Tag Archives: beatles

Week 12, 2014: Peter, Sweden

1Hello Peter!  Please introduce yourself, and tell us your musical history!
Hybrid of hippie and hard rocker. Born in Karlskrona, Sweden 1961. For the last 30 years, I have worked, mainly as a photographer, for the Swedish motor magazine publisher Albinsson & Sjöberg, as well as having been the editor of several magazines. My interest in music seriously happened in the early Seventies. At my neighbour, who was a few years older, I got to hear The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among other things. I was spellbound! Pretty soon, I was sucked in by hard rock, with bands like Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Slade, Status Quo, and Thin Lizzy. Also progressive music, like Pink Floyd and Genesis! Around ten years later, I started to go back in time somewhat: a lot of Rolling Stones, The Doors, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, and more Creedence and The Beatles. My “decade of music” is definitely 1967-1977.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Absolutely! For money I had received as a birthday present when turning 12 in 1973, I bought “Made In Japan” by Deep Purple. I had recently heard the riff of “Smoke On the Water” at a friend’s place. The double album was pure dynamite, and marked the start of an intense interest in music that has grown over the years.

When meeting you, in person, I get the impression that you have been into the music for a long long time, and was a part of the 70’s and 80’s scene.  How do you think the music progressed from the time you began to discover music to today’s style?
Every generation has its music. For most people, it’s easier to go back in time, than go forward. I don’t know what’s today’s style in a mainstream context. I NEVER listen to the radio or streamed music.

2I know you’re also a vital part of one the best Swedish music magazines, Rock’n’Roll Magazine, please let us know how it came the magazine was born,
and how it have progressed from the start!

The publishing house had a magazine called “Nostalgia Special”, consisting of issues with different themes. The publisher asked me if I wanted to make a special issue. “Sure, and it will be about rock’n’roll”, I said. That’s how the fist issue came about in 2011. The following issue was about buses and trams… However, the response to the rock’n’roll issue was so good that we pretty soon established Rock’n’Roll Magazine, which is a bi-monthly, focusing on rock music from the Fifities through the Seventies. Our readership increases with each issue.

I see a thin common thread between Rock’n’Roll Magazine, and other magazines like Record Collector and Mojo, which mostly writes about 60’s and 70’s music. How hard is it to introduce new bands to the regular readers?
I like Record Collector and Mojo. I, however, wanted a magazine in Swedish that also writes from a Swedish point of view, including Swedish acts.

Most people want to read about bands and artists they are already familiar with. But there are also a lot of people who are open to hearing music they haven’t previously heard of. Speaking for myself, I have discovered several bands that I didn’t know much about since we launched the magazine.

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Myself, I like the wide range of articles that you presents, from guitar builders, to jukebox collectors, old rock legends, record collectors, record reviews, which I do not see many other magazines have. What kind of articles do you get the most nice feedback on?
We have invented our own series called “The Record Bin”. We let well-known artists and musicians, like for example Ian Gillan, Slash, or Alice Cooper go through a pile of LP’s with other artists that we know that they are related to in one way or another, and have them tell anecdotes they have never told before. A lot of fun, and very appreciated by our readers!

What sort of music do you mainly focus on, in your own collection ? When did you start to collect, and how big is it these days?
I focus more on artists and bands I like, than musical styles. For example, I have all official LP releases by Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Camel, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa.

I started buying records in the early Seventies. But the actual collecting started in the early 90’s, when I was obsessed with having complete LP collections by my favourite acts. It is when you get obsessed, and start filling the gaps, that you are considered a collector! I have an estimated 3000 albums by very few different acts.

I bet you’re one of those difficult Frank Zappa collectors … How come this genius didn’t reach out to more people than he did ?? Either you love, or hate him…(I am one of the admirers too…)
Frank Zappa is like olives, hard liquor and Motörhead. The first time you come in contact with any of these, it’s horrible. But, if you force yourself to keep exposing yourself to any of them, it gradually becomes extremely rewarding and, in many cases, addictive …

Regarding Frank Zappa, a lot of people may have listened to an album that didn’t suit them, and then formed an opinion … Zappa made albums that were very different from each other …
I have everything Zappa released until the time of his passing, and a few more… My favourite is “Hot Rats”.

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How do you discover new music?
This is often liked to an artist or band I already like. For example, after having listened to Frank Zappa for decades, this led to all of Captain Beefheart’s albums, and Jean-Luc Pontý.

Please let us know more about the Swedish vinyl collecting situation. Many people who collect? And what kind of people do you get the impression who still keeps opening their wallets for that particular vinyl?
I don’t have any figures regarding the number of collectors in Sweden. It’s hard to make an estimation. A lot of them are probably anonymous. Regarding buying “holy grails”, it is collectors at the age of 50+, or 60+ who are willing to pay large amounts for Vertigo albums with the swirled label, or 10,000 Swedish kronor or more for a mint condition Jimi Hendrix release on the Track label.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
In record stores. Nothing beats looking up record stores with a good selection while travelling.

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Name three records that are special to you, and will be buried with you.
Made in Japan – Deep Purple.
Are You Experienced – Jimi Hendrix.
Weld – Neil Young.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I see young people who are interested in music and want to get away from the computers, and see the artistic values of album covers. Collecting is a rewarding hobby in itself. It’s impossible to collect digital music – it would be like collecting air, wouldn’t it?

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Week 8, 2014: Robert, Netherlands

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
The first time I laid my hand on a record – in this case a bunch of 45’s – I was hooked. You have to know that I grew up in a rather strict, boring, religious environment. An older sister handed me down a few singles. One of them was a double A-sided release by the Dutch band Focus, with the tracks Hocus Pocus and Sylvia. Especially Hocus Pocus blew my mind. Thijs van Leer’s yodelling and Jan Akkerman’s totally amazing guitar solos was nothing I heard before. And certainly not in church, ha! It was a kind of window that made me realise that there was an entirely different world out there that was so much more exciting than the one that I was living in at the time. I found it fascinating that those little grooves could capture this kind of magic. I cherished those first records and played them endlessly on an all-in-one record player. And as soon as I started to have some funds – pocket money and earnings from summer jobs – I started to buy singles and records. It was the only way to expose myself to music, old and new. We are talking mid to late 70’s here. There was hardly any good music on TV or radio – well little has changed since then. And of course internet was far away.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I remember buying some kids’ stuff when I was very young. I also remember buying a Dutch compilation with some early punk songs, a few cheapo’s by Johnny Cash. Records I bought early on that hit me like a ton of bricks were Overkill by Motörhead, Alive II by KISS and Unleashed In The East by Judas Priest. I must have played these thousands of times. It started my love for all things loud and heavy. Although I have a very eclectic taste, hard rock and metal are the heart and soul of my collection.

ImageHow long have you been collecting?
I started to buy records on a regular basis when I was about 15. I turned 50 last year, so you do the math…). When we moved a few years back we bought a house with a huge extension. That is where the collection is housed, including my main stereo system. So my records are safe from the sticky hands of our otherwise adorable little kids…:^)

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
Like I said hard rock and metal and it’s offspring are the basis for my collection. But I also have a decent selection of reggae, folk, rock & roll, jazz, pop, classical, country, 60’s garage, soul/funk, early hip hop, beat, progressive, kraut rock, crooners and blues in my collection… I’ve discovered that there is great stuff to be found in almost any genre. Because I am a full time music journalist I’ve met a lot of musicians, collectors and colleagues who introduced me to all sorts of bands and genres I somehow stayed away from before. I’ve discovered that very often perspective means everything. What I am trying to say is that when you hear background stories about particular bands, eras or genres, you are halfway there. Just a few examples: I always thought that I loathed fusion, until a great guy introduced me to some fines exponents. When I worked for a newspaper I got to know the classical music reporter who told me a lot about Wagner, his favourite composer. It didn’t take me too long to buy his main opera’s. Just a few weeks ago I visited a guy who owns approximately 30.000 reggae 7”es. Very inspiring! I always make notes. And somehow it always has an impact on my own ever expanding collection.

ImageHow do you discover new music?
As described, through people I meet and hang out with. I also check out various sites, blogs and magazines on the internet. There are a few hard copy magazines that I read religiously, with Record Collector as an favourite. Facebook is another great source. Most of my Facebook friends are passionate about music. Whenever they post something that looks and sounds interesting I check it out. And since I am a journalist I get a lot of newsletters, cd’s and even vinyl records etc. from record companies. I have a limitless curiosity.

You have written two books on the subject record collecting: “Vinylfanaten” and most recently the very interesting “Passion For Vinyl”, which features amazing interviews of record collectors all over the world. What were your impressions during the process?
I loved the passion and dedication of all involved. That stands out, above all. And that’s what I wanted to capture. For example: I spent an evening with an older English gentleman who has been collecting pre-World War II jazz since the late 30’s. His knowledge, passion and dedication blew my mind. Time and time again I am reminded how huge of an impact music makes on peoples’ lives. And not always for the good, by the way. I have seen people develop health issues because of their collector’s habits. And a few marriages fall apart… And although I don’t shy away from these side effects, I want my stories primarily to be inspiring. I also read a lot of books and I always hope to discover new music of be able to understand familiar tracks even more.

Any oncoming projects you can tell us about?
I’ve written quite a few books over the years. I am sure more will follow. And I need to finish another project I am working on: an in-depth compilation of early 80’s Dutch metal, which should come out on vinyl and CD. It should be great, because there were quite a few great bands back then, many of which never made any name outside their region here in Holland. Stay tuned!

ImageWhere do you prefer to buy your records?
I love to give regular record stores my business. They are the best. Since a lot of stuff – old and new – is exclusively available through internet, I used that as a source as well. There are many great online stores out there. Also, very often bands sell their records through their own sites or at gigs. I visit flea markets and thrift stores whenever I have the time, but usually I don’t find too much I still need.

Tell us a bit about your perspective regarding the Dutch record scene today. Are there many stores left?
Just like elsewhere in the world many stores have closed. I dare to say that most of the good ones are still there, though. A few have even opened in recent years. So there are still fantastic record stores in major cities like The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. I also dare to say that these places are more interesting to visit for a vinyl shopping trip than – let’s say – London or New York. These places are turning into vinyl wastelands. I also need to mention the bi-yearly Utrecht record fair, which is worth a visit.

Please tell us about one of your purchases that gave you the goose bumps!
I have a soft spot for weird records. That’s why I really wanted to add the first album by The Shaggs to my collection. People interested in their amazing story should Google their name. It’s basically a three (and later four) all girl band – all sisters – that were sent to a studio by their father, because he believed they were great. ‘Let’s cut them while they are hot’, is what he is believed to have said. The had cheap gear, no talent whatsoever and hardly ever practiced. But miraculously they came up with a truly unique record on which they compensated their lack of skill with a naive sort of passion and a musical language that is completely of its own kind. It was one of Frank Zappa’s favourite records and music guru Lester Bangs claimed they were better than The Beatles (and The Stones too). So there… The thing is that most of the original pressing of a 1000 copies vanished without a trace. Approximately 100 were send out to labels, deejays and journalists. Years ago I bought my copy from a deejay from the Boston area. He made me bleed, but it became more expensive over the years. A sealed copy went recently 5000 dollars. But that’s not that matters most to me. I truly believe that I have an important piece of history in my hands when I pull it off the shelf.

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Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
That is a very tough on, because I would love to mention 10, or 50, or a 100… Anyway, I picked a few records that did strike chord with me over the years. First we have KISS Alive II. I bought it in a regular record store in the late 70’s, while still at high school. KISS blew me away, right from the start. The bombs, the fire, the blood spitting, those great rocking tunes, the lyrics about sex, the costumes, the painted faces…I mean, what more does an impressionable 15 year old need? And I like to add that I still like KISS. I went to quite a few concerts and last few years I finally got to interview both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. They both appeared to be nice people, BTW. And just the other day I purchased the first official vinyl release of their Psycho Circus album.

An album that made a similar impact was the first Ramones album. You have to know that in my middle class environment people thought that Supertramp, The Eagles and Yes were the shit. My schoolmates even tried to dance to progressive rock at school parties. Can you imagine that? It’s a sight that I never really recovered from. Anyway, the Ramones album came out. I heard a few tunes on Dutch Radio and knew this was what I was subconsciously waiting for all these years. It was like a bomb that destroyed all the bull shit with one big explosion. I first bought a regular edition – a Dutch pressing on Philips. I later managed to get an original 1976 US test pressing; I got it in a record store in Rotterdam, Holland. It’s still one of my most dear possessions. I need to add that over the years I truly learned to love Supertramp, Yes and The Eagles as well – I won’t dance to it though.

And off to the third one… Hmm… I could mention albums by Slayer, Metallica, The Who (Who’s Next), Can, Faust, 13th Floor Elevators, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Mayhem, Albert Ayler, Miles Davis, Golden Earring, The Beatles. But I will wrap this up with Cromagnon, because it’s a relatively new discovery. The great thing about internet, and especially YouTube and Facebook, is that I get in touch with a lot of knowledgeable people who point me to records that somehow escaped my attention. Such as the late 60’s US garage/psych band Cromagnon. Their debut is a truly mind blowing album on the great ESP label. Let me just mention the opening track Crow Of The Black Tree, it’s a relentlessly rocking track, driven by a fuzz guitar and a bag pipe. It’s heavy as hell. The high pitched vocals make it sound like an evil black metal track, only over a decade before Bathory, Venom etc. reared their ugly heads. I got the original (with B/W sleeve) through Ebay. Great sounding reprints (with colour sleeve) are widely available. Dear reader, do yourself a favour and get one!

ImageAnd finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I truly enjoy the current revival of vinyl. I can only hope it will turn into something more permanent and less of a hype. There a few points of concern from my part: vinyl prices are way too high, the market is flooded by releases right now, Record Store Day is blow out of proportions and has become a commercial monster, and people should stay away from those cheap Crosley players. Yeah, I know they look neat and are cheap, BUT it’s junk and they will destroy your precious vinyl sooner or later. It is worthwhile to invest in a decent turntable, like a 2nd hand Thorens or a brand new entry level Project. Vinyl needs a little investment, but it’s worth it. Your vinyl and your ears will be grateful in the end.

Week 4, 2014: Geert, Belgium

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?

When I was a child, my parents had a Blaupunkt record player and some records. Most of them were easy listening, but there were also a couple of classic jazz records and a single by Louis Prima (‘Buona Sera’) that was really rockin’! In 1965 when I was twelve I wanted my own records and my first one was a 7” EP by Belgian/Italian singer Adamo. He was my first idol. A boy in my neighborhood had an older brother and there I heard The Beatles (‘Can’t Buy Me Love’) and The Rolling Stones (‘Tell Me’). That sound got me and my first single was ‘Tell Me’ c/w ‘Route 66’. I knew people in the family that had a lot of records (mostly singles) and that fascinated me. I had another friend who had a much older brother with a big jazz collection. I remember seeing him sitting in his tiny room with a record player on his right side and there was always jazz … When The Beatles became more experimental with ‘Revolver’ and got a more arty image, I was allowed to buy my first LP, it was ‘Revolver’ … I didn’t look back since. I started collecting all the Beatles songs (unfortunately I sold some now valuable singles and EP’s, because I had the songs on LP). I became mainly a LP collector and singles were only interesting when the songs were not on a LP. My next discovery was The Cream with Clapton, Bruce and Baker. I had all their LP’s, which was rare in those days (in Belgium that was…). My next discovery was the very first Pink Floyd album ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’. After that came Colosseum, the first Black Sabbath, the first Yes etc … Later I became a big fan of progressive rock, krautrock, experimental rock, Kiss, Uriah Heep, Jimi Hendrix and Nazareth. In between I also bought jazz albums now and then. When the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal came along, that was my thing. I also got interested in US Metal and glam. I got the very first Mötley Crüe album on Leathür records when it was released from a contact in Oregon, USA. In 1983 I started doing a hardrock show on local radio and that’s when I got my first promo records. In 1986 I started writing for a metal magazine here in Belgium called Mindview. That were golden years for promo CD’s. When Mindview stopped, I started writing for Rock Tribune, a glossy magazine that is sold on the newsstands. But the well for promo CD’s is dry now, almost everything comes digitally these days. Today I have a 20.000 plus collection with 50% titles on vinyl and the other half on CD. I also have a lot of music video’s (VHS, DVD and Blu-ray).

Do you remember your first purchase?

As I told already, my first EP in 1965 was by Adamo, my first single by The Stones and my first LP was ‘Revolver’ by The Beatles in 1966. My first music video was by Nazareth (‘Live’) in 1982. My first CD was ‘Live At Winterland’ by Jimi Hendrix (1987).

I know you started early with your vinyl passion. How do you think the music progressed from the time you begun to discover music to today’s style ?

Well of course there’s a big evolution with a couple of important bench marks. In the fifties there was Elvis, In the sixties there were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. From there came bluesrock, heavy rock, progressive rock, experimental rock, folk rock … Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Bob Dylan… Everything changed when punk and new wave came along at the end of the seventies. At the start of the eighties ‘classic rock’ fought back with the new sound of NWOBHM and at the other side of the Atlantic US Metal. Along came popmetal and glam … Again at the end of that decade we got grunge and alternative rock. The big names are still big names and metal has become a very dark and sometimes extreme place. To be honest, I am starting to lose my affinity with it and I go back to all the great music that was made in the last sixty years and listen more and more to jazz and fusion as well. The biggest evolution at the moment is in the way people consume music, with things like Youtube, MP3, downloads etc … All kinds of music is being made and there something for everyone. The history of the music is also not forgotten and that is a good thing. I see my daughter – with a love for dance music – going on Youtube researching the music of the fifties and sixties!

ImageWhat sort of music do you mainly focus on?

Today, it’s mostly classic rock, jazz, fusion and progressive/experimental rock. I love an earsplitting metal record now and then though! For the magazine I do a lot of female fronted metal band. Recently I interviewed Within Temptation and a very exciting Spanish band called Diabulus In Musica is on my list.

One of my favourite labels, Mausoleum Records, are hailing from Belgium. They got a undeserved bad reputation I think. What are your own experiences of them ?

Well, they managed to release a lot of albums during the rise of metal in the eighties and I think that their ambition was honest, but running a label is a very expensive thing and maybe, they could not meet all financial obligations, I don’t know. Today their catalogue is impressive and collectable. What I know, is that Doro is still very grateful that her band Warlock got it’s break through Mausoleum. Today they still release CD’s and the guy behind the label is still active in the music business.

How do you discover new music?

By reading magazines, by getting promo downloads. We even have a couple of record shops here with listening facilities. Today my priority is not so much in discovering new music, but in consolidating my collection and enjoying it. I am retired now and finally have the time to enjoy it!

ImagePlease let us know more about the Belgian situation. Many people who collect? Many record stores left?

Yes here are a lot of collector’s, but everybody does it quite isolated I think. I regret that there isn’t more contact between collectors. A blog like yours is a very good thing! Record fairs are attracting a lot of costumers and in the bigger cities like Antwerp, Ghent or Brussels, there are still a lot of stores. Also in Liège, Bruges, Kortrijk, Leuven and Mechelen, there are interesting collector’s stores. We even have some specialist metal stores. The big chains have all folded though. The only one lasting now is Media Markt. Their Belgian shops still have a lot on offer.

You are we well reputed reviewer on metal-nose.org, please let us know more about it!

Well, in the past I wrote all my reviews for Mindview and now for Rock Tribune. The Metal-nose site gets the things that are not used by Rock Tribune. These days I do five or six reviews and a couple of interviews per month. In the days of Mindview, I sometimes did more than 20 reviews in one month!. These days I get some melodic rock acts for interviews and like I told already some female fronted bands.

Acid, Ostrogoth, Warhead, Crossfire – the 80’s were great ! How about these days ??

Don’t forget Killer who are the godfathers of Belgian metal! Today there are a lot of metal bands around. The best known are Channel Zero and Iron Mask. They are very professional, but there are a lot of other bands in different metal styles. I just did an interview with Valkyre, a female fronted band that released a very good album. The Belgian music scene is more developed in other styles. Bands like Deus or Hooverphonic for example have international success but have a different audience. Also the dance scene is very developed here. One band that really makes it internationally is Triggerfinger with a crossover between classic rock and alternative rock.

ImageOver the years, I think I reviewed around 5000 records, and I have no ideas left, how about yourself?

Yes, I understand. I’m glad I write less reviews these days, and when I have to review, I want to listen properly to the record. Once I start writing, it goes quiet easy, although not every time. But there’s so much music coming out, in spite of the fact that everybody is complaining in the music business.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?

These days I buy most of them online (Discogs), but also at fairs and second hand shops mostly in Ghent, Antwerp or Brussels.

How were your feelings when Plastic Bertrand ‘s (scam) project switched from a punk rocker to disco freak ?? “Ca plane pour moi” still stands as a classic…

Yes, well today we all know that he didn’t even sing on that single. He was just used as a face to sell the record. So maybe he wasn’t a punk rocker by heart or he was guided by record companies towards a more commercial sound. He could sing though! He even sang in the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxemburg!

ImageName three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.

Just three ??? Well, the records that really defined my musical evolution were Revolver’ by the Beatles, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ by Pink Floyd and ‘The Valentine Suite’ by Colosseum. I bought all three at a local shop in my hometown. The shop has long gone (today there no record shops anymore in my hometown). In those days you could really spend time in a record shop and listen to different records before you bought anything. We also had a weekly here called Humo and they had a section on rock music (they still do) and that was very educating (in the sixties and early seventies)! Two other records that defined my musical education were ‘Disraeli Gears’ by The Cream and ‘Days Of Future Past’ by The Moody Blues (which I bought in a shop in Luzern, Switzerland, while on holiday with my parents). A fifth one was ‘Firefly’ by Uriah Heep which I bought in a fantastic shop called ‘Brabo’ in Antwerp (now also gone).  The very first shop that sold rock only was in Bruges and was called Bilbo. There I discovered ‘Acquiring The Taste’ by Gentle Giant, another album that was crucial for my musical development. In the jazz and fusion section, Colosseum’s ‘Valentyne Suite’ and John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ were important triggers. Of course there are other albums, but these were really important.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?

One thing that goes through my head is what will happen to all these big collections that were build by the people of my generation? I hope to find an answer for my collection. My children or grandchildren could keep it, but if they don’t, they should know how to handle this. I think there will always be collectors around and the collections of today should be passed on one way or another to the next generations. I think that records and more specific vinyl is considered as a cultural heritage now and people should take care of it. At fairs I see a lot of younger people and also more girls and women. We should find a way to interest younger people for carriers of modern culture, be it records, films or books … I hope we do!  It’s nice to see the renewed interest for vinyl, but I think CD’s will also come back some day as collectible objects. The constant flow of ‘limited editions’ is something that will have to prove it’s collecting relevance in the future. I remember seeing original spiral Vertigo albums in the early seventies sell in the bargain bins for less than 5 euro’s! Now they are very valuable collector’s items. Same goes for the very collectable Neon label! So who knows what will happen with today’s releases. Then there’s always the fundamental economic rule: supply and demand! But in the end, it’s the music that counts. Lots of fantastic records from the past still sell for very few euro’s because they are so many around, but the music stands! Collecting is always finding the balance between the music and the rarity. The music should come first …

Week 1, 2014: Klaus, Germany

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
If I remember correctly, everything began with The Beatles. It was in my childhood, and this was the first band I was passionate about. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy any records, because my parents didn’t see any sense in buying a record player for me. But I did own a cassette recorder, so that I could capture the Beatles records of my friends on tape. And I started to buy Beatles tapes in record stores, because back in the 1970s, you could buy cassettes in every record store. That was pretty nice.

Another band that I consider immensely significant was KISS. I think it was probably in 1976,
when I discovered them. A friend of mine was already a fan, and so I had the chance to listen to
KISS records. Needless to say that I also bought books and commercial teen magazines such as ‘Bravo’ and ‘Popcorn’, because there were a lot of articles about above-mentioned bands.

But what really turned me into collecting records was when I joined the Hardcore Punk scene in ca. 1982. The input grade and intensity got so high, there wasn’t any holding back. And finally and finite I had a record player.

Do you remember your first purchase?
I don’t know exactly, but that must have been the second Beatles album, ‘With The Beatles’. It could also be possible that it was a compilation of Tony Sheridan & The Beatles, because at that time I was in love with songs like ‘Ain’t She Sweet’, ‘My Bonnie’, ‘Ya Ya’, and so on.

How long have you been collecting?
Since 1982/1983. Then it starts to become more serious, because I discovered the multifaceted world of Punk Rock.

ImageWhat sort of music do you mainly focus on?
I am currently in the process of repurchasing some Hardcore Punk classics from the 1980s. Unfortunately, I’ve sold a lot of that stuff in the 1990s, because I urgently needed money. Even now I still regret that I’ve done that. Anyway, that’s currently my main focus. Quite apart from Punk Rock, I love a wide range of musical styles ranging from vintage Heavy Rock, Delta Blues and Psychedelic to 1960’s soul, classic Doom Metal, Detroit Rock ‘n’ Roll, heavy 1970s Funk, Jazz and more. Well, there is always something to discover, so there aren’t a lot of tiresome moments in my world of music.

Germany had a very nice underground scene in the 70’s. Do you listen to much of the old krautrock music?
Sometimes more, sometimes less. I prefer the heavier guitar-based bands such as Tiger B. Smith, Night Sun, Silberbart, Lucifer’s Friend, Mammut, Twenty Sixty Six and Then, Dschinn, Prom, just to name a few. Apart of the hard rock bands, I like German Oak, early Can, Neu!, Cluster and early Tangerine Dream. Especially ‘Zeit’ is an album that never ceases to amaze me. But there are also a lot of bands that I dislike. Most prog bands can kiss my ass, and there’s no room left for endless self-indulgent hippie jams. Or folky stuff like Witthüser & Westrupp.

How do you discover new music?
Due to my work for Cosmic Lava and Vincebus Eruptum, I receive some new stuff. Then there are friends, who recommend me bands which I don’t know. And sometimes the internet can be helpful, but most important is the word-of-mouth propaganda. Commercial magazines have never really interested me.

Please let us know more about the German situation. Many people who collect? Many record stores left?
Yes, there are a lot of record collectors around. Ca. 15 years ago, I worked in a Second-Hand record store, where I met a lot of collectors. There are record fairs and a lot of good stores. However, the situation in my hometown Oberhausen is pretty awful – in absolute contrast to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Especially in the 1980s it was a good ground for my obsession with music. There were two great record stores, where I’ve bought a lot of Punk and Metal LP’s. Then there was a well-assorted Second-Hand shop in another part of Oberhausen. That was my most valuable source for Mothers/Frank Zappa and Black Sabbath (only the original
line-up, of course).

You run a website, Cosmiclava.com, please let us know more about it!
I’ve started the webzine in 1999, because of my affection for traditional Doom Metal and 70’s Heavy Rock. Back then, I was greatly influenced by both GL-Productions and Roadburn, but especially Gabriel Liliehook’s site (GL-Productions) has been a huge inspiration to me. It reminded me to the old fanzines, which I’ve bought in the 1980’s  – only with the difference that it wasn’t printed. I really liked that D.I.Y.-idea, especially because everyone in the world with an internet access could read it. That was the main reason why I have chosen English instead of German. Over the years Cosmic Lava has opened itself up to a wider range of styles, because it can be very boring to write only about Doom and Heavy Rock. This is particularly true when the bands become more boring. I experienced my first success, when Brian ‘Butch’ Balich (Argus, ex-Penance) sent me a copy of Penance’s ‘Proving Ground’ album in late 1999. I was happy like a kid, because Penance was (and still is) one of my favourite Doom bands.

After several years I received technical support from a buddy named Matthias, who knows a lot more about programming than I do. From that moment he also did the design and everything else, while I was still responsible for the content. However, there were always friends who gave me a little support in terms of writing reviews and/or interviews. Otherwise, I would still lie under a huge pile of promo CD’s and records.

To me, it was always important to maintain independence, honesty as well as integrity. I never wanted to be part of a scene, although it is not possible to avoid that. It would be wrong to lose critical faculties, because then one should rather think about quitting. There are enough websites around, where everything is ‘awesome’, ‘crushing’ and ‘highly recommended’. How dull is that! I never wanted to take the piss out of the reader, but if you offer each mediocre band as a new highlight, then you start to mess around.

ImageDo you ever run out of ideas to use in your reviews after so many reviews done during the years?
You bet! After a while it’s not more than a monotonous, repetitive work. Of course, you could write endless reviews where you describe each song and each note, but that was not what I wanted. To me, a review has to get to the point and it should be honest. It should make the reader curious instead of anticipating everything. During the first ten years, I really had a lot of fun and I just enjoyed writing reviews and interview questions. But the last years it was more like a plague. Quite frankly, how many different words can one use to describe the fiftieth retro blues rock band? I was terribly bored by repeating myself over and over again. Nowadays, Cosmic Lava is on indefinite hiatus, and I can easily live with that. But I’m still active, because I haven’t shot all my powder. Since a few years, I write for the Italian magazine Vincebus Eruptum. That makes very much fun to me, especially since Davide (the editor) is a very nice guy. And I have some other plans……maybe I will continue with Cosmic Lava or something else…. we will see.

Germany seems to be a very nice country for psychedelic & stoner rock bands, how does the scene look?
Oh, a lot has happened over the last 20 years. More festivals, more bands, more record labels, more tours. As far as I can tell, some of the involved people really put their heart into their efforts, because they love the music and not the money. It’s definitely a heavenly situation for newcomers and veterans. The festivals are always peaceful and non-violent, but the same is valid for the gigs.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
I buy records and CD’s almost everywhere. In the 1990’s, I visited record fairs regularly, but that’s over now. I really like Second-Hand stores, and fortunately there are some good ones in my area, the Ruhrgebiet. Furthermore I use the internet, whether it’s a mailorder or a private auction. And it’s always nice to purchase some stuff at gigs.

ImageName three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Ouch, that’s a tough question. But OK, here we go:
AMEBIX – Arise!: One of the most unique apocalyptic Punk bands of the 1980’s. ‘Arise!’ was the album that turned me into a total AMEBIX fan. I’ve bought it in 1985 in Duisburg in a record store, which no longer exists today. After listening to ‘Arise!’ continuously, I borrowed the ‘Winter’ 7″ from a good friend in order then to paint the entire back cover of that 7″ on my room wall. It was gigantic and I still have a few photos of my painting. After 30 years, AMEBIX is still one of my favorite Punk bands. Only their reunion album ‘Sonic Mass’ was utter trash, but that is another story.

THE STOOGES – Fun House: ‘Fun House’ is representative for all the great bands/musicians from Detroit: MC5, The Rationals, Guardian Angel, New Order, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival, Ramrods, early Bob Seger, early Mitch Ryder, Frijid Pink, The Third Power, The Frost, Alice Cooper Band. ‘Fun House’ is like sonic dynamite that will never grow old. I also dig the debut and ‘Raw Power’ as well, so that it was hard for me to pick one out. But I selected ‘Fun House’, because it’s their most varied album. I’ve bought it in the very late 1980’s, but I forgot where I found the platter. It was a VERY excessive period in my life.

CAPTAIN BEYOND – s/t: At first I wanted to select one of the first eight Black Sabbath albums, but then I have decided to take CAPTAIN BEYOND’s debut record. For me this is a perfect album and truly a masterpiece. This is so to say a flawless work of art. Even the cover artwork as well as the band photo on the backcover are mind blowing. I found a copy of this album in ca. 1992 in the W.O.M.-store in Essen. It was the Japanese CD edition, which was pretty expensive (ca. 45,- DM). But it was worth it!

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
It looks good, because vinyl is needed again. Basically it was never gone. There will always be people who prefer something physical (no matter if it’s vinyl or a CD) instead of iPod’s and shit like that. An album is much more than only an individual sequence of songs. That’s my unimportant opinion, at least. But what bothers me is the price increase. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all records, but a lot of them are just too expensive in our time. Music should be for everyone, whether people are poor or rich. And today, a lot of people are poor, and I’m not talking about Africa or certain areas in South America. It would be a disgrace for music, if only a small elite can allow themselves to collect records.