Tag Archives: mayhem

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.


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 6, 2014: Jon, Norway

ImageWhat unites us is the fascination of music, and collecting. Please tell us your story!
Well, I guess my story is pretty ordinary, when I grow up I was heavily inspired by my older brother and was basically into what he was into, that way I got a free entrance into the heavy rock world of the ’70ies and I was introduced to bands like SCORPIONS, MOTT THE HOOPLE, THIN LIZZY, UFO, KISS and the usual suspects. As I grow older I started to pick up things on my own and developed my own musical taste and at a very early age I was totally mind blown by the music world.. I guess I always been into the escapism and always trying to create my own world starting with comic books and then of course the total obsession with music…..I started of buying tapes and didn’t get a record player until ’83 or so when I started to buy vinyl. I wouldn’t say those early years I was collecting but I guess I was in a way anyway. I just wanted records and bought them whenever I could and by the end of the ’80ies I started to realize I probably had more records than my friends. I still have a bit of a problem with the term collector and I been fighting with myself a lot concerning that term. I do love records because of the music they give me and that adds life quality to me. So generally it is all about enjoying the music. But of course, I do collect too and there is a lot of albums I owe several versions of – simply because they are so good that I have the urge to own multiple different versions of certain albums.

Do you remember your first purchase, and what was that?
In the beginning I bought tapes and I can’t really remember what was first, I had stuff like JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, THIN LIZZY and so on as well as I recorded a lot of stuff from my brothers collection. When I finally got my record player I got a bunch of records at the same time so what vinyl was first is hard to say. I do like to think it was Welcome to Hell and Black Metal by VENOM just to be on the cool side of things 🙂

ImageYou’ve done Slayer Magazine for years… Did you ever keep in touch with those old penpals from the mid 80’s, and what happened to the majority of the people?
Some I keep in touch with and some have mysteriously disappeared from the surface of earth….But, I was probably one of the guys that wrote too many letters during that era so I’m sure there is a lot I forgot about as well….But now, with the Internet so many faces from the old disappear and even if there is people I don’t talk to so much anymore it is nice to see that they are still around. It works the other way too, people I never talked to so much back then I talk more frequently now.

Being a vivid role of the Norwegian metal scene since 30 years, how have the scene progressed from the mid 80’s?
Back in the ’80es we only had a very few Metal bands here, not like Sweden who always had a very healthy music scene, I still discover ‘unknown’ (to me at least) Swedish Metal bands from the ’80ies. We had TNT of course, ARTCH and a few others and then MAYHEM killed everything when they released “Deathcrush” in ’87. Then after a few years everything exploded here with all the Black Metal stuff…..some of it was good….not everything……. Now it is like a million of bands (not only in Norway) and I’m sure there are some good ones here and there. I wouldn’t say the Norwegian is better or worse than anywhere else but when you think of how small this shitty country is the amount of bands are plentiful.

ImageAre you one of those who only buy “old” music, or still keeping up with today’s groups & artists?
Even if I do think like that at times it is a very stupid way of thinking. Granted that a lot of my fave stuff was released back in the day and that magic can never be re-created. But it is like those bastards that are even older than me that claims that nothing good has been released since the last BEATLES or something…..It is a stupid attitude even if I do think like that at times too. But I do luckily buy a lot of new stuff too, I’m sure I could dig deeper as far as new bands goes but….Now, this spring of 2014 I’m looking forward to the releases of TRIPTYKON, MAYHEM, THE OATH and several others, oh yeah, and there is a new SWANS album coming too and I like the new LP by KARI RUESLÅTTEN a lot. It is pretty easy to keep track of what is coming now in this Internet age. I also buy a lot of re-releases of my fave records, and I must mention the label HIGH ROLLER here. They do great re issues as well as new releases and always having fair prices. I think it is nice to support some active labels too instead of just buying 2nd hand rarities from private sellers. You need to support the labels too so our beloved vinyl can stay alive. Anyway, I think it is kinda important to have something to look forward to in the future instead of thinking all the great stuff has already been released. That is some sort of life motivation too, there should always be better thing in the future…..hopefully but probably not.

How do you discover new music?
Just browsing on the Internet have helped me discover a lot of new stuff but my fave bands have always been my fave bands and it have been easy to follow them even without the Internet. When there are artists you genuinely love you follow them and you know when they have some new stuff available. Not to kiss the RECORD HEAVEN ass completely but I always find it nice when you give some sort of short description to the new releases you n have in stock, that is always very helpful to me. I love a lot of the prog stuff of yesterdays with a heavier edge but my knowledge about all these bands is seriously lacking at times. And if there is something I might be interested in it is pretty easy to find a clip here or there, and if I find it interesting I try to get the vinyl.

Personally, I threw away loads of letters and demos 20 years ago from the fanzine era. Did you save all those memories?
Same here, a lot of it is gone but I kept some, mostly letters. I have them in some boxes here and there. A lot of the stuff I had got lost in some flood I had years ago so…..And, I sold traded a lot of the demos too but I kept a few. I just like hanging on to some of those things, it is not like I sit down and read the old letters. It is more thast I like the idea of having that as a representation of an era in my life. We really did have an unique time back then so I’m very happy I could be so active in this exciting life. Now a lot of those demos have been re-released so it is nice to get that too on a proper format to replace old rotten and lost tapes. One of my prized possessions in the demo world is the HELLHAMMER “Satanic Rites” demo which was send to my old ‘zine LIVE WIRE back in 1983 – by Tom Warrior himself.

ImageYou seem to have a broad taste in music, as long as it is obscure and unknown, how do you see your musical taste yourself?
I guess that is a way of putting it but I never really thought of it like that. But I do find more pleasure in finding the more obscure but compared to others I guess what I listen to is pretty mainstream…… But, it is easier to get sick of the classics and I just go for different stuff. Surely I have a lot of mainstream things in my collection from IRON MAIDEN to KATE BUSH but most likely most of it is the lesser known. I’m always curios about the lesser known bands and it is always nice to dig out records from the strangest of places…..I always been like that, back in the demo days I always preferred the demo bands to most records. It was just my kinda thinking, and I much rather listen to GOTHAM CITY or OVERDRIVE than SAXON for instance……..I have a lot of different angles of my records, I got all the extreme Metal classic stuff of the ’80ies, a lot of Swedish Metal of the same era……I like prog but I like it to have a heavier edge, the Norwegian HØST and the Swedish NOVEMBER is a great example of that. And I love things that are completely out there like COMUS for instance. I like some of the folk bands too like INCREDIBLE STRING BAND which I always thought had a very disturbing vibe to them which I loved. South American extreme Metal bands is also something I love very much. And more alternative bands like SWANS, DEAD CAN DANCE, COCTEAU TWINS, THIS MORTAL COIL, LAIBACH and many others. I’m always curios to find something unknown that will blow my brain.

Please let us know 3 records that will follow you into the grave.
Well, I chose 3 of 3 different styles to better give an description of who I am and what I’m all about. 1. I have to say the 1st BATHORY (We pick the yellow goat then) as that pretty much sums up my life in the Metal underground and represents all I am about, still one of my faves. 2. SWANS – “Filth”, this album made me discover there is a different kind of heaviness outside of Metal. This band led me to discover a lot of interesting acts. 2. HØST – “På Sterke Vinger”, this was a album I picked up randomly where I live in a then newly open 2bd hand store. This was in the early ’90ies and I paid around 5 bucks for it and even at that time that was a bargain and probably the best buy I done like that. A bit later I bought their 2nd LP “Hardt Mot Hardt” and the price was about 150 bucks – still worth it. With the first HØST LP I discovered the more prog/heavy side of music. So, those 3 albums are important to me simply because they are as good as they are.

ImageSo where is the place to buy records that nobody else know about then ?
I think it is called the Internet…..haha…..I really don’t know any secret places or anything. These days everyone seems to have a good knowledge about the records and their value so it is hard to make some scores….And I really don’t mind, if the price is OK for me I get what I want……I don’t invest in records for money value, more for listening pleasure.

Do you see a future in record collecting ? I personally think few ones join the club, and it is mostly the old freaks keeping the trade going…
I see a future in listening to my records. What will happen next is always hard to say but I know I will enjoy my records for a very long time. I gone through a few different phases with my collecting…… I buy a lot and I sell a lot so for the last years that balance have worked out fairly good. I like getting rid of things a few times a year, it is sort of like having a garden, you have to treat it well and from time to time you need to get rid of the weed. I think that is pretty healthy and that keeps your record collection more happy. All in all, music might be the greatest gift given to us but once in a while it is nice to do other things too. I sell records to finance travelling for instance (but when I travel I end up buying more records anyway so…..) Nice to add some life experience too. I think in every musical underground people will be interested in buying records, not only us old bastards. Now I see labels like NUCLEAR BLAST do tons and tons of stuff on colored vinyl, I think for the last CARCASS it is now between 30 and 40 versions to pick from. Maybe that is stupid for most people but it keeps vinyl out there and I would assume most people buying those are slightly younger people. I think that is the difference now, there are always several versions to pick from (At least in the metal world) and people are more eager to get the most limited releases. Back in the day I was not worried about things like that but just being happy having one version…….I do think people now are buying more color versions of the same album. All in all, people will get into it and people will fall out….I think the demand for vinyl will be there in one way or another. They tried to kill vinyl once with the CD but that didn’t work so……….I think it will always be there. And if for some reason the vinyl will stopped being made there is always the used stuff. It will never end…….