named "Fair." You'd only see hybrids like Poor-Fair, Fair-Poor, Fair-Good, Good-Fair, Good-Very Good, etc. (these are in order from worst to best quality).

If you look through my ratings on the site, you'll notice that the lower end of the scale is only very rarely touched--I generally hover around Fair to Very Good. I barely use Fair. Excellent is also rare, however, as I usually reserve it for very clean, official sounding soundboard shows. Very Poor is reserved for shows so bad that they can barely be recognized as music. Very Good is usually for radio shows and exceptional audience shows. Well-recorded audience shows get a Good most of the time. Fair and Poor are used on shows that have multiple problems and where the vocals are difficult to understand (usually these are audience shows, but not always). By the way, if you don't know what I'm talking about when I say "audience," "radio" or "soundboard" shows, see question 1a.

Actually, rating is a surprisingly subjective process and when it comes to these little distinctions people will often disagree. Also, over a large collection, it's very hard to maintain a consistent rating system. For instance, if I were to sit down now and listen to a recording that I rated Fair two years ago and one that I just yesterday rated Good, they might sound nearly identical in quality (over the years, having become accustomed to typical audience bootleg sound quality, I've probably taken to rating stuff more and more leniently). Really you shouldn't totally trust little distinctions in anyone's rating systems--they are only really useful as a general kind of idea of what the thing sounds like. In my case, the best way to find out what the show really sounds like to me is to read my detailed comments on it, where all the tiny stuff is discussed.

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14. How do you feel about artwork for bootlegs?
Funny you should ask! Being a graphic designer, I enjoy making CD inserts and artwork, and when I started out collecting it was my intention to make my own insert for every show I received. I quickly learned, however, that having to maintain this site and make artwork AND live my life were too many things. I dropped the artwork. Before I did, however, I did make a few inserts. Thumbnails for some of the covers I've made can be seen on the entries for those shows in my larger pages. Generally the covers I made on my own are for shows that are no longer the best versions from that date, so they are not worth circulating, but if for some reason you see one that you like, I'd be happy to provide you with the files on request.

The main core of functional artwork I have produced was for the Coaster Factory, a remastering group that released cleaned-up Genesis and solo shows. The artwork for those shows is also in thumbnail form on my site (see the goodies section) and is on Simon Funnell's artwork archive for those shows.

I used to send people printouts of the artwork that was made by me, but I don't really do that anymore. People interested in my artwork can download them at the place listed above. My experience is that most traders do not provide artwork or track lists, so I don't go to the trouble either, unless requested.

As for standard bootleg artwork, I generally don't use it myself and don't expect other people to send me copies of it. All I really expect from someone in a trade is the discs I asked for--and it's generally all I get. Track and venue information I'm used to gathering from my own reference sources (as listed in question 12). I also don't expect to get full size crystal cases from you--in fact, I specifically ask that you not send those (see question 7 for my full opinion on that). I feel guilty getting artwork printouts because I don't send them in return, so I'd prefer not to get those either--though it is a nice little touch to get it every once in a while. My opinion on art inserts, as with crystal cases, is that the trader who receives the shows can provide those on his end by (in the case of the artwork) finding the files on the web and printing them out himself rather than requiring the sender to provide them in the package--if both people adhere to this idea, it can work out just fine.

Need to find artwork for a show? The best place that I know of for Genesis artwork is Simon Funnell's The Movement, which has a nearly comprehensive Artwork Archive database with downloadable files (as mentioned in the first paragraph of this answer). These are actually better than getting printouts from people, because generally when people send artwork they send low-res, possibly multiple-generation scans of the distant original, not original digital files. Simon's files are digital images that can get printed out from your system onto whatever paper you like. I would like to extend a warning about artwork, though, to those who may not be aware: non-remaster-group artwork for bootlegs was probably created by bootleg record labels that are not huge fans of Genesis specifically and who are not fully versed in venue information, song titles, or even the correct spelling of simple words. Therefore, while artwork can look very pretty, it is often dotted with inaccuracies. The exception to this is artwork provided by official remastering groups, who know their stuff and often even provide interesting details about the gig in addition to correct track lists and venue information. Of course, my artwork is checked for accuracy as well, though in some cases I have since acquired alternate versions of the shows I originally made artwork for, so my best versions of those shows may not have track lists/times that exactly match those on the insert (this is not true of the Coaster Factory shows, which unless you have obtained a multi-generation, mistakenly re-tracked version of the discs, should all have perfectly accurate artwork). You have been warned...

Some full artwork sets include a front insert, a back, and a label to stick on the CD surface itself. I despise these labels and ask that you please, please, NEVER use them, even on discs you're going to use for just yourself. This is because even if the stickers have been printed out and put on the CD perfectly, with no air bubbles (sometimes a difficult task to perform), slot-loading CD drives often have problems both taking them in and spitting them out. (See the Marquee Club bootleg in the 70-75 section for a related horror story.) I also discuss the downsides of CD labels on my wish list page.

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15. Do you have a favorite brand of blank CD? Would you prefer I use a specific brand? How do you feel about writing on CDs using a marker or pen?
I don't have a preference for brand of blank; any name brands will do. I know for certain that Imation, Maxell, Fujifilm, and other such brands consistently work well. There used to be and possibly still are more than one capacity for blank CD-Rs: 74 and 80 minutes. I always use 80 minute ones, because some of the audio discs I have probably go over the 74 minute limit. I was told once that a green writing surface is generally a sign of low quality product: "Don't use the green ones." Unfortunately it's very difficult to tell until you buy and unwrap your blanks whether they have a green writing surface; but generally if you stick to brand names, you will probably avoid getting duds.

I know some people who are very brand-conscious and will even request that you burn shows onto specific types of discs--people who are convinced that if you use a blank disc that isn't Maxell, it just won't sound right. This is hogwash. Generally, it is not the media, but the method you use to burn that causes the problem.

When it comes to writing on the discs (and in this case I mean writing in the sense of handwriting, not burning), as long as you use your marker or pen on the right side of the disc (that is, the side that is not being used by the burner to imprint the audio information), I don't really care. Some traders are strongly against the use of pens on their discs, because they feel that the ink can damage the disc or somehow lessen its lifespan. I haven't found this thus far to be true. I myself use a "Sharpie ultra fine point Permanent Marker" that does not smear and does not bead up on the disc surface. I generally write some basic information on the disc, along with the disc number, on discs that I burn to send to other people; if you are a trader who dislikes this practice, let me know and I will refrain.

Most of the time people use little post-its or scraps of paper to label the discs; this is perfectly fine. Another option, related to the artwork sometimes included with shows, is sticking a sticker label on the CD with printed out information on it. But I am strongly against the use of such labels, as explained at the end of my answer to the previous question.

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