Katie Kuffel,
The TVD First Date

“My first date with vinyl followed the arc of a classic ’90s romcom. A series of almosts and missed connections before finally we each turned the corner, caught the other’s eye, and fell in love.”

“Like most folks who have a dad with a garage, I unearthed his high school and college collection of records while exhuming my family’s Christmas decorations. I was a braces-laden eleven year old, and though I theoretically knew what the records were as objects, the band names within bands ‘The Temptations’ and ‘Marvin Gaye’ were entirely alien to me. My family didn’t own a record player, so they stayed in the box, forgotten.

It was many years before vinyl and I crossed paths again. I was in my early twenties and just played a gig with Drew Martin, a local in the Seattle music scene who lived most of the year in Hawaii, but would manage to sell out venues like The Sunset simply by sending out one group text message. He’s a mythic underground figure, to say the least. I don’t drive, so he was carting me to and from the venue.

We were loading my gear into his car and he had some left over merch in his trunk. A home-printed T-shirt, and a deluxe vinyl of his record The Valley, an invaluable object only available in physical form since he hadn’t bothered with streaming sites or digitizing his music at all yet. He offered them, and I happily accepted both proffered gifts. I’d conveniently forgotten that I didn’t own a record player.

So, believing that the album would do no good unless it could serve its intended purpose, I gave it to a friend who had an enviable, audiophile’s record setup. Because then at least I could listen to it when I went to their home.

A few more years passed. My vinyl meet-cute seemed unattainable. Mostly because I was too poor to invest in a record player, the speakers, and the records I’d want. Other things like gear, recording, or rent, seemed to keep my coffers forever under-stocked. It was at this point that I’d resigned myself to a life of vinyl spinsterhood.

Until I turned 25.

Remember that friend I gave the Drew Martin record to? This was actually a very close childhood pal I’d known since preschool. This was a friend who, after I’d gone through my first communion, I tried to convince that the gold cross necklace I received from my grandmother was a fake. A friend who I bought matching outfits with to go to my first music festival (RIP Sasquatch Fest). A friend who I kissed at midnight at a new year’s eve party after we were too young to be at after singing a karaoke duet version of Ike and Tina Turner’s rendition of “Proud Mary.” Suffice it to say, this was someone who knew me well.

This was a friend who recently upgraded their sound system.

That’s right. My real first date came to me in the form of a hand-me-down record player.

They’d gotten together with two other friends to buy me the first vinyl I owned for my birthday. Valerie June’s Pushin’ Against A Stone, Carole King’s Tapestry, and Run the Jewels’ self titled 2013 record, just to mix it up.

I’ve amassed a modest collection since then, one I plan to grow in perpetuity. I’ve since scoured my father’s reserve, been gifted vinyl from bands I’ve played with, and gone flipping through the stacks at Goodwill. And if you were wondering, when Drew came back to town, I bought a copy of his record and have to say it was well worth the wait.”
Katie Kuffel

“Carillon,” the new single from Katie Kuffel is taken from her forthcoming album Alligator, due in stores in early 2021.

Katie Kuffel Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
PHOTO: KENDALL ROCK PHOTOGRAPHY

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