Every night around 10:00 I retreat to what is essentially, the record room. Basically, it’s my office where I have my work desk and the forever growing record and CD collection. As of late, I’ve been listening to more jazz. With a rather small amount of Jazz amongst my vinyl collection. The idea of revisiting what I do have is one of the more attainable goals on my list. So there I was with my Chet Baker record practicing some tai-chi just hours before putting a rather trying day behind me. Looking back to my early twenties where I worked for a small Jazz label and floating Jazz sponsor. Chet was the artist whose horn playing really put the hooks in me. With my first Jazz album being Baker’s ‘My Funny Valentine.’ With all the records I have. I’m pretty sure I will never be able to listen to them all. For the time being, though, sitting down and listening to an album in its entirety is beyond rewarding.
Though popular within the punk community at the time, bands such as The Casualties and (pictured here) L.E.S. Stitches never really appealed to me. As a pretty clean-cut hardcore kid, the punk revival of the 90’s never captured my interest. Considering how often I ventured out to see the Radicts, Turbo A.C’s, Suicide King, Snake Charmers, and Electric Frankenstein, it’s safe to say I liked the music a lot more than the clothes and imagery. With that said, I admit to having a positive reaction when it came to the one, and only time I caught them live. There was a lot of energy from both the band and the people in attendance. Not bad by a long shot.
While I attended countless shows at many storied venues over the years, it was the VFW, and Basement shows I was lucky enough to make my way to that will always hold a special place in my heart. The conversations and friendships struck up with once strangers and standing toe to toe within spitting distance of the band. Leaning in to sing the chorus you just heard for the first time just seconds ago. Pictured here is an image of the band 3 Steps Up. I saw them along with a slew of other groups, including New Jersey’s Lifetime, Weston, Cable, and others. This Staten Island “Dagobah Cafe” named VFW Hall show, was worth the long and arduous trip from Manhattan. Thanks to former Sleeper/Serpico guitarist/vocalist for info on the band and the side story about their European tour.
Through the years, my wife has become a second set of eyes. There have been countless times when she’s requested I take shots from her minds eye and even removed my camera from my neck strap and literally taken things into her own hands. Only to frustratingly hand the camera back to me when here shot doesn’t live up to her vision. Today just happened to be one of those days. When she stopped me to show me the buds of a certain plant. She removed the camera from my neck and attempted to take her best shot. For whatever reason, she seemed befuddled as to why the auto focus wasn’t working. As I began to explain macro photo to her and suggested she try manual focus, she grew frustrated, handed the camera back to me and mumbled “Im not a photographer. You do it.” So, I did. Not bad considering I only had a 28-105 lens handy.
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.
I’m lucky enough to have a Mom and a Dad who are both healthy and alive. And while I seldom give my Mother a break about her considerably bad taste in music. Both have played a major part in influencing and supporting my never ending obsession for so long. While I’ve learned to avoid conversations about religion, politics or any sociological topics. A good bull session about music is a great way to pass the time while helping to avoid any bloodletting during any visit or phone call. Though his love of the blues and New Orleans jazz can never be questioned. A conversation regarding Tom Waits, Frank Zappa or the Night Tripper, Dr. John (Gris-Gris) can go on for days. Some of my earliest memories revolve around sitting among my parents combined record collections. Strange how it remains one of the very few memories of my parents being together. Sitting within a pile of my parents record collection. No more than four, maybe five years old. Completely freaked out by the cover art of records like Leon Russell’s “Stop All That Jazz” Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels” or Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. Album covers that told stories I might not be quite ready to read. One’s that might have me checking the closet or under the bed that night. A few years later, as my ear for music began to form. My Dad would sit me down and play Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton’s Blues Breakers, and for me, the most painful torture a nine year old can suffer, Frank Zappa’s 79′ release “Joe’s Garage.” Years later though, many of the records and artists my parents introduced me to reside in my own record collection. Artists such as Frank Zappa, Hendrix and especially Tom Waits get countless play on the turntable and all my other modes of music enjoyment. I pick up just about every Leon Russell and Frank Zappa I see and being drawn to record based on it’s cover art remains crucial to many of my crate digging adventures. Still, I can recall sitting in my pajamas among those piles of records, How each cover either told a story or inspired me to create one,
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.
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.
I was on the way to Beacon New York when my phone lit up with a text reading “Citizens Arrest tickets are almost Sold Out. Get ’em fast or miss out!” I thought “Oh, I’ll order them as soon as I get home tonight.” As soon as I walked in the door I walked over to the computer to place my order. This was something I would not procrastinate on. To my dismay and dispare they were “Sold the fuck Out.” Damn, I was pissed. I’d been hearing about this reunion long before it was even book and it was not to be missed. I posted a “If anyone out there……” and thanks to Freddy Alva and the band I was covered.
About ten of us (including Freddy New Breed, Charles from Rorschach and Amy Edge) me up for a pre-show dinner before heading over to Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory. I think I missed a couple of bands, including Mind Eraser but was lucky enough to catch Asshole Parade. I’d never heard them prior to the show but really liked their sound and overall vibe. Citizens Arrest followed and the place went ape shit. Between the moshing and the stage divers I wasn’t sure I’d make it out alive. I was front center and between being thrown into the stage and about five different stage divers delivers blows to my head with boots and body fat I was dazed and at one point almost went down. All of it was totally worth because CXA kicked some serious ass. The original lineup was all there including Janis Cackers and Ted Leo. Playing so many favorites from their good old days and even throwing in covers from SSD and Youth of Today. After the set Daryl Kahan pulled my lifeless body up on stage to take a picture of the band and Fab Five Freddy Alva. It was so good seeing so many familiar faces including Rich Trash, Justine Demetrik, Javier and so many others. Thanks to Janis for the ticket and to everyone that made it such an amazing night.