Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series
Part 8: Tobias Hutzler (Germany)
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 super-fan 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!
First some words about me: My name is Tobias and I live in Germany near Nürnberg. I’m 39 years old and I work as a surgery assistant.
Tell us how you started collecting Metal! When did you start?
I was listening to rockmusik since I was a child maybe 8-9 years old. I fell in love with acts like Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi ,Great White and so on. And of course a took all money I got (Birthday-Christmas and so on..) to the local record store. When I grew older acts like Helloween, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and so on fixed me complete to this kind of musical expression. In the early-mid 90s I explored the Death Metal world and still it is my favoured genre. Of course money was short at this young teenager times but of course every record a got in my hands from friends and also my older brother got ripped on tape. I think we all started like this back in those days? But really collecting started when I began to earn my first money…so about 17-18 years.
How big is your collection?
Now at the moment it is about 3800 pieces I think. About 1900 CD’s, 1350 vinyl 12inch and the rest 10 inch and the lovely 7 inch. Maybe there are 100-120 Tapes.
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?
When I got multiple copies of one Album I count the copies, not the album as one item.
When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc?
There are a few bands I collect nearly everything. In the past I was a little bit more crazy. I really bought everything they released. Now I still want every release but I don´t need every different version of it. But to come to the question , from bands I really love I want every EP, every Live-record ( I really like good live recordings). Compilations just when there are interesting Bonus features on it. Because as a fan and collector I have all the songs already. So i need more to spend my money for a compilation.
How do you organize your collection if at all; by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?
Oh like every collector this is a long travel and changes sometimes But now at the moment I have all that you can call metal together in alphabetic order. Inside the bands chronological and inside special records the date of the pressings also chronological. And the same order with my other styles which are Punk, Hardcore and Alternative Rock sounds and the other part is some Wave, Gothic, Postpunk and so on…
Do you insure your collection?
For a long time I didn´t think about that. But when it grows and grows it is a big amount of money which stands there. As a teen or in my 20s I was´t thinking of an insurance but when you get older …Now I got a household insurance which is so big that my collection is inclusive. But we all know when there is really a fire or what ever…. fuck the money. Nothing can fit the loss.
How do you store your collection?
That is boring… classic IKEA Kallax . But I´m fine with it. They are cheap an have a good quality and you can organize your records well.
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?
Hmmm, I think 50% are Death-Black Metal. 30% classically metal, Thrash Metal, Doom-Metal and so on. The other 20% is Punk, Hardcore, Alternative, Rock and the old gods like Pink Floyd. Also a big number of Wave, Ggothic Postpunk and dark electro and ambient sound.
Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?
The last years I was only buying. But there where times when money was short and I had to sell some stuff. With a bleeding heart. But know I am in a good situation an can fully concentrate on collecting and enjoying old and new music. Hope this will last very long!!
What is your preferred format?
Definitely the good old 12inch!! I also love the 10 and 7 inches but for the best music experience (of course total subjective) the good old 12 inch. I also love the CD’s but in the last years they lost a bit in my daily routine. When I´m at home I listen the most time to Vinyl. But maybe that changes one day and the CD’s got his comeback.
How do your track your collection? Do you use a spreadsheet or one of the on-line services or even a hand-written list?
Hmmm maybe you call me now a freak but I think I have my collection in my head. But it is not so big so I mean that I know everything I got. But I also use Discogs as a help.
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 don´t know the real money but I own vinyl editions of the first two records from a Canadian Black metal band called Forteresse. Maybe you know the band ??!! I know some would kill for it!! There are some more items that are selling on much money but I don´t want to talk too much about it.
What is the most you have paid for an item?
I never paid more than 50€ for one record. I think when I didn´t get it for small money when it came out it is my problem. I better buy more music and explore new bands for that money then spend a shitloud of money for one record. But this is my opinion and I also can understand people who spend much for their “holy grail”
Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc.
Hmmm I don´t know if you can call it collecting but I own maybe 400 band shirts. In the past I also kept hundreds of magazines and fanzines but I had to move three times in the last years and so they left me …but with a bleeding heart.
What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?
There is not “the one” in my mind. Nowadays you can get nearly everything if you are willing to pay. But as I have said before I’m not willing. And let me say it with Motörhead ” the chase is better than the catch” !!!!!! But if someday I can get my hands on the test-pressing of the picture LP’s from Drudkh I won´t say no!!
Can you hear me Nico from Eisenwald Tonschmiede!!!????
Why do you collect Metal music?
That´s a question that is hard to answer in a few words. But I´ll try. It´s music that touches me, that expreses my feelings my thoughts and so on for more than three decades. You can call it sountrack of my life. And I think there is a great combination of artwork and music in this music. For example the 90s Death Metal Artworks. So I have to own physical records. And ther is no ending in the catacombs ob the music history and actual scene.
In a morbid and Metal question, what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?
Yes, sometimes I think about it. I have no plans for real.But sometimes I think maybe when I´m old and enjoying my pension I will sell it piece for piece. You know you can take it with you when the last walk is coming. Sometimes I hope thet my nephews will get I and they can decide what happens. But who knows what time will bring. maybe in 30 years no-one cares about vinyl and it´s only a big pile of thrash. And maybe it is a real big amount of money and my nephews are rich?? Time will tell!!
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 fro your fellow collectors.
No last words here. Just thank you for the chance to talk about my passion. And to all you crazy metalheads and collectors: keep it alive!!! Vinyl is culture!!