“The first time I heard “Super Stupid” by Funkadelic off of Maggot Brain was when I realized what rock and roll was supposed to sound like. When I listen to it now, I realize I still have no concept of what rock and roll is or is supposed to be. It’s a koan. A super, stupid koan, mind you, but one nonetheless.”
“The album is great. Flawed, but great. The title track has Eddie Hazel living out the Homeric journey within the Aeneid-like expanses of his mind, coming forthright to the base of the mountain and—facing the Phaedrus-esque horns—decides to split the Over/Around conundrum by simply playing guitar to the mountain, Old Testament style.
The groove in “Wars of Armageddon” is (to say nothing of the auditory gymnastics used in mixing that song) the battle cry from whence the Civil Rights did not come from, but came on: “More Power to the People; More Pussy to the Power.” On that track as well as “Hit It and Quit It,” Ramon ‘Tiki’ Fulwood is doing circles around the downbeat, only to close out the whole cricket and bull’s-eye at the end of every phrase. Please.
In the album you hear the influences of The Coasters and Hendrix, the subsequent impetus and tendrils of Prince, Outkast. The sassiest background vocals ever. The decree by Dr. Funkenstein himself, George Clinton, that Funkadelic is in fact the Third Father to Mother Earth, Maury Povich style.
“As we’re a duo, we each had a different ‘first time’ with vinyl… and interestingly enough, they were from completely different genres, and Henry’s features a personal connection.”
“My first experience of vinyl was when I was four in the Eighties, and my eldest brother pressed his first record, a jazz record with his band Neon Penguin (yes, that was their real name). My proud mother relentlessly played his record to various folk, leaving such an indelible impression on me that as a teenager. When I made my first track on my new Akai sampler, I sampled the vocals from that very record. So, it’s stayed with me… and my mother still plays classical and jazz records, and I can’t wait till she plays our first record.”
“I remembered rummaging through my parents vinyl collection around age 11, and being drawn to the dark, simple and broody cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.“
“Their tastes usually ran to fairly innocuous Seventies folk artists, with record covers featuring wholesome looking women with long corn-coloured hair, flared jeans and daisy chains, clutching an acoustic guitar and looking pensive. Black Sabbath’s sleeve stared up at me from amongst the folk records like an angry bruise—dark, a little bit psychedelic, and slightly evil looking. I couldn’t get that record out of the cover fast enough and straight onto the record player.
“Though it’s not an original thought, it’s worth reminding everyone: being in a band today is tough. The democratisation of music is fantastic in many respects, but does mean people are used to hearing music free, on Spotify, YouTube, and so on. For bands, shunning these platforms is not an option, so the challenge is really to find new ways to get music across to people without being purely digital (which lacks the personal touch) or physical (lots of people don’t even have the ability to play CDs or vinyl).”
“So, the Compass Tour in its infancy was an idea to address that. We recorded four tracks earlier this year, and rather than releasing them as an EP (‘Band Releases EP’ doesn’t make a good headline), we decided to release four singles in four months with a mini-tour supporting each track. These tours have taken us to the North, East, and South of the UK, with the final West tour coming up in early December.
This has been great, but didn’t solve the problem of actually selling our music—for this, we recruited the genius designer Wayne Pashley from The Little Inkwell, who made postcard designs for each single based on the mineral feldspar at a crystalline level. At a gig if you buy the four postcards, you also get a download code which gives you access to the four singles, meaning you get physical artwork but digital music—sort of the best of both worlds. Of course, it is also possible to use the artwork as postcards which is really old-school viral marketing.
“I’m a child of the ’80s, so I grew up with vinyl being the main music format in the household.”
“My parents are big music fans, so I was lucky enough to grow up listening to original pressings of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, and The Supremes. My mom was also a jazzercise teacher and bought a lot of ’80s pop music including Devo, The Stray Cats, and The Eurythmics. The cover art sticks with me to this day; it was so inspiring to look at strong photos of Annie Lennox and the mad outfits of Mark Mothersbaugh. Our local record store at that time was called “Licorice Pizza” (geddit?) and I absolutely LOVED going in there.
As a teenager I got really involved in the DIY/punk/hardcore scene in my hometown of Santa Barbara/Goleta. I played in a few bands, went to a ton of all-ages shows, and became good friends with people who ran record labels out of their own living rooms. These were the days when getting CDs made were just as difficult as making vinyl… so, they just put out vinyl.
My friend John Lyons (who these days makes beautiful guitar pedals) would put out records on his label, Reality Control. In fact, I was lucky enough to be featured on my first vinyl at the tender age of 16, when he put out a split 7″ with my band, 60 Cycle Hum.
“Now, I know that the world is going back to wanting to listen to music on vinyl records. The trend is growing every year. It’s so much better for the soul.”
“By the time I started consuming music it was already on CDs. The hype said that CDs were great, but the sound was never as warm and dreamy as what I heard on my parents’ old records. Now, the mp3 has taken over and even more of the soul is taken out or lost. All that music, all those frequencies, which we carefully put into our music, is missing when I listen to it on my smartphone mp3 player.
It’s sad even though I know that more options are coming down the road as chip storage gets cheaper and smaller. One of the heads of my label in Berlin is a big Howard Stern fan and he just played me a long interview with Neil Young who was someone I listened to on my parents’ records back then.
Neil has been promoting the Pono device that he helped develop, which allows the listener to have the same depth of musical experience as with vinyl. He spoke about it with such heart and enthusiasm. I look forward to being able to consume music the same as I do with mp3s but with the complete feeling.
“My father is a violinist who grew up in the west of Ireland and moved to the states after playing in ballroom bands in Manchester, UK and Galway.”
“After a couple of years in the US Army, he started his music career teaching traditional Irish music and gigging around NYC. Within a few years he was on the Ed Sullivan Show. And he was an avid vinyl collector and amassed an impressive collection ranging from classical, jazz, folk, country, big band, and of course, Irish traditional.
It was easy to move from Benny Goodman to Mahler to the great Irish tenor, John McCormick, to Jim Reeves in the course of a Sunday afternoon. I know this because my usual punishment for being what I’m sure was a hell of a brat, was that I would have to sit inside with my father on a Sunday afternoon and listen to music. Let’s just say I had many of those sessions.
“I’m 46 years old and I was born in a time when CDs didn’t exist.”
“Vinyl was the predominant media for music although analog tape was popular too. I remember being five years old, putting on headphones and getting lost in the artwork of the Beatles’ Revolver. I got lost in other LPs at an early age, the Byrds’ Greatest Hits, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Queen’s Jazz, Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants—remember that record? The album cover was perfumed. You can’t really get lost in CD artwork. Forget about mp3 artwork. It’s a different time for kids now.
Both of my parents come from musical backgrounds. I’ve been surrounded by vinyl my whole life. There’s pictures of me as a baby in my cradle with Ornette Coleman albums in the background. When I got to be high school age the first thing I did was get a job at a record store. First at Tower Records, and then at Rhino Records, both on the westside of Los Angeles.
I worked at the Rhino Records store on and off for years. I met so many amazing people there. They still feel like family. My entire formative musical career was created from vinyl records I found at Rhino. I still have many of those albums.
“For me, music on a record is like a firefly in a glass jar, the vibrations from the performances captured forever by magnetism and electricity onto a shiny, black disc—I cannot get over that.”
“That shiny, black disc, itself a mystical union between forces of nature and human mechanics, has in its grooves a moment when a singer says her words with a certain tone in mind, says them with a unique feeling of herself during that part of her life; a performance impossible to repeat ever again.
But, because of the vinyl recording, that fleeting occasion is captured for all time! And just as it all becomes too large and timeless to grasp, I realize how frequently I’ve heard the actual air in the room on a favorite album, like on Jim O’Rourke records or D’Angelo’s Voodoo, and that just utterly pushes me over the edge.
“What I love about vinyl is it ties me to a listening experience where I’m home and still.”
“I’m one of those on-the-go Americans, and listening to vinyl in my den or bedroom is grounding—I stop hustling or meeting with people and just basically hang with a record. That hang and the physicality of records ties them to the place and time where I bought them and listened to them most. I moved from Alabama to Austin in 2008, bought Amy Winehouse Back to Black at Waterloo Records, and probably listened to it 50 times in my bedroom over my first couple months there. When I listen to that record now, living in New York, it takes me back to my little house in Austin, when I was new to a city, didn’t know people with future unclear.
For me, a vinyl collection is about great 12” full-lengths from top to bottom—true pieces of music, not singles. I love the A side – B side aspect of how it breaks up a piece like intermission between two movements. I have some records where I’m particularly attached to one side. Rolling Stone’s Tattoo You, for example, I’m all about that drippy B side. I play it on repeat and don’t usually listen to side A.
“The first vinyl record I remember listening to was Led Zeppelin IV.“
“The record was my mom’s, stored in the garage along with the record player. I was probably about 10 years old at the time and Shannon and I were primarily listening to MC Hammer and Michael Jackson tapes.
Even though I can’t remember what exactly sparked my interest enough to pull it off the shelf, once I plugged in the turntable and hooked up the speakers, I definitely remember being frightened by how heavy the music sounded coming out of those speakers.