Wood & Wire,
The TVD First Date

“If you were born in the ’80s like I was, there are a lot of reasons to consider yourself lucky.”

“We’ve had a unique seat over the course of one of the biggest cultural shifts in history, and have had formative years on both sides of it. Obviously, the way we consume music was a big part of that shift. If you had cool parents like I did, the odds are that at some point, you found a dusty old box of kickass records stored away in a closet somewhere. When I found my Mom’s, it was like striking oil. Luckily for me, the stash included her old turntable as well (you couldn’t order one on Amazon or find one in any Target in 1995).

All of the sudden I was given a snapshot of my 14–22 year old Mother circa 1968–1977 or so, and what a snap shot it was. Black Sabbath Master of Reality (complete with what I found out a few years back is a very a sought after poster inside), Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Little Feat, Carly Simon, Dan Fogelberg, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Leon Russell, Janis Joplin, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors… I could go on and on but it wouldn’t be anything unexpected from a girl growing up in Houston in the ’60s and ’70s. With her help, I put them on cold, not knowing what I was getting into. And I enjoyed the hell out of it. Some of it I wasn’t really into, but that was part of the discovery.

Things really shifted when I pulled out a record with a picture of some mustachioed fella with dark features on the cover named Frank Zappa called Apostrophe (‘)”. I couldn’t take my eyes off the ‘stache. Then it was on. I wore that record out. Zappa was the first artist and this was the first recording that taught me I could to whatever the fuck I wanted to do—both musically and otherwise (John Hartford hits me the same way).

What a journey. What a gift. Equal parts ridiculous and brilliant, I sat transfixed listening to this crazy Epic about an Eskimo named Nanook protecting his favorite baby seal, and his unabashed weaponry of deadly yellow snow against an evil fur trapper (don’t eat the yellow snow, by the way). “What a weirdo,” I thought to myself. “Wait… I wanna be a weirdo too.” I memorized the entire thing. I can still recite it and sing most of the melodic lines to this day.

20 minutes a side. 22 max. When vinyl was the only option, that’s all you got. Otherwise the sonic quality could suffer (unless you made a double vinyl, which is cool too, but different). Go back and look at those old records – there are certainly exceptions but most of them are closer to 35 minutes.

Willie Nelson Red Headed Stranger? 33 minutes.
Led Zeppelin II? 41 minutes.
Jimi Hendrix Axis: Bold as Love? 39 minutes.
Janis Joplin Pearl? 34 minutes
Black Sabbath Master of Reality? 34 minutes.
Zappa’s Apostrophe (‘)? 31 minutes.

That limitation has big implications when you’re making a record—and that’s good. It really makes you think about the choices you make. As a guy that makes records—I love having that parameter back in our orbits now that vinyl is en vogue again. I think it’s making cooler, more concise records of stronger material. But we have to be bold and take risks.

This limitation didn’t stop a lot of those classic bands from stretching out their solos or adding extended jams. They used the best 30–40 minutes—even if 10 of it is them doing crazy cool instrumental shit. By the same token, if they had 44 minutes but 12 of it misses the mark or doesn’t flow? Just cut it. Favor quality over quantity and 30–40 minutes can feel perfect. The number of tracks wasn’t unimportant, but it wasn’t as much of a thought back then because you just let it play. As a creator, to me that’s the real magic of vinyl.

My vinyl collection has certainly grown, though I won’t say I’m an audiophile or an aficionado. Vinyl will always be where I learned how to listen to records—top to bottom, letting myself take this journey meticulously created out of thin air by a group of people that probably had the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the process. I still listen that way and I wish more people did—I know we certainly make our records in Wood & Wire with that in mind. Finding that dusty stash as a curious 12 year old around 1995 will always be a defining part of my artistic identity. I’ll always be glad to be born in the ’80s—if for no other reason than that.”
Tony Kamel

No Matter Where It Goes From Here, the new full-length release from Wood & Wire is in stores now.

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