If These Walls could Talk

We were heading home from a road trip when my wife asked if I wanted to stop anywhere before our final stop in Seattle. Having become more savvy with maps and my geography, I nonchalantly suggested a visit to Funko’s headquarters in Everett. Though she agreed, she immediately included the stipulation that I do not buy anything. “Gosh, what’s the fun in that?” I thought as I mumbled something about having five items on my list. We quickly found a parking spot headed inside and eventually went our separate ways. When she finally found me I had quickly found Sting, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland (The Police) and two Johnny Cash Funko toys. I don’t know if it was the evil eye or the reminder that I regularly complain about having too many things (Which I do.) but I immediately returned the items to their shelves and returned to my wife’s side like a wounded child who’s Halloween candy had been confiscated. When I returned home. I stood amongst the toys and records that have taken over our second bedroom and wondered how I got here and when will I decide to get out. I hope that time comes sooner than later.

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Funko Shelf-1

 

My First Full Out Record Store Day Participation.

About a year prior to my moving to a neighborhood just a few blocks from Times Square. A friend of mine convinced me to spend New Years eve freezing my ass off in a spot secured hours before the mercurial ball fell, welcoming the new year with new hope, a clean slate and number of resolutions that would surely broken within a matter of days, if not hours. Though I never would repeat the act and seldomly go near that tourist trap in my eight or so years as a Hell’s Kitchen. I had earned the right to say. “I did that.”  Bone shivering cold and tinging extremities aside. It was somewhat of a right of passage from adolescence to adulthood.

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As 2019′ Record Store Day quickly approached and the weeks turned to days. I did everything in my power to convince my loving, supportive and determined wife that I did not want or need to partake in such shenanigans. . Still, in the end. It felt as though she was, not only interested, but determined to go through with a plan. Regardless of proper and scientific research. In the days that led up to the event, she sent me the RSD release list and even sat down to go over my picks.

Friday night came and after arriving home from dinner. We set our alarms for 6:00am. In the back of my head I imagined either sleeping through the alarms droning or my wife flat out inability to get up that early on a weekend morning. Surprisingly enough, neither occurred and we were on the road in time to arrive just two minutes after the store’s scheduled 7:00 am opening.

As we approached the store, drove past the awaiting crowd and noticed that the line to get in stretched around two corners. An admitted sufferer of agoraphobia and one who lacks the needed patience to stand in line. I quickly remarked, “Fuck this, let’s go get breakfast. Without much debate,  we turned the car around and headed back to our home base where we experienced a first, in that we were the first customers to enter our favorite breakfast spot. After copious plates of french toast, eggs and bacon. I was convinced to give it another try.

Upon returning to the scene of the crime. The store had opened and the line was now half the original size. As we inched closer to the corner and our opportunity to enter. We began to see customers emerge from the store with bags spilling over with records. My wife teasing me about the store  being empty by the time we finally gained entry. Still feeling anxious about our choice to join the crowd. I couldn’t help but imagine the line that awaited inside.

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When we finally did make it inside. There was indeed a line wrapped around the first floor leading to the stairs that bring you to all of the gleaming, shiny records. As I tried to navigate my way to the end of the line. I not only lost my wife but felt myself being swallowed by the limited pressing horde of vinyl junkies. However, after a few calls and texts, we found ourselves navigating our stairway to nerdville. Once there, we quickly split up, quickly grabbing copies of things on our list. IMG_5019While I was quick to scoop up the last copy of the Devo Box Set. My wife did an exceptional job scooping up most of what remained on the list. From there, we headed downstairs to join the checkout line and sped off to nearby Georgetown where we ended our record shopping day by indulging in Japanese styled hamburgers. And while I promised to never get swept up in Record Store Day mania. I can pound my chest while proclaiming “I did that.” And while I promised myself to lay off buying anymore records for a while. I’ve already planned to return on Monday to pick up the remainders from that original list. Until then.

 

Admitting you have a Problem.

Most collectors have their stories, their telltales about the day they sold their records. Even my Dad lowers his head in shame whenever he recalls the day when some old man carted away a rather robust album collection that included catalogs from artists such as Frank Zappa, Tom Waits and Leon Russell.

My story is a simple one. A few months prior to getting married and and a per-marriage honeymoon to Japan. I decided to sell what seemed to be a massive collection of first pressing hardcore/punk records and demo cassettes. While my current record collection dwarfs that of the two crates of LP’s, two boxes of ‘7 inch records and crates of old hardcore demos. Due to the fact that Discogs was still years away from existing. I took to Ebay and began posting a few records a day. To my surprise, the money was good and everything I posted sold. Quickly, I went from two posts a day to seven. Demos I was either given of piad a buck or two for were going for upward of forty dollars and singles I purchased for no more than three to five dollars were selling for upward of a hundred. Within a few months I had sold almost everything. I had money in my pocket and extra space in my closets. Being somewhat nostalgic. I put aside some records that held any sentimental value. Then, just before my fiance’s and my trip to Japan, I gave in and put those sentimental pieces up for sale. The bids quickly rolled in, as did offers from Asia and Europe. Those records brought in hundreds of dollars a piece.

 

Following a visit to a vinyl junkies home some years ago. I began buying, crate digging and reacquiring records  at a quick rate. The obsession included bi-weekly trips to local and not so local record stores as well as  ordering ordering new release online from my favorite record labels and distributors. In just few years, I’ve dwarfed the size of my original collection and continue to add to what is quickly taking up every space and crevice of our current home.

This weekend, as we planned trips to both Olympia and attending a nearby record show at the Armory here in Seattle. I began to develop a sense of anxiety in regards to what I would find and take home. How much money I would spend and where those supposed records would be filed. In the end, I’d attend said record show as well as visiting two record stores. (Rainy Day Records in Olympia and Sonic Boom in Ballard.) And while I carried two hundred dollars in cash to the record show. I left with nothing. In the end I picked up four records this weekend. (Three at Rainy Day and one at Sonic Boom.) As The day came to a close. My wife reminded me of the quickly approaching Record Store Day. Talk about being an enabler.

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This weekend’s haul. Two stores and a record show. I definitely kept things in check.
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The original Kallax I bought to house my vinyl records, books and odds n’ ends. An estimated 3,000 CD’s are lurking nearby.
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The closet (The bottom row of 7′ inch singles on top of the Kallax. Boxes of LP’s on the floor.

Two Record Stores, Three Classic Titles.

Though most of my friends and family know. I’ve rarely shared my passion for music or vinyl records on this log very often. Having sold all of my original collection of LP’s, EP’s and cassettes on Ebay in the months prior to my initial three week trip to Japan in 2001. I soon learned that my choice to do so, might have been a bad one. Though having just about everything I sold on CD’s or CDR’s. I did not think that the crates of records and boxes of cassettes would be missed. I later found that my decision might have been a hasty one.

Starting only a few years ago. I slowly started to purchase and collect vinyl again. Since that time, I’ve managed to recollect most of the records I originally owned and sold. I’ve also eclipsed the original size of what I once thought of as too many records. I’m at a point now where I’ve become a bit more selective with what I buy, often reminding myself that I’m getting older and will someday have to pack them up and move. Still, my obsession and my wife’s support of my weekly trips to various vinyl record outlets doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

Oh, How We’ve Grown

Back in May I purchased the Canon 15mm wide angle lens from B&H with the explicit intent to incorporate it into my concert photography.  I opened the box and attached the lens to my Canon 7D with the same child like enthusiasm and glee  a kid who’s just come downstairs to see all of his gifts spread in piles under the tree gets. I searched every nook and cranny of the apartment in search for that perfect exaggerated view point. I took a handful  of shots, one of which was the newish piece of furniture I had gotten from Ikea. At the time I had just started collecting/purchasing records again. It had been ten years since I sold all of my vinyl and cassettes on Ebay to help pay for a trip to Japan. At the time, I can honestly say it was worth it. However, as the years passed I realized  I had put a monetary value on something that was very valuable to me emotionally. So in May of 2011 with a living room and a second bedroom filled with CD’s I embarked on rebuilding my vinyl collection.

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January 2012

It started innocently enough with a 7 inch here and a garage sale LP there. But has suddenly turned into an animal all it’s own. Now, I’m not complaining. No, not in the least. I really cherish crate digging and hitting my favorite vinyl spots with friends. I’m not worried about space either. I’ve got plenty of cubicles to fill thanks to Ikea. I am however amazed at just how much I’ve amassed in a matter of six or seven months. I started this blog in part to chronicle my history and progress as a photographer and of course an individual. Though this might not exactly be considered progress, it sure as hell can be referred to as growth.

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January 2012

New Photo Background and Tasty Vinyl

Wednesday afternoon I headed to Calumet over on 22nd Street to pick up a few  extras for the studio. I’ve been looking into getting a new muslin ever since my cat threw up on the rather large white one I had for so long. Although I’ve been using seemless for the most part. I like to mix it up from time to time. Seemless backgrounds are great but getting a couple of nine footers on the train back to Hoboken can be a bit of a haul. I picked up a nice black one that just happened to be on sale. I like the fact that I can take them down easily, roll them in a ball and toss them in the washer when needed. Once I started to use the black consistently in my shoots I didn’t want to shoot any other color again. The black adds a certain drama to B&W photos while adding pop to color. How can you go wrong. I learned early about placing the lights and the model a bit further from it  to avoid weird circles and flare ups in the background. Once I got past that it was all gravy. Here’s a picture I took with my new copy of the New Breed compilation. The Wild Style version is a limited pressing of 200 and I was lucky and grateful to get 1/200. The compilation was originally released as a tape comp. in 1989. It featured the absolute best NYHC bands of the time. It’s just be reissued for the first time on vinyl through Freddy Alva’s Wardance Records.

http://wardancerecords.bigcartel.com/

How Many Records is “Too Many Records”?

I’ve always been a fanatic when it came to music. Some of my earliest memories involve me sitting in my diapers amongst my parents rather encompassing record collections. Before I was even really listening I would sit in awe amongst piles of records. Bewildered and a bit freaked out by the cover art of artists such as Leon Russell, Frank Zappa and Tom Waits, just to name a few. As I grew my parents and their tastes had a serious influence on my ears and and my ongoing obsession with music. By the age of ten I had already attended a couple of concerts and developed my own musical tastes for bands like The Clash, AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix. My Dad would make me sit with him as he forced Zappa and Waits records on me. At the time I hated what I was hearing and thought my Father was well, nuts. Years later I’m still obsessed with music and in particular, buying records.

Today my friend and I took our monthly trek driving over two hours past state lines to our favorite record store. Now being that my friend is pretty much the sickest record collector I have ever known, it’s not odd for him to drop a couple of hundred dollars on any said occasion. As for me, I’m a little more conservative with my shopping. Often spending under a hundred dollars a trip and stick to the endless selection of 7 inch records the store has to offer. However, on this particular trip I decided to start with the LP’s. Now when I say “Big Mistake”, I mean “Big Mistake”.  About ten years ago I decided to sell my record collection to help fund a trip to Japan. Although I made a lot of money at the time, it’s something I later regretted. So about a year or two I started rebuilding my record collection. Basically replacing what I had sold as I picked up ones I didn’t have and new ones that have come out since. Two years later I have twice as many records than I ever had before I sold them and my collection/obsession keeps growing.

As I went from bin to bin my pile kept growing and multiplying. Most of them were one dollar purchases so what did it matter. Then my buddy handed me a few more records he pulled out for me when he was cruising the adjacent aisle. Before I knew it I was putting a box of eighty three records in his car. I was happy with my choices and my overall purchase but damn, getting them up three flights of stairs once I got home was a bitch to say the very least. As I sit here writing I’m also listening to the Manowar record my buddy put aside for me. Thanks bro, I’m enjoying it. On a side note, I’ve noticed my Mother has been reading the blog lately and I fully prepared for the lecture I’ll soon receive. Mom, lecture all you want. But you’re responsible for creating this monster.