Alex McArtor,
The TVD First Date

“The most mystical place for me as a little kid was Waterloo Records right next to Amy’s Ice Cream in Austin, Texas.”

“I remember sitting outside waiting for my mom to get out of her hair appointment next door, eating strawberry ice cream in my plaid school uniform and looking like a complete loser watching all these edgy older kids come out of Waterloo. They would be talking about their records, smoking cigarettes, and making out against their cool cars. I’d think, “Damn that’s cool, I wanna be cool too.” So, I begged for a light blue record player that was the same color as my walls, my bedding, and my carpet (I really liked the color blue).

My parents already had a pretty hefty record collection so they were game…Cat Stevens and Van Morrison being the most played. I stole a bunch of their records in the beginning. I just wanted the records that had the coolest album art like Remain In Light by the Talking Heads, Ocean Rain by Echo and the Bunnymen, Disraeli Gears by Cream and stuff like that.

However, what I was really listening to at the time was stuff like Katy Perry on my brother’s iPod while I danced around my blue room singing “Teenage Dream” and pretending I had a boyfriend. But I still loved my blue record player, with my parents’ records lying next to it the corner of my room. I still have that little blue turntable even though it broke when my family moved to Dallas. A keepsake, I guess. It has “I heart Jim Morrison” written on the inside of it… I misspelled Morrison.

The Doors on vinyl were a big “gateway drug” into my appreciation and passion with the spinning, round disk. It started by stealing Morrison Hotel and Strange Days from my parents’ collection downstairs and culminated with me having my first complete discography of a band on my shelf courtesy of Good Records here in Dallas.

I did a school presentation on The Doors my 8th grade year in speech class and ended up getting in trouble because, “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll” apparently was not an appropriate topic according to my teacher. That was the moment where I really started developing a passionate bond with music. I didn’t accidentally fall down the rabbit hole, I full on willfully belly flopped!

Then there was the time I failed another project in history class my freshman year where the topic was “People, Movements and Events that Changed the World” or something like that. Of course, I wrote it on “Rock and Roll.” However, my teacher didn’t quite see it as a movement. I was so pissed off! Anyway, it just lit a fire underneath me. Every record in my house was listened to after that…even the ones that sucked. I had to do it; it was my way of “sticking it to the man.”

The records I have are all history…a part of me…except for the shitty ones that I bought early on. Those don’t see the light of day very much, haha. Anyway, people’s faces start to belong to them. You just don’t get that when you listen on streaming platforms. You don’t have the home which the music lives in, the touch of the ones who held the cover close to their hearts, the intimacy of searching for that one record with your hands and pulling it out of the sleeve and watching it spin.

Personally, I find it more interactive than listening through my phone, it obviously makes everything sound warmer. I guess it’s like wearing your mother’s coat or something vintage. It seems more sincere like it’s lived more life than you and it wants to share its wisdom with you. I keep Gram Parsons’ Grievous Angel in my car as well as Silver & Gold by Neil Young. They have become something bigger to me… good luck charms, a piece of home that I can hold on to when I’m miles away from wherever I want to be.

I love vinyl! I’ll probably be buried with a couple of my favorites.”
Alex McArtor

“Welcome To The Wasteland,” the new EP from Alex McArtor arrives in stores on June 25, 2021.

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PHOTO: NOLAN KNIGHT

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