The Adventures of
the Silver Spaceman,
The TVD First Date

“As a kid of the tape/CD generation, I’d frequently sift through my Dad’s records feeling slighted that the album art now was only a fraction of the size of what it used to be. A bunch of the jackets were all chewed up from when his dog got into them. Ray Manzarek’s face had been eaten right off of L.A. Woman.”

“He had all the cuts a Jersey boy from the ’70s should: The Flying Burrito Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Warren Zevon, everything Springsteen ever did. Listening to “Thunder Road” with lyrics in hand is more than partially responsible for my hopeless Romanticism. He’d weave verse into cinema that would play over and over in my head. Though, I’d always get stuck on that line, ”you ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright.” I mean, who says that? I’m positive this is something you should never say to a person.

Eventually we put the record player in the basement and got one of those five CD changers, but Dad got real defensive anytime Mom suggested throwing out the records. He wasn’t ready for that. Soon enough I inherited his collection and took it to Brooklyn where there was cheap used vinyl everywhere. Slowly I began to build on what the ol’ man had started.

This one junk store had a basement of thousands of ‘em. None of it was organized and everything was a dollar. So many gems in a sea of junk. Everything from Too Short to Hawaiian Strings. Hawaiian Strings was my favorite. It had all these local Hawaiian players vibin’ hard. It provided me with hours of entertainment. I’d turn out all the lights and look at the glow-in-the dark stars glued to the ceiling of my lofted bed nook and let it take me to sea. It even had a subtle warp in it that made the already slippery strings warble into waves. Too Short was a different kind of vacation.

I never got into torrenting and was usually strapped for cash, so for a while records were it. Learned about heartache from a 12″ of Big Slim Lone Cowboy who may in fact be the saddest man to ever live. He had this disparate tremble in his voice that gives you the shakes. Street Musicians of Yogyakarta is a record of field recordings from Southeast Asia. The hope on that record could lift me in darker days. Found a 45 of “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan in Tennessee. A lover once gifted me a copy of Karen Dalton’s In My Own Time and to this day the sight of that cover melts me.

One day I want a home with a room full of records like my buddy Giancarlo. He’s got four walls from floor to ceiling of everything you could imagine. You could go there on a Sunday and leave on a Tuesday completely enlightened. One time we got super ripped and listened to an entire record of frog calls.

I love records. Such an enriching way to listen to music. I definitely think we should be cutting down on waste on this planet but the problem isn’t records. It’s cows.”
Zachary Ellis

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