Vinyl Answer

Every record tells a story. Here's a few stories in my collection. Also, I've been a down-to-earth vinyl nut for decades, so if you want some record collecting advice, just ask.

Posts I Like

Mojo Nixon was the l’enfant terrible of alt rock in the 1980s, forever doling out tracks like “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin” (about lusting for MTV VJ Martha Quinn), the self-explanatory “Don Henley Must Die,” and his best-known song, the insanely catchy “Elvis Is Everywhere.” I met him at the NAMM Convention in the mid-’90s and he signed an autograph for me: “Clive, don’t take no jive.” Good advice, I think. I found this oddball LP for a buck—love the huuuge label; it’s at least 6” across.

I bought this Crowded House 12” promo at The Record Parlour in Los Angeles. The store is maybe five blocks from the famous Capitol Records tower, so I presume it went straight from a storage closet at Capitol to the store.

From the Facebook feed of Clockwork Records in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, with the caption “Another Saturday: Us vs. farmers market scum.”

Rare Split Enz picture disc for “I Don’t Wanna Dance.”

Man, I used to love Dance Hall Crashers back in the ’90s. They were a San Francisco ska punk band whose hook was that the two female singers belted like The Andrews Sisters from the 1940s, with razor-sharp jazzy harmonies (think “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company C”) over typical 130BPM ska punk.

I got to see them three times live, and they could really cook—once at the late, lamented Roseland in NYC opening for someone (I forget who); once at the late, lamented Wetlands in NYC headlining; and once at Lilith Fair, where everyone ignored them because they had the gall and audacity to have GUYS in the band (Lilith Fair…).

I stumbled across this gorgeous red vinyl pressing at Amoeba Records in L.A., where it was a record on the wall. Unfortunately, it had a “record on the wall” price tag to go with it, but knowing I’d never see one again, I snatched it up.

Duran Duran’s Thank You, an album of covers, is not “the worst album ever,” despite what you may read on the internet (that honor is reserved for any selection in The Pixies oeuvre). It is a seriously flawed album, yes, but Thank You has its moments.

Both covers of Sly Stone’s “I Wanna Take You Higher” are great, the rollicking run-through of Iggy Pop’s “Success” is fun, and their take on “White Lines” by Grandmaster Flash, while lacking the punch of their live renditions, is fun too. The dead spots come from choosing songs that were pretty tepid to begin with, like Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” (yawn); The Doors’ “Crystal Ship” (hit the snooze bar); Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” (ugh); and Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” (Well, it coulda been worse—they might’ve covered “Stairway”). People who harp on the ludicrousness of mega-white Duran Duran covering Public Enemy’s un-coverable “911 Is A Joke” fail to realize that yes, of course it’s ludicrous; that’s the whole point.

The rest of the album is merely serviceable, and for a band that was coming off its comeback album (1992’s The Wedding Album, with the soft-rock hits “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”), returning after three years with this was a poorly thought-out move.

So, I need your help. Anyone know what that last photo is of? I found it in my used UK LP—a CD booklet-sized piece of silver cardstock with those images photocopied on to it. Some of the photos from the real cover are missing (Iggy Pop, for instance) and others are new (David Bowie). There’s a piece of tape with the band’s name on it, hand-painted on to the tape. The whole thing makes me wonder if it’s an artist’s mockup for what would eventually become the cover, stored in there by whomever previously owned the album. Does anyone else have this LP, and if so, did yours come with this too?

The Cure - radio promo 12” for “Why Can’t I Be You?”

My copy of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which his recording engineer, Bruce Swedien, autographed for me this weekend. What a nice guy.

Digging the “21st Century Vinyl” panel at the Audio Engineering Society Convention (#AES) in Los Angeles. This is a line-up of top mastering engineers talking about how they physically cut the masters your favorite records are pressed with. Dig that terrible cut in the slide—brings new meaning to “nasty groove.”

Another record store I visited while here in L.A.—The Record Parlour. It’s a very pretty, eclectic shop around the block from Amoeba Records that’s open ridiculously late.

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, signed by its recording engineer, Alan Parsons (yes, the Alan Parsons of The Alan Parsons Project)

I’m staying in downtown Los Angeles for the next few days and had some spare time this evening, so I walked to the LA Public Library (Wow, what a place) and then went on the hunt for a record shop. Five blocks over from LAPL, I discovered The Last Bookstore, a used book/record/art shop housed in a 10,000-square-foot early 1900s bank. This, too, blew my mind—these photos don’t tell the half of it. Case in point: The Labyrinth, a $1 book room with more than 100,000 books—and it IS like a maze.

They had a very nice selection of vinyl, and while I walked out with a pile of singles, there were thousands of LPs to be found, too, including a Japanese McCartney bootleg that I’m sorely tempted to go back and get.

I am in Downtown LA the next few days with a little spare time to explore record shops but the catch is, I don’t have a car. Since that means I’ll have to cab it, I want to find a cluster of stores that aren’t too far from this neighborhood so I don’t go broke just getting there. Any suggestions?

Bought the new reissue of Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, took all these photos, then listened to it. Unlike Definitely Maybe, this record isn’t nearly as good as I remembered it - sigh. Great packaging though, so I guess there’s that.