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.
I’ve taken on the impossible task of listening to all, or to be more realistic, most of the albums and singles that call our second bedroom home. With well over fifteen hundred LP’s thirteen boxes of EP’s and singles, the project has already begun to fall apart. That said, the idea is a good one. While I most likely won’t be able to listen to everything in this lifetime. I will most likely come to terms with the fact that I’ve got far too many records and I need to continue purging. That said, after selling off six crates before moving back east. It hardly made a dent.
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.
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.
It never fails. Whenever I enter a record store, it happens. Something, whether it be a song, a record, a shirt or any exchange regarding music. A connection is made. From my days as a teen working in a record store or m\y visits to record stores in any town, city or country I’ve visited.
During my first days in Seattle I found myself in a small record shop talking to a native New Yorker who did time on the early New York Hardcore scene. He pointed himself out in a Live DVD of the first Bad Brains show at CBGB’s. Later on that week I struck up a conversation with another employee who used to volunteer at the legendary Gilman St. Project. Just last week I was pulling records out of the bin when I learned that the clerk behind the counter was also originally from New York City and worked at a record store just a few blocks from the one off St. Marks St. where I was working nights.
Then there was this Sunday when I visited a record store a mere block away from where my wife and I had just devoured delicious servings of chicken and waffles. I had been to this particular store numerous times when I first settled in the area and had always found something to my liking. On this day, as I took my stash to the counter. I noticed the clerk was wearing a shirt from the surf rock superhero band Daikaiju. I pointed out the shirt and asked when/where he had seen them. Adding that I had had the pleasure of seeing them up close at a bar in Brooklyn, NY.
In late 2017 I found a kindred spirit while talking music with the record guru at a local West Seattle record store. and found myself in deep conversation could go on and on with countless stories regarding friends and relationships that began while visiting record stores or going to shows, but I’ll spare you of my never ending tales of geekdom. Instead, I offer this images of the mighty Daikaiju from their show at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn, NY.
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’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.