Spread the metal:
Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series
Part 18: Marc Gibson. (England)
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’. In 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 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!
Tell us how you started collecting Metal! When did you start?
I don’t think I ever consciously set out to collect music, but I started buying vinyl records & cassettes around ‘86! This was before CDs were widely available! By ‘94 I had swapped or sold most of my vinyl & cassettes for CDs & had built up quite a decent collection & it has just kinda grown & grown over the last 25 years or so!
How big is your collection?
Mad as this sounds, but I only really started to see it as a collection, once I moved home & realised I needed an entire room, albeit a small one, to house it all.
Can you give us a break down? (Vinyl, vs. Cassette, vs. CD vs. digital)
I’m actually not really one for keeping track on the numbers I have, but for the purpose of this interview I’ve had a rough count!
CDs – just short of 3,900
Vinyl – about 200
Cassettes – just over 170
I don’t download music at all, so the only music I have digital is stored on my laptop for my iPod, but it has all been converted from the original CD!
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 do have multiple formats, reissues & duplicates of some albums, in my collection & I count them all separately! If I have an album on CD, vinyl & cassette, that for me, is 3 items!
When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc?
I have to say, I never used to be, but over the last few years, I have definitely become more of a completist! If something in an artist’s discography is the only album I don’t own by them, but the asking price is crazy high, then I won’t bother, so I suppose what I’m saying is, I’m only really a completist if the price is right!
How do you organize your collection if at all; by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?
I organise my collection both alphabetically & chronologically! I know of other collectors who organise in genres, but that just doesn’t work for me! I find myself 2nd guessing about exactly which genre a band falls into & with there being so many sub genres these days, I’d be forever moving my CDs around!
Do you insure your collection?
Yes, I insure my collection! You have to right? It’s my inheritance for my children & even if they don’t follow my passion for music & it’s physical media, if they sell it, it’ll be a nice deposit on a house for them, lol!
How do you store your collection?
I am lucky enough to have the small bedroom in my home as a dedicated music room, so my entire collection is all in one place! My CDs are housed on custom made to fit black wooden shelving units, which I have 4 of! My vinyl is housed in made to fit black wooden cubes & I am currently revaluating my cassette storage as I am using a DVD storage tower at the moment, which isn’t perfect, well, not for me anyway!
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 appreciate most types of music & do enjoy a lot of different styles, but my passion is Rock & Metal, especially Old School Thrash & Death Metal! To put it into percentages is difficult tbh, but I would say 70% is Thrash & Death Metal! The rest consists of mainly Rock, Indie, Funk, Jazz, Electronica, Reggae & Blues!
Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?
Absolutely I trade & sell! For me, it’s an important part of being a collector! I will buy something, knowing that I already own it, purely because I know someone else will either want it or need it for their collection, ensuring that it gets to the right home! I think sometimes it’s also good to revaluate my collection from time to time!! If there is something in my collection that I haven’t played in years & years, do I really need it & is it right just having it sat there & not being fully appreciated for what it is!
What is your preferred format?
CDs are my first love, lol!! I do love both vinyl & cassettes & am more than happy to buy them, but CDs, especially first press releases, are what I am most passionate about! I have to say though, since starting my own channel on YouTube & getting to know many like minded collectors & watching them sharing their passion for their collections with others, it has definitely sparked something again in me for vinyl!
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 don’t use anything to track my collection, other than my memory! I have been thinking of starting to record it on discogs or something similar to discogs, but it’s a time consuming job!
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 think the most valuable CD I own is a 1990 OG press on Nuclear Blast Records of “For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh” by Pungent Stench! I think the median price on discogs is about £60 & the highest price is about £130!
What is your rarest item in your collection?
I have a test press 7” by the band Monolith! They were the original band of drummer Nicholas Barker, who later went on to play in Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Testament, Lock-Up, Nuclear Assault….etc! They recorded a full length album for Vinyl Solutions Records, I believe, but it never saw the light of day! Awesome Old School Death Metal!! I have no idea how many of these 7” were pressed, but being a test press, I imagine not many!
What is the most you have paid for an item?
Not a lot tbh! About £20 is the most I will pay for an OG press CD or Vinyl! I am very much a collector who enjoys the challenge of finding those little diamonds that are hidden away! A lot of the music I want, I could just buy on the internet, but the asking prices these days are phenomenal! That isn’t what collecting is about for me! Even if money was no object, it is the hunt that I enjoy!
Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc.
I am a big fan of live music, even at my age, lol & I like to support the bands, so I will always buy a t-shirt, so over the years I have amassed quite a few! I do also have a small collection of music related books & DVD’s & some Iron Maiden beer bottles!
What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?
I would love to find a CD on the Threeman Recordings label, by the band Nihilist! It’s a compilation of demo tracks, as they never recorded a full album!! They split up & then reformed shortly afterwards, changing their name to Entombed!
-Why do you collect Metal music?
For me, Metal isn’t just about the music! It’s about the artwork, the lyrics, the imagery! There’s no better way to fully appreciate that, than having the physical copy to look at & study, as you listen to the music!
-In a morbid and Metal question, what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?
I haven’t really given that too much thought tbh, but I suppose I would want them to be sold to other collectors, so I knew they were going to a good home & to somebody who will enjoy & appreciate them, as I always have!
-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.
Thank you for giving me the platform to share my passion with fellow collectors or your readers out there who are thinking of starting their own collection!! I recently started my own channel on YouTube, talking about & showing my collection, because I wanted to share my passion of Metal music & of collecting with like minded people!! If you’re interested, my channel name is “Marc G with a C”! Please stop by & say hello!!
Finally, my only advice to new collectors would be, don’t rush into trying to build up your collection too quickly, buy the music you are into & never pay over the odds for the harder to find original presses! The hunt is just as good as the catch!!