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...man, 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.

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