I have been collecting vinyl since I was 15 years old, which means I was buying my first slabs of black vinyl just as punk was all over the front pages of The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express and Bill Grundy was helping to make sure that punk was big news. All I can remember was the established press telling us that punk was evil and dangerous and had to be stamped out.
Good luck with that one!!
However, the very first record that I bought was slightly less contentious – it was Mink Deville’s Spanish Stroll. Look, I was only 15, and I thought it sounded ok!!
I started picking up some punk stuff, and my first picture disc was The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks. I must confess that I did actually play it for a while on my old turntable, but after a while I realised that not only did it not sound all that good, but it was probably not designed to be played in the first place (the first of many school boy errors!).
I can also remember buying all 4 of the solo singles by the members of Kiss, each of which was on coloured vinyl and came with a fold out mask. I totally loved them, and as their earlier album Destroyer was safely in my collection already, I began to look out for more stuff by them.
I had also found British heavy metal in the form of London band UFO, and the first album I bought was Lights Out in 1977, which I still have. I had bought a couple of Deep Purple albums from a friend at school, most notably Made in Japan, which I played to death, and then the same school friend sold me Dark Side of the Moon and Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd, and I became a lifelong fan of both bands.
What has always fascinated me about rock and prog bands in particular, is the fact that they all so incestuous, with guitarists and lead singers turning up in super groups or other bands all the time, and by following a few key artists, you find new music to get in to. For example, I loved Deep Purple, so when Ian Gillan left, I loved his solo project, and when Richie Blackmore left to form Rainbow, I loved the Rising album. Now, Ronnie James Dio was the lead singer in Rainbow, and when he went to Black Sabbath and recorded Heaven and Hell in 1980, I then really loved the band, so started working my way back through their catalogue, and so on. Ronnie died in 2010, and in my humble opinion, had one of the finest metal voices ever.
So, the 1980’s was, for me, characterised by dozens of rock bands, from AC/DC to ZZ Top, with Queen, Aerosmith, Guns n Roses, Def Leppard, Van Halen, U2, Rush, Dire Straits, Whitesnake, Hawkwind, Iron Maiden and Motorhead to name just a few, who blasted away at my ear drums relentlessly. God, I loved it. I must have bought enough gatefold albums, coloured vinyl’s, shaped discs, limited editions, picture discs to fill a small garage. In fact, that’s exactly what I did. Did I forget to mention Metallica and Megadeth?
Towards the end of the 80’s, along came grunge, and pretty soon I realised that I loved almost everyone releasing singles on the Sub Pop label. Apart from the obvious Nirvana, I just loved the whole concept of a singles club, and started collecting them, which is how I got into TAD, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Hole and L7. I was driving a local band that I helped promote to a recording studio one Sunday in April 1994 when we all sat in silence at the news that Kurt Cobain had died.
As coincidences go, perhaps not so weird, but as I was promoting the same band, I tried to book them to play The Old Trout in Windsor, and had an interesting conversation about the drinking ability of a band who had played there a few months before, called Oasis (something to do with a case of vodka and enough beers to sink a medium sized battleship). Perhaps Oasis did not launch the Britpop movement, but they were right in there with the likes of Blur, Pulp, Shed Seven, The Verve, Cast, Sleeper, Mansun, Gene, The Bluetones, Ash, Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, Supergrass, Elastica and so, so many others. I loved the fact that these bands released limited run 7” singles and EP’s, together with great albums with lovely gatefold sleeves that took me back to the stuff I’d started collecting 20 years before.
Since then, I’ve carried on buying music on vinyl, and of course just love the fact that both new and established bands release on this format. So, there you have it. There are so many albums, 12” and 7” singles that have been released that I want to buy from you. Have a look at the wanted page (no, not the boyband) to see what I am looking for.