Author Archives: Special to TVD

The Lilacs,
The TVD First Date

“It’s remarkable how the music that resonates with you through the years depends at least as much on who you were when you first heard it as it does on some”objective” criteria of its quality.”

“The first record I ever owned was Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits which I got when I was 10 in 1978. His big hit at the time was “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” which was used to great effect in the Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase thriller Foul Play (which I also loved, by the way). So everything from “Daybreak” to “Can’t Smile Without You” to his “rocking” numbers like “Copacabana”—I loved all of it. I loved the singing. I loved the instrumentation. I loved the over-the-top sentimentality.

All of those qualities found themselves into my own work. Not that I would ever put myself in the same category either talent-wise or obviously success-wise as Barry Manilow. But man I loved that record and I wore it out, and I remember even being assigned to be the lead male dancer at my camp and the tune was the theme to American Bandstand that our choreographer had chosen and discovering that song also had been written by Barry Manilow just felt quite perfect to me.

Predictably, as I got to high school and wanted to seem cooler and probably also not get pummeled, I wasn’t as willing to publicly acknowledge how much I loved that particular genre of sappy love ballads. But secretly I still did. And then something funny happened as I entered the punk and indie-rock phases of my musical career.

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Ryan Romana of Press Junkie PR, The TVD First Date & Vinyl Giveaway

“I first experienced my passion for vinyl when I went through my dad’s record collection of pop songs in the ’80s in our basement turned disco, where my parents would entertain.”

“I remember flipping through 45s of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, and The Police. I loved how each record had its own identity and that the records had these tactile grooves which you could run your fingers on. Once the needle touched the record, I remember thinking it was magic, how the sound jumped out from the records through the speakers.

Growing up, my parents would entertain co-workers and friends in our disco basement filled with strobe lights, linoleum flooring, and a disco ball. Part of my job would be to keep the music going by changing the records. Once, I discovered the world of DJing and hip hop, I thought it would be cool to try to scratch a record like I saw on MTV. To my surprise, my dad’s belt driven turntables and needle were not ready for the abuse and I broke one of his record players. He was livid, and rightfully so. So, I researched and found out that I would need Technics to practice scratching.

When I got to college at CU Boulder, I hopped on KVCU as a radio DJ and the station also had a huge vinyl library, way bigger than my dad’s collection. From being on air, I knew that I wanted to buy Technics and pursue DJing. The next summer, I saved up to buy one Technics turntable and a Gemini mixer.

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Ashley Sofia,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up my parents had kept a very curated sense of art, music, and books in our house that I was exposed to. My mother was always playing Jim Croce or Simon and Garfunkel or James Taylor. My dad was always singing and playing his guitar, and I was raised with all these older sounds and flavors.”

“We spent a lot of weekends in antique stores looking at collectibles, and items from the past. When I was little it bored me, but over time, it became this thing I absorbed and couldn’t shake off. I was young but I was beginning to develop old tastes and sensibilities and style from a totally different time period.

I remember I started collecting vinyl before I even had a record player. I could get them for cheap growing up, 30 cents, sometimes a nickel, because everybody was getting rid of them back then. The CD was the future. I’d lay on the floor and read their liner notes and big/ giant photographs.

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Pauline Andres,
The TVD First Date

“I was a kid in the ’90s and vinyl was absolutely not a thing at the time. Especially in the little coal mining town I grew up in. There were no record stores. There wasn’t any cultural space of any kind. I remember my parents always had some CDs lying around the house, very mainstream things that just didn’t do it for me even when I was 10 or 11. And that was it.”

“One day, after we recently moved to our second apartment in town (in a really big house for two large families) I was sent to find something in the cellar. I was 10 and I didn’t like it. The cellar was huge, dark and terrifying. But I got over myself and dived into the darkness, downstairs where the monsters were waiting for me. Little did I know actual Rock monsters were waiting. I have no idea what I was originally sent to find. But I will always remember what I accidentally stumbled upon, vinyl.

When he was younger, my dad used to have pretty decent taste in music. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, AC/DC. He liked hard rock. At the time I had no clue what hard rock was, or prog rock, or whatever label you put on those things. But I found several records in the cellar, and even though they were just random objects at the time, I fell in love with them. These “things” contained music. They looked cool. Different and wild. Some of them still had posters folded in them. The lyrics were in there too: “Hotel California,” “Highway to Hell.” Holding them in my tiny hands and trying to make sense of the lyrics was a major event in my life. I knew I loved rock & roll.

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Hurtling,
The TVD First Date

“I’ve had a bit of a funny relationship with vinyl, in that when I first got ‘into’ music in the early ’90s, it was pretty much the last hurrah for the original vinyl age before CDs became ubiquitous, and then in the last couple of years I’ve really fallen back in love with it as a way of enjoying music. I don’t think its a nostalgic thing, but rather the tactile and linear nature that forces you to sit down and listen to an album from start to finish, while the physicality of a record forces you to consider the whole design as well as the music itself.”

“The first bands that I considered ‘mine’ were Nirvana and Suede. (I still have the initial run of singles from the latter in my collection today!) Before that I loved TOTP and chart music as an ’80s kid, and then towards the end of that decade my four older brothers began to get into ‘alternative’ music. As anyone with older brothers or sisters will tell you, at a certain age there’s nothing quite as cool as your older sibling’s music collection. I distinctly remember my brother Sean passing me on the stairs and singing the sweary line from Dinosaur Jr’s “Freak Scene” into my face, and around the same time hearing Pixies records suddenly being played at home. The illicit, alien and deranged sounds of these records were an instant hook.

Hurtling have been compared to a few early ’90s bands since we started, but I think if there’s anything we are inspired by, it’s in how some of these bands approached music. There’s always been something a bit ragged and loose about bands such as Dinosaur Jr, Stereolab, or the Breeders (particularly live) that gives the music an immediacy and rawness that has kept it exciting. Both Jen and Jon are great and very experienced musicians, but we’re not afraid to make mistakes or improvise in places, so whenever we play live it feels fresh, and hopefully that excitement and energy is felt by the crowd.

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Kasador,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is something that had been pushed aside by cassettes and CDs by the time any of us in the band were born, and all of these were pushed aside by iPods and iPhones by the time we were in school and actively consuming music (unaided by our parents). With the resurgence of vinyl I have been able to connect with it as an adult in a number of ways and observe how others connect with it.”

“There are the obvious things, such as listening to an album in its entirety (how music should be digested IMO), and the importance of artwork. Nowadays, some people buy vinyl to be used strictly for wall art and they don’t even listen to the album… hipsters! But there are 2 things I have really come to appreciate about vinyl that both revolve around the inflexibility of the this persistent technology:

1. Audio quality. Yes in theory audio quality today on phones and computers has the capacity to be just as good or better than vinyl, but not in practice for most people. Making digital copies of songs that are easy to stream requires a lot of compression to make the files small enough to share. If you are listening to your music through computer speakers or ear buds or worst of all…your phone speaker, you miss out on so much in terms of the fine details in the recordings.

Most songs you listen to have so much depth and the people who worked on that recording made hundreds of decisions that are so important to their vision, but so easily lost on poor quality playback. The inconvenience of vinyl forces you to listen through the proper stereo components.

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Hayden Everett,
The TVD First Date

“The first vinyl I ever bought was a Freddie Hubbard record called Super Blue from Half Priced Books in Berkeley California. I’ll tell ya right now, Half Priced Books in Berkeley is exactly everything that you imagine when you hear Half Priced Books in Berkeley. Smack dab in the middle of the city, this shop has got the look, the nostalgic smell, and everything else you’re thinking up.”

“I remember stopping in the bookstore on the walk from a jazz big band rehearsal at the California Jazz Conservatory to the subway station. There is something royal about classic jazz on vinyl, and I couldn’t resist the tattered, well used look. My brother had bought me a turntable for my birthday that year, and I was delving heavily into jazz at the time. I picked out the classic John Coltrane record Giant Steps for a buddy, and got the Hubbard one for myself. There truly is nothing like listening to the pure, round tone and melodic genius of a trumpet player like Freddie on warm staticy vinyl.

Funny enough, I didn’t even know my parents had a record collection until I was in high school. With no turntable around the house, the vinyl remained inside a dusty old cupboard for years; it was only when I got this turntable for my birthday that we busted out the old collection and rocked out as a family. I vividly remember my mom’s excitement as she picked up an ABBA album and tossed it on the turntable. Next came the flood of James Taylor albums, my parents’ consistent go to for as long as I can remember.

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Lexi Todd,
The TVD First Date

“I started collecting vinyl before I even had a record player.”

“My mother is an avid yard sale enthusiast and classic rock buff, so we used to get boxes of old classics—like Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and Chicago—for quarters. At some point, I was finally gifted a record player, and then I was even more hooked.

I continued to collect vintage records, and can still remember where the scratches are in the music on some of my favorites. I remember when I went to listen to the Rags to Rufus album on Spotify for the first time, I was alarmed when my good old scratches and skips weren’t there! Those qualities give a real-life feel to the vinyl that digital audio can never truly duplicate.

That’s why I recently started buying some of my favorite contemporary albums on vinyl too. Every time I go to a show I head to the merch table to see if they artist is selling records, and it’s my favorite keepsake from a concert.

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Speelburg,
The TVD First Date

“I was born at a perfect time. I got to experience a house full of music and full of CDs.”

“My mother, a perfect target for the entertainment industry’s ephemeral mediums, would, every 5 to 10 years, throw out the old and make way for the new. This is not to say that she was wasteful—she rode the big waves. Cassettes to CDs. VHS to DVDs. Eventually doing away with all the plastic boxes and putting them all in zip-up cases. It was all in an attempt to declutter.

I of course, in the wake of all this change, have swung the other way and will happily place nostalgia on a golden pedestal. I think about the bad quality of the movies we taped straight from TV and every radio introduction that overflowed when I taped a song off my boom-box with admiration. The movie channel would occasionally play a behind-the-scenes short, and though I’m glad I can find it on YouTube now, that was as much a part of watching Hook as was watching Rufio tear it up with the Lost Boys or seeing Peter using his “imagination” for the first time (that movie rules and you’re dead inside if you think otherwise).

And then Napster happened. There were a couple of years before getting my first MP3 player where, inexplicably, my dad bought a portable Mini-Disc player and would let me use it so I could record my own 128 kbps, illegally downloaded Incubus, Beastie Boys, and Sublime mixtapes. It’s funny to think how awful the quality must have been, but it didn’t matter, because you could bring your favorite songs with you anywhere.

When I was 14 or 15, my mom found a turntable with a busted needle and a crateful of vinyl by a dumpster—clearly a kindred spirit going through their own cleanse. So we brought it home and went through it all. There must have been 30 records in there, but I can only remember 3 of them: The Best Of Beethoven, a Donna Summer record and John Barry’s soundtrack to You Only Live Twice.

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The Schramms,
The TVD First Date

“It all started with Mitch Miller. That’s my best guess.”

“My parents had this massive, hulking hi-fi console in the living room. More sideboard than record player. Lift the top to discover turntable. Stash of long players tucked beside. Many of them Sing Along With Mitch albums, that Columbia A&R man turned TV host. I was fascinated by the mechanism of the phonograph, and probably less so by those sounds, though a seven-year old is less discriminating. There were also records produced by the Longines Symphonette Society, and a box set of big band sides. I liked Artie Shaw. Still do. Nightmare!! I was also fascinated by this cutting edge technology—the turntable had one of those stacking spindles. Load up four or five LPs at a time. Whirr, click, drop, slide like a worn clutch plate onto the disc below.

This machine could also spin at the accelerated speed of 78 rpm, and there were some of those discs as well, most notably two by my grandfather, Dmitri Potochak. He played clarinet and had a polka band, just successful enough to record two discs, one on Okeh and one on Columbia. Wish I knew where they were today.

Then there were my big sister’s 45s. Beatles, Lesley Gore, Petula Clark. Played those on her big spindle changer. Instant playlist. Later, when I got around to my first LP purchase at the local department store, it was Revolver. This was something like a graduation. Soon Revolver was followed by Aftermath, and Fifth Dimension (Byrds album, not the group) and oh yeah, Freak Out! Eventually there were more Stones records, and Safe as Milk, Strictly Personal, and We’re Only In It For The Money, an album whose cover particularly horrified my mother. Most of the earnings from my paper route went to records. One exception was a used $35 Univox hollow body.

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Albi & The Wolves,
The TVD First Date

“Hello. My name is Chris but people know me as Albi, I play in a three-piece Americana trio Albi & The Wolves and we come from Auckland, New Zealand.”

“I have read on this site that a lot of people grew up with vinyl in their life and while that makes me happy to hear I was not so fortunate. Vinyl hit me just after I flunked university and moved to the cultural capitol of New Zealand, Wellington. The city was thriving with young people, fantastic coffee, and the best music scene in the country. It has an arty but grimy feel to it, and it was here that I opened my sister’s old record player for the first time.

Sadly that year of my life was not my happiest. Wellington was fantastic but me and my girlfriend at the time were fighting a lot. To make things worse, we lived in a one-room apartment together. The only way we could get a little space from one another was to listen to some music and when I say this, I mean it. That little red record player possibly saved my life. We found common ground on a variety of classic albums, and usually by the time we had listened to one or two, the air cleared and we could come back together.

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Velvet Starlings,
The TVD First Date

“For me, vinyl is just the best way to go about listening to music. All of my favorite artists have released on vinyl from the old school ’60s bands to Jack White, so it makes perfect sense I would dig vinyl over digital streaming, as it just has that vintage low-fi crackle I can hear in my studio or bedroom speakers.”

“In my generation everything is digital and it’s just mastered for laptop or earbud speakers. I learned a lot about recording in my recording arts program in high school and I also was exposed to analog and digital recording studios as a child. When I was 11 I went out to my local record store, $25 in hand, and purchased The Piper at The Gates of Dawn. I flipped back and forth between both sides all night long listening on repeat.

My mom and my dad both had cool vinyl collections most of which got warped, but I did manage to find a lot of cool record covers. My Dad said he once had a Beatles Strawberry Fields limited edition red picture disc in the shape of a strawberry that got lost during his move to the US or stolen by one of his mates. My mom also had original green 7″ vinyl of “Green River” and the LP of Soundgarden that were given to her by the bands when she booked them, but those were broken or stolen.

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Wylder,
The TVD First Date

“Being born in the late ’80s, I initially missed out on much of the enchantment of listening to records on vinyl. Growing up, I lived with my dad and my grandparents—all of whom seemed to treat records as a sort of relic of the past. They did, however, have a great phono sound system from the late ’70s that sat gathering dust in the basement where I also happened to live.”

“This is where you’d likely expect me to detail how I uncovered that old system and sat enthralled, listening to records until I wore them out. Not the case. My grandparents only had one Johnny Cash record and a bunch of other ’70s country artists that I couldn’t appreciate at the time. Truthfully, my dad and I mostly listened to cassettes of Michael Jackson.

The sound system and records all sat there unused until I was in college and my grandparents started thinking about giving things away—that natural feeling when you get older, I guess. I had started playing drums in high school so they knew I was into music, and they made sure I got the sound system.

From there, I started collecting the kind of music that just feels meant for vinyl—Motown records, The Beatles discography, and gems from the era I grew up in like Paul Simon’s Graceland or anything from Prince. I have over 200 records now from Bowie and Marvin Gaye to Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, and Lou Reed. I have found that I’m always willing to take a chance on something new, too. Occasionally I’ll see a random record in a bin and just know I have to get it. That’s how I ended up with this DC church gospel record from the ’70s that’s just incredible. I can’t explain this “skill” I have—I’ve certainly had a couple of misfires and brought home something truly unlistenable, but surprisingly it usually works out pretty well.

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Brasko,
The TVD First Date

“My first experience with vinyl was with Utopia’s Deface the Music.

“I was 14 and was just trying to write songs, but the only way I knew how was to mimic The Beatles. I learned every part of every song and even had impressions of each Beatle. One day I heard a sarcastic little tune with thumpy drums coming from my basement: “I just want to touch you… do you want to touch me tooo.” I ran downstairs.

“Dad, WHAT Beatles record is this?”

He goes, “It’s Todd (Rundgren).” He hands me this old, dusty record with four shaggy dudes dressed like (but definitely not) The Beatles. It was perfect.

Then I learned the whole back story. Todd built his career on giving labels the middle finger. He had a side project called Utopia, and after turning in a single to the label, they said it “sounded too Beatles-y,” so he made a whole record mimicking The Beatles.

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Jess Clinton,
The TVD First Date

“I had always been fascinated by the small stack of records in my father’s backyard recording studio.”

“I loved how big and square the covers were—being a kid obsessed with visual art at the time. The large black disc that slid in and out perfectly sized, and the smell of the slowly softening dust-jackets that clocked in with a scent just a few decades younger than the sweet musk of grandma’s house.

Dad showed me which of the LPs were those of his first bands upon moving to Los Angeles in the 1970s. Timber, the Volunteers, The George Clinton Band (copies of which can be found unseldomly and understandably miscategorized in the funk section of many a record store nation-wide). The soundtrack to a questionable 1980 biblically-inspired rock musical in which he had an integral part. In conjunction, this was when I first heard the term “cult following.” Eager to explore these new sound eras for myself, I was disappointed to hear that while the records remained, we had, in fact, no means to play them.

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