Lulu Lewis,
The TVD First Date

“My sister Kelli was my first ‘music’ teacher. Being 7 years older than me and a teen right in the middle of the 1970s AND a huge music fan, she opened the door for me. I can remember as a girl walking into her bedroom where very loud and luring sounds were emanating. A somewhat typical story I imagine for those of us who had music centric older siblings.”

“I can remember a day very distinctly that she had “The Immigrant Song” blasting and was singing along. It went through me like an electric shock literally, scared me even and I did in fact think that it was surely the devil’s sound. I can remember seeing the B-52’s first album on the floor in all it’s glorious punk pop yellowness at the same moment. This is first time and place I can remember getting caught in the daze. It was like a switch went off inside me that has remained, very on. Home was found.

From there I started collecting in bits and pieces and can recall my first summer in London at age 13 just being in absolute heaven at the music cornucopia that pervaded that city. I was already a full on new wave and goth addict so London at that time, was a dream. On that trip I bought a number of records and one of my most cherished of all, which is a live album by Bauhaus called Press the Eject and Give me the Tape. It’s inner sleeve is long gone at this point, the outer has lost most of its glue and every time I hold it I am just filled with an avalanche of love, connection, and sweet memory. “Rose Garden Funeral of Sores” is my favorite track on there. I’m a big fan of Daniel Ash’s dissonant off kilter accents and that kind of style in general.

So, from there I just kept on my long journey of listening while growing up in NYC in the rich and diverse music culture and history that afforded me. My range of taste and interest expanded vastly as I was compelled to discover all there was to know about music and it’s makers. Eventually moved to LA and was a DJ at TVD’s own Jon Sidel’s infamous bar, Small’s KO. Working there my collection grew a lot and I learned a lot from Jon. It was getting pretty big by then with all my New Wave and Brit stuff now mixed with the years I had then spent learning everything about classic rock living the California dream I was in. And then, there came Punk. Punk punk punk till I couldn’t punk no more. Similarly to the Bauhaus album, I have a hand me down copy from my sister of the Gun Club’s Fire of Love that is in the same cosmetic state and evokes the same feelings of yearning adoration. Favorite track on that one would be “For the Love of Ivy.” I sometimes say in my next life I get to spend the whole time in gold lame hot pants wielding a bright orange Gretsch. I love Ivy too!! And Jeffrey Lee Pierce.

I spent 7 years in LA and pretty much always yearned to be back home in NYC in some way. So, for love and music, I hauled myself and the records all back here. Many teachers and other treasures found as well as always along the way. I was neighbors and good friends with Luscious Jackson’s Vivienne Trimble for a few years at one point. A brief friendship that I cherished. When she and her family decided to move to the country, she gifted ALL of her vinyl to me. So, the collection grew another nice chunk with a heavy selection of super groovy sound tracks. All the Spaghetti Westerns and ’70s cult classics like the Eyes of Laura Mars and many many others. Another thing I love about my records are the memories and moments in time and the people that they came from. It’s like almost my entire life story sits in stacks in my dining room, lining the walls, and are truly sacred objects to me.

Today, the discovery continues with Pablo as a new guide for me. I haven’t had many people in my life that I could sit and commune with over records as I am able to with him. It has been mostly a solitary and private endeavor despite having great guides. I remember the first time I met him, telling him that I was a music fan and collected records etc. He kind of just nodded. I laugh at this now as I later learned that his passion and collecting certainly surpasses my own by far! I remember going to his house for the first time, thumbing through his collection and letting him know I possessed about half of what he had. He was still duly impressed and responded “really?” I can also recall one of the first records he had on the decks was Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army. This is a great example of the uncovering I am experiencing with him as I learn more deeply about post punk, proto punk, and early new wave to a depth I had not known before. The last piece of vinyl I bought was Trio’s self titled debut album after listening to it amongst Pablo’s collection. Who knew that, that whole record is a total gem and that they were more than “Da Da Da!” Pablo does….and I’ll let him take it from here…Oh, Pablo?”
Dylan Hundley

“Ok, I’m scrolling over my record collection because I have to write this story, have to choose one or two of them and it’s getting hard to make a choice, this is the second collection I’ve built, the first one was the one I made when I was a punk rocker kid in Buenos Aires where I’m from. So, here I go.”

“I started at about 13 years old. Up to that point I was just following my sisters taste, mostly remains from the folk hippies from the ’70s, like Paul Williams, James Taylor, Bread, Eagles, and others. Also a bunch of records of Argentinean rock bands of that era that if I had kept, they would be priceless today. We had two destroyed versions of Fragile and Close to the Edge by Yes, stuff that I can’t listen to anymore but I still keep ’em in my heart in the guilty pleasure section. I started collecting prog rock albums until a good friend of mine showed up with a copy of Talking Heads 77 and The Specials, and that changed everything. Not only my taste in music but, also the family dynamics about music. Being now 14 the fights over the use of the stereo with my hippie sister Paula became vicious. See, up to that point she was ruling the airplay with folky, hippie singer-songwriter type music that ultimately didn’t bother anyone in the family, except me. But, when I started to claim airplay with punk rock and new wave albums in 1981 well, this all started to sound a bit threatening to everyone. I mean in retrospect I can imagine why titles like Punk and Disorderly Volume 1 or the Decline of the Western Civilization looked like trouble to them from the cover and beyond. But, that didn’t last too long as I was soon into Reggae, Bowie, and the Talking Heads. But, even those were hard to get on the air in my house before my Dad’s TV or the usual hippie singing-songwriting they were used to.

But one day I had a stroke of luck and my sister got a boyfriend. That made her stay away from home more and more often. In one great moment of family distraction I was able to move the stereo into my room and with that, the real problem started because now I could be really loud. I would play any record I wanted and I started to play music as well. This was my schooling. I played my bass over Tina Weymouth or Paul Simonon and Aston Barrett. The neighbors started to come over and ask in every possible way to turn it down. Then my grades at school started to go down and I discovered booze and weed. It was all absolutely fantastic. As an aside, at that time, Argentina was still under the military regime so walking the streets looking like a punk rocker was truly dangerous, because hairdos were always a major issue for military regimes.

My collection grew steadily from 1980 till 1989. Then I got a CD player and a broken belt on my turntable made me neglect my collection ’til the time I left for NYC in 1996. Badly kept and under appreciated at the time, I sold a big portion in a chain of bad deals to sleazy record shop owners. By 1991 it was all lost and gone.

I started to collect vinyl again about 10 or 12 years ago here in NYC. I learned at the time that I have a taste in sound that not many cared about and vinyl as well. This was long before the resurgence. You could get the most incredible issues for a buck at any Housing Works in NYC, but that doesn’t happen anymore. I reconstructed piece by piece and expanded the collection much further, even carried it around during break ups and movings, the weight of a piano all in.

I have ’em all back and every one of them has a little story. For instance, the one behind a 7” single by Bauhaus, “Satori in Paris,” which is a two live tracks French only issue is as follows. I looked for it for two months when I took a trip to Europe back in 1986 and found it in a bootleg record shop in Rome the day before returning to Buenos Aires. It was the first record I played when I got back and it was unlistenable! Found it again by chance for 7 bucks at a record shop in Hudson, NY last year and—it is still unlistenable.

The only major change in my collecting style now I guess is that being older and dealing with sparse shelving real estate in NYC is that I didn’t bother this time with band spinoffs and the like. Back in the day, I would buy any record by anyone who was featured in a band I liked even if it was a solo project by the drummer in The Exploited. I would buy it. Not anymore. I have become a “Best of” kind of guy or best of the best. I did buy another copy of Punk and Disorderly Volume 1 though…

Today I’ve got a copy of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! that I was still not able to replace. I’ve got the American version, the yellow one, before I had the UK version with a different cover. I’m listening to it while finishing this essay. I will never forget the face of my grandfather looking at me while I was listening to “Jocko Homo” at home—he looked puzzled. I heard him asking my sister, “Do you like this kind of music!?” “I HATE IT!,” she replied from the other side of the door.”
Pablo Martin

P.S. Pablo and I did not confer ahead of time regarding our pieces. The fact that we both have Bauhaus vinyl stories out of 2 record collections in the 1,000-plus range if combined with every genre well represented says something—but I’m not sure what! Maybe it speaks to why we made a band together.

Thanks for listening. Combined, we are Lulu Lewis and we like to call what we do, Harlem Punk Rock.”

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