Vinyl is part of the groove of life for collectors
Sunday, August 12, 2007
As Rock Cesario lifted the needle and affectionately placed it down on “The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner,” the record popped like bacon sizzling in a frying pan.
The black shiny vinyl circled round and round on the turntable, projecting a huskier Tina Turner voice unlike what is heard in her later, more famous work.
What’s love got to do with it?
A whole lot when you are a record collector.
If you are not in it to sell, then you’re in it for the hunt and love of the music and the memories, said local record collectors.
“Life’s composed of two things,” said Tim Sheen, 61, a local artist and record collector. “Events and memories. And make sure your memories are good.”
He said he bought his first record in 1965 when he was serving in the U.S. Army, and he is still adding to his collection.
The last week of July, he came into Cesario’s store, Triple Play Records, on a mission.
“How much would you sell a Peter, Paul and Mary album (for) that’s never been opened?” Sheen asked Cesario.
Sheen pulled “The Best of Peter, Paul and Mary: Ten Years Together” out of his JanSport backpack. Hot Wheels cars and a few other records spilled out of his backpack onto the counter.
Sheen showed the record off in all its shrinkwrapped-never-been-opened glory. He said he bought it for 10 cents at an antique store.
Cesario priced it at $24.
Sheen leaned on the store counter near the incense matches and buttons and rubbed a smooth black stone with his left hand. A peace sign was tattooed on the top of his right hand.
“The only musical instruments I play are the jukebox and the stereo,” Sheen said.
Sheen repeatedly said collecting records is about the treasure hunt, the fun of it. Playing records is like recalling memories.
“I remember the person I was with when I first played” a record, he said.
A collector is “looking for the music that maybe you fell in love with someone to,” Sheen said.
‘I THINK IT’S A MUSIC ADDICTION’
Music enthusiasts, casual browsers and disc golfers often meander into Cesario’s store to retreat from the heat of the day.
A couple came in looking for a specific song that could have been on any number of CDs.
A man walked in with his teenage daughter and told Cesario that “the first time I showed my kids a record, they thought it was a big CD.”
Another man was looking for 45s and possibly another working record player. His was about worn out.
On Aug. 4, Cesario said, the store sold roughly $300 worth of vinyl, about 50 records.
Not too bad for a town “growing” in its appreciation of vintage vinyl, Cesario said.
“Anything that was cream of the crop when it came out pretty much sells,” he said, flipping through some Iron Maiden and Motley Crue records someone had just brought in.
When asked about record collectors in the area, Cesario suggested a man named Jason Ross.
Ross lives in Telluride. He is 37, married, a plumber, DJ and volunteer at KOTO community radio. He has 1,300 records in his collection and he drives to Grand Junction “every couple of months” to buy from Triple Play.
“I think of vinyl as maybe books in a library,” Ross said. “You can look them up and do research.”
His “research” is spending, at times, all day searching through bins at record stores, thrift shops and garage sales for records.
In the evening after he gets off work, he listens to records playing on either his antique four-speed record player or his Technics player.
“You can listen to the whole record, and while you’re listening you can look at the sleeve … study the artwork, read the liner notes,” he said.
All of his records are kept in his living room in specially made wooden crates. He said his collection is “salt and peppered” together and organized by genre.
“I think records are supposed to be practical,” he said. “I think you’re supposed to wear a groove in them.”
And wear a groove he does, when he plays records for his young son, who prefers George Clinton records.
“It’s fun to dance to, I get the smiles and big eyes,” Ross said, describing his son’s reaction to the music.
Records remind Ross of his friends. “It all goes back to friends,” he said.
When he walks into a record store he always scopes for anything by Buck Owens. “Exile on Main St.” by the Rolling Stones would be an ultimate find, he said.
The Beach Boys’ “Today!” was the last record Ross bought. It’s out of print in CD, he said.
“I think it’s definitely compulsive to some point,” he said of record collecting. “I think it’s a music addiction.”
Ross’ KOTO radio show “Nature Boy” is broadcast in Telluride and over the Internet every other Saturday.
‘I COLLECT VINYL
BECAUSE I USE IT’
At the offices of KAFM 88.1 community radio in Grand Junction, Peyton Montgomery-Scott’s desk sits two steps higher than the other desks.
As the station’s operations manager and the only woman on the full-time staff, 27-year-old Montgomery-Scott fills the mother hen role by default.
Montgomery-Scott could think of only one other woman in town who collects records.
To collect, you have to have the patience to search and the willingness to spend your money on it, she said.
Last week, she stood near KAFM’s vinyl collection, which looks massive at four shelves high lining the length of the room, about 25 feet. Some shelves were labeled “help me file these,” others “donated music.”
Montgomery-Scott said the size of her collection isn’t as daunting. It’s about 250 records. She’s selective about what she keeps.
As a child she listened to “Banana Boat Song,” a calypso song from the ’50s, over and over again on a record at her grandparents’ house. The same song is on the “Beetlejuice” movie soundtrack.
“I collect vinyl because I use it. I believe in reusing things,” said Montgomery-Scott, who wore a skirt she bought at a thrift store in Washington and a black Ramones T-shirt.
Her record collection at home is organized and alphabetized by genre, rather like her neat and labeled desk at KAFM.
Most, if not all, of her vinyl was bought used or was “gifted” to her such as her copy of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.”
She got the record from a former boss as a goodbye gift when she left a bartending job.
Fortunately, the boss didn’t realize that tucked inside the record’s sleeve were two rare Pink Floyd posters and pyramids stickers.
One of the posters she hung up. The other and the sticker she still keeps in the cardboard record sleeve. She pulled them out to show them off.
“Smells like cardboard and plastic and age,” she said. “Reminds me of old books.”
Another of her most cherished records is “The Joy of Belly Dancing: With the King of Belly Dance Music George Abdo and His ‘Flames of Araby’ Orchestra.”
She found it at a thrift store, and inside the cover were pages of how-to instructions handwritten in purple ink. It also had written patterns for a dancing outfit, including how to make a girdle, Turkish pants and a veil.
She burned the record onto a CD so she could listen to it at her KAFM desk.
A voice on the CD sings along with the sound of finger cymbals, and Montgomery-Scott shifted in her chair to act out using finger cymbals by snapping her fingers together in the air.
Oh, the things loves makes you do.
Samantha Stiles can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.