Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series. Part 3
(Photos courtesy of Nathan Dufour)
Inspiration can come from a number of unique sources. The concept behind this interview series was developed over time but recently crystallized in my mind. As the owner of a large library I’ve often pondered about the nature of collecting Heavy Metal music (Cassettes, vinyl, CD’s, memorabilia etc) and how and why people accumulate Metal ‘stuff’. Earlier this year (2017) Martin Popoff wrote a book called METAL COLLECTORS which I read, thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed. It occurred to me that there are lots of people out there with pretty massive Metal collections so I decided I wanted to chat to some of them and interview them for the site.
My concept is to, over time ask people with some pretty impressive, monster collections the same series of questions. I’m basically stealing that idea of METAL COLLECTORS (Sorry Martin!) and expanding into an interview series. Lastly, the name for this series was spawned by a gentleman by the name of Ray Wawrzyniak. He appeared in the recent Rush documentary TIME STAND STILL. Ray is a Rush superfan and in one particularly charming scene in the film, the genial and friendly (but clearly obsessed) Ray shows off one piece of his Rush collection and refers to it with barely hidden glee as ‘Spectacularly Majestic’. It was in fact ‘just’ an old piece of paper, (a Rush ad from a magazine from 1979) but that phrase alone and his enthusiasm I feel embodies the spirit of Metal collecting, because I suspect that many Metal collectors have those same moments. Check out the 1:30 minute mark of the video below.
If you, or know someone you know, has a monster Metal collection (in the 1000+ range) please feel free to get them in touch with me!
Tell us how you started collecting Metal! When did you start?
I guess I would have been about 8 years old when I first heard Metallica, and it was all down hill after that as they say. Prior to that of course I heard whatever was on the radio or music my Dad would play, Jethro Tull and Uriah Heep and Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. The list there goes on, and my Dad and Mom really fostered my appreciation for all types of music, not just the harder stuff.
How big is your collection?
This is purely guesswork to be honest, but I would estimate at this point approximately 1,500 compact discs crossing all genres and about 30 or so long play records with a concentration on rare material and grindcore primarily.
How do you count your collection? For example. If you have say for example, multiple copies of KISS-Destroyer on the following media; Vinyl, 8-Track, Cassette, CD, and digital format do you count that as five items or just 1 item?
I try not to duplicate material although certainly understand the reasoning behind owning everything under the sun. I do have the metal book edition of Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon as well as the German special edition of that album on CD. If I am set on counting it though, every individual piece would be an item.
When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc?
I am so all over the map that I would need to be independently wealthy to accomplish this goal.
How do you organize your collection if at all; by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?
When the collection was smaller, for CDs at least, it was alphabetically and chronologically organized as well as searchable via database by release date and label.
Do you insure your collection?
I do not insure the music specifically, but it would be covered under general house insurance should anything happen.
How do you store your collection?
I have it stored on media storage shelves, just the general kind you can get at any Wal-Mart or Amazon as the case may be.
What is your preferred genre(s)? Do you have a genre break down of your collection? For example 15% Death Metal, 25% Black Metal etc?
I have a soft spot for death metal and grindcore so most of the collection would have that slant to it but I don’t have a specific genre related breakdown.
Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?
Buy, whether brand new or via Discogs or other second hand means.
What is your preferred format?
Compact disc, but I also accept the digital new world and, really, would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the convenience the digital format provides even if sound is sacrificed due to compression and other concerns of the format itself. Or that could just be my ears or some kind of aural placebo effect.
How do your track your collection? Do you use a spreadsheet or one of the on-line services or even a hand-written list?
I do have a spreadsheet but find it difficult to get back to in any meaningful way. One of these days.
What is your most valuable piece? (not in terms of sentimental value, but in actual terms of resale value on the open market. ie. Goldmine etc. )
I have no idea.
What is the most you have paid for an item?
About a hundred ish dollars.
Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc.
I have 200 t shirts and counting, as a rough estimate, and am told that I will be buried with them like an Egyptian. I am oddly okay with this.
What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?
I have been very lucky in this regard and don’t have a bucket list that I can think of off the top of my head.
Why do you collect Metal music?
This is a hard question because on one hand, the collecting angle is really one more of obsession than anything else. What I mean is that I consistently want to add to my collection regardless of listening hours contained in the collection (Do I listen to that Wicked Wisdom album? No. Do I keep it? Yes. It’s a masochism thing I think, just to show people how bad it is.) On the other hand it is also a bizarre sense of pride, as in, hey look at all this! And then I can talk about the subtle differences in genre and style and whatnot that to most people seems absurd but yet makes a lot of sense to me. In addition, the collection almost becomes a part of how you view yourself (seems silly and vain I know) but going back to the pride thing, I am proud of it and show it off to people whether they like metal or not. Granted, the metal folk are much more apt to spend some time with it.
In a morbid and Metal question, what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?
I would hope that my collection would be sold at a community radio garage sale or otherwise donated to basically anyone and everyone to further the cause of metal and, more importantly, the joy that music brings to life.
Final thoughts? Feel free to use this space to share any unique or interesting items about you and your collection and/or share ideas and advice for your fellow collectors.
Final Thoughts is an Obituary song, man. I guess, at this age, consume what you like, there are no guilty pleasures. And have fun with it.