Original Release Date
May 7, 1993
What is the memory you most associate with this title?
I jumped on the bandwagon of shopping for music on the Internet really early. How early? Amazon hadn’t even launched when I was sending checks to complete strangers on the rec.music.marketplace group on USENET.
CD Connection had a TELNET interface where you could buy albums at warehouse prices. Interstate taxation hadn’t yet become an issue, although the markup to ship to Hawaii was obscene.
As terrific as Tower Records was, they couldn’t fit everything in the store, and they couldn’t cater to someone with tastes as esoteric as mine.
I bought Halfrack on the Internet, most likely from CD Connection. I knew it would take Tower weeks, if not months, to stock it, so I cut out the middle man and got it myself.
What was happening in your life when it was released?
In May 1993, I was preparing to move back to Honolulu after spending two semesters in New York City on the National Student Exchange Program.
This program allowed students to attend another university in the country while paying either the in-state tuition of the host school, or the in-state tuition of the visitor’s school.
I had wanted to go to the Mainland for college like a number of my high school friends, but my family couldn’t afford it. My parents’ combined income put us out of reach of financial aid, unless I opted to take out loans, which my mom insisted not happen.
I didn’t appreciate the gesture at the time, but I’m glad for it now. I have no student debt, and I’m sure I would be in a worse financial position now had I saddle myself with it.
What was happening in your life when you bought it?
The Internet wasn’t just the World Wide Web. Before the web gave the internet a graphical user interface, there were mailing lists, newsgroups, talk daemons and IRC.
And I was exploring anything music-related through these command-line interfaces. I sold and bought CDs on USENET. I developed friendships with people I would never meet through a shared love of Duran Duran. I chatted with high school friends if the
finger command revealed they were online many time zones away.
I also started to shift my academic focus away from music and onto journalism. I wrote a few reviews for the Hunter College newspaper when I lived in New York, and I liked the experience so much, I kept writing for the paper at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The seeds of this web site were pretty much being sown right around the time I picked up this album.
What do you think of it now?
I have to admit I didn’t listen to Halfrack as much as I could have at the time. V as in Victim followed shortly afterward and quickly monopolized my listening time.
Halfrack set the tone for what would follow, including moments of tenderness next to controlled chaos. At five tracks, it whetted the appetite for more, and even 25+ year later, it’s an astonishing piece of work to behold.
The influence of Naked City is inescapable, which means it will always be a perpetual favorite.