Jack Black backs black

http://www.straight.com/article-132967/jack-black-goes-from-slob-to-snob-in-be-kind-rewind

Mos Def and Jack Black play friends who remake old movies from memory in Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind.

Jack Black goes from slob to snob in Be Kind Rewind

By Ian Caddell

LOS ANGELES—Up close, Jack Black looks like someone who might have problems with technology. He has perfected an on-screen image as a slob in most of his recent films, and he doesn’t look much different in person. So when director Michel Gondry sought an actor who could play a slacker who might be hanging out at a Passaic, New Jersey, video store and who hates DVDs, Black was an easy choice. Black played a similar character—a record-store employee who hates CDs and loves vinyl—in his first major role, in 2000’s High Fidelity.

In an L.A. hotel, Black says that there is a key difference in the two films’ approaches to new technologies, but he is happy to have personally progressed from owning low-tech videos to the best home-entertainment systems available. “The difference is that vinyl records sounded better than CDs. Videotape does not look better than DVD,” Black says. “In fact, I am a high-definition snob. I can’t watch anything unless it is HD. Is that wrong?”

In Be Kind Rewind, Black plays Jerry, whose friend Mike (Mos Def) is put in charge of the video store when the owner (Danny Glover) leaves town. The only order he gives Mike upon leaving is to keep Jerry away from the store. However, when Jerry gets zapped by electrical wires, Mike lets him inside. Both soon discover that Jerry has somehow fried all the videos just by walking through the store. Left with hundreds of blank videos, Jerry and Mike decide to reenact the movies, record them, and transfer them to videotape. The movie opens on Friday (February 22) in Vancouver.

Black says that although he would never rent a video now, he was a big fan before DVDs came along and he still has quite a few at home, mostly because he never got around to returning them. “I rented a lot of videos back in the day,” he says. “I always rewound, but I did have a problem returning them. I ended up paying for a lot of movies. I bought them and they cost so much more if you don’t return them. And they are used and crappy, which is not the way you want to own.”

Much of the movie involves Jerry and Mike remaking old movies, a process the characters call “sweding”. Gondry told his actors that they were going to be called upon to reenact films that could be found in a video store, including Ghostbusters, Robocop, and Driving Miss Daisy. He also told them it would be funnier if they could refrain from watching the videos, because he wanted them to do the job without trying to stay close to the originals. Black says he and Mos Def did as they were told, although he admits he was tempted to watch them.

“I told Michel that since I had never seen Driving Miss Daisy I should watch it once to re-create it, and he said, ‘No, it is better if you don’t know anything.’ I had seen the commercial, so he felt I knew the basic gist and he liked it better when it was half-assed and not close to the original. The point was we were remaking them but they had to look quite different in our versions.

“I did like doing Robocop because I love the sci-fi/action genre the most,” Black continues. “I would have done more of those movies if I had been allowed. I would have wanted to do The Terminator as the naked [Arnold] Schwarzenegger. I would have liked to have done The Road Warrior and The Shining. I also like all the old [Jack] Nicholson movies, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Overall, though, I just liked the whole idea of escaping from the real world. The movies we chose were escapist, because why spend a lot of time trying to re-create what the real world is like? It would get a little boring.”

Black’s schedule isn’t boring, with a 20-month-old son and his wife, Tanya Haden, expecting another baby later this year. He has three more movies scheduled to come out this year, and he says he will be going on tour with his two-member band, Tenacious D, as soon as they complete their latest album. However, he says that process is taking a while.

“We have one great song for our next album, which we are calling Death Star,” he says. “We still need to surround it with 13 equally powerful songs, so it could be about 2012 before you see another album. But I have heard that the future might be just singles and no more albums. That would make things easier, but I would hate it. It would be like directors releasing scenes rather than full movies.”

Gold Million Records stores vinyl treasure trove on the Main Line

 http://media.www.villanovan.com/media/storage/paper581/news/2008/01/31/Entertainment/Gold-Million.Records.Stores.Vinyl.Treasure.Trove.On.The.Main.Line-3177616.shtml

 

Gold Million Records stores vinyl treasure trove on the Main Line

J-ROD'S MUSIC WORLD

Justin Rodstrom

Issue date: 1/31/08 Section: Entertainment

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When the word "vinyl" comes to the mind of a college kid, we often conjure up those acid-fueled, Bacchanalian days of the '60s and '70s, transported to these times through films like "Almost Famous" and more recently "Across The Universe."

In our hi-tech world of iPods, mp3s and LimeWire, vinyl has become a sign of a different generation. But every once in a while, we get curious, we wonder … What treasures might lie hidden under all that dust in the attic?

With that attraction to the unknown, I made my way down the Main Line to a little record shop called Gold Million Records.

Upon entry, I was greeted by a half century's worth of memorabilia and records, culled from shop owners Max I. Million and Harold Gold's personal collections.

For the past 30 years, Million and Gold have dedicated their lives to their passion – the preservation and sale of some of the most important musical documents, paraphernalia and, yes, vinyl records from the past 50-plus years.

"This is our lives; we have a love for what we do – the sound of music, a real deep love of music," says Million of her life and livelihood.

Gold Million is your absolute classic record store, such a treasure trove it seems like something out of "High Fidelity." Tens of thousands of autographed or limited-print 45-inch, 10-inch and 7-inch records line the walls like an art gallery.

Autographed guitars, posters and memorabilia are on display as if you had truly reached the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – the pinnacle of all that is 20th-century music.

And what a life in music it has been for the owners of Gold Million. Over their 30 years in the business, Gold and Million have attracted some of the biggest names in the industry to their quaint conservatory.Artists from Blondie to Iggy Pop, The Talking Heads to The Ramones, Joan Jett and The Jam have all made stops in to the shop for appearances and autographs, always leaving with a few new albums to add to their personal collections.

As digital music has become the standard, Gold and Million have found ways to adapt their business while maintaining integrity and passion for their work. The Internet has been a big part of their demand, with orders coming in from around the globe.

"Since we opened our eBay store, we have had orders from around the world, from people who never would have known we exist," Gold said. "Since just last night we've had orders from Austria, Great Britain and Greece. This one customer from Italy has been really interested in our autographed Ramones albums."

In addition to records, Gold Million has stayed viable among digital competition by offering products unique to the Gold Million name.

If you love "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles, why not get a gatefold wall clock featuring the original art from the album? Always been a fan of The Rolling Stones? You might want to pick up a tissue box made up of assorted panels from the album "Sticky Fingers."

"For fans of the music, it's a great way to appreciate the album art and give the records a whole new purpose," Million says. Though Million and Gold have come up with new ways to stay open amid changing demand, they both stress the importance of vinyl to music and their business.

"Vinyl is a social experience," Gold says. "You bring over a couple friends and just get into it. You study the album's art, the liner notes and take everything in."

Million chimes in, saying, "You get to learn about the artist, why they wrote this or that song – take the album in as a whole as opposed to just individual singles. Also, vinyl just sounds better."

As vinyl stores around the United States shut down due to music industry changes, Gold Million has bought up many collections over the years and continues to add to its priceless collection.

And although the store offers many alternatives to the standard vinyl, Gold says, "Kids will inherit their parents' records and it will spark an interest in collecting."

A glimmer of hope for fans of vinyl

Published February 21, 2008 06:46 pmThe reason for vinyl’s resurgence appears to be that the few people under 30 still willing to buy albums want a more substantial purchase for their money than the underwhelming compact disc.

Jeremiah Tucker: A glimmer of hope for fans of vinyl

The end of the CD seems nigh as sales fell again in 2007 continuing a trend that’s been unspooling for years. The reason behind the plunge in sales — according to most reasonable people — is the popularity of digital music.

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Now, I would be a trifle despondent if the future of music seemed solely to be digital singles cherry picked from iTunes or peer-to-peer network, but there does seem to be a slim glimmer of hope for people like me who still enjoy going to the local brick-and-mortar store to thumb through the latest releases.

Last year, the sale of vinyl albums rose 15 percent while CD sales continued plummeting. The trend has been getting a lot of press because the incongruity of an analog, almost anachronistic format experiencing newfound popularity in the high-tech, digital age is intriguing. And it isn’t holdouts from the technophobic holdouts and ‘70s purists behind the sales bump. The reason for vinyl’s resurgence appears to be that the few people under 30 still willing to buy albums want a more substantial purchase for their money than the underwhelming compact disc.

In an article in Time magazine published last month after the release of the Nielsen Soundscan data for 2007, Kristina Dell wrote” “Many young listeners discovered LPs after they rifled through their parents’ collections looking for oldies and found that they liked the warmer sound quality of records, the more elaborate album covers and liner notes that come with them, and the experience of putting one on and sharing it with friends, as opposed to plugging in some earbuds and listening alone.”

The Soundscan data doesn’t even take into account old vinyl purchased in thrift shops or even some of the smaller indie mom-and-pop stores. So this could be a real, burgeoning market. In the same Time magazine article, the indie label Merge (Destroyer, Arcade Fire) said it was having trouble even keeping up with the demand.

I’ve recently been considering buying all my new releases on vinyl and give up the CD all together. Almost all new releases are available in both vinyl and CD now, and if you buy the vinyl, most of the time it comes with a free digital download of the album. The difference in sound quality between CD and high-fidelity 180 and 200 gram vinyl, as far as I can tell, is negligible. (Vinyl also sounds considerably better than digital downloads.)

The only thing really holding me back is that CDs are still cheaper, and my vinyl collection, already in the hundreds, takes up a lot of room and is difficult to move as it is. Still, when I really love an album, I would prefer either to the impersonality of my iPod.

Black Mountain: “In the Future”

If there is any new release this year perfect for spinning on an old turntable, it’s Black Mountain’s sophomore album, “In the Future.”

Continuing the experiment began in 2005 on its self-titled debut, which I own on vinyl, the Canadian band takes its surprisingly dexterous recreation of ‘70s stoner rock and begins pushing the boundaries. Dudes steeped in classic rock would probably be able to point out numerous references on “In the Future,” but the towering riffage the propels songs like opener “Stormy High” and “Evil Ways” doesn’t recall so much one band as a lost era.

“Stormy High” kicks the door in with the kind of fat, no-nonsense guitar riff and high-pitched, wordless moaning that — OK, there’s no way around it — recalls Robert Plant. The next song, “Angels,” is a trippy folk song, and its success relies somewhat on lead singer Stephen McBean’s vocal similarity to Neil Young.

The best song on the album is the indomitable and monolithic “Tyrants.” It begins aggressive and then slows to a drowsy pace as McBean muses, “You will die by the sword.” He harmonizes with Amber Weber, who sounds like Grace Slick. Weber contributes a floating-above-the-earth verse where violence continues to be the theme, and then we’re back to the hard stuff. The song is eight minutes long, second longest on the album.

So of course there’s Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the music. “Wild Wind” sounds a lot like early Bowie. The droning, rock-and-dirge hybrid of the 16-minutes “Bright Lights” recalls the 70s penchant for excess and progressive rock. So, of course, some of the appeal of Black Mountain is that the record sounds like a lost artifact from 1974, but this is not its only appeal. It’s not pure nostalgia or gimmick. The songs stand firm. McBean sounds like he’s making music he loves, and the band doesn’t seem content to be archeologists.

And when indie music is marketed as the precious stuff on the “Juno” soundtrack, a band like Black Mountain is a welcome reminder to everyone that we’re not all wimps — honest to blog.

Record master dies at 59

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/ENT04/801250373/1035/ENT

Murphy's service is set for Saturday

By TAMARA WARREN • FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER • January 25, 2008

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Ron Murphy was a craftsman whose rare vinyl-record-cutting skills were instrumental in the spread of Detroit electronic music around the world.

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His dogged dedication to sonically pure music made him a favorite with the biggest names in Detroit techno music, artists whose work became staples on dance floors around the globe in the late '80s and early '90s.

Murphy, whose handiwork was responsible for the pressings of dozens of classic techno recordings, died of cardiac arrest last week at the age of 59.

At his Westland company Sound Enterprises, he used analog U.S. equipment to transfer the musicians' sounds into a physical product — vinyl records stamped with the prominent black-and-white NSC logo, which stood for National Sound Corporation, the original name of his company.

Detroit producers who became worldwide stars, such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Jeff Mills, clamored to have their vinyl mastered under Murphy's steady hand in the early days of techno. He continued to work with the fabled Underground Resistance collective in recent years.

And while the Westland resident was best known for his activity with techno, he also worked in the world of Detroit R&B and soul. He was also known as Motown Murphy because of his extensive knowledge of recording techniques used by the Motown label and his huge collection of Motown vinyl.

"He was part of that machine," his cousin Larry Shooshanian said, referring to Murphy's feel with recording equipment.

"He felt everything in there. There was an emotional connection between Ronnie and that cutter."

Murphy grew up in southwest Detroit. A fevered record collector from a young age, he began studying recording techniques, sometimes by hanging out at labels like Motown and Fortune. He bought recording equipment and eventually opened his own shop. A chance meeting with Atkins and May led to his role mastering techno recordings.

Under Murphy's stern and meticulous care, hundreds of Detroit records were mastered over the past few decades.

"He was harsh in a way that was really needed. He was trying to make sure you got your stuff right," said Underground Resistance member Cornelius Harris. "He was really proud of all the guys doing techno. This was something he was a part of and he wanted to see everyone have success. … He was a real hard-core Detroiter with a good heart."

Murphy pioneered record-cutting technology including 12-inches that had two songs on a single track, called the double groove. He also designed records to play from the inside out.

"He was the engineer and the designer in the production of the actual vinyl," Harris said. "These records wouldn't have come out if it wasn't for him."

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Santieu Funeral Home, 1139 Inkster Rd., Garden City.

For the record, this vinyl buyer is a true musichead

http://www.roanoke.com/columnists/berrier/wb/150819

Ralph Berrier mug

Ralph Berrier

Riffs, the regional music scene as heard by The Roanoke Times reporter Ralph Berrier, will appear weekly on Sundays.

Recent columns

Like a lot of 22-year-old dudes, Sam Lunsford is into music. He plays in a couple of bands and even works at a record store. Like most dudes into music, he has thousands of songs in his collection.

Unlike most dudes, though, he has all those songs on vinyl albums. He owns about 500, from old 78 rpm hillbilly records he inherited from his great-grandparents to reissues of classic-rock LPs to new releases from cool bands.

"I've got a good needle and a good setup" on which to play those records, Lunsford said from behind the counter at Plan 9 Music, where he works. The store sells CDs, DVDs and, yes, vinyl.

Other musicheads are into vinyl, he said. Plan 9, which moved to Grandin Road from Towers Shopping Center in December, sells more vinyl records than DVDs, he said.

"And people buy a lot of DVDs," he said.

The image of the modern-day vinyl buyer is that of the middle-aged, geeky record collector who prattles on about "sound quality" and "warmer tones" and "sonic spectrum" and other audiophile-speak. He's the guy with 2,000 albums in his collection, including rare Japanese imports of Engelbert Humperdinck records.

That depiction would be considered a cliche, except that it's mostly accurate.

Now, however, younger geeks … I mean collectors … are getting into the act. Plan 9 carries a selection of recent releases by Arcade Fire, Ryan Adams, The Decemberists and other groups that produce vinyl versions of their work.

Most of these LPs are considered vanity projects (again, owing to the inherent geekiness of most musicheads) that are expensive to produce and far less profitable than CDs. Fewer than 1 million vinyl records are sold each year, according to SoundScan, although some analysts think the number is much higher because the music industry doesn't have a good way to count sales of used records, especially on eBay.

There's enough demand that Amazon.com has added a Web page for vinyl records.

Still, times are tough for record stores, even Plan 9.

Though sales initially doubled at the new location, 2008 hasn't gotten off to a banner start. The new location is larger and boasts a performance space, but so far the store is only hosting one show per month. The next gig, on Feb. 22, will be another benefit show by Doug Cheatwood and the Bastards of Fate, who lost their gear in a warehouse fire last month.

I hope Plan 9 makes it, although it's tough to be optimistic about the future of any record store. The good thing about the new digs is that it increases Grandin Road's cool factor. The street has a critical mass of artsy-type businesses, with the record store, the Grandin Theatre, a ballet company, a used bookstore and a few neat restaurants lining the block.

Vinyl records certainly won't lead to an economic revival in the music business, but their place in the collective consciousness of serious music lovers is secure.

"It's so much more personal to have a copy of something," said Plan 9's assistant manager, Jamie Booker, 24. "I know iPods can dock into everything in the world, but there's something personal and better about having something you can touch and share and experience."

Of course, she's going to say that because she needs to sell records. But she really means it. She doesn't download songs.

Lunsford does, though. But he likes those old records, too.

"People are weird," he said. "They'll always want to collect things. As long as we keep collecting, there'll always be records."

The world of vinyl lives on

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/02/21/vinyl_lives_on  

 

The world of vinyl lives on

A wall of records on display at Recordtech

It may take up a minuscule part of the music market, but vinyl records saw a 15 percent spike in sales last year. Brendan Newnam visits a record-pressing plant in California and learns more about the business.

A wall of records on display at Recordtech record-pressing plant in Camarillo, Calif. (Record Technology Inc.)

More on Arts – Culture, Entertainment

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Today's your last chance to bid for the world's largest music collection. It was listed on eBay this week with a starting bid of $3 million. The winner gets 300,000 CDs . . . and 3 million records. Remember them? You thought the days of vinyl were over, guess again. Here's Brendan Newnam.


Brendan Newnam: Don MacInnis is an optimist. Who else would buy a record manufacturing plant in 1992 — 10 years after the compact disc sparked a digital music revolution? A CD, after all:

Don MacInnis: Was cheaper to replicate, much cheaper to ship. The vinyl industry was dying.

Still, Macinnis couldn't resist buying the plant when his boss decided to retire. Now, business at Recordtech in Camarillo, Calif. is booming.

Machines melt down vinyl pellets and pour the hot liquid onto a waiting mold. Then the presses clamp shut, oozing vinyl out the sides, and finally a record slides onto a long spool.

Vinyl makes up a minuscule part of the music market, just 0.2 percent. But hundreds of thousands of people still buy records, and that number's growing. According to Nielsen Soundscan, new vinyl sales were up 15 percent last year.

So why the renewed interest? Well, you can't hear it on the radio, but record enthusiasts claim that vinyl offers a warmer, more nuanced sound. Think fresh-squeezed orange juice versus store bought.

Jason Moore, the chief vinyl buyer for Amoeba Records in Hollywood, cites another reason for the resurgence:

Jason Moore: It's always been more personal, so much more tangible than a CD. The size, the look, the gatefold, you get to watch it go around, you know what I mean. It's, what's the word, where . . . interactive.

People like displaying their records, and even flipping them over. Things you can't do as well with a CD or an MP3. Now, more and more people download MP3s for their iPods and then buy vinyl for their home collection. And these aren't just nostalgic boomers.

Jason Moore again:

Moore: Everybody's out there buying records these days. There's 15-year-old kids out on the floor with Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" and, you know, Led Zeppelin in their arm. You know, it's like, gives me hope in humanity.

For Don Macinnis, it means hope for his business.

MacInnis: I don't know how long 17 or 20 percent growth is going to last, but I have a 10-year-old son, he's much more into music than I am, and if he wanted to 15, 20 years from now be involved in this business, I think the business would be here.

In Camarillo, CA I'm Brendan Newnam for Marketplace.

Record store owner sells 3.3 million vinyls and CDs on eBay

Greatest hits 

Rare finds

"I have one of the original Berliners … that's the first American-made flat record in history; it was made in the 1800s. It's very rare."

An unreleased, untitled Rolling Stones album of early singles that was originally recorded in mono. He estimates this has a value of between $5,000 and $10,000.

15 copies of the first edition of Elvis' Christmas Album.

His favourite music

"I love doo-wop from the '50s and '60s and all of that stuff is on vinyl … it's funny, they're marketing a lot of great label compilations on CD now, and some of that stuff has never been released."

One that got away

"The 45 version of `Stormy Weather' by The Five Sharps. That's a legendary recording and I know some people who have cracked 78s of it, but I've never seen the 45 version. People insist that it exists, and it is worth a small fortune and is something I'd like to get my hands on."

his auction site

thegreatestmusiccollection.com

Raju Mudhar

 

Record store owner sells 3.3 million vinyls and CDs on eBay, but you have to buy them all

Feb 20, 2008 04:30 AM


Entertainment Reporter

For Paul Mawhinney, it all started with Frankie Laine's "Jezebel" and fittingly, that song started a collection that has effectively become the other woman in his life.

The lifelong music fan and owner of the Record Rama Sound Archive store in Pittsburgh now has over three million vinyl records and 300,000 CDs in his personal collection, which he decided to put up for sale on eBay last week.

It's listed under the heading of "The World's Greatest Music Collection" with a starting bid of $3 million (U.S.), and Mahwinney is looking to sell his entire collection intact.

"I'm really not interested in collectors because I don't want it to be broken up. This is my life's work and this is for future generations," the 68-year-old said in a phone interview from his store.

"I want the history of American popular music to be available for future generations, and if I sell this as a whole and they keep it together, or give it to a museum, that would be wonderful."

Citing health issues and a desire to spend more time with his family as his reasons for selling, Mawhinney says the collection has been appraised at over $50 million.

He almost sold it in 1999 for $28 million to CD Now, an early Internet music e-tailer, but 12 days before the deal was supposed to close, the company went bankrupt.

Since then, he's almost made deals to give it to the Library of Congress and other institutions, but the funding has fallen through numerous times. So he decided to go to the Web and open it up to the world.

There were no bids on eBay as of press time, but Mawhinney says the interest has been overwhelming.

"Oh, it's unbelievable. I think over 80,000 people have been to the site and I know there are close to 1,000 people on reserve just watching the bid. It's only going to be up for 10 days," he says. "And I'm pretty confident. In fact, I know it's going to be sold."

Mawhinney says he started his record store because his wife told him he had to get his already massive record collection – which at the time numbered in the 160,000 range – out of the house.

He says he didn't want to actually get into the business, but it seemed the best way to make use of his hobby. He stopped actively collecting music in 2002 and since then, archiving and cataloguing the six-million-plus songs has become his full-time job and ongoing labour of love.

Every day, as he's sorting through the collection, "I find music that I didn't have yesterday," he says.

He says the collection holds every genre of American music there is, from the aforementioned Frankie Laine to ZZ Top, and in most forms of packaging, including acetates, eight tracks and LPs in every speed. There are also several duplicates of many of the recordings.

As well, he has an ancillary collection of phonographs, jukeboxes and other devices tracing music's history over the past century.

Because of the sheer size of the collection, he's also offering his services for the next six months to the potential buyer to help them sort and organize.

The eBay auction closes tomorrow.


Styleflip.com Provides New Way To Customize Gear

Title:  Styleflip.com Provides New Way To Customize Gear
Keywords: styleflip.com, customize, skins, DJ gear, pro audio
Content:
Styleflip.com is providing DJ's and Producers with a new way to stick out from the pack. An online service that has just launched, Styleflip.com allows users to customize their gear by creating their own unique skins. Mike Tadros of Styleflip.com states that DJ gear and Pro Audio is currently available to get customized with MP3 Players, laptops, cell phones, video gaming systems, and a wider selection of DJ and Pro Audio gear to come in the future. Styleflips are made out of vinyl and coated with a clear laminate coating for additional protection. Ranging in price from $10 (USD) to $49.95 (USD) the service claims to turn any design into a unique protective layer that is easily applied and removed without leaving a mark. A service available to DJs and Producers all over the world, Styleflip is backing up their unique service with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The site has been setup with the designer in mind allowing the user to upload, move and resize their images along with a preview that shows what the image will look like as they style it. The process even includes an optional information layer so the user can reinsert their knob control functions in whatever color they would like ensuring it goes well with their design.
After trying the ‘Style It' option on a variety of gear my mind was running wild with ideas on how to change it from the bland look they usually have. Perfect for the nightclub looking to brand their gear, the musician looking for a unique look, or anyone that wants to make their gear ‘theirs’, Styleflip.com seems to be a promising addition in the world of customization.
Weblinks:

http://www.styleflip.com/
Contact Information:
Michael Tadros
Styleflip
3 West 15th Street
Minneapolis, MN 5503
Phone: 612-702-4275
mike@styleflip.com

Vinyl back in the groove

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/10/sunday/main3813468.shtml  

Vinyl Is Back In The Groove

Audiophiles Shun MP3s and CDs For "Old-Fashioned" LPs, And Companies Meet The Demand


a vinyl record of the Beatles' album "Abbey Road."
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Buying LP records isn't just for nostalgia buffs, as more and more contemporary artists are releasing their work on vinyl. (AP)

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(CBS) Remember turntables? They were used to play LP's, those long-playing records developed by Dr. Peter Goldmark of CBS Labs. They spin at 33-and-a-third revolutions per minute. Even in these digital days, true believers have never given up on analog vinyl LPs, and today they're enjoying some vindication. Thalia Assuras examines an audio counter-revolution:


Schoolkids at P.S. 8 may not know exactly what the large round black thing is.

"It's, it's, uh, I don't know," one said.

"A CD?" another asks.

"It's a disk," said another.

Hey, if you were born in the age of digital sound, you might not know exactly how this it works, either. But they threw out guesses:

"It's something really old and it plays music."

"And it's so huge because in those days CDs hadn't been invented and this is kinda what it was."

"When you play it, it sings music out."

"It's a record!"

And … it's coming back.

Vinyl records, yes, the same kind of LPs you listened to on a turntable, have become, well, cutting edge again.

True, the newer technology can put a thousand digital songs in your pocket, but for a growing number of music lovers, there's nothing like a real groove.

Record labels are re-releasing vinyl LPs; Amazon has inaugurated a vinyl-only Web site; and the makers of vinyl records say sales are up, enough to keep them in the black.

When asked why he ventured into an analog music business, when vinyl is virtually non-existent in music stores, Thomas Bernich said, "There's enough out there to, you know, have a little piece of the pie. I'm certainly not going to be driving a Ferrari tomorrow, There's no question about that!"

Bernich is the founder of Brooklynphono, a tiny factory that presses records in small batches for artists who want the sound, and feel, of vinyl.

Why would an indie band want to put their album out on vinyl as opposed to what's supposedly cool – you know, CDs?

"It's a closed format," said Bernich. "Not everyone can have access to it. So if you don't want your music to go everywhere, it's one way of having control over your product."

With wife Fern and daughter Hazel, Bernich's record factory is, quite literally, a mom-and-pop business.

"If the money's green, we press the record," said Fran.

I think it's got to do not only with the sound but the ritual of playing the record, and also just the whole packaging. It's like a gift every time you open it.

Jason Durham

Jason Durham runs the production line, where each record pressed is inspected. "Both sides, A and B. Every album. We're very serious about quality control."

To Durham, the difference between vinyl and digitized music is like comparing a formal dinner to fast food.

"I think it's got to do not only with the sound but the ritual of playing the record," he said, "and also just the whole packaging. It's like a gift every time you open it."

Our schoolkids had some idea of the history of vinyl.

"In the old ages they used this instead of a DVD player," one said.

And just when were the old ages?

"In the 1960s!"

Actually, he's right. The 1960s have been called the golden age of vinyl. That decade saw major advances in how the music was actually recorded, but it all ended up on a turntable. Steve Sheldon was a college student when he joined Rainbo Records in L.A., back when vinyl was king and "The King" was on vinyl.

"The busiest period for Rainbo was 1977, when Elvis died," Sheldon said. "And within three days of his death, we had booked about a million and a half records to be pressed. Our capacity at the time was 60,000 pieces a day."

But in the 1980s, CDs hit the market, and pure sound quality took a back seat to convenience. When computer downloads and MP3 players came a decade later, it would seem that vinyl LPs were on the fast-track to oblivion. But although demand for vinyl declined, it never disappeared, in part because digital recordings just don't sound the same.

"It's smooth, right?" Durham said. "It's a groove, whereas a CD takes music, audio, chops it up. And it's done in little packets of data. And the trick is that you listen to it, if the data is quick enough, your ear 'makes up' for the difference. Theoretically, they scientifically have proven that we can't hear the difference. But there is something. There is something different."

That old-fashioned sound requires an old fashioned, labor-intensive process.

Technicians create the metal master plates one by one. The raw vinyl pellets are hand-loaded into the pressing machine, and each LP is packaged (carefully) by a gloved employee.

Making compact discs is a different story: The process is high speed, and highly automated, with a lot of the work done by robots. At Rainbo, making a CD costs less than half of what it takes to press a record, but Steve Sheldon says he's banking on the future of vinyl.

"In the next few years I'll be pressing more vinyl records than CDs."

"Here's the bottom line question: Will vinyl ever die?" Assuras asked.

"No. Absolutely not," Thomas Bernich said. "It's too wonderful of a medium."

And for true believers, a medium that will keep audiophiles happy for generations to come.