Buddy,
The TVD First Date

“I’m the youngest of five children and there are significant age gaps between us (my eldest sister is 15 years older), so growing up I was the beneficiary of a lot of hand-me-downs. And things that weren’t handed down, I just “borrowed” indefinitely without their knowledge. Because of this, my relationship with vinyl and my musical tastes began to take shape at a very young age. I can remember sneaking into my sisters rooms (it’s not my fault they failed to lock their doors) when I was six and listening to all of the various musical offerings I could get my freeloading hands and ears on.”

“A lot of the records were more of the traditional classic rock fare: Hall and Oates, Boston, Aerosmith, etc. I found the melodies incredibly catchy, but the songs always seemed cloaked in a kind of generically polished, macho bravado—void of anything that I really could attach myself to or feel connected.

I can still remember the day I found a new addition in their record collection: It was Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model. I was immediately drawn to it upon first glance at the cover. All of the other records were more of the pop variety, which meant the covers all featured cheesy glamour shots of good-looking guys and girls or some trendy visual art with the band name written in some pot-induced font. But this one was different.

It was very simple: a not-so-good-looking (sorry Elvis!) über nerd posing with a microphone and his equally goobery pals on the flip side. And the font appeared plain and unlabored, as if the whole aesthetic for the record was put together in about 20 minutes like it didn’t matter. And that’s just it: it didn’t. After listening to it, I determined the geeks on the cover were only concerned with the contents.

It was a life-altering listening experience. The singer’s voice was rough and emotional (unlike the more polished, technically gifted singers to which I was accustomed), and his bookworm appearance matched the songs: incredibly smart, sensitive and crafty lyrics, with real intent behind each word. He wasn’t just singing some gibberish to fill the melody, but really had some stuff to get off his chest and he allowed the music to be the platform. Granted, the melodies and music WERE rather catchy as well, which made his disenfranchised rants entirely palatable and all the more interesting.

I was ecstatic. I had finally found a record to which I had made a profound connection and it moved me. It officially set the bar for everything to which my ears would gravitate toward going forward.

After that experience, I became addicted to records. I would badger my siblings about similar audio offerings, read all their music magazines, and beg them to take me to the record store so I could drop my entire allowance. When I was 12, I started washing cars on the weekends during the school year and on weekdays during the summers. I bought nothing else with my money. I would call my sister Renie and her boyfriend (both in college at the time) and they would rattle off a list of records they thought I would like.

I bought all of them until I started noticing trends in my purchases (common producers, record labels, etc.), which allowed me to eventually shape my own musical identity so I could fly on my own. And it was always vinyl. I only owned two cassettes because they were given to me and very few CDs. They just weren’t the same. They felt and sounded less personal to me, whereas vinyl engaged me both physically (flipping it over, lining the needle up over the grooves of my favorite tracks) and in an audio sense (softer tones, warmer sounds).

When I moved away from home, my stereo had finally passed on to audio heaven. I couldn’t afford to replace it and not everything I wanted was made on vinyl anymore, so I reluctantly joined the digital age. I missed my records. The personal connection was gone. I would often forget what I had downloaded the moment after I lazily clicked my index finger over the “purchase” tab. It didn’t feel the same when I wasn’t as involved in the listening process and the only tangible artifact was the nondescript track listing on my hard drive.

After about a whopping ten-year hiatus from owning a turntable, my friend and musical partner in crime, Will Golden, gave me one as a gift for watching his dog. It proved to be one of the greatest gifts ever, as I had almost forgotten what I had been missing until I hooked it up. Everything I had felt before came rushing back. I started investing in records again and rebuilding my collection to make up for lost time. Oh sure, I still download records, but mostly ones I can’t find on vinyl or to preview something first to hear if it’s worthy. But only the records I love get the vinyl treatment. That means it’s special.”
Buddy

Buddy’s Last Call For The Quiet Life lands on store shelves August 19th.

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