Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Got Vinyl?

I have a confession to make.  There is no vinyl anywhere in my house.  No records.  No record player. I might be the least cool person in my entire neighborhood.  (I don't even have a beard.)  I'm not anti-vinyl.  I admit that some things sound amazing on vinyl and I think it's great when other people have kick-ass collections.  I love to see what my friends have.  But, the thought of collecting myself makes me feel a little nervous.

If you know me, you know that I have a giant music collection.  It's just all digital.  And I like it that way.  No, I love it that way.  I don't have to worry about it.  It's in a cool cloud hovering somewhere waiting for me to feel like listening to a sappy ass Peter Schilling B-side or to get drunk and wanna jam out to early Poison.  It's at my beck and call and it doesn't need dusting.  Not that I'm listening to iTunes all the time.  I'm usually on Sirius or Spotify or or Pandora.  (I like not knowing what's coming next.)  But, I'm listening to music all day every day.  Just not on vinyl.  Because, look, what if I lose it?  What if I break it?!

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called late 90's Los Angeles, I had this magnificent machine in the trunk of my car called a 6-disc-changer.  I know, right?  What is this wonder? you might be asking yourself.  Well, I'll tell you.  You loaded that sucker up with 6 cds and then you could jam out to 6 full albums in your car.  Imagine!  You could put it on shuffle or listen to them individually.  It was a marvel of modern technology.  I drove all over L.A. for jobs and auditions and social crap.  I was always in my car.  So, naturally, I'd fill that thing up every day before I left, hovering over my trunk in the parking lot of my building trying to decide if I was feeling more Filter or Dr. Dre.  Because I needed variety at all times, I'd haul my entire cd collection back and forth between my car and my apartment. This consisted of 2 cd folders that each held 100 cds.  Heavy but necessary.  I thought of it like a mini-work out.

One night I got drunk.  I forgot about my cd books in the car.  I went to bed.  The next morning, the passenger side window was broken and my entire music collection was gone.  Gone.  All the cds I'd gotten for Christmas and Birthdays, that I'd gone without meals to buy in college, everything I'd loved and cared for since high school was gone with one break of a window.

It was traumatic.  It was horrible.  It would've been less jarring if the asshole had stolen all my clothes or my cat or my roommate.  It took years to build back up my collection but some things never got replaced.  Worse, the crime had opened up an old wound.

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was sit in front of my record player and listen to music.  I'd lie on the carpet and hold the record cover in front of my face, gazing at the pictures of the artists.  I had a bitchin' collection too, man.  Super cool shit.  I was jamming out to Starship and The Jackson 5 and good ole' Tears For Fears' Songs From The Big Chair.  I had Silvia's Snapshot album and Sports by Huey Lewis and The News.  Straight pimpin'.  I'd trip out for hours on Michael Jackson's freaky wrist on the inside of the Thriller album cover.    I loved those albums.  I figured I was adult and cool like my parents, who had an entire wall of records in their bedroom.  I loved loved records, until I broke one.  I was holding an MCL album called Code Numbers in junior high.  It slipped from my hands and landed partly on the glass of my stereo cabinet.  (We used to have actual furniture for our music.) Anyway, it shattered into like 5 pieces and I cried so I started getting everything on cds, which seemed sturdier and more permanent unless someone breaks into your car and steals your soul I mean your music.

So, I don't have vinyl.  I don't want to collect something that I can lose or break.  I want my music and I want it forever.  I want it all to fit on an iPod.  I want it to be floating around in a cloud.  I want to know I'll never have that crushing ohhhhh shittt feeling of losing my music ever again as long as I live.  I want to be in my rocking chair when I'm 98 saying, "Badass computer thingy, play Wreckx-N-Effect" so I can rocker-dance my old ass off.

But, I will gladly ooh and ahhh at your records.  Just don't let me hold them.

*photo, Hogan McSmalls.