“I had a hand-me-down Fisher Price record player and I’d spin these 45s that came with read along, picture books for kids. Each one had a specific sound cue for when you were supposed to flip the page. I remember having Empire Strikes Back, Puff the Magic Dragon, and some others I’ve since forgotten. As time went on, I moved to LPs; A Chipmunks Christmas album and Sesame Street Disco. Cookie Monster spittin’, “I lost my Cookie at the Disco” was the shit. Man, I wish I still had those.
Both my parents were into music, so we had a decent vinyl collection at home. Classics like Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Hendrix, Woodstock, The Beatles, and Stones to name a few. My first memory of a “grown up” record was Blondie’s Autoamerican. I loved “Rapture” and when the man from mars was eating cars. I was fascinated by the cover, but also a little freaked out by the picture of Clem Burke.
At that age, I was influenced primarily by cover art. That’s part of the beauty of vinyl that gets lost in the digital age; cover art. It’s big. It’s square. It’s tangible. Before YouTube, Facebook, and band websites, it was one of the only ways to catch a glimpse of anything visual about the artist. For me, it feels like a roadmap to the headspace that the band was in while writing and recording the album. As a kid, I was just fascinated by the strange imagery.
Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Axis: Bold As Love was another face back then. I loved the colors and thought the cobras were the coolest. I’d always beg my mom to put on that record instead of those Linda Ronstadt albums. No offense Linda, but there was something amazing about the chaotic noise of the UFO lifting off with Paul Caruso in “ESP” and how it just faded out and flowed into the mellow, funky, groove of “Up From the Skies.” I guess that explains my love for chaotic bridge sections that sink right back into the pocket groove, a la Sonic Youth and Mars Volta.
Soon my uncle recognized my interest in music. He bought me my first rock record. It was Devo’s Are We Not Men, still one of my all-time favorites. The jarring energy of the songs on that record shifted my musical interests. I started to get into stuff that wasn’t my parents’ music.
I had a cousin who is close in age, and his two older sisters had a nice collection of 80s metal. When his sisters left, we’d raid their collections and spin as much as we could before they returned home. We’d jam to bands such as Judas Priest, Ratt, Maiden, Ozzy, (I still love the Bark At The Moon cover), Scorpions, Loverboy, Dio (hell yeah, Holy Diver!), Van Halen, and the Crüe. It was a defining time for my love of more aggressive music.
Then I got into hip hop, and aside from a Sir Mix-A-Lot’s My Posse’s on Broadway, and the Beastie’s Paul’s Boutique, I pretty much only listened to mixed tapes, then CDs, and vinyl disappeared from my life for a few years.
In college, when I’d come home, I began to start digging through my parent’s collections again. But at that point the turntable was broken, so it was basically reminiscing to album covers. Eventually, I bought my mom a turntable for Christmas. After that, when I was home, the TV was rarely on. The family would get together, play records, shoot pool, and hang out. My mom started buying records again, inspiring me to finally purchase my own turntable as an adult, and start compiling my own collection.
It started by cruising to the Victor Valley Swap Meet to search for vinyl whenever I was home visiting the fam. You could totally score there, but you had to put in the time to dig, search, check each record for scratches and warping, and then haggle on the price. On my first trip I scored 23 records for about $38. Some stuff was whatever, I’d try them out because they were cheap; but some were major scores; Abbey Road, Revolver, the White Album, Bob Dylan’s Desire, Blonde on Blonde, The Cars, Cat Stevens, Tom Waits, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and once again, the Crüe, (Shout At The Devil is definitely the toughest album cover in my collection).
Nowadays, once every pay period I treat myself to one vinyl purchase. I spend the next two weeks with that one record and try to absorb it as much as I possible. For several years, as a musician, listening to music was work for me; like doing research. I had 20,000 songs on my iPod and maybe 10 or 15 albums. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was either necessary, or background music.
Vinyl has brought me back to my love of music and the recording process. It’s real. It’s tangible, and god damn, it sounds sooo much better than anything else!”
—Ian Baca, Wake Up Lucid
Wake Up Lucid’s debut LP, Feel It, is available on vinyl at Amoeba and Origami Records in LA and via WakeUpLucid.com.
You can catch Wake Up Lucid live with Bright Lights Social Hour at The Bootleg on Sept 21st.