Posted on 1 Comment

10 Records.

I just sold my record collection.

This was a big deal for me. I started buying records in the spring of 1975, when I was in 5th grade. Maybe the fall of ’74. I don’t remember exactly.

I do remember the very first record I bought with my own money — Jim Croce’s Greatest Hits. I don’t remember the records that came next. I do remember, in the 7th grade, asking my mom for permission to buy Kiss Alive! from Smitty’s Big Town on Shea and Tatum.

“No. No Kiss. You won’t like acid rock,” she said. So, instead of Kiss, I bought Jeff Beck’s Wired and hated it so much I stuck it into the toaster after a listen. The next time my parents took me to Smitty’s, I headed back to the record department.

“I’d like to return this.”

“What for,” the dude running the record department said.

I handed him the record. “Look, it’s warped.”

He inspected it carefully, then inspected me, then inspected the record again; then he said, “this looks like you did it.”

I swore that’s the way I got it, and he relented, adding, “Store credit only. No cash back!”

I wish I could tell you I walked out of there with Kiss Alive!, but it was a double record, which meant it was a couple bucks more — and I didn’t have any money. And I wish I could tell you I grabbed something really cool, but that would be a lie, too.

Billy Joel. The Stranger. Why’s he sitting on the bed, staring at the mask on the pillow, barefoot in a suit? What’s up with the boxing gloves hanging on the wall?

A few years later, in the fall of 1980, a kid I played football with called Pat Crane lent me London Calling!, Singles Going Steady,  and an 10″ EP (on green vinyl!) called Klark Kent. Pat’s records changed the way I listened to music. Before that, it was metal bands and whatever was on heavy rotation on KDKB. I’d buy records with the money I made working for my dad. He built houses then. I’d ask for records as gifts, too.

In the late-80’s, everyone started selling their records (or giving them away!) and replacing them with CD’s. By this time, I was friends with Ben Wood and Mike Pawlicki and Clayton Agent. They worked at Zia. I sold some of my records to Ben and Clayton when left Zia to open their own store  in ’87.  (I just wanted to help out Ben a little starting out — although he didn’t take many of mine.) Mike joined the crew almost immediately, and Eastside Records became my go-to. By 2000, records were really cheap and I was buying a lot. But that didn’t last too much longer.

I moved to Los Angeles in 2009. I kept buying, even though records weren’t cheap anymore. Then, seemingly overnight, they got expensive. Really expensive. There were a few more years where you could still score some at a flea market, but those days are pretty much gone, too.

My mom had a stroke. Elder care begins now. There’s no room at her place for 30 boxes of records; and honestly, I’ve been over them for a while. I think what I’m gonna miss most is The Ritual: picking out the LP from my wall of records; sliding it out of its sleeve; placing it on the turntable; gently pulling the trigger on the anti-static gun and then immediately running the brush along the grooves to pull off any dust; then finally listening while I read the linear notes off the back; or, even better, opening the gatefold to check out whatever was going on in there. And the warmth analogue brings to a room!

When I sold the collection, I kinda choked up. Not because I don’t have anymore records. They’re just things. It’s more about the chapters life brings us; ending old ones and starting something new.

But wait! I just found a box of my books at mom’s from last year’s VNSA Sale. Oh, I forgot about these!! And at the bottom of the box? Five records! And would you look at them?! Nothing like it.

What if I kept 10 records at a time? No more. Just less. And once I get to 10, in order to buy a new record or two, I’d have to bring a record or two in to trade? With the five I have, I got room for five more! And what if I wrote about what I get — and what I take back? Not to critique the record but more to tell a story? Records have stories. Just like books do. So why give up a beat-up (but numbered!) White Album or a funky Dave Brubeck EP in order to get, say, something by Big Star or Led Zeppelin III or Ascension or a spoken word Bukowski title?! And now that I have it, why would I ever give up that Leadbelly EP?

The possibilities are endless.







1 thought on “10 Records.

  1. Freaking awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *