A while back I reached out to the FleaMarket Funk family to find out exactly why you guys collected vinyl. It is an obsession like no other, and we all are motivated by different reasons, influenced by different people, and have a story to tell. Here are the stories of every day vinyl collectors, their motivations, and their processes. First up is Frank, who delves deep into his personal motivations and why he collects vinyl records.
“I’m your typical early 30’s suburban dad, with a 4,000-5,000 piece record collection. I grew up writing graff for 15 years and went to art school to get a degree in graphic design. Psych, funk, jazz, and reggae are my token favorite genres… many more styles i collect though. I don’t DJ out, and have never pursued it, mainly because my younglings run my life and my wife works full time as well. Sure I could buy all the great music on MP3 if I wanted to, but I got into records, It’s too late for MP3s now. The only MP3’s that interest me are the ones I rip myself. There was this X-mas present my girlfriend (now wife) got me in 2005, she knew I liked turntables and records because I’d fuck around at friends houses, etc. It was a Numark battle DJ setup and a gift card to Plan 9 (Richmond local record store) adding to my childhood record collection which mysteriously contained Minor Threat and Dead Milkmen LPs.
So as the years go by, I acquire my uncle’s and other relatives collections. I frequent your average record spots maybe once a week. I learn how to dig from some of my DJ buddies and probably reading FleaMarket Funk. I open up to actually looking for 45s. You can imagine the discovery process of how much cooler it is discovering music this way. I started the itch to dig more and more, checking Craigslist postings, yard sales, flea markets, and Goodwill. I had the idea once to check obituaries and track down where the dead guy’s records might be going if that was really possible. I did go to a sale where the daughter said her deceased dad’s collection was all in her trunk and more back at his house. It was thousands of 45’s hundreds of LP’s. I spent the better part of a year listening to it all and cleaning lots of them. I even sold a few for as much as $400 or so on ebay, having learned what crossover & northern soul was, and that I personally didn’t need it in my collection. The money I started making on ebay justified my means of digging. Then, I hit big with a Goodwill outlet find, where I spotted this obvious Psychedelic cover: C.A. Quintet – Trip Thru Hell. The pink label record was actually 20 records away, unsleeved. I bought it for 50 cents. I took it to a store where they offered me $600, but I decided to put it on ebay where it sold for $1500. I spent the money I made on a new Technics 1200 and paid off my credit card. For a while I’d dig with the idea that I’d hit it big again, and I do just not with monetary wealth. I’ve got quite a few rare and pricey records I would never sell: the music is just too good. I don’t want to have to find them again.
Right now, through tax preparation it’s dawned on me how much I’m spending on records every year, and while I do make back more than what I pay out, it’s only by a few hundred. I try to tell myself it’s not a problem, but I read in a Dust & Grooves Egon interview, where he says “there’s nothing worse in my opinion, than a record collector who doesn’t actively listen to his records.” Then I see this depressing film by Alan Zweig, Vinyl. On my way to work I try to tell myself I’m not gonna hit up the thrift store on my lunch, but I’m a daily digger. I ended up going to salvation army and Goodwill. If I didn’t have the opportunity to go, I wouldn’t. Some days I don’t but it’s always on my mind. How can I manage to sneak in to the Goodwill today? I guess I have a guilty conscience, but it doesn’t help with the kids toys in the garage are now competing with my records for space. The kids toys are going to win, but not without me reorganizing and re-shelving all the other shit in there.
I don’t think I will ever let the habit get too far out of control. I do hope my kids grow up hearing stuff and maybe because I exposed them to all of it it will somehow better their lives, and if I could get off my lazy ass and pursue some “creative” projects involving vinyl maybe that will make it all seem more worth it.”
Send your stories on why you collect vinyl to firstname.lastname@example.org