JD Simo,
The TVD First Date

“I’m JD Simo and I’m a vinyl junkie.”

“I mostly scour bins for old blues, R & B, and funk records, but I also have a fondness for mono garage rock and psychedelia from the 1960s. Because I travel constantly, one of my favorite pastimes is hitting my favorite spots while on tour to see what I can score. For several years I didn’t travel with a record player and that led to constant frustration. I’d score a mint Excello Records Slim Harpo King Bee and not be able to enjoy it till I was home. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to find a funky old unit. My cherished mid 60s GE is my constant companion.

There are several favorite spots I have around the world, most notably Grimey’s in my hometown of Nashville, Amoeba in San Francisco, Reckless Records in Chicago, and my favorite, Antone’s Record Shop in Austin, TX.

Antone’s was opened in the 1980’s by the grandaddy of the Austin music scene, Clifford Antone. His history as a blues fanatic and champion of the underdog is widely known and luckily a decade after his death, his legendary nightclub and cherished record store are still going strong thanks to a dedicated staff and supportive local community.

Clifford started a scene where there wasn’t one really. In the 1970s, Austin was a bohemian oasis for eccentrics and hippies. Clifford and a small group of now legendary musicians (the Vaughan brothers ring a bell) were obsessed with old school blues, music from Chicago, the south, and Louisiana. Clifford took what he could scrape together to build a mecca venue to showcase the music that he loved.

The true masters came and Clifford saw to it that they were taken care of in any and every way! Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Eddie Taylor, BB King, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Albert Collins, Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, and every other legend was adopted and cherished there. The next generation hence was able to learn at the feet of the masters as well and continue the family tree onward to the present day.

The record store was opened in the 1980s and Clifford ran his record label out the back. The record shop was Clifford’s way of giving his community access to the, in some cases, extremely obscure records he so loved. This is why it’s always my favorite. It still maintains that today. I know that when I go in, I’ll find a first pressing Lightnin Hopkins Lightnin Strikes on Aladdin or a minty fresh Bobby Blue Bland Two Steps From the Blues. Most of my most cherished finds came from here and every time we play Austin, you know where you’ll find me!

The joy of the hobby is equal parts excavation and community. Antones has never failed me in the nearly 20 years I’ve been going there. I’ll never forget my first purchase. It was 1999 and I’d been searching for the Donny Hathaway Live record for ages. In the years before internet, it was intensely difficult to track down stuff that now is just a click away. I was scheduled to play my first time in Austin at the legendary Antone’s club as an opening act and of course wanted to head to the record shop. As I flipped through the bins I was amazed at all that was there and what little I could afford! Alas, with a flick of the finger there was the elusive Donny Hathaway Live album I’d been wanting for years at that point. I proudly left with it and it is still to this day one of my most cherished records.

It brings me great joy to see the huge influx of record stores and vinyl love among my generation. It’s gradually come back around to the format most of my friends prefer to listen to and buy. Ain’t that the way it goes… The jive fade away and the great come back again and again. For the great survive. Happy hunting and keep it greasy!”
JD Simo

JD Simo’s Off at 11 arrives in stores on March 1.

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PHOTO: JEFFY FASANO

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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