Wednesday, September 26, 2007

...Again It All Comes Down To Money

Verse has a song on From Anger and Rage called Consume, and when I was thinking about this post, the song kind of jumped out at me. The song is actually about mass media and consumerism...about how money rules and somehow it manages to define success in this society. Okay, that's not really the point of my post, but it does tie in with money because I really don't have much of it at the moment. Things have come to a head with the project to build the garage and addition on the house. Michelle is a nervous wreck over the finances as our savings keeps disappearing to pay the latest expenses, namely the garage door, propane stove, and sheetrock. Just before we got to the point of worry, I dropped a good chunk of change on these two pressings of the latest Verse album. First was the Sound and Fury fest pressing. This one is limited to 110, with the spray painted cover, and mine is stamped with number 2. Pretty cool to get such a low number. The other one is the "mint chip" friends press. Limited to 110 of this one as well, but this one was only given out to friends of the band. Sure it was bad timing on my part, but damn, I think I got a good price on each of them.
The second thing that I'd like to bring up is the double standard I feel about buying these records. See, I can't stand it when opportunistic kids buy records to turn around and sell them on eBay. Hardcore is not a business...hell, music in general should not be used to make a quick buck for those on the sidelines. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to sell those rare items that are no longer important to them, but buying a rare record for the purpose of selling it is despicable. If you aren't interested in owning the record, leave it, so that a real fan has the chance to buy it. So my double standard is that while I hate that someone bought the Sound and Fury pressing, only to sell it for a profit, I'm also grateful, since I couldn't be there to buy it myself. So yeah, to quote Verse, "Again it all comes down to money...fuck the business man".

Friday, September 21, 2007

New York Crew

The fourth annual Guys Roadtrip. The first year the three of us made the trip to Pennsylvania for the Knife or Death fest with the Youth of Today and Mouthpiece reunions. Next year, Paul had just had a baby and couldn't take the trip, but Rob and I made it back to Pennsylvania for the last Posi-Numbers fest. Third year was our trip to Toronto for the Red Sox/Blue Jays game. This year it was decided that we would spend the weekend in New York City and catch a Mets game. I don't really care about baseball, but a weekend spent hanging out with Rob and Paul is always a good time. For our trip, I was really looking forward to hitting some record stores. Our first stop was Generation Records. Holy shit, I could have blown so much money in this place. They had a huge room that was strictly dedicated to vinyl. The place was amazing. The only way for me to get the most out of it was to start at A and work my way through the entire rack, thumbing through them one at a time. It took a lot of restraint, but I controlled my spending and only got 3 albums (and got 3 that Paul bought me for Christmas).
  • Regulations : Regulations - I am really liking this band. Great early 80's style punk in the vein of the Circle Jerk's Group Sex EP. Great snotty attitude. I have their second album, Electric Guitar, and since the vinyl version of their first album seemed to be sold out at the online distributors that I use, I was glad to find this record.
  • No Turning Back : Holding On - I was really reluctant to listen to these guys when I first heard of them. I was expecting some tough-guy hardcore similar to Death Before Dishonor, or maybe Hatebreed and Madball...I don't know why, it was just the image that I had of them. Tyler GetBroken liked this album, so I decided to try it, and figured at the least it might be good music to listen to at the gym. I was surprised at how much I liked this...good solid hardcore with a tough edge to a guest appearance on Alive or Dead by Aram is a definite bonus.
  • Hellanbach : Now Hear This - This one was recorded in 1982, and was one of the earlier albums released by Neat Records, who I specifically remember as a kid for releasing those Venom albums. Well this one sounds nothing like Venom, but more of an English version of Van Halen. Pretty good rockin' stuff.

After Generations and a bite of pizza, where I managed to drop a good sized drop of tomato sauce onto the crotch of my tan shorts, we made our way to the infamous Bleecker Bob's. I had heard such stories about the cranky owner that I was a little nervous to enter the store. Sadly, I didn't really find much that interested me...and what did interest me was grossly overpriced. An original Overkill Fuck You EP for $35, and an autographed Kind Diamond The Portrait for $100 were a bit pricey for me.

  • Various Artists : All Systems Go! - I had downloaded most of the songs on this album, but I figured that $7.00 was a good price for an album of cover songs. Great versions of Ten Yard Fight covering Youth of Today, Bane doing Chain of Strength, Ensign doing an Underdog song, and Reach the Sky doing Rites of Spring, plus many others. Cool shit.

On Saturday we caught a Mets game at Shea Stadium. Having only experienced Fenway Park, I would have to say that Shea Stadium was awesome. I can't understand why they are building a new stadium to replace this one. We had great seats...field level but in the back row, so we could stand and come and go as we pleased without disturbing the entire row. The game was fun, and it was Bucket Hat Day, so we all got our free hats. After the game, we went back into the city and had dinner at Serendipity III, which was a very cool restaurant that Paul wanted to go to. I think the only vegetarian thing on the menu for me was the ravioli, but damn, it was so good. We also had the house specialty of a Frozen Hot Chocolate, which was definitely a treat.

The weekend was so much fun, from hanging out in the city, avoiding the puke on the subway, and the conversation of drunk girls on the same train ride, to goofing off in the hotel room and jumping from bed to bed trying to get pictures of each other airborne (most people don't seem to understand just how funny this was). We walked for miles and miles through the city, with Paul getting the attention of homeless people and starving Hip Hop artists looking to sell their CD's. We laughed the entire three days. Good times.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Worth The Wait

I've been waiting to post on this one. The day that I received the new Champion live LP, Different Directions from Bridge Nine Records, I got an email from Aram saying that he had a copy of the album on gold vinyl that he was going to set aside for me. I had not heard about a gold pressing, so I was extremely excited to find out from him that it was special "friends press", limited to 100! He went on to thank me for the support that I had given to Champion and Betrayed and said that I deserved one. Holy shit...I don't hero worship, but you have no idea how fucking excited I was. This was at the end of April. Fast forward four months of waiting, and a few email exchanges, and the record finally arrived today. Easily in the top 5 pieces of vinyl that I own...well worth the wait.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

eBay Killed The Record Convention

There was a time when there were two local record conventions around here each year. One in the Spring and one in the Fall. For each one, I would tap into the savings account and load up on vinyl, bootleg cassette and video tapes, and CD's. Man, how I loved those record shows. I think the last one I went to was around 1991, and I remember picking up the Judge album on vinyl. Soon after that, I stopped buying vinyl, preferring to buy CD's, and stopped paying attention to when the record convention was rolling through town. Needless to say, I've been interested in going to one of those record shows again. For the past couple of years I've been trying to track down one of those local shows, but to no avail. It seems as though they are no longer setting up shop in Westbrook, Maine. After doing a couple of online searches, I found one in Massachusetts. I talked to Jeff about it, and we both thought that it would be a great time, so we headed down. We had a blast on the trip down, talking about music from our teenage years, and about how much of an impact it had on us. Great company...great conversations.

We got to the record convention, and were surprised at how small the thing was! The conventions from when I used to go were huge. Giant conference rooms, packed wall to wall with records and CD's...and the, people would be 5 deep waiting to thumb through stacks of vinyl. This one was less than half the size, and no lines! Kind of sad, really, but when you have eBay at your fingertips, I guess a lot of people prefer to just go online and get that immediate satisfaction, rather than browse and shop. Even with the scaled down version of the record convention, I walked away with a healthy stack of vinyl.
The first table that we stopped at had a section of records on sale for $4.00 each. I immediately found something that I wanted.
  • Van Halen : Women and Children First - Van Halen were another band that I hated though my teenage years, and have just recently begun to appreciate. This is a cool record.
  • The Doors : Absolutely Live - Never liked The Doors, until Rob played me the first song on this record, Who Do You Love. As soon as I heard it, it was like a light was turned on and I finally understood why people lose it over this band. Jim Morrison's voice is so amazing, when he screams it can send chills down your spine, it is so powerful. When the guitar kicks in during Who Do You Love, I knew that I'd found a "new" band.
  • UFO : Force It - This album contains one of my favorite songs from this band, Mother Mary. Another cool Rock record.

Coming to this record show I was really hoping to find some classic thrash records from the '80's and at the next table I visited, I found some of what I was looking for.

  • Metallica : Weed Killer and Sugar - An obvious bootleg. This is a recording taken from a couple of shows back in '84 and '85. The sound quality isn't that good, but I love that James' voice is high and screechy. This band was amazing for their first three albums, and this is a cool record that captures how great they used to be. Doing a search online, I've found that this is the first pressing of this bootleg, and I've seen some people selling them for $70. My copy has the corners of the sleeve pretty well bent, but it was only $15.
  • Dio : We Rock - This is a cool 12 inch single, with the b-side being a couple of live songs from the Donington Festival back in '83. I've been on a bit of a Dio kick, and for $5, I wasn't going to pass this one up. Excellent condition.
  • Exodus : Fabulous Disaster - One of the best Exodus albums. It opens with The Last Act of Defiance and just shreds all the way through. Funny thing about this band...apparently I saw them live with Suicidal Tendencies back in 1990, but I have no recollection of seeing them! I was probably too preoccupied with not getting punched by security or FSU. They are coming to New Hampshire in February, and since I am loving their last two albums, I may try and catch them again.
  • Queensryche : The Warning - I had forgotten how great this record is. Either Paul or I bought this on cassette tape when it was released in 1984, and I was excited to add it to my vinyl collection. This copy has the gold promo stamp, which I always find extra cool.
  • Led Zeppelin : IV - I may have said it before, but I'll say it again...I grew up hating Led Zeppelin. Like The Doors, one day it just clicked and I finally recognized how great the band was. I even find myself getting into Stairway to Heaven when I listen to this album!

The last table that I stopped at was hit or miss. When I'm buying used vinyl, I need it to be in great shape, or I'm not interested. This table had a bunch of albums that were in rough shape, so there were one's, like Metallica's Master of Puppets, that I just could not buy. Still, I was able to find a couple of records to pick up and end my day.

  • Metal Church : The Dark - I love this record. I remember getting the cassette for Christmas back in '85, and sitting with my Walkman cassette player at my Grandparents house, headphones pressed tight on my ears, just taking in how fast and intense this album was. This album still had the plastic shrink wrap on it, so I knew that the album cover was in good shape, but I didn't realize that the first song has a small skip on it. Plus I found out this past weekend that Jeff's copy has a lyric sheet and mine doesn't. Damn it, I want another copy...a complete copy.
  • Kiss : Hotter Than Hell - Holy shit, another band that I used to hate. I grew up with the Kiss that was a hair band, turn out crappy songs like Lick It Up. Again, Jeff got me to look past that era and dig into the early years of the band, and I'll be damned, I've come to really like the first three or four Kiss albums.