Author Archives: Special to TVD

Robert Poss,
The TVD First Date

“I had been reading about this band called The New York Dolls for months in Ellen Willis’ “Rock, etc.” column in my parents’ The New Yorker magazines. There were a few photos, too, as I recall. The band fascinated me, and they seemed to me—then a rabid Rolling Stones fan—to be an updated wild, young, New York City incarnation of that (then) great band.”

“I think I was the first person in Buffalo, NY to buy the LP; I bought it the day it became available. I got the record home, studied the cover—the drag queen thing didn’t impress me all that much, but I liked the art/photo and credits in the field of pink on the back. I’ll never forget putting the LP on the family turntable and the teenage joy I felt when “Personality Crisis” started, blasting me into a new dimension.

The brilliant guitar playing made me smile. (I was a guitarist). It was as if Keith Richard had been transported to planet Anarchy. Those swoops and zooms and achingly poignant bends. And like the guitarists I so admired—Albert King, Mike Bloomfield, Mick Taylor—Thunders had a sound; his sound. I thought: Chuck begat Keith who begat Johnny. It was the birth of a generation of wild, spontaneous primitivism, especially in the context of bloated 1970s self-indulgent guitar rock. Johnny blew it all away. (I didn’t again feel such joy until the Sex Pistols and The Clash and X-Ray Spex blew my mind a few years later.)

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Taylor Janzen,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was Paramore’s self titled record when it first came out.”

“I was obviously way late to the vinyl game, having grown up half in the CD age and half in the streaming age. But something about owning a huge, physical copy of an album I love, and also the way it sounds in vinyl format has always been something that I’m fascinated by.

I think the record I play the most these days is Andy Shauf’s The Party. It’s already such an incredible album, but being played on vinyl really adds a new level. There’s so many beautiful layers and textures to it.

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Steven Page,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up with parents who loved music, so there were always records playing on our stereo at home.”

“My folks had a record collection that, to a seven-year-old, seemed slightly impenetrable: jazz artists like Joe Williams and Oscar Peterson, folkies like Ian and Sylvia or Buffy Sainte-Marie, or stuff I thought was just plain mushy like Charles Aznavour. Of course, years later I realized the awesomeness of all of these artists and am grateful for being exposed to them at such a young age.

However, looking back, it strikes me that my Dad must have bought in the neighborhood of one rock album per year: Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Hey Jude (aka “The Beatles Again”), Blood, Sweat and Tears, Joni Mitchell’s Clouds, CSNY’s Deja Vu, the Chicago album with the chocolate bar on the cover, Bee Gees’ Main Course, Clapton’s Slowhand, Hotel California, and then the descent into Dad buying only singles, ones like Kansas’ “Dust In the Wind,” because he didn’t much care about getting to know the rest of the album. For which I say thank you, Dad.

Dad loved to sing along to songs on the radio in his clear, high tenor, especially ones that had intricate beats to which he could drum his rings on the steering wheel and dashboard. He’s a great drummer and this rare display of abandon was both thrilling and embarrassingly intimate to my little brother and me in the back seat of our AMC Matador. The most exciting would be when Dad enjoyed a song so much that he’d buy the 45 of it. Like, for example, the double A-side of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” / “We Will Rock You.” That was exciting to have in the house. I liked “We Will Rock You,” Dad liked “We Are The Champions” because of the high anthemic singing. I was seven. He later bought “Another One Bites The Dust” and I played it over and over and over until he told me to stop. I said, “But I thought you liked that song?” to which he replied, “I did.”

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Belly, The TVD First Date
and Dove Vinyl Giveaway

“The first vinyl I ever bought with my own hard-earned babysitting money was The Go Go’s Beauty and the Beat.”

“I know the phrase ‘it changed my life’ is thrown around pretty freely, but I sat in my basement bedroom listening to this album for hours and hours that day, alternately cross-legged on the floor studying the cover and then dancing like crazy. It changed my life.”
Tanya Donnelly

“The first record I bought with my own money was the debut album by Boston. At that age it was probably birthday money.”

“I chose it over Kiss Destroyer. I’m not sure if it was the art that tipped the scales or because I already loved the track “More than a Feeling.” I can remember playing it over and over at my friend Nick’s house (his family had a serious stereo) and we beat the stuffing out of his couch with his brothers marching-band drum sticks.”
Chris Gorman

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The Innocence Mission,
The TVD First Date

“I wish I had more of my early life’s moments at such clear and instant recall as this one: standing in the record section of Nichol’s department store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, happily holding onto my first album purchase, The Beatles’ double ‘red album’ of early singles.”

“This was not a purchase made lightly, (and where would the money have even come from? Maybe from cards I received for my Confirmation), but with it, I joined the privileged world of my older brothers and sisters and other People Who Owned Music. More importantly of course, I gained a soundtrack for my middle school years, a thrilling and understanding companion that echoed and sometimes intensified, sometimes calmed all of the emotions of eighth grade and beyond.

When I say I was holding my first album in the store, what I picture is holding on with both arms—besides containing music I loved, the red album was physically substantial. I liked that it opened to that wonderful black and white, Linda McCartney photo of John, Paul, George, and Ringo amongst a crowd of friendly looking people of all ages, in what I imagined to be Liverpool. The photo spanned both sides of the album’s interior. I also loved the white and green Apple labels which were such a visual connection to great music since I was very young.

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Peking Duk,
The TVD First Date

“My (new) relationship with vinyl.”

“Before I was born everyone was already using CDs… I am a newcomer to vinyl. In fact the first vinyl record I ever owned was one I bought only 6 years ago, and the purchase was just out of irony. I was eyeing off jackets in a thrift shop in Sydney, Australia, when I stumbled across a record called Hey Joe! Hey Moe! by Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley.

The cover was two cheery men, hanging out their car doors sporting cowboy shirts, holding beers, with massive ear to ear grins with their thumbs up. And, as indicated by the speech bubbles above their heads, one was shouting “Hey Joe!” and the other replying “Hey Moe!” I was hooked. Not on these guys, but the fact that album covers could be so shit, yet still make it to press. I started spotting bad record album covers all the time and kept buying them to tile across my walls at home.

A favourite and many-times repeat offender on my wall was a bloke called Richard Clayderman, who would always be found leaning painfully awkwardly on pianos, keys, or sheet music. The fun never stopped and my wall slowly tiled to multiple rooms of the apartment. I was becoming unnerved though with the number of records I had collected, as I had not actually owned a record player even once at this stage. I needed to hear what these faces on my wall had to say. I needed to know what was going on through their heads whilst these terrible photos of them were being taken. I needed to hear their music. So, at a point roughly 4 years ago, I went to the local record store to buy a record player.

The record store changed me.

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Violet Days,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in a musical family where everybody would sit around the table and play different instruments and sing along. It was easy and pretty natural for me to want to play around with the tape recorder in the house and record myself.” 

“I would always pick the radio instead of the CD player because I liked the analog feeling when I pushed the buttons, switch and listen to different mix tapes I had recorded from the radio. I remember around the living room there were big speakers and a big stereo that we always used for tapes and CDs. On the left side of the stereo there was always a vinyl player that I never really noticed as a kid, because it didn’t work and I didn’t care to investigate.

It was only some years later when I found my dad’s vinyl collection looking through our kitchen’s wooden couch (one you could store stuff in) that my curiosity started. I could see the happiness on my dad’s face when he found me on the floor going through his old treasures. He sat down and told me about them and which ones were his favorites. It was easy to tell because they were pretty worn out. I love that about vinyl; when you can tell by the sleeve that it’s been listened to a lot. It tells a story about the people who own them and it’s a beautiful thing.

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RYVOLI,
The TVD First Date

“I think the reason I even started listening to music in the first place was because of the vinyl cover artwork for Chicago IX: Greatest Hits.

“This is actually one of my first memories as a kid, discovering their artistic masterpiece in my dad’s library of records. I was absolutely mesmerized by this big group of guys and a dog who were hanging from some sort of suspended rickety platform, painting bright, bold letters on a wall. Blank canvas, colors, and danger…what more could a kid want? Then you flip the cover over—the guys are gone, they’ve finished their iconic band name, and there’s paint dripping everywhere! I was hooked. The very first song I ever heard on vinyl was “25 Or 6 to 4.”

My own personal collection started with an album that was passed down to me from my mother who had originally received it from her dad. During the 1960s and ’70s, Firestone would sell you a Christmas album for $1 along with your new set of tires or rotation. My reserved grandpa, I imagine on a whim, must have picked up Firestone Presents Your Christmas Favorites, Volume 3 while buying his snow tires. Let me say, since I was five or six, it does not feel like Christmas unless I’ve heard this record at least ten times.

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Poster Children,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl to me is something that I look back at now as super personal to my childhood.”

“My dad had a bunch of old records and was also a musician. He had tons of Beatles albums and Billy Joel albums (don’t judge), or at least those are the ones I could remember. They all sat in a nice area below the raised hi-fi that was like a piece of furniture for the living room. Back then those towering speakers seemed so massive and the huge silver volume knob on the stereo was one of those small pieces of control for a youth.

As I started playing in bands, there were older people who referenced albums that changed their lives and “Did you ever check out this one?!” That included a lot of classic Zeppelin for some reason. Then the super ’70s-ish artwork caught my eye more than anything. Specifically Yes records that kept popping up in friends’ collection of music. I thought that was so weird and magical all at the same time as the artwork made me want to at least hear what was on that piece of plastic.

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Ruby Rose Fox,
The TVD First Date

“I was an ’80s kid who was raised in a small insular Christian cult. My parents’ vinyl collection and the radio was one of my only portals into discovering what was really out there.”

“I spent a lot of time with about twelve records. Carol King’s Tapestry, the West Side Story soundtrack, Man of La Mancha, a Bill Cosby comedy album (I know), James Taylor, Debussy, Mozart, and Billy Joel. I loved them. I loved the way they felt and smelled and even more so that they were mine.

When I started making records it was really important that I always had vinyl available. I say that I don’t have a vinyl collection because I’m always pouring the money I have right back into the next record, but it’s probably because my mom threw away all my records when I went to summer camp and I just never got over it. I did just receive a killer Erykah Badu record from a very special person, so 2018 could be the year!

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My Brothers and I,
The TVD First Date

“I had a vinyl collection before I had an actual record player. I’d go to a record store and see a cool LP from an artist I really enjoy or an old school best seller on discount and figured I should buy it, because I’d eventually get something to play this thing on.”

“After some time, and as my personal collection of unlistenable vinyl got a little bigger, my parents took out their collection from the attic to basically quadruple what I had accumulated. I’d spend hours just looking at the covers, opening up the albums and reading the descriptions. (Still no listening).

Around the same time, my grandparents had begun the process of moving homes. As it just so worked out, they discovered a record player that they had in storage that they weren’t using. They asked if I had a record player, to which we all know by now was a no, and gifted me their old one. It was in need of a new needle, but otherwise was in great condition.

I researched record player needles on the internet and found one that I thought would work. Well, as it turns out they don’t make some types of needles anymore, because they don’t make some types of record players anymore either—so why would they? Anywho, I ordered it online and checked the mailbox everyday for nearly a week.

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Love Ghost,
The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “24-7”

“I love the anticipation, the “chum, chum” as the turntable spins before the drop of the needle. That countdown before you hear the authenticity of the record is really exciting. With vinyl, you get an experience of being in the room of the actual recording, the analogue sound is so present, so real for me.”

“I have had great experiences at record stores as well. There used to be a store called Penny Lane in Pasadena 2 blocks from the house I grew up in. I used to go there with my Dad and shop for hours (then they moved to Upland—a sad day both my Dad and me).

At the time we did not have a record player at home, so it was mostly CDs back then, but I was always looking at the records. There is another great used record shop in Pasadena called Poo-Bah (the guy who owns it knows so much about music, it is crazy). Just holding an album in your hands is great, I love the feel of it, the weight, the size of the artwork.

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10 String Symphony,
The TVD First Date
and Album Premiere, Generation Frustration

“I grew up on cassettes and grew into vinyl. We’d listen to classical music in the morning and Neil Young and Paul Simon at night. There were times when I thought of the classical morning hearkening as boot camp. Once I got a taste of the musical ’60s and ’70s, that’s all I wanted, and my impatience showed. But, as a classical violin student, homework came first.”

“My parents had gotten rid of their record player before I was born and replaced it with a Pioneer tape deck and receiver to match. I still remember my Dad saying, “Pioneer is a great brand. Lasts forever.”

I bought my first vinyl record fresh out of college. Neil Young—Hearts & Doves. I figured if I bought the record first, then I’d have to get a player, receiver, the whole bit. I found a vintage player and some speakers at a warehouse in Pittsburgh. The guy who sold it to me, Dan, had a serious range of options. I bought the Pioneer.

I love the physicality of vinyl—taking time with the artwork, digging into who played on which track. But the listening experience is why I think vinyl is standing the test of time. We’re all up in our phones all day, every day. Lots of people listen to music now the way they scroll through Instagram—jumping from track to track, maybe not even finishing a song before they jump to the next one. Even music lovers are guilty of this. Sadly, even me.

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FITNESS,
The TVD First Date

“I started collecting vinyl when I was in the 9th grade. There was a record shop called Poobah in Pasadena that only sold vinyl. Me and my friends would go there every weekend and walk out with like 4 records for 10 bucks.”

“Listening to an album on vinyl is an event. It’s a commitment. The ritual of pulling the record from its sleeve, setting it on the table, lifting the needle and setting it down, hearing that comforting crackle. I’d lay down on the floor, close my eyes, and import the dark sarcasm of the Dead Kennedys, the stonsey punk of the Meices, the controlled chaos of Sonic Youth, right into my suburban bedroom.

Back when I was in high school the vinyl renaissance hadn’t happened yet so we bought our record players at the Salvation Army because it was the only place you could find them. Mine was a piece of shit, but it didn’t matter. Watching that big piece of plastic turn and hearing the music come out of the speakers was magic. It seemed both primitive and the pinnacle of technology.

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Kurt Baker Combo,
The TVD First Date

“Hi, nice to see you, you are looking wonderful! Thanks for meeting here, I really enjoy this spot. There is a good ambiance here, and oh… shit, my friend Todd is working tonight! He’s gonna take care of us.”

“Well, listen, I guess I should get this out of the way first… vinyl records have followed me throughout my entire life. Each chapter of my life has its corresponding LPs. From the very beginning, I grew up with LPs around, even though I was born in the heyday of CDs. I was pretty late when it came to the CD in terms of my peers. Growing up my parents had a turntable and tape decks in their cars. My Dad used to take me up to Enterprise Records in the early ’90s on Congress Street. They had a plastic bag tacked to the wall with a bunch of broken compact discs next to a sign that read “Our CD Selection.”

Back then vinyl was so outta style that you could find original Beatles LPs in near mint condition for under $10 bucks. I still have all those LPs that my Dad bought for me—the foundation to a still growing record collection. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and put on the White Album and listen to it on headphones. It was a true musical experience. Heck, even in high school I’d drive around in my Mom’s ’90s Chevy. No CD player, but the tape deck sounded so nice, warm, and punchy.

Especially, “Talking In Your Sleep” by the Romantics. Their album In Heat got a lot of mileage in the car, and later when we’d have parties, the LP would stay on the turntable with everybody dancin’ non-stop. Man, the record would be skippin’ all the time, but we didn’t care. It wasn’t ‘84, but ‘09. Go figure.

I guess all I’m getting at is that CDs are the worst, and I ain’t gonna miss ’em! I’ve always preferred that analog sound that came with vinyl. It’s the real thing. Yeah, I realize that people still listen to CDs, that’s why we still press them and sell them at shows, but personally, I’m a vinyl guy. Well, anyway—would you fancy a drink?

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