I never knew how engrossed I would become with record deals when I first started out. It was merely a hobby I had that I did from time to time and although I was always passionate about it there were about a million other things going on in my life and I also wasn't spending crazy money on records like I am now. When I add up a whole bunch of records now in a deal that will cost me thousands of dollars in total I know that I've gone firmly into addiction.
Certain things trigger the need for more and with the latest Most-I'll-Ever-Spend-In-My-Life-28 Good/Decent-Records-Have-To-Go-For-Great-Ones (and it turns out to be closer to 100 that are going! Christ!) it was the completely uncalled for behavior of a dealer I spent a ridiculous amount of money with who was crazy enough to scream at me over the phone after not answering calls or emails repeatedly "Go Fuck Yourself!" "Don't Fucking Call Me!" and worst of them all "I'll Kill You If You Call Here Again!" He really pissed me off as you can imagine and poisoned all the records I got from him leaving me none that I'm keeping. Then a friend who I had a dispute with politically turns out to be the polar opposite of this unnamed maniac and he has much better records and a much better discount policy. For instance he is willing to make huge discounts and do all he can to help me. My good friend, unlike this idiot, suffers serious life-threatening health issues (throat cancer) and I've known him for six years. We've had our ups and downs, but never a fight. The same unsaid record dealer who I will never buy from again also sent me the nastiest most vicious and hate filled email anyone has ever had the nerve to send after the "I'll Kill You If You Call Here Again!" screaming at me over the phone like a 6 year old. He also, as I said, neglected emailing me and then when I went out to his house for the last time tried to con me into spending even more money with him!
Numbers like the kind that I'm into now, huge big ticket records, these would have been inconceivable for me just a while ago, but now I have a source who pays me incredible money for my records and who is willing, if I send him his records tomorrow, to pay me another ludicrous amount I hope. He can be hard to deal with occasionally, but that is more just convincing him sometimes when he's not quite sure and becomes a bit of a pain. However, after a horrible falling out with him quite some time ago we patched everything up after a month and he is a really good person overall. He has the appearance of a big human Grizzly bear, but a great heart and the disposition of a very kind person most of the time. Sometimes he can be horrible, but the main problem are his coworkers.
I don't know how I ever went this far and I'm sure no other record addicts know either. You end up going out of your mind, completely going mad for the need of something there were hardly any pressed of, but the music is brilliant. And how many records do you suppose are out there worthy of spending insane money on? Thousands. I have some albums I won't part with and then I have albums where if need be though it would break my heart for a brief period I will part with them. But there are those I won't part with ever. I definitely have my records I won't let anyone have, but funny as it may seem some of my favourite music doesn't go for insane money it just is hard to track down. When I put together my Molotov Cocktail of Eclecticism-Is-Me I didn't know what the fuck I was going to get into. On one hand I have mega rarities and then I have AOR records. I love bands like Alias, Treat, Shy, Alien, Alliance (the 80s group who only managed the one masterpiece reviewed here some time back), Lionheart (the 80s band not the new hardcore metal bullshit band), GTR, Skagarack bands that are hard to find, but really are great and not much money at all. Bar Alias who had a huge hit with "More Than Words Can Say" just a year before rock was killed off by grunge and alternative ugly rubbish and "New Heavy Metal" and GTR who largely thanks to Max Bacon's as-always wonderful vocals most of these bands never went anywhere outside of Europe or England. In fact, Shy never even made it in their native England. It must be Hellish to be a musician sometimes. Now imagine bands from the 60s and 70s whose albums command huge money who never even got paid anything at all for their hard work and brilliance- it must be a really backhanded way of getting a huge compliment. Ages later you're worthy of huge adulation when at the time no one paid any attention to you. Who knows how few copies sold of their albums and how badly they were cheated out of what could have been huge success. In my heart I've gone this far because I really care about getting amazing music, but also because I feel so much sympathy for the bands that never went to the lengths and pillars of success they should have gone to.
My earliest days of collecting I didn't even know I was collecting. I was a stalwart constant to the 99 cent bin at the Princeton Record Exchange when I was 12/13/14 and my favourite music was always in there, always cheap because I hardly knew or even was daring enough to buy the obscure bands. On occasion I'd get into a really obscure band, but not as many as bands that were still doing pretty good for themselves. I bought bands who would turn obscure, but who were all the talk in hard rock/AOR/metal at the time. For instance some early big great huge amazing bands for me were and always will be UFO who are Godlike, Angel once the prices settled down on their stuff (Remember in the 80s Angel were BIG with collectors), Journey, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple (OK I'm not so keen on them now!), Aerosmith, Saxon, Scorpions, David Bowie (who I did have to spend a little bit more for, but not much), Ronnie James Dio (you're very sadly missed Ronnie) you name it I was into classic rock before it was classic rock! Nowadays all these bands considered "Classic Rock" or "Classic Metal" were in other genres. When I think of how the wording, how the whole collecting world has altered and gone crazy, no wonder we're all a bunch of nutcases now running up and down all around trying to score something that gives us that sound of both the cheap and the expensive of when music was made for one thing- the sake of making music. A band like Grail who I'm willing to spend a huge, insane amount on couldn't and can't be categorized. Sure Rod Stewart produced them, but Rod The Mod knew nothing about how to produce a band who run the gamut from proto psychedelic Metal to sitar moody folk psych to pure pop on one or two tracks. Doomed to failure from the go Grail met with no sales and no interest. I bet they feel happy and very very mournful at the same time that they are a huge collectible. I'm sure they are more mournful over the death of their charismatic lead vocalist/autoharp player Chris Williams.
A band like UFO made it about as far as a cult band can go. The fact that they are still around, still touring, that Phil Mogg doesn't care if he's going bald and doesn't have his old looks he just cares about that unique down-to-earth great voice of his must be a huge relief when you are pushing 60 and people still love your music. I got huge into the previously mentioned Scorpions, Aerosmith, bands that are and were and will always be legends. One of my favourites was Dokken- still a band who people remember. These were formative influences, but that damned O Band record showed up and the cat was out of the bag (I Love Worship Cats.) I wasn't spending huge money yet, but I heard about all the bands that were fetching a fortune. I got curious.
Really, my parents are to blame for leaving all those old 1960s Rolling Stone magazines in my sight and I looked at the adds for obscure bands with the first taste of addiction coming in. Also, my mother and father raised me with brilliant taste. They knew a good band from a bad one. There is hardly anything we differ on and usually they'll love my music. They got to be there for the 1960s- all the good and all the bad of it. I was obsessed with Rolling Stone advertisements. Also there were books like Terry Hounsome's New Rock Record, the wonderfully wicked International Encyclopedia Of Hard Rock And Heavy Metal (which included many non-metal bands), Album Cover Art, the Harmony Rock series and it all was going to lead up over the years to me wanting to gain more knowledge than even these books and writers had and to go that one step further. I took one step further into complete madness.
When I used to collect I couldn't spend the huge amounts that steadily went up further and further into craziness, but mail order catalogs were also a huge education for me and believe me they were really a double-edged sword when it came to who you might be dealing with. The problem has always been that once you get into the ultra rare you get crazy people who have stuff. In hindsight I never would have dealt with any of these crazy people and even not my most recent falling out with another nasty nasty horrible person. The worst mail order dealers would be extortionate, would make threats at you, would really take you for a ride, and would overgrade to a ludicrous degree and not take the records back. I had some particularly bad experiences where threats were made against me and/or I was being pulled around like crazy, having the records sent 4th class mail, getting cheated on the prices of things- really bad experiences I'll never forget and even some recent horrible experiences like the one I've told you about. This all sounds very doom and gloom now and I don't intend for it to. There are wonderful people to deal with who have been my friends and who have also led me down this path to complete craziness, but I don't mind. I'd love to talk to a certain Paul Major again because Paul was such a good friend to me. Paul helped me out a great deal. He praised my art, he praised me. When his friend and our really good friend Michael Piper who was for the most part a really wonderful person died it was really horrendous, I still haven't gotten over it. So sad. Paul is still with us and is married to Michael's sister. My friend with health issues was one of the first big dealers and there are a scant few other really good friends like my Pennsylvanian mate Jerome Tomko who is better to talk to than deal with sometimes, but a really solid mate.
I wish there were Record Addicts Anonymous or something. I'd be there with the best of them and the worst of them. We'd all relate our stories, tell how we completely got into this crazy syndrome and couldn't stop it. I suffer seriously from Record Madness and much of the time it is no fun. When you're dying to have something and you run into a million obstacles it can really be dreadful. You want something really bad and you don't get it or you do get it and there's a problem or else you get it and it's not as great as you thought it would be. Now I can research things. I can get a rough idea how something might sound. Back in the days of mail order and before the internet you could only buy blind. Thank God that has changed! I'll never forget "hype." Now it isn't hype that drives me to destruction it's usually youtube, the old I've-Wanted-This-So-Long-As-An-Original mess and believe me I tell you no falsehood when I say an original sounds a Helluva lot better than a reissue. A reissue is never going to have the magic of an original. That said, you better spin that reissue a few times before you fork out. I'd fork out for records as awesome as Fantasy's PAINT A PICTURE, Pussy, The Open Mind, but those are over $1500 valued now! I wish I could recover. Not repeat all the mistakes I make and just move on. I didn't ask to be addicted I asked to be a music lover. I guess the two go hand in hand with each other. You get to a certain point and you're addicted, you're fucked, you're damned to a life of record madness. It's a better thing than drugs, but as we all know no addiction is good. I need to somehow break it. To see it more clearly, more of a mind of what's going to happen if you can't stop, but that is so much easier said than done. It's very hard, and it can be Hellish, but at least one thing is true- you almost always do get something really good out of it. The last deal however, still up in the air and not knowing if it will happen but praying that it will, has been such a nightmare and so much pain and loss of masterpieces that I will never do this again. I've said it before and now I have to stick to that strength of learning my hard lesson.
Till my next blog wish me luck and a recovery. I could use it!