Author Archives: Special to TVD

Mark Bryan,
The TVD First Date

“My first memories of listening to music on vinyl are from my Father’s old wall mount stereo with speakers on the sides, and in the middle, an AM/FM radio / 8-track player, with a turntable that had a sliding, wooden door cover. He had these amazing ’50s compilation records, and The Beatles’ greatest hits 1962-1966 with the lads looking over the balcony and the red trim around the cover.”

“That was as good as it got in those days, and I’m so thankful that it remains pretty great, even amid new technology. The streaming era doesn’t encourage listening to full-length albums. In fact I don’t think Pandora even offers that experience. I still love putting on a record, hearing the crackle leading into the first song, and then switching sides when it’s time. It’s nostalgic, but the listening quality is still really high, and if you like artwork, the vinyl format is unrivaled.

I purchased my first vinyl when I was about 12, through the Columbia House Record Club. ¢.99 for 12 albums, and then you had to buy one per month for the next year at regular price. I remember starting out with the entire Led Zep. collection, Foreigner Double Vision, Elton John’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, and Van Halen I, all of which I still listen to today.

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Mod Sun,
The TVD First Date

“The feeling music gives you can’t really be described. The sound of the music on the other hand can, and furthermore so can the feel. In my personal opinion, all music is good. The fact someone in this world took the time to create something is more than simply commendable.”

“This being said, not all music is timeless. Vinyl is where timeless music lives. The sound of the needle scratching and the mystical overtones that bleed out the speakers chills you down to the bone. Everyone should make it a goal to be sure their music sounds good on vinyl. Everything sounds better on vinyl.

I grew up on a farm with two really cool hippy parents—loud music was played from sun up to sun down. Every time I see a vinyl it brings me back to my childhood—to the summer days when I would dance around and nail every single Allman Brothers band solo, to the cold winter nights when I gazed into the speakers, hypnotized by every word Bob Dylan muttered, to the minutes in my life that became moments. Something timeless.

Later on, in high school we moved closer to the cities. I will unapologetically admit that I skipped as much school as I attended. Every day I would sneak out the backdoor around 10:30 AM, jump in my car, turn my music up loud, and head straight to Cheapo in uptown.

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The Grand Southern,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up in Los Angeles with 2 older brothers in the ’90s, I was thrust into the then-thriving ska punk world. Bands like Rancid (of which I’m still a fan), NOFX, Save Ferris, local heroes the Hippos, and others were a huge influence. Compact disc was the popular format, though that didn’t stop my brothers from constantly giving me their old cassette tapes as Christmas and birthday gifts, which I wasn’t mad at. I was a typical So-Cal punk rock kid with spiked hair and a skateboard!”

“It wasn’t until my early 20s that I was introduced to vinyl records. I had a long distance girlfriend in New York City that gave me my first vinyl record, Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan. What a heavy title for such a romantic record. I needed something to play it on. I happened to get a record player from my good friend as a gift for my birthday that year and “borrowed” some old speakers from another friend, which I still use today. I put that sucker on and my whole world was flipped upside down.

There is something about looking at an old record, seeing the wear, the scratches on the record itself that determine the amount of hiss and playability when listening to the music, the history of the physical record itself. The ritual of putting the needle to the groove, flipping the record over as it gets to the end of side A without you even realizing it. Listening all the way through to a piece of music, the way it was intended to be heard.

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Bohannons,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl records in our home were shelved high, above all the books, and usually in a random order. They were dusty, something that maybe one day my parents would get back to if they could just find the time.”

“I’d climb up pull them out, investigate. Herb Alpert, Tubular Bells, Carole King—fairly enjoyable but quite innocuous. I was mad at Elvis after he died and made all my aunts cry so I didn’t spend much time with it then. My brother and I loved Charlie Daniels but it got tossed after my mother heard us jumping the needle back to…”done told you once you son of a bitch, I’m the best there’s ever been.” Charlie’s still an asshole.

My absolute favorite was Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy.” I would listen to it 10, 20 times in a row. My dad had rhinestones in his Georgia Bulldogs belt buckle—I knew they were very important. This was also about the time Urban Cowboy and Electric Horseman were big, so I’d try to collect Xmas lights and rhinestones to hopefully make my own outfit if only to wear when I listened to Campbell’s masterpiece.

It would be some time before I’d see cool rock records. Even though I knew a lot of the tunes from rock radio I had yet to peer into liner notes, gatefold art, and the feel new records until my older brother entered his teens. As a tag along, I’d find my way to his friends’ houses and their vinyl collections. Black light posters, smoke, and occasionally a pretty girl all gathered around these incredible sounds.

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Republican Hair,
The TVD First Date

“My folks had saved up and bought this big, beautiful Sanyo stereo system—looked like some kind of rocket ship compared to my mono cassette jam box.”

“I remember them unwrapping all the components and putting the case together. We didn’t have much money, so the assembly process almost seemed sacred. We had a record collection prior, but I remember my dad buying a fresh copy of Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms along with the new system.

Around the 7th grade, I started playing a good deal of hooky. I was raised waaaaay out in the sticks—closest neighbor was a half mile away. I pretty much had free reign over guns, motorcycles, and tractors when my folks weren’t around.

As soon as my mom would leave, it’d go like this: shake your fake fever and grab mom’s copy of Nilsson Schmilsson. Carefully drop the needle down on side A. Volume on 5. To this day “Gotta Get Up” remains objectively, incontrovertibly, scientifically, the best soundtrack to eat cereal in your undies.

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Envy on the Coast,
The TVD First Date

“I didn’t have a very romantic introduction to vinyl. Truth be told, my initial reason for even considering collecting vinyl was to be one of the people who talked about records and derided people who didn’t have whatever record you were supposed to have because ‘how do you not have that?’”

“I grew up in the ’90s with a turntable I wasn’t allowed to touch and with records from bands that I didn’t care to listen to. It always seemed like my Dad was more concerned about my not fucking with his turntable and records than enjoying them. One memory that always sticks out with regard to my initial response to vinyl was hearing the keyboard introduction to “Walk Of Life” by Dire Straits and being so enthralled with the tone of it, even before I knew what a tone was, it made me want to dance. Then, one day they were gone. All of them. The whole turntable, every record, and it was replaced by a shiny new Sony CD player with a 50 disc changer. A new thing I couldn’t touch.

I think my 6-year-old self’s passive aggressive response to this change in scenery was to put an oatmeal cookie into the CD tray. That got a big reaction.

I don’t think I actually put my hands on a record until I was in my early 20s, when it was safe. At that point I’d amassed a CD collection, then forgot about it when I got my first iPod. The bands I listened to didn’t really put out vinyl, but my curiosity was piqued when a college friend put on Telefon Tel Aviv’s Farenheit Fair Enough for me. The sonic experience of that recording was my first tangible memory of being moved by sound, not necessarily a song. Thusly, my introduction to electronic music and consequently, my introduction to the power of production.

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NRVS LVRS,
The TVD First Date

“I’m first generation Cuban-American, as my parents were both born in Havana, met in Miami, and had my brother, sister, and me in the States. Being from a certain time, most of their comedy and music collection was on vinyl. They would sit in the living room as my dad smoked a cigar and listen to everything from Beny Moré to Gloria Estefan to American acts like Phil Collins and Roy Orbison.”

“I have a distinct memory of my mother and father wiping away tears of laughter during Cuban comedian Guillermo Alvarez Guedes’ bit on the Spanish curse word “coño.” While they listened and laughed, I stuck my head inside the walnut credenza where their Sony turntable resided, watched the record spin and marveled at how a simple spinning thing could elicit this reaction from my parents, who I considered at the time very composed and mild-mannered.

I was an entranced 9-year-old and wanted to operate the turntable myself. I, too, wanted to wield the power of choosing what came out of those speakers. So, while my dad was away at work and my mom was occupied elsewhere, I removed Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Cosmo’s Factory from the sleeve, placed it tenderly on the platter, and proceeded to clumsily toss the needle onto the spinning record.

A terrible tearing sound ripped out of the speakers as I fumbled with the tone arm and managed to drag it back and forth a few times over the record. Upon closer inspection, I found I had gouged a trench into the once-pristine jet black disc of vinyl. My mom was quite understanding and took me to Tower Records a few days later where she bought me some cheap used records so I could mangle my own as I learned to work on my tonearm touch. I appreciate her letting the incident go, but I still kinda feel like I owe John Fogerty an apology.

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Whetherman,
The TVD First Date

“I can still see the symmetry. Two four-foot mahogany wood encased speakers surrounding the three layer mountain of record player, receiver, and speaker box with lighted buttons, knobs, slides, and gadgets. That chaotic tangle of speaker wire behind, and my eyes fixated on the lights and movement.”

“I wasn’t allowed to touch anything in that vicinity when my parents were around, but I marveled and reaped the benefit of their absence upon occasion, trying my hand at creating sound from it with no avail. Little did I know of the subtle tricks to make it work. The volume slider had to be in a very specific location to play, which coincidentally was the perfect level to listen to most any record. The receiver had to be hit just in the right spot, not too hard and not to softly to get itself in gear. It had all the quirks of a great system from the ’70s, still ambling it’s way while we were listening in the ’80s and early ’90s.

There are two songs that stick out to me when I think of those early days in my life. “Sussudio” by Phil Collins off his No Jacket Required record. I heard his voice more often than any other in my childhood, through his time with Genesis and into his solo project. I know more of his lyrics than I do Michael Jackson’s, and I was a die-hard MJ fan until the late ’90s. That probably has to do with Phil’s songs being engraved in my brain from the records spinning in our house before I turned eight in 1992 when I got the highly coveted CD player. When I was in college, I had the No Jacket Required jacket on my wall, though I was caught up in the digital phase and wasn’t listening to vinyl. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still love Phil Collins, when Genesis or one of his solo tunes pops up, I can’t help but sing along.

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Emily West, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Don’t Ever Go To Paris When You’re Lonely”

“After hearing Patsy Cline’s voice as a young girl I was forever changed. I thought to myself, ‘This is what heartbreak sounds like and this is what a real woman sounds like.’ I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up so that I could understand what she was feeling of whatever it was she was singing about: Pain. It was earthy, honest, painful, and I started to mimic her. I’d practice singing in the bathtub with my Barbies and in the bathroom cleaner. Patsy’s my teacher.”

“I was obsessed with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty growing up and to this day, I am still fully effected by all those dramatic orchestrations. The strings, the fairy choirs, the colors, the romance. When Sleeping Beauty is walking in the woods and singing “I Wonder” and then Prince Philip comes in… at the age of 8, I remember thinking it was hot. Another favorite Disney moment is when Cinderella, AKA Llenn Woods sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and “So This Is Love.” It’s so hopeful and peaceful. Llenn Woods is a gangster.

The Annie soundtrack pretty much raised me. The songs are burnt in my brain and I start crying anytime the big orchestra part booms in on “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and then when Annie sings “Maybe”… I just can’t take it.

I’m a real sucker for light and dark. Annie and Patsy taught me how to sing honestly. They were my “Girl Scout Kit” on how to be a real singer.

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Milburn,
The TVD First Date

“As ’80s babies we get our music mostly in CD form. Every now and then someone would dig out an over used cassette tape or the lucky few would even stroll confidently onto the school bus with a shiny new mini disc player. Up until the late ’90s, our only engagement with vinyl was to dig out one of our mum’s Gloria Estefan records as we would try to make ‘that scratchy sound’ that PaRapa the Rapa used to make on the Playstation. This was quickly stopped by our parents after a few broken needles.”

“In honesty, vinyl had always seemed archaic and cumbersome. Why lug a piano around when you can get a Casio from the local department store for £30? It was only when the digital age really dawned that I began to understand the real magic of holding a 120g piece of decorated plastic. By 2005, music was becoming so accessible that it was overbearing. It’s like sitting down at a restaurant and being presented with a menu that has 3,000 different dishes.

It was with this new-found feeling that I journeyed into the loft to dig out my parent’s old record collection and accompanying record player. I was greeted by the shiny leather trousers of Phil Lynott on the front of Thin Lizzy’s Live & Dangerous as well as a flamboyant Prince Rogers Nelson astride a mean looking motorbike on the cover of Purple Rain. Before I’d even heard a single note of sweet analogue sound, I got it. A 1970s teal Dansette Monarch later and I’m officially a convert.

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