White Hills,
The TVD First Date

“My obsession with records dates back to when I was 5. Living in San Carlos, a suburb of San Francisco, which at that time had not left the Leave It To Beaver-era of 1950s Americana. With an older brother already in school and a younger brother still in diapers, much of my day was spent with my mother. I have vivid memories of her doing chores while listening to records, singing along to them and occasionally taking a moment to dance with me.”

“I became enthralled with these round discs that spewed out sound. I would spend hours on end flipping through my parents collection, which was mainly filled with singer-songwriters like Neil Diamond, Carole King and the like alongside Broadway soundtracks, big band and bebop jazz. There were a few anomalies, the soundtrack to Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix and The Band Of Gypsies and Jefferson Airplane’s Bark. The later was the one my pea brain was most enthralled with.

Bark was housed in a mysterious brown paper bag. Upon pulling the cover out I found myself staring at a fish with human teeth. It was so strange and foreign to me. Listening to the album only made things more confusing. From the obtuse acapella song “Thunk” to the nightmarish waltz “Never Argue With A German If You’re Tired Or European Song” to the overly stoned “Pretty As You Feel,” I was completely taken by these unfamiliar sounds and couldn’t get enough.

Flash forward some 5 years, relocated to a different suburb of SF, I would save up my allowance for the sole purpose of purchasing records. My parents had a friend who owned a local record store called Town & Country. Around this time I befriended a kid who had two much older brothers—one a senior in high school, the other a freshman at the University of Berkeley. It was through my friend’s older brothers that I was exposed to punk and new wave- artists like Patti Smith, Motorhead, Television, Sex Pistols and so much more.

Like Bark I was completely taken by the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks. After hearing that LP for the first time, the next day I rode my bike down to Town & Country to buy it. Upon bringing the LP up to the counter, my parents’ friend eyed the album and grunted “Do you like this crap David?” I shyly nodded yes while he walked over to the back counter where he pulled out two LPs that he dropped on the counter and said, “Well you’ll probably like these two as well.” They were promo copies of the Dead Boys’ We Have Come For Your Children and Radio Birdman’s Radios Appear. Score!!! For a mere $4.98 I walked out of that store with 3 LPs that were life affirming and changing for me.

Not long after this my older brother was of driving age and this opened another world in my quest for vinyl. I now had the ability to travel great distances to go to record stores. Used or new it didn’t matter. We’d travel all over the Bay Area, from San Francisco to San Jose going to any record store we could find. It was also at this time a used record store opened in my hometown, The Record Exchange. It was a hangout for all of the freaks in the area. Any moment I could go there, that’s where you’d find me.

Discovering used record stores allowed me to take chances on my purchases. Prices were dirt cheap and I would buy records just based on the cover. This is where I discovered The Wipers, Minimal Man, Tuxedomoon, The Soft Boys, and the world of weird private pressings by artists like A Western Front, The Speed Queens, Jandek, etc…many of which I have lugged around with me as I moved from city to city since.

My obsession with vinyl even led me to working at the infamous San Francisco used record store Recycled Records which was located on Haight Street at Masonic. Little did I know, when I was much younger, visiting the shop when It was located in North Beach that one day I would be the guy behind the counter. Working there I was able to listen to everything and anything, which opened up my world to styles and genres I had previously dismissed. There was a loyal community of characters that would shop at the store regularly. It was a destination for touring and local musicians as well.

While there I interacted with musicians ranging from Thurston Moore to poet/musician Jim Carroll to Don Cherry to Malcolm McLaren to Eric Drew Feldman (Captain Beefheart/PJ Harvey) to David Tibet (Current 93) and Stephen Stapleton (Nurse With Wound). Michael Jackson was even a patron of the store. Arriving after closing time, his manager would knock on the door and say the magic words. Whoever was working knew who they were opening the doors for and did so without hesitation.

Unfortunately I was never there when Michael came to the store. What ended up being the last time he came to shop was on the day I would have been working if I hadn’t recently moved to NYC. My former co-worker knowing my disappointment in missing the king of pop sent me a bag of paper towels he used to dry his hands off with after digging through the bins. A consolation prize that hangs on a wall in my studio to this day. Definitely one of the best jobs I have ever had.”
Dave W

White Hills’ Splintered Metal Sky is in stores now via God Unknown Records and available on limited edition black and white splatter vinyl

On April 22, 2021, White Hills will play an exclusive, one-time only free concert on the newly-launched live music streaming platform supernovasect.com. The concert will air at 9PM in 4 different time zones, AEDT/CET/EST/PST, giving international audiences a chance to tune in.

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PHOTO: EBRU YILDIZ

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