Author Archives: Special to TVD

Izzy Thomas,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever listened to was the Michael Jackson Bad record. I couldn’t get enough!”

“I loved his earlier one, Off The Wall, too. I wouldn’t even consider myself as a massive funk fan, but what MJ did with it was amazing. My father introduced me to vinyl when he’d listen to Free and Paul Rogers, from then on I would love going in record shops and digging for the rock records like my dad’s.

It’s amazing how records can still sound so good after so many years. Vinyl is basically equivalent to photographers having a raw file of a picture, compared to a JPG.

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A Fragile Tomorrow,
The TVD First Date

“As long as I can remember, vinyl has played a big role in my life. As a toddler, our dad would put on Zeppelin and The Who records while the family hung around the living room, which continued through much of our childhood.”

“As I got a little bit older and started exploring my own interest in music, I would pull out my dad’s record player in the basement and spend hours studying records from his collection, like Quadrophenia, or Cheap Trick At Budokan. This early exploration led to my lifelong fascination with vinyl and my love of the album as a physical medium.

At 15, my family moved to Charleston, SC, and for a couple of years we lived down the street from my favorite record store, Monster Music, which became like a second home to me. I’d ride my bike over to Monster and spend hours digging through the bins, spending the little money I had on as much music as I could possibly afford. It was no coincidence that the records I made an effort to get into my hands are the ones that still stick with me today.

My love of records has taken me to parts of the world I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. In just about every city we pass through on tour, I make it my mission to find a local record store and pick something out. The music I’ve found in various record stores around the world, from Can to Slowdive, and Devo to Funkadelic, has quite literally changed my life, serving as direct inspiration for the music we make today.

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Hawksley Workman,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in the deep sticks in rural Canada, and our closest record shop was also a Radio Shack electronics store.”

“My dad was a big record buyer and would get paid on Fridays and come home with a load of records under his arm. What he couldn’t find in stock at our small-town shop, he’d order, often coming from the UK, R&B rarities and such. His arrival home from on Fridays became quite anticipated. I had started to dig into his collection at a young age and started to sniff around the new offerings when I was 9 or 10. He liked pop music and disco, so there were offerings from the Bee Gees and early Elton John.

I remember a red vinyl dance compilation with a tri-fold album cover that I’d prop up like a voting booth and stick my face in to pretend I was in the studio or at the concert. I learned of the deeper satanic elements while listening to The Beatles 45s that I’d play on 33 and lay out album covers on the carpet in the living room in mathematical orders of favourites.

One Friday in particular my dad arrived home late with only one album, John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. My brother and I were already having dinner, frozen fish sticks and peas. Without words my parents embraced and wept in the doorway my dad still holding the plastic wrapped vinyl. It would be years later that I’d put together that it must have only been a short time after Lennon’s murder and the feelings were still raw.

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The Faint,
The TVD First Date

“As a kid I used to walk across the alfalfa field behind our house to shop for records at the grocery store.”

“It was a pretty special day when I actually had enough money to buy one (usually I just bought candy). It was the early 1980s so of course I carried a Walkman around listening to tapes from my penny tape club membership. Those clubs must’ve been a scam of some sort but they definitely lost money on my membership.

Anyways, vinyl was what I really wanted. I inherited about twenty old 45s and a Raggedy Ann and Andy suitcase record player. At age two I incurred a pretty bad injury while playing records. My feet slipped on record sleeves while I was dancing around, sending my legs in a violent version of the splits. I ended up in a full length cast for a year. My favorite 45s were audiobooks at first but that was just until I found The Beatles “Revolution.” That’s got to be the first record I fell in love with and probably the one playing when I broke my legs.

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Gabe Lee,
The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Eveline”

“Vinyl and record players have always been a revered thing for me, a distant but fantastic listening medium made especially so because my family never owned vinyl.”

“In my childhood our household subsisted on a peculiar amalgam of church and gospel, classical music, and NPR radio. However it was at my friends’ homes after school where I first experienced vinyl; sparking memories of humid Tennessee summers, hanging on the screen porch listening to “Tuesday’s Gone” from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s album (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) on repeat. Often as well, the hum of Indigo Girls or Fleetwood Mac drifting from the Crosley in the den to the kitchen if I was invited to stay for dinner.

Despite not having much access to vinyl as a youth, I considered my infrequent experiences with records and record stores a rare treat. Among my first ever live shows, were JEFF (now known as JEFF the Brotherhood) and Spinto, two local bands breaking into the early 2000s Nashville indie rock scene. They appeared at Nashville’s Grimey’s record store, which hosts free in-store shows, featuring acts of all genres; not only an introductory venue for up-and-coming groups but also as a stop for touring bands looking to promote their Nashville gigs.

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Kara Connolly,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I remember listening to on vinyl was Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Stevie looked like such a magical gypsy on the cover and I have to admit I felt cool even touching it.”

“‘Dreams’ is a mystical masterpiece; timeless, textured, spooky, but soothing, and giving crystal visions life. I was in a play in college that used Rumours as much of its soundtrack and it instantly brought me back to that first time hearing the album in that record store years prior. The crazy thing is that I recently got the opportunity to meet and perform for Ken Caillat (co-producer of Rumours) at his studio and write and record with his artist development team. I’m grateful for all of their talents and kindness. It was definitely a pinch yourself moment for me.

There’s something about wandering around a record store, picking up whatever cover catches your eye and reading the liner notes, that is just irreplaceable in this day and age. In a record store, music discovery is tangible. That physical connection with both the music and also with strangers or employees who would take you around and show you what they were currently listening to, was something special.

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Andrew Leahey,
The TVD First Date

“I can still picture my parents’ old stereo. It was this massive, silver-colored piece of machinery with a weighted radio dial. They probably purchased it as the ’70s gave way to the ’80s, so it was already a bit dated by the time I began pushing its buttons. Even so, the thing fascinated me. You’d flip the switch to “on” and everything would light up.”

“We were mostly a cassette tape family. Our favorite albums would rotate between my dad’s car stereo, my brother’s Walkman and my bedroom boombox. Somewhere around middle school, though, I simultaneously made the jump to CDs and inherited a turntable that had been collecting dust in a corner of my foster brother’s room.

The record player confused me at first, but I remember appreciating the challenge it presented. I’d never dealt with speaker wire before. I’d never had to buy a new record player needle. It turned the listening experience into a physical one, and I think it made me care about the whole thing a bit more. I had to earn the right to play music on that thing.

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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.

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Emmeline,
The TVD First Date

“Puff the Magic Dragon may live by the sea, but he also lived in my family’s record player.”

“With the mere press of a button and the whoosh of spinning vinyl, “Puff the Magic Dragon” would spring from the speakers, inviting me to frolic in the autumn mist of a land called Honahlee. My name wasn’t Jackie Paper, but I was eager to share with Puff whatever strings and sealing wax I could find. (Fun fact: As a young music fan, I thought the lyric was “sealy wax.” I was convinced that “sealy wax” took the form of a special candle made only by seals, and I searched in every Eckerd for one worthy of Puff.)

I understood that the family record player was the secret to bringing Puff the Magic Dragon out to play. I knew that one of the knobs on the record player’s face summoned my favorite seaside rascal. I just didn’t know which one.

One day, fifteen-month-old me pushed myself up onto my stubby little legs, marched awkwardly over to the silent record player, and hit ‘play.’ When the sweet melody of my musical friend began to echo throughout the living room, I was so pleased that I began fiddling with more buttons. Suddenly, the volume increased to terrifying levels, and I clapped my hands over my ears and started to cry. “Too loud!” I wailed, feeling betrayed by my favorite dragon friend. Didn’t he understand the idea of “inside voices?”

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Leah Capelle,
The TVD First Date

“I was eleven years old in the boiler room of my parents’ house, digging through holiday decorations, old ceramic pieces my mom had hand-crafted and fired, and bins of my childhood clothing, when I broke through to three shelves full of crates. As I climbed my way through the clutter, I realized they were filled to the brim with vinyl records. I jetted upstairs and dragged my mom from her lazy chair by the hand, giddily professing that I found hidden treasure in the basement. That evening, she went through the bins with me one by one and hand selected the records that had been important to her in her early twenties, and handed them to me with delicate care.”

“They had won a refurbished phonograph a few weeks before at a silent auction—and by the end of that night, that dinosaur was proudly displayed in my bedroom with my new records propped to the side. Over the next few days, I made a series of Radio Shack runs with my dad to get all the necessary audio supplies necessary to make the record player work. When everything was finally in order and I was given a vinyl-for-beginners lesson from my parents, I pulled out CSNY’s So Far, pulled a blanket around me, and sank low into my bean bag. From that point forward, listening to vinyl would remain a profoundly spiritual ritual for me.

My entire Junior year of high school, I would blast Michael Jackson’s Bad. I would dance around to the four-sided Yes anthology and scream “Roundabout” (to my siblings’ chagrin). I started piling some of my friends in my beat up 1994 Jeep Cherokee and venturing to local record stores, always ending up in the alternative rock, psychedelic rock, and folk sections. The records my parents bestowed upon me back then had a massive influence on my musical taste as an adult—I still have those records, and listen to them often.

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Kelly Finnigan,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere, “Catch Me I’m Falling”

“Happy Vinyltine’s Day!”

“It’s safe to say my journey into music started with vinyl. It’s definitely one of the main reasons I fell in love with music and why listening to records is an important part of who I am as a creator. By the time I was 15, I was happy to spend hours in a record shop looking through bins, stacks and crates. Maybe that’s why I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl all these years? Of course I was into tapes and loved making mix tapes. Yes, I bought CDs… lots of them… of course I listen to music on streaming services… but I’ve never stopped listening to vinyl. I never will.

I grew up in a house with a father who had a great vinyl collection: jazz, blues, soul, gospel, R&B, rock & roll and country. It was a very eclectic mix with the backbone being jazz and R&B. I definitely remember being young and looking through them all and being attracted to certain covers and artwork as a child.

Like Marvin Gaye’s Super Hits on Tamla Records from 1970. It’s Marvin flying through the sky in a Superman costume but he has an M on his chest and is rescuing an attractive woman from danger. It makes me smile when I see it in a store to this day, and I still have the copy that was my dad’s. The first record I became obsessed with on my own and played everyday non-stop was Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller. I wore that record out and must have played it a few 1000 times. From there like most kids I got hip to cassette tapes and loved making mixtapes for friends and female friends…but never strayed from vinyl.

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Alex Lilly,
The TVD First Date

“I take chances when I buy records. I recently bought Zither Goes Hollywood! It’s totally adequate and includes the The Third Man theme but I’ve listened to it just once.”

“There seemed to be a time when people had more vinyl material than actual worthwhile ideas and so the whole world was taking chances on records. There’s almost always a large section at any record store marked either ‘Miscellaneous’ or if they’re smart, it’s divided up by country or appealing categories like ‘Soundtrack.’ The quirky, mysterious, or obscure—this is my weakness.

For some reason I felt I needed Ancient Sounds of Japan as well as a compilation record of instrumental music for TV & Film called Stylissimo. This wasn’t music that actually made it onto any film. I suppose it was intended for supervisors and there are tantalizing titles like “Mixed Grill” and “Le Texas a l’heure de l’electronique”—Texas at the Electronic Hour?? I paid $10 for this absurd record at a vinyl shop last year in Melbourne. Something had gripped me—like big hopes about who I might be. I imagined sampling a clip for a song but the music was too cheerful, maniacal, and totally uninteresting.

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Sister Sparrow,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up in quite a musical home. My parents met one another while playing in bands in San Francisco in the early ’80s, so it’s not a shock that their vinyl collection was pretty sweet.”

“My siblings and I would spend hours listening to records with our parents. Not only were we excited and entranced by the music, but I can also remember studying the album covers—the pictures, the words I couldn’t read yet, thinking ‘how could anyone get THIS cool?’ Of course, they switched over to CDs once they had saved enough to buy a CD player, and then I taught myself to read by singing and reading along to the liner notes of Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time and Emmylou’s Brand New Dance, among others.

And like any vinyl loving kid could tell you, I almost died (of joy) on my first trip to Amoeba records in SF. I was shocked and, frankly, appalled that I could buy a nearly perfect copy of Joni Mitchell’s Blue for $3.50. But something happened recently that really reminded me of just how big an impact those early years of vinyl listening had on me and my siblings.

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Wyland,
The TVD First Date

“As a kid, I was fortunate to have a place to escape to. My family and I lived in a small apartment in Kearny, NJ, but on weekends we would visit my uncle at his house in South Jersey, which we all called ‘the shore house.'”

“I looked forward to visiting the shore house because it always led to some adventure, whether I was chasing the dog around the house, creating fantasies outside in the woods, or directing epic battles with my toys.

Eventually, I outgrew a lot of that stuff but the shore house still remained a place of adventure to me. I spent a lot of time rummaging through old pictures and items in the attic. One fateful evening, my curiosity led me into the basement, where I noticed a set of shelves filled with records.

I had no idea what a record was at this point, but we’ll get there.

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TVD Radar: Pharoah Sanders & Idris Muhammad, Africa
2LP vinyl reissue in stores 3/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Pharoah ‘Farrell’ Sanders (born 1940) is a leading figure in the world of jazz and one of the last living legends with connections to players like Sun Ra and John Coltrane. His tenor saxophone playing has earned him royal status amongst free jazz players, critics and collectors.

Originally Sanders was interested in urban blues music, but his high school teacher exposed him to jazz and this took Farrell in an entirely new direction. Once completing high school Sanders quickly packed his belongings and headed to Oakland, where he got a chance to work with musicians of high caliber such as saxophone players Sonny Simmons and Dewey Redman (who were both later to be major forces in new jazz and free jazz). Soon the young Pharoah would meet John Coltrane and would feel being attracted to the life as a professional musician. By the early sixties Sanders moved to New York where the major jazz scene was happening. Here he’d spent most his time honing his skills at rehearsals with Sun Ra… sadly he was not making much money with the Arkestra and soon found himself living on the streets, trying to stay up all night playing and then scrounging for money during the day, often selling blood to eat.

Sanders recorded his debut album for ESP soon after, but it wasn’t until he started playing with his old friend John Coltrane that he would fully unleash the fury of his saxophone on the world of free jazz. The records Pharoah Sanders played on for Coltrane laid the foundation of what was to come for both the world of free jazz and for Sanders as a musician. After Coltrane’s tragic death Sanders would record further with Alice Coltrane, John’s widow, on the album Karma (1969 – Impulse!), which is universally accepted as Sanders’ masterpiece. Along with musicians Alice Coltrane and singer Leon Thomas, Sanders helped to create the genre of spiritual jazz.

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