Author Archives: Special to TVD

Percival Elliott,
The TVD First Date

“I suppose my love of vinyl started at a young age, maybe around 3 or 4.”

“I remember my father revealing mystical, UFO shaped frisbees from card sleeves, and then carefully landing the crafts onto a merry go-round, placing the probe, crackle, pop then boom… magic. I was instantly transported somewhere else, be it the wondrous soundscapes crafted by Pink Floyd or the tales of the past recounted by the galloping harmonised guitars of Iron Maiden. My mum likes to remind me of the time I climbed up and turned the stereo up to full blast, hit play, then jumped out of my skin. I like to imagine it was like the opening guitar scene from Back to the Future. I doubt it was that cool.

At the age of around 6 I was exposed to Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds. Whilst I loved it on first listen, I was kept awake at night by the images of huge space ships engulfing the world with red weed. I like to think that if you are able to remember the first time you ever heard a particular record, then it holds a special place in your heart. Vinyl for me somehow captures a humanistic sound quality that CD and digital files don’t. To me the perfection of vinyl lays somewhere between the weathered and worn, with every scratch telling a story.

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William Reed,
The TVD First Date

“My first introduction to records happened when I was around 13.”

“My family had just moved to Germany for the second time. My father worked during the week, but on the weekends he would open up the windows and crank his analog hi-fi, playing records by The Stones, Zeppelin, and Bowie. I didn’t realize it at the time but that had such a profound impact and would forever shape my musical development.

From there the next biggest influence would occur when I was in middle school. It was the middle of eighth grade and my best friend had an older sister who was just the coolest. She was my first exposure to alternative culture. Through her, she would expose us to The Pixies, R.E.M., Ramones, NIN, B-52’s, The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Dead Milkmen, The Chili Peppers etc. Basically anything that was indie, punk, goth, or alternative at the time.

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Lovehoney,
The TVD First Date

“Some of my happiest memories growing up were hanging out with my dad in his car listening to music. Smooth soul from the ’60s and ’70s along with jazz from the ’50s and ’60s got played on the regular.”

“One of the artists my Dad would play was Thelonious Monk, the jazz piano genius. It always resonated with me because his style of playing wasn’t like anything I had ever heard before. It was unique and almost abstract sounding to me how he played, and he looked really cool. The first vinyl I bought on my own was Thelonious Monk’s Work! featuring Sonny Rollins on tenor sax. I managed to find it in a thrift store for only 2 dollars and the bright green cover was eye-catching and boy did he look cool.

I immediately flashed back to being a kid riding shotgun in the car with my Dad while he played Monk, whose piano runs blew my mind and still do to this day. There’s nothing like picking up a record and immediately jumping back in time and rediscovering awesome memories. It has always been a goal of mine to create music that someone can listen to as kid, and then hear it in their later years and be brought right back to when they first heard it.”
Tommy White, guitar

“I don’t really remember the first vinyl I got, I just remember as a kid there was a heavy rotation of Bob Marley and Tina Turner in the house.”

“Dad would come into the living room, turn on our record player, and it would be a night of dancing and sing-alongs. The first vinyl that caught my ear was the Bob Marley Legends album which had all the good songs on it. I always knew it was time to get busy soon as that first riff for “Is This Love” came on followed by his vocals “I wanna love ya, and treat you right.” Man, that was it. Legend was my first and favorite record. I didn’t realize at the time the message in his songs—I was just singing these beautiful words not understanding the meaning behind them.”
Alysia Quinones, vocals

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JB Dunckel,
The TVD First Date

“Actually, my first experience with vinyl was when I was a really little child, like 5 years old.”

“My piano teacher, each year in June, gave a little concert and all the pupils had to play something. One of the fathers there was working in the vinyl industry and he made a little vinyl record for each one of us. When I opened it, the plastic smell was so strong.

I was fascinated by the black color of the vinyl. It was like a black hole. All the light was attracted to it. Maybe I started to link stars and music at this moment. Vinyl records are flat black stars.

Then in the ’80s and ’90s I started to buy vinyl records to complete my collection. I was buying everything from my idols: Bowie, Eno, The Cure, Prince, Kraftwerk, Gainsbourg, then Beck, Bjork, Aphex Twin. I had a passion for Deutsche Grammophon, too.

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Lost Bayou Ramblers,
The TVD First Date

“Tommy Michot, my and Andre’s father and accordion player for Les Freres Michot, grew up in the ’60s. When Andre came to the age of appreciation and started pulling out all the amazing records from dad’s fairly large collection, it seems our life changed forever. We had obviously heard of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Yes, but when Andre started spinning them on LP in the 1980s, it was like a whole new portal to music was opened.”

“I was 12 years old when I got my hands on my first guitar (a pawn-shop Les Paul copy from our uncle David) but the year before, I started sneaking into Andre’s room while he was practicing with his bands, and the first song I picked out on guitar was Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner.”

Some people talk about how their minds opened the first time they heard The Balfa Brothers’ Play Traditional Cajun Music on vinyl, but I don’t think I heard that record until 10 years later. The number one vinyl I can remember seeing and hearing as a child was Les Freres Michot’s 1987 release on cassette tape and vinyl, Elevés a Pilette.

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Mt. Joy,
The TVD First Date

“Some of my first memories of music are just me sitting in the living room while my Dad would file through his vinyl collection.”

“The first record that really sticks out is Let it Bleed. I grew up with the Stones, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, and Neil Young pouring through the house fairly regularly. But to this day, Let It Bleed still stands out. Dropping the needle on that record and hearing “Gimme Shelter” is as good as it gets as far as album openers. So many amazing songs on that record, and of course it closes with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” When we were making this album we talked a lot about order and needing certain types of songs for different spots, and as far as openers and closers go, that may well be the best of all time.

By the time I was in middle school/early high school everything had switched to digital. Though in our house it really created a divide between contemporary music and the classics. My dad had his incredible record collection, whereas my first CD purchase was Kid Rock… I remember my dad opened my Walkman to see the spinning disc reveal the middle finger that was printed on the disc. I don’t think he took it from me, but he was rightfully fairly disappointed.

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Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, author
Why Vinyl Matters,
The TVD First Date

“Everyone always asks me about how I ‘started’ my relationship with records. The answer is that there was no THIS MOMENT onwards thing; they were just always, always there.”

“My parents had the quintessential ’60s /’70s collection, filled with The Who, original Rolling Stones, Doors, Beatles, Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Woodstock and Hair soundtracks. My mom had a pop singer / songwriter addiction, which manifested itself during my childhood in the entire Elton John, Billy Joel, and Hall and Oates catalogs, and moved on to an obsession, strangely, with Huey Lewis and The News (who knew that anyone could be fixated on them? Just shows, there is something for everyone).

At Christmas, when we would receive albums, everything would come to a stop. The album would be played, side A and side B, listened to all the way through, before any other gifts could be opened or food could be gorged upon. Both sets of grandparents were equally inclined to have large vinyl collections, which we voraciously listened to during visits. My paternal set veered towards Dave Brubeck and Otis Redding, which we would put on after dinner, while we were sitting around the fire. It was an integral part of the visit.

My maternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant living in California, had a basement workshop where for fun he would craft hand-made tables, candlesticks, and other wood art. The whirring of the saw was always accompanied by a variety of opera records, blasting at full volume, and my Nonno singing along at equally top octaves. After he passed away, we were clearing out their house. When we got to the workshop, everyone else was interested in the tools. I had to have the records, though they were really rather unplayable, as all of them had a thick layer of sawdust encasing them.

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Letters to Cleo,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I remember wanting and then getting was Chuck Berry’s Flashback. I was probably about 10 years old and my mom bought it for me at Sam Goody.”

“My older sister had the soundtrack from American Graffiti, which I loved and listened to a lot. Buddy Holly, Del Shannon, and The Beach Boys were all on there, but my favorite song was “Johnny B. Goode.” It was the first time I really wanted to hear more of an artist apart from the song that I liked.

So the next time the family was at the mall, I asked if I could get a record. I found the Chuck Berry section in the bin and found Flashback, a double album, greatest hits compilation. The cover was horrible, but it had Johnny B. Goode and about 20 other songs which was plenty for me. I remember listening to album 1 over album 2 at about a 20 to 1 ratio.

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Cassandra Violet,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was actually a cassette tape by an artist named Crystal Waters, because I was taking a modern dance class in fourth grade and we were learning a routine to the song “100% Pure Love.” I bought it at Sam Goody with my allowance and my mother was scandalized, I think. The only music my parents ever really listened to was classical music, though my dad is a big fan of jazz. I love to be able to dance to music, but I grew up listening to and playing classical music, singing, and on the clarinet.”

“When I was twelve or so, I started understanding what it meant to be a fan of a musician. My best friend’s older sister made her room into a shrine to Gwen Stefani, with every photo shoot from every magazine she had ever been in. I became very into No Doubt, the album Tragic Kingdom, and I was fascinated by that kind of theatrical way that Gwen Stefani sings. In eighth grade, I papered my room with pictures of Fiona Apple and Lauryn Hill from every magazine photo shoot they had ever done.

I knew everything about both of those artists and I learned every word to Tidal and Miseducation. Later on, in high school, I got more into jazz singers and Joni Mitchell. I had hundreds of CDs that I played on a gigantic boombox. RIP CDs. I loved Ella Fitzgerald, and I continue to be in awe of the control that Sarah Vaughan has of her voice. People who use their voice like an instrument are really captivating to me, and obviously people who write remarkable lyrics. I love pop music that is just a little bit off, a little bit skewed, but you can dance and move to it. I also love girl groups from the ’60s, like the Crystals and the Shangri-Las. I love the mythology of the girl group and all of the drama that entails.

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The Beaches,
The TVD First Date

“Much of what I’m about to admit, I probably shouldn’t. It’s pretty embarrassing that I, someone who has been a musician for almost twelve years, has never owned a record player or listened to records until early this year.”

“I always found the record player very intimidating, as if I wouldn’t know how to set it up or make the music it emitted sound right. I was also worried that if I got one, I wouldn’t know how to work the manual needle.

Strangely enough though, I’ve always collected records. Their covers always enchanted me. I would pick them up at garage sales or in the dollar rack at record stores. I would take them home and try to replicate David Bowie and Debbie Harry’s makeup and outfits, read all the names of the songs and so on—but I would never listen to them. I would just stare and wonder.

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