Craig Wedren,
The TVD First Date

“When I think vinyl, my mind splits into three distinct eras.”

“The first would have to be ‘Mom’s Records.’
My mother has a good ear, and a love of music she got from her father (Grandpa Elmer).
Mom came up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and was a real radio sponge.
Throughout the ‘70s we would listen to—and sing along with—whatever came on in the car, basically what we now know as ‘Classic Rock,’ although then it was impossibly new; it’s difficult to imagine ‘You’re My Best Friend’ by Queen having just come out, but it had, in my mother’s orange Chevy, some Summer on the way tp Park Synagogue Day Camp.
Her record collection was slim, but essential to me.
The Doors, The Doors
Elton John’s Greatest Hits
Pippin, The Original Broadway Cast Recording
The Beatles, Abbey Road
Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water (or maybe Greatest Hits)
And most fundamentally, Hot Rocks by The Rolling Stones.
I still have these albums, and they’re in the DNA of music I make every day, from film/TV soundtracks to Shudder To Think songs, to more personal, experimental stuff of my own.
My new record, Adult Desire, is some kind of shattered, 21st Century inversion of Simon and Garfunkel…at least it feels that way to me.

Let’s call Phase 2 ‘The Formative Years, Part 1 and 2.’
Part 1 begins with family members buying me records on special occasions—Grandpa Elmer loved me so much, he bought me the first Plasmatics album New Hope For The Wretched on an outing one day in Downtown Cleveland.
Butcher Baby.
Aunt Marlene handed me Diary Of A Madman by Ozzy Osbourne like it was a bag of vomit one Chanukah.
And my mom and dad would buy me albums and singles on occasion—chief among them Kiss Alive ll, which I would force my friends to air-play along to (they could be Paul or Peter; Ace and Gene were strictly reserved for ME) when they came over to play, and the Grease and Saturday Night Fever soundtracks.
I just assumed everybody felt the way that I did about music—and these records in particular—so of COURSE my friends would want to air guitar, spit blood, grease their hair and make up line dances all afternoon.
Every afternoon.
I feel like this must’ve been 1977 (I was 8ish) because I associate these particular obsessions—three in an endless parade—with a strange, sad apartment we lived in briefly just after my mom remarried that year.

I connect time with music, and before the advent of CDs, to music’s vinyl monuments.
Hours and hours…
Days and days…
A lifetime, eventually.

Gifts of music gradually folded into me and my friends digging through crates at Record Revolution (‘Record Rev’) and Record Exchange on Coventry Road, or trolling Record Town at Beachwood Place (‘80s local mall hang), digging for our identities, and in my case, what I had already determined to be my future as a ‘Rock Star.’
This carried through ‘til about 1989, by which time I had transitioned pretty fully to CDs and cassettes.

When I think of ‘The Formative Years Part 2,’ a range of vital gems come to mind, like organs in my own body:
The 12-inch single of The Smiths ‘William It Was Really Nothing’, with ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ as the B-side.
Now let’s just stop a second and ponder that.
‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ is, for me, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. And it was kind of just there, hidden.
Both sides—but particularly this B-side (it would take a while to emerge as the classic fans now take for granted) are in just about everything I write on guitar, and my bass playing owes a great debt to Andy Rourke, though I ascribe some of my more chime-y guitar quirks to James Honeyman Scott (Pretenders) rather than Johnny Marr, who also took what Scott was doing and evolved it.
Speaking of Pretenders, I recently got a second vinyl copy of ‘Extended Play’, a half-live EP the band released back when, that somehow jumps the cue for me in terms of ‘time spent staring,’past Pretenders II, which believe me is entirely etched into my dream-retina, so elegant, romantic, and stylishly half-shadowed are Chrissy and her Boys on the cover.
I was living at 23500 Wimbledon Rd., Shaker Heights, OH 44122.
X, Under The Big Black Sun, son.
Playing in Cleveland on a Wednesday night.

Cut to..
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Your Funeral, My Trial.
To me, this is Columbia Plaza, 2300 E St. NW, Washington DC 20037, ‘85–‘86(ish).
Living in an apartment with my dad, who let me write on my bedroom walls—every number, doodle, and lyric that came to me billowing up from my pillow like colored smoke.
Early days playing in Shudder To Think, before we had anything out.
Rites Of Spring, Rites Of Spring
Bad Brains, I Against I
Sonic Youth, Confusion Is Sex
Prefab Sprout, Two Wheels Good.

So many records.
Like Catholic babies, you love them all, but it’s hard to keep track.

And then there’s now.
Phase 3.
Shall we call it ‘Luxury Vinyl?’
This is not an insult—I’m thrilled, in part because it coincides with my actually being able to afford a healthy habit.
I subscribe to The Edit, who texts me an album title every day, and if I want it, I click ‘YES.’
Fuckin’ jetpacks.
This week alone I got Bowie, Aladdin Sane and King Krule, The Ooz.
I try not to give them too much information or be too consistent with my selections, style-wise, so that their algorithm doesn’t get to know me so well that I wind up buying more than still feels thrilling.
Of course, I also shop brick-n-mortar.
Largely, I’ve been acquiring vinyl versions of what were my favorite CDs and cassettes.
Syd Barrett, Madcap Laughs and Cocteau Twins, Blue Bell Knoll come to mind.
X, Wild Gift.
Then I’ll just grab stuff’ that jumps out at Amoeba or Harmony Records and Books, my locals in Hollywood, where I live now—Tim Buckley, Thundercat, regional Punk compilations, lots of jazz.
I like listening to vinyl versions of ‘digital’ music—FKA Twigs, Kendrick, Bibio—and comparing it to the online, non-vinyl versions.
I hear different details in the recordings, which triggers different thoughts, feelings, and ideas in me—essential for creation.
I am a vampire, and vinyl grooves are fat, FAT veins.
I stole my friend Arthur Maine’s vinyl of Never Mind The Bollocks by Sex Pistols—just slipped it out of the sleeve and hid it in my down jacket.
He never listened to it—didn’t even LIKE it.
But I neeeeeded it.
Adam Krohn gave me his parents’ original copy of Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers with the real zipper on it (thank you, Adam, you were always a generous Freak).

I still have—and love—all of my records, including some from my mom and dad’s collection (he was largely—blessedly—a Sinatra guy).
The almost meditative joy I felt while creating the art for my new record Adult Desire, or the giddiness at receiving a copy of the blue vinyl re-release of Ten-spot by Shudder To Think from Dischord are variations on a theme I’ve been fortunate enough to experience throughout my life.
It’s a feeling of POSSIBILITY, one that makes my mouth water.
To hold an album in my hands, and stare deeply into its ever-loving eyes (or maybe those are just my eyes reflected in the jacket cover) is, still, to feel like I’m about to drop into a Very. Great. Dream.
And to share music that way with friends—to commune over and around vinyl—is a pleasure akin to great scotch and a cigar for some, or a perfect meal, or an afternoon with friends.
It’s temple and Summer Camp all in one.
Iz vinyl.”
Craig Wedren

Craig Wedren’s Adult Desire—with a unique Virtual Reality app—is in stores now via Tough Lover—on vinyl.

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