Mad Crush,
The TVD First Date

Mad Crush lead guitarist Mark Whelan worked at New World Records, a small independent shop in Charlotte, NC, in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He reflects on his time behind the counter.Ed.

“Being surrounded by vinyl, listening to records all day expanded my taste, which is what I wanted.”

“Opportunities to explore music were scarce then, when you could only hear what was on the radio or what friends owned, or what you could afford to buy. Maybe it was a bit more exciting to listen to something the first time because of the ceremony it required—taking a record home, pulling off the shrink-wrap, and laying around on the floor or couch listening while studying the album cover. Record stores are part of that treasure hunt, the feeling that something fascinating was probably lurking in a bin somewhere.

I’m still processing all the music I heard from back then, its impact has lasted, and I still keep trying to understand its basic elements. Music all seemed so complicated at first, as if no two genres had anything in common. Now I see things much more in terms of colors and rhythms and phrasing and sonic atmospheres, across genres—and the basic ingredients are shared across the different types.

Some people in the record store were kind of mean about “taste” and seemed threatened by what they thought was more vulgar or inferior. One of my favorite moments in the record store was on a sunny weekend morning, when we had the Feelies on the turntable, and a man made a sour face and said “Music! Please!” What he didn’t see was his little daughter behind him, ecstatically dancing up a storm! On the whole, I can’t help but like people better when I know they love some kind of music.

One day, looking under the bins into seldom-accessed storage, I realized we had thousands and thousands of albums by artists you’ve never heard of that went out of print. I guess I knew that most records didn’t sell for long or even get noticed, that only a few really succeed over any length of time. But I had never realized it so viscerally as at that moment. It was kind of painful to realize how many musicians’ dreams must have been disappointed in the past.

I love fresh new vinyl, but it’s hard to imagine music from my younger days without the clicks and pops. It’s like looking at old black and white photos or film. Were our grandparents’ childhoods in black and white? Well, they are now, right? I guess every age has its media, and that naturally becomes part of the experience that it relays to those who weren’t present when it was created. So I think records are suited for some periods of music, because that’s how we first heard it, and it becomes comfortable to us and associated with a time period. But vinyl has its own coloring and feel and that’s wonderful.”
Mark Whelan

Mad Crush’s self-titled debut LP arrives in stores today, November 16, 2018.

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PHOTO: CHRIS FLORIO

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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