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.
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.
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.
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. While 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.
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.
Over the weekend, my wife and I drove south for our first ever trip to Olympia. Aside from all the rain I became increasingly excited when I began seeing signs bearing the name “Sleater Kinney Road.” Being that a fairly recent vinyl reissue of the bands work has not only reintroduced, but enamored me to the band’s recorded history. I couldn’t help but imagine seeing Corin, Carrie and Janet seeking shelter under the nearest bus stop canopy. “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” I thought. After securing a parking spot. We headed over to the Capitol Theatre to get a glimpse at the historic building before crossing over to Burial Grounds for a hot cup of coffee. From there we dodged the rain drops and found an awesome book store to explore Browser Books before heading a few blocks over for some excellent pizza and 80’s eye candy at a place appropriately called Old School Pizzeria. As we drove home in the rain. We agreed on what a good idea our little road trip was. Adding that we both looked forward to returning on a warmer, perhaps dryer day. I noted how it seemed we were only there for a quick hour or so. That’s when she reminded me of the two hours we spent digging in Rainy Day Records. With all the time I spend going to record stores. I can honestly say, Rainy Days stock, prices and staff are all pretty awesome. I can’t wait to return with a thorough list and a few more hours to dig at Rainy Day Records
Below are the two records I picked up. “Why two?” you ask. Well, shopping for records when your wife is standing just a few feet away. Isn’t the same as shopping for records when your wife is a few zip codes away.
Last night I received a heads up that the print I had mailed to a friend had arrived. Just a week before, Cindi stopped in at the loft for a fun, laid back photo session that would hopefully allow me to test some new gear and experiment with high key lighting. I style I had just learned from a friend and fellow photographer. Looking at older studio sessions I often shot a darker, low key side that tended to produce, moody yet stark results. Hoping to bing light to both my work and mood. I enlisted one of my favorite musicians. The image below, her showing off my box set of The Replacements first four albums. Was a personal favorite. In the past we’ve shared our mutual love for the band. Sending her an enlargement was just my way of thanking her for helping me to try some new things while returning to the type of work that inspires me the most. Thanks Cindi.