Spectacularly Majestic! Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series. Part 4 Ray Wawrzyniak

November 28th, 2017
by J P

Spectacularly Majestic!
Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series.  Part 4

Ray Wawrzyniak

by JP
(Photos courtesy of Kristin Wawrzyniak )

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!


In an interesting turn of events, I was contacted by Ray Wawrzyniak himself  after he saw our new interview series.  Naturally I invited the good natured Ray to participate.  Here he is, in his own words.

Tell us how you started collecting Rush? When did you start?

Why Rush, how, and when? Well,…that’s quite a long story…in which I will happily indulge!!

Before Rush came along and completely altered the orbit of my life, music had to be a part of my environment to begin with, before they could even enter my own personal orbit. Thankfully, I was brought up in a household where music mattered. The radio was always on. My Dad was often playing his cool vinyl “box set” of 50’s hits. I liked listening to those classic 50’s songs, like, “Duke Of Earl”, “Get a Job”, etc., and looking at the packaging of the box set itself.   Music wasn’t being crammed down my throat the way that sports (happily!) was, but,…it was always in my life to begin with. I don’t think Rush- or any band, for that matter- would have ever been allowed in, had they knocked on the door of a non-musical home to begin with.

Anyway, Rush weren’t my first musical love. My first love was Supertramp. Even still, when I create my usual list of, “Top Ten/Top Twenty Bands/Artists”, Roger Hodgson still places a solid fourth, seemingly as sure as Rush places an easy, and distant number one. (Calling them my, “number one, favorite band” almost seems like a disservice, to what they’ve actually meant throughout my life. They’re more than just my favorite band…)

I was born in 1966. (I’ll let you do the math from there…) My first proper rock show was ELO, at the Memorial Auditorium here in Buffalo, New York, on October 10th of ’81. (and,…yes. Of course I have the ticket stub, as I do for all concerts…) Somehow, ELO lead me to Supertramp, although I can’t necessarily trace the roots of that lineage. When Supertramp’s, “Breakfast In America” was released, and was all over radio in ’79,…Supertramp had me. I bought the 7” single of, “The Logical Song”, then got, “Breakfast In America” for Christmas that year. As a 13 year-old, music now mattered to me.

Meanwhile, my cousin, who was about three-and-a-half years older, was trying to cram this band called Rush down my throat. I swear, every time we went to my cousin’s house in 1981, I had to hear something from, “Moving Pictures”, whether I liked it/wanted to, or not. Eventually, his enthusiasm made an impression on my younger brother, who went to (I think) Record Boutique, in nearby Kenmore, New York, and bought his own version of, “Moving Pictures”. Still, though, I stood by on the sidelines, and enjoyed Supertramp. Rush’s, “Exit…Stage Left” came out in late 1981 (October, to be specific), and my brother bought that, too. My brother would invite me in to his room on occasion, with the typical invite of things like, “Hey; you gotta hear this song…” I remember hearing, “Jacob’s Ladder”, from, “Exit…Stage Left”, and just…not being too turned off. Enough that they had now entered my musical radar, as I like to say, but, not necessarily enough that I wanted to pull them in, and begin my own investigatory work.

However, very early in ’82, MTV aired the, “Rush: Exit…Stage Left” concert video. For whatever reason, I decided I was going to sit down that night, and see these guys who were making the music on this, “Exit…Stage Left” album I had been hearing. As I’m sure only someone like yourself- someone for whom music has meant something- could understand, for whatever reason, that night,…after watching that, “Exit…Stage Left” footage on MTV, the band now officially, “…had my attention”.

After that, I realized, “What? They have other albums? Well,…let me do the work, and see what they’re really all about…” What do you do at that point, then, as a sixteen year-old, in 1982? Easy. You start borrowing your friend’s albums, making your own cassette-taped versions, closing your door, turning up your ghetto blaster…and fully and completely immersing yourself in the music. In my case, it was Rush. The immersion for me was so deep, and so real, and so…visceral, that I was then subsequently prepared and ready for the first time they would release an album that I was anticipating. That, of course, was, “Signals”, in September of 1982. I was now sixteen, my new favorite band was releasing a new album, and I was ready. My sister drove me to Cavages at the Boulevard Mall here in Buffalo, I bought the cassette version…and things have never been the same since.

No matter to whom anyone pledges their musical allegiance, whether it’s Rush, The Alarm, U2, Roger Hodgson, or otherwise, I think everybody has some similarly innocent story, about how they were first introduced to a band, or artist. What that person decides to do from there, though, will dictate whether they decide to become a fan, or just an innocent bystander. What I have done since all that started, was to take my enthusiasm- which was definitively life-changing- and personify and embody, true fanaticism.

So, back to the story. After buying my first Rush album, “Signals”, I did the work of buying all their back catalogue albums, with the money I was getting from my job at my grandfather’s fruit and produce stand (proudly, at the Clinton-Bailey Market here in Buffalo, New York). Then, I started to buy any magazine with Rush featured somewhere on their pages, however major or minor those features may have been. I can’t remember exactly when, but, right around this time, a friend told me of this guy somewhere here in Buffalo who was a big Rush fan, and who collected Rush stuff. I can’t remember how I got connected with him exactly, but, somehow, we got in touch, and I went to his home. Thankfully, he was a pretty generous guy, and I remember leaving his home with a bootleg/taped copy of Rush’s show from here in Buffalo, from April 5th of 1983, that he himself had taped. That show was the first Rush show I saw…the first of what came to be 113 Rush shows I attended. April 5th of ’83 was a night that literally changed my life. What I had, then, with the acquisition of that bootleg, and, in addition to the small number of magazines I had now accumulated, was something of my own to trade.

None of my circle of friends were as rabid about the band as I was, though. So, it wasn’t ‘til September ’84, when I began college, and met a couple other Rush fans, that I was able to parlay that 4-5-83 show tape, and some concert photos, into something those fellow, collegiate Rush fans had that I wanted. A copy of my Buffalo/’83 tape, for your bootleg video (Rush in Montreal, April 9th, of ’83). That Montreal/’83 bootleg video was more currency for me to use, then, in trading.

I started to compile what was becoming a small, legitimate collection. Why did I decide to actually sit down and document it, though? Well, I think it wasn’t ‘til the summer of ’85, when- as is played in the, “Time Stand Still” documentary- I placed an ad in Circus Magazine, asking for, “Serious Rush fans” to write to me. The response to that ad was overwhelming. Literally, hundreds and hundreds of replies filled my mailbox, from all over the world. Some people were writing me simply wanting to exchange stories, others were looking to trade, while others were just -incredibly- sending me stuff, for absolutely nothing!! I thought, “Well, maybe I can trade with some of these people. I want them to know what I have. I better write a list…” Again, as they included in the documentary, that innocent, first, handwritten list has become what is now this 93-page beast, that chronicles everything I own, in my Rush collection.

Whew! How was that?!!? And that, Josh,…was only number one!! O.k., now, on to number two…

How big is your collection?

Hmmmm.   How do I answer this question? Ummmm,… “absurdly big”?!!?

“Ridiculously big”? “Ludicrously big”? I mean, there is no limit to what I collect. I don’t collect vinyl only. I don’t collect cd only. I don’t collect posters only, or photos only, or books only. Rather, if it says, “Rush”… I want it. Maybe I can delineate it this way; my 93-page Rush list is broken down into the following sections: audio bootlegs; video bootlegs; audio interviews; video interviews; song videos; commercially released videotapes; Rush/rush-related books; Rush tour books; press kits; laminate/cloth backstage passes; 8-tracks; standard cassette album releases; cassette singles; miscellaneous cassettes; 7” records; miscellaneous Rush-related 7” records; 10” records; standard vinyl album releases; 12” Rush records; miscellaneous Rush-related 12” records; standard cd album releases; promo cd’s; cd singles; miscellaneous Rush-related cd’s; unauthorized live cd’s; commercially released dvd’s; box sets; album flats; photographs; calendars; “miscellaneous”; magazine/newspaper articles; and,…posters. (For the record, the list also includes exactly where & when I have seen Rush perform live (again, 113 times as of now); where & when I have seen them perform or appear live, out of the context of Rush (ie., one of them performed live with another band/artist, or, one/more/all of them appeared to receive an award, etc.) (13 times); and, where/when I have met any one of them (26 times as of now).)

Not wanting to risk public humiliation, I have not included the number of each of the aforementioned that I own!

Can you give us a break down?  (Vinyl, vs. Cassette, vs. CD vs. digital)

Well,…I’ll certainly try. First of all, for reasons I’m sure most real collectors/music aficionados will understand, I don’t own any digital music, at all. None. Zero. I don’t download- ever!-, and I’m proud of it! I want physical product. I still want to hold the music in my hand. I want to study the album art. I want to read the liner notes. I want to follow along with the lyrics. I want to see where the album was recorded. I want to identify the engineer, the guest musicians, etc. All those things we used to look for when buying a new album is something I still hold dearly. I still have something to share, when friends come over my house. They can stand next to me, side-by-side, and pull a cd off my shelf (see my attached photo), or an album off my shelf. They have something to look at, and appreciate, rather than passing a phone to someone to scroll through. I mean, does anybody really get as much a thrill out of looking at the image of an album cover on a small phone screen, as they do when they’re holding the actual, 12” vinyl album in their hands? If anyone says they do, they’re lying through the skin of their teeth. Holding a big, brand new, deluxe box set in your hands cannot even be compared to the complete lack of interaction one has with a downloaded track, or album.

So, to quantify it… according to my list, as of today (late-November, 2017), I have a total of 183 Rush vinyl records (7” and 12” total), 69 Rush/Rush-related cassettes, and 191 Rush/Rush-related cd’s.

How do you count your collection?  For example, if you have, say, for example, multiple copies of Rush/”Moving Pictures” on the following media; Vinyl, 8-Track, Cassette, CD, and digital format do you count that as five items, or just 1 item?

Easy. Each copy of, say, “Moving Pictures” that I own, is identified accordingly on my list, in the appropriate section in which it belongs. For example, according to my beloved list, I have just one (1) version of, “Moving Pictures” on 8-track, listed/identified in detail under the, “8-tracks” section of my list; two (2) different cassette album versions, again, listed/identified in detail under the, “Standard Cassette Releases” section of my list; four (4) different vinyl album versions of, “Moving Pictures”, again, listed/identified in detail under the, “8-tracks” section of my list, etc.

When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc? 

I think I’ve kind of answered this question pretty fully by now. If you haven’tconcluded already, though, my answer is an unequivocal, “Yes”. However, I’ll use this question to add more to my story,…

I want to be clear. I am a Rush fan. A (definitively) passionate, long standing, obsessive, enthusiastic, educated fan. I am a fan first. I am a collector, without question, but, first and foremost, I am a fan. I collect Rush stuff, because that is the band to whom I pledge my allegiance. However, there is clearly something about the way that I am wired that if, for example, The Alarm were my number one favorite band, I’m sure I would want anything and everything with, “The Alarm” branded across it. I use The Alarm as an example, for they are my second favorite band. And, without question, I now own quite a substantial collection of Alarm “stuff”, although certainly, a very, very, very small fraction of the Rush “stuff” that I own. However, if someone were to see what I have/own under the Alarm moniker, he/she would probably raise an eyebrow of appreciation (or bewilderment, depending on their ability to relate to my passion). But, again, first and foremost, I am a Rush fan. Not just a Rush collector. I’m a fan.

How do you organize your collection if at all;  by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?

First of all, I just love this question itself! Some call it, “OCD”. Others have a more derogatory term, or phrase. Me? I just consider myself to be organized to an admittedly unhealthy degree! (ha ha) My collection is the barometer for organization. If you were to look at my beloved Rush list, and pick out any one “thing” from that list that you wanted to see, I could have it in your hands probably within ten to fifteen seconds. Now, I’m not sure if that is testament to my organization, my memory, or both. But, every piece of my collection is impeccably organized.

For example,…   All my photos are in traditional photo albums, in perfect chronological order. Photos from show “A” are placed in a photo album before photos from show, “B”. (To further elaborate upon the point I made in my dissertation about my disdain for digital music… Similarly, I want hard copy pictures. I don’t want to look at someone’s phone and scroll through their pictures. I don’t want to plop down in front of your computer, or my computer, and click across to the next picture. I want to hold a photo album in my hand, turn the pages, and look carefully at each real print.) Furthermore, any photos I took at show “A”, are thus placed chronologically in a photo album in order. Meaning, photos taken during song “1” are placed in an album before the photos I took during song, “2”, etc.

When it comes to albums, or cd’s, all the releases sit on their respective shelves in chronological order of release. All my Rush cd’s, for example, begin with their first, self-titled album, and then continue chronologically in order, ‘til the most release at the end.

Do you insure your collection?

No, but, after going through this exercise, I feel like an idiot for not having done so already! Rest assured, a few pages back, I made a note to myself, saying, “…inquire about insuring collection…” My guess is, by the time this features runs on your website, I will have already done so. So, a pre-emptive, “thank you!”, for the friendly bit of advice…

How do you store your collection? 

Well,… Thought is given to certain necessities of storage of my collection. For example; I currently have 132 Rush posters. Not all 132 of them are on display. However,… I needed to be mindful of not exposing the ones that I do have on display to sunlight. As I’m sure you and your readers know, having posters exposed to sunlight over a long period of time will result in fading. So, I’m sure to have my posters framed, and displayed in an area in which fading simply cannot happen. The same goes for my cd’s, vinyl albums, framed photographs, etc.. Neither of those are exposed to any sort of light that can negatively affect the way the artist intended the work to be appreciated.

As I stated as well previously, my collection is stored in an incredibly organized fashion. My cd’s, for example, sit on a unit that is made to hold 1,500 cd’s. There is currently one shelf left unused, so, there are about 1,450 cd’s stored on that unit. Again, alphabetical, and chronological within each respective artist. Two other shelving units store my box sets, as does another shelf space. Bookshelves hold my Rush books, cassette cases hold my cassettes, etc. Heck, I’m not sure if I should run a seminar on my life as a Rush fan, and all I’ve experienced in my “career” as a fan, or, run a seminar on how to properly organize your valuables! I think I need to begin my second career as a professional organizer, like those experts you see on, “Hoarders”!

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? 

Outside of Rush, my collection falls safely into all the branches of the “rock” tree. For many years, I’ve shared with other like-minded musicologists that vision.   That being, I see a big tree simply labeled, “Music”. On that tree, there are many branches. There is the “rock” branch”, the, “pop” branch, the, “country” branch, the, “folk” branch, etc. From each of those respective branches, smaller branches splinter off. My collection is dominated by bands and artists on the, “rock” branch. Hard rock, classic rock, progressive rock, alternative rock… Certainly, there are others that might not sit comfortably on the “rock” branch, but, overall, my preferred genre is classic/hard rock.

Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?

Like I wrote earlier in this interview, I began collecting back in 1982. Since then, my collection of Rush memorabilia has grown in every way possible. Buying stuff myself. Trading with others. Ebay. Going to record shows. Buying merchandise at shows. Gifts from friends or generous collectors.   I will not limit what I collect, nor will I limit the way with which I acquire a new collectible.

What is your preferred format?

Without question, my preferred method for listening to music is CD. Of course, I have the same affinity for a vinyl record that most of your readers and fellow collectors do. The simple sound of a needle dropping onto a record is sometimes as good as the music that follows. But, still, 99 times out of a hundred, the cd is what I will pull off the shelf, when I’m ready listen to a Rush record.

How do your track your collection?  Do you use a spreadsheet or one of the on-line services or even a hand-written list?

Well,… Like I wrote out at the outset, the documentation of my collection began back in 1984-ish, with a hand-written version of my collection, in it’s infancy. I would individually re-write the list every time I had a new pen-pal to whom I needed to send one. Not too long thereafter, I created my first typed (as in, typewriter!) version of the list, then my own computer-generated version, and now, still, I have my list detailed in exhausting detail in a Word document that I update with every acquisition.

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. )

Darn. Had the question meant, “valuable”, in terms of sentimentality, I would have thus been able to entertain you and your readers even more, with a long and exhaustive story about the two items in my collection that I have the greatest affinity for. But, since that’s not the case,… (How’s that for a tease?!!?)

So, the most valuable?   Well, I wish I could cite the first Rush 7” single, but, unfortunately, after all these years, it still has not made it’s way into my collection. So,… Hmmm. This is a difficult question, because I don’t look at any of the items in my collection as potential, “money-makers”. Many multiple times, I’ve had friends say things like, “God, Ray; do you know how much money you could make if you sold all this stuff?!!?” My honest response usually is something like, “Well,…no, because I don’t plan on parlaying all this into any kind of financial windfall.” My collection is a physical representation of my love for the band, for their music, and a quantifiable representation of my fanaticism. So,… I really don’t know. I’m sure I could offer a few suggestions, but…   Well, one of the favorite pieces on my collection is the Japanese version of the, “Grace Under Pressure” tourbook. This tourbook was sold only at the two shows Rush played, back in November of ’84, in Japan, on their, “Grace Under Pressure” tour. This version of the tourbook has 12 more pages than does it’s North American counterpart. Again, I know I have other things in my collection that are certainly much more valuable financially, but… I know that tourbook is worth a little something. So, too, is this cool, “Vapor Trails” baseball. It was sold at shows on Rush’s 2002, “Vapor Trails’ tour. It has replica signatures from all three band members on it. It has never, ever been taken out of it’s protective case in which it was originally packaged. I’ve seen these baseballs sold on Ebay, etc., for some good money. It is in definitively pristine/mint condition. Again, those two things just…well, they’re actually nearby as I’m writing this, so,…   Anyway, again, there are things more valuable, but again, their value to me cannot be monetarily quantified.

What is your rarest item in your collection? 

First of all,…another good question! Anyway,…hmmm. Well,…I have this letter (and envelope) that was handwritten by one of the guys in the band (Alex), from January of ’77 (the letter is dated). I mean, something like that is definitively, “one of a kind”. No one in the world has this same letter. Granted, I know there are many, many other fans who have received written communication over the years from Neil, the drummer. Those post cards are truly just as rare, in that nobody else has that same post card…that same handwritten text. Nobody else, then, has this same letter, though, so, that would have to be the rarest item on my collection.

What is the most you have paid for an item? 

Hmmm.   Well, part of me wants to say, “I won’t tell, ‘cause I know my wife will eventually read this!” But,…I don’t think I’ve paid an unreasonable, or exorbitant amount of money for any one thing in particular. Maybe four hundred dollars or so, but, I don’t think anything well past that total.

Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc. 

Again,…under the, “Rush” moniker. Yes. Absolutely. Rush books (44, plus another 26 tourbooks); dvd’s (25 stand-alone dvd’s, as well as 10 commercially-released VHS tapes); t-shirts, stickers, pins, calendars, press kits, backstage passes, 8-tracks…   Again, you name it. If it says, “Rush”, I collect it.

What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?

This is not a cop-out answer, but,…nothing really. I mean, I know what’s, “out there”. If I can’t find it, it’s probably because it doesn’t exist! I have indeed “found” the first Rush single on Ebay multiple times, but,…   Well, I’m on record in the documentary as saying, “…I’m a husband and a father first…” So, I’ve had to decline buying that single, out of financial responsibility to my family. The two items that I had previously sought after the most have since been acquired, and now sit nicely amongst the (literally) thousands and thousands of pieces that make up my collection.

Why do you collect Rush music?

Ugh. Another great question.   Well,…I guess Confucius would counter with, “Why not?” But, since we’re not talking philosophy…

I got into this very topic in the last year, when being interviewed for another Rush-related feature. Again, I’m sure part of what surrounds me here is simply a physical manifestation of the way in which I’m wired. But,…here we are now, in late 2017, and, the future of Rush as a touring band seems to be very much….ummmm….in question. In the event they have indeed played their final show,…that’s o.k. I still have so many tangible memories that surround me here, that I can still feel their energy. I still feel that I am surrounded by the band, by their music.

Anyway, the band has done so much for me in my life. They have fed with with such positive energy. They have educated me. They have brought me to places on this continent that I may not have otherwise visited. They have brought people in to my life who I now cherish as real, lifelong friends. Everything that Rush has done for me- everything that Rush has mean to me- has been positive. They have never let me down. My Rush collection may in some way be my own repayment, for all they’ve done for me.

In a morbid and Metal question,  what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?  

Well,…I’d be lying if I said I had an answer. Heck, maybe my wife has already made that decision! I’m sure the ticket stub to my first Rush show (April 5th, 1983) will be tucked away in my pocket as I lie in state. I certainly can’t be buried with everything! Otherwise, I’ll have to offer an honest, “I really don’t know…”

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. 

Hmmm…. Well,…look. I get people with a passion, or obsession. Of course, throughout my life, I’ve been ridiculed on occasion for the obsessive nature of my relationship with Rush, and collecting Rush memorabilia. I get that. However, I get people who behave similarly. I completely understand somebody who is a, “car nut”, for example, who might pay “x” number of hundreds of dollars to fly all the way across the country- or the world- just to sit in the front seat of a car he has always admired throughout his life. Or, someone who has their basement filled with photos of their favorite sports team. I get someone who will wait in line for five hours, in the cold, just to meet their favorite hockey player. Not only do I “get it”, but, conversely, I feel bad for people who never really found a passion. I’m thankful that Rush came along at such an impressionable age, and altered the orbit of my life. Here I am, all these years later, and I’m still able to devote as much time and money and energy and enthusiasm towards them as ever.

I’m proud of my collection. I’m proud of where my life as a Rush fan has lead me. For example, when I open up any one of the three recent, deluxe box sets that Rush have released in the last three years, and see my name included in the, “Thank you” section”…?!!?   I mean, that’s just…an incredible thrill. Or, to be interviewed for Martin Popoff’s excellent Rush books…or the, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” movie, or the, “Time Stand Still” documentary… I would have never, ever thought, all those years ago, when I bought, “Signals” on cassette, that something as cool as any one of those things would have ever happened, as a result of my dedication to this band.

I will say, though, that I am very, very aware of the use- or, abuse!- of the word, “fan”. I mean, on occasion, I’ve heard people say, “Oh yeah; I’m a big fan of (insert band name here). I have almost all their albums!” Or, “Oh, yeah; I love that band! But, I’ve never seen them live…” Ummmm,…. “Almost all their albums”?!!? “Never seen them live?!!?” Look,…if you’re a real fan of a band, you have all their albums. You’ve seen them perform live. You read about the band. Rush is a part of my DNA. They’re a huge part of who I am. I’m a true Rush fan. So, when someone says they’re a, “fan”, of a band, I think, well, I know what It’s like to be a real “fan”, so, I’m always very aware of the abuse of that word.

 

I’ll stand atop my soapbox for just one more moment, before I sign off here, and encourage all your readers to put their phones down, and buy physical formats of their preferred music. In re-reading what I’ve written already, I quite like when I wrote, “…does anybody really get as much a thrill out of looking at the image of an album cover on a small phone screen, as they do when they’re holding the actual, 12” vinyl album in their hands?…”   Music was meant to be shared. I know my fellow collectors and I are the ones who are keeping the proverbial, “mom and pop” record stores alive out there. I certainly hope the revival in vinyl music sales continues for years to come.

As well, I would be remiss if I went through this entire interview, and did not recognize/thank my friend, the late Mick Burnett. Mick was the editor of, “The Spirit Of Rush”, the European-based, all-Rush fanzine that was born in 1987, and published 64 hard copy issues until Mick’s untimely death back in the Summer of 2002. I was a frequent contributor to the fanzine from day one, and was it’s North American distributor for the majority of it’s existence. My collection of all 64 issues of, “The Spirit Of Rush” still sits proudly on display here in my home, and most certainly holds a special place in my heart. That sense of pride comes not because of any affiliation I had with the fanzine, but rather, because of the lasting memory of my friendship with Mick that those issues represent. I miss him dearly.

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