Sam Himself,
The TVD First Date

“I’m a survivor of the CD generation.”

“When I first started listening to music on my own, music was still tied to an object and that object was a compact disc, preferably via Discman on a solitary bike ride around the small Swiss town where I grew up. Before any of that, though, long before owning my first bike or CD, I heard vinyl. One of my earliest memories is an image of the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan spinning on my parents’ turntable, snow falling outside (obviously I couldn’t read the label yet, but I was intrigued by Dylan’s raspy wail on “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”).

They’d also play Dire Straits and Bob Seger (dad), Bill Evans and The Pointer Sisters (mom), artists I still associate with their portraits on the creased and torn record sleeves they lived in, like well-loved paperback novels. Years before speaking English, I heard it sung on vinyl. Naturally, this being my parents’ record collection, I soon rejected it with all the prepubescent rebellion I could muster; vinyl was for sentimental old fools who made me get up before noon.

It didn’t last. For birthdays and holidays, my parents, ever mindful of preteen temptations, used to give me these coupons in lieu of cash. You could only use them at select local stores, one of which happened to sell vinyl. Not knowing what else to do with all those pieces of paper, I dragged my mom in there one afternoon shortly after my eleventh birthday and asked to listen to the one band I recognized from a poster in my cool older cousin’s bedroom – Nirvana.

The ageless, feline-looking dude behind the counter handed me a copy of the band’s posthumous live compilation, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, showed me how to place it on the turntable, barely prevented me from breaking his pricey needle, and blew my mind for good. Even now, when I hear the opening riff of “School” (recorded live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam in 1991 if my inner nerd doesn’t fail me), I erupt into blissful headbanging.

I got rid of all my silly coupons that day and went home with a small collection of what are still some of my favorite records today (as well as some really awful ones I won’t mention here). The store became my spot, my parentally unsupervised after-school hangout, and soon my instead-of-school clubhouse, as Rock ‘n’ Roll lore would have it.

The clerk, a self-described melomaniac and former bass player in an almost-famous local band, had something new for me and my friends pretty much every time we walked in. He introduced us to the groups that went on to adorn the walls of our childhood bedrooms, encouraged us to start our own bands, and eventually let us smoke medically inadvisable amounts of weed in the store’s backyard after hours. Pixies, Tom Waits, Nick Cave—I owe them all to him.

The place has since closed. Last time I checked a trashy fashion boutique had taken its place, and I have no clue what became of the guy (who shall here remain anonymous lest he be implicated in rampant juvenile drug abuse). But I’ll always have those records.”​
Sam Himself

Sam Himself’s sophomore EP, “Nobody” arrives in stores on March 23, 2018.

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