Sad Baby Wolf:
The TVD First Date

“I own about 1,200 LPs and each one has some place in my heart or soul. At least I think so…maybe it’s time to listen to them all again, one by one.”

“Flashback to 1981: it’s a warm spring afternoon in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a small pack of youngsters and their chaperones has assembled to celebrate the commemoration of my sixth year on this earth. It was a special day for a few reasons. Yes, I acquired many amazing new Star Wars toys, however, the thing that made this day special, more unforgettable than many other birthdays of my youth, was getting my very first record player.”

It was a Winnie the Pooh Solid State Phonograph Record Player from Sears, and it was awesome. Along with the cool little portable hi-fi I received a copy of Men at Work’s Business as Usual to test out on my new device. I remember switching on the colorful box, and watching the bright white plate spin around and around as I glazed over in bliss. I knew this thing was going to get a lot of use. And it did.

Over the years I collected quite a few gems, most of which were given to me by my father or one of his rad, seventies-looking friends. From my Sesame Street Disco LP to my heavily-played Beatles hand-me-downs, I was hooked on the crackle and instant gratification of needle-meets-wax.

Eventually I came of age and wanted to experiment with some of the vinyl choices available to me. There were so many fascinating record covers I had seen on the shelves on various outings with my father. I believe the first one I actually bought with my own money was Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys (RIP Adam Yauch). It was a good thing that my parents had given me a little freedom in my record purchases, and that there were no parental advisory stickers back then. I’m also extremely lucky that neither parent walked in during a rotation of Paul Revere or some other colorful tune; these were definitely not my mom’s cup of Crystal Light.

I later moved on to cassette tapes and CDs, nearly forgetting about vinyl in the interim. But I managed to score a job working at an incredible locally-owned record store in Albuquerque when I was twenty-five. It was called Bow Wow Records (may it rest in peace) on historic Route 66. My appreciation of vinyl was reborn, more ferocious than ever.

The sheer volume of educational wax was mind-boggling. Plus, being a college dropout and playing in a local band full time, I was perfectly suited for the job. I received a daily education from my elders—from Amon Düül ii to The Zombies and everything in between. This job also inspired me to write a lot more music, and eventually helped me become a more solid addition to the bands Flake Music, The Shins, and currently Sad Baby Wolf.”
Marty Crandall

“At five, I was a Big Wheel-riding, Saturday Night Fever soundtrack-listening fool. (Man, those were some cool suits.)”

“That was my first taste of vinyl, but my brother and sister were nearly ten years older than me and were teenagers in the heyday of late seventies rock records. My sister was all Fleetwood Mac and Boston and my brother was Rush and AC/DC. My parents had a bit of vinyl too, mostly 70’s country. Later I found most of the Beatles albums and a bunch of jazz that my dad had bought in the ’60s.

However, it wasn’t until I was 14 that I heard the first record that would change my life–my brother’s copy of U2’s seminal live album, Under a Blood Red Sky. The sound of those guitars and the anthemic sound of that band blew me away. And then he got An Unforgettable Fire and it was just a complete mind explosion! It’s still one of my favorite albums of all time. Sadly my brother gave away his collection to a friend and not to me–that jerk!

Unfortunately, right when I started collecting my own music was when CDs became the rage and the defacto way of acquiring music. In hindsight, I feel that CDs did a huge disservice to music. They were so small and cheap feeling that I think their contents became less sacred. It just didn’t feel right looking at that tiny artwork while listening to the album, having to thumb through a little book to read the lyrics along with the song. They were more convenient and portable of course, but they lacked the elegance of vinyl.

I didn’t have a turntable for a long time, not till a buddy who I was playing in a band with was moving away and left a old beat up thrift store record player behind. I got a new needle and put on some 7″s that I had been collecting by local bands and, wham! There it was, that amazing sound of real music.

Luckily I had kept most of the records that I had collected in the mid to late 80s and had also gotten all my dad’s great 60’s vinyl. I was in heaven. Of course, this being the turn of the millennium, there were very few people putting out full-length records on vinyl. Fortunately in the past 10 years there has been a shift back. I don’t think I’ve bought a CD in years, but the vinyl collection is growing with new stuff and classics bought via local records shops and eBay for the hard-to-find stuff.

I’ve got all the classic U2 albums on vinyl – except for War and, oddly, Under A Blood Red Sky – off to eBay I go!”
Sean McCullough

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