Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series
Part 20: Jason Schlosser (America)
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 a bit about yourself!
My name is Jason Schlosser and I’m a 47 year old metal head. I live just outside of Columbus Ohio. I am married with 3 children and involved in sales as a profession. Besides my family music and cd collecting is my true passion in life. I live and breathe it on a daily basis!
Tell us how you started collecting Metal! When did you start?
It all began when I was 13 years old. At the time I was listening to 80’s pop. I had started noticing the cover art of metal albums and it piqued my interest. I happened to take notice of Twisted Sisters “come out and play” album (on cassette) and decided to buy it. My life forever changed at that moment and have been a metalhead ever since. In the 80’s and into the early 90’s I had accrued a large cassette collection (which I traded for CDs years ago). I started buying and collecting CDs and memorabilia in the mid 90’s.
How big is your collection?
Currently I have just over 8000 CDs in my collection. I also have a fair amount of DVD and VHS in my collection. I used to have a pretty large memorabilia collection too but sold off about half of it as I was focusing even more of my attention to CDs. I did keep the best of my memorabilia and continue to display that. My memorabilia includes a large collection of magazines, autographed drum head and sticks, various autographed pieces, tour books and other misc. collectibles.
Can you give us a break down? (Vinyl, vs. Cassette, vs. CD vs. digital)
CDs are my thing. I’ve never been much of a vinyl fan. I have about 100 pieces of vinyl but I will probably eventually sell those to add CDs. I have roughly 200 DVDs, 160 or so VHS and a handful of cassettes and box sets.
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?
Within my CD collection I will buy multiple versions of an album (reissues, imports, etc.) and count them as individual CDs. I don’t include other forms of media with my CD collection.
When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc?
For some of my most favorite bands yes, I will buy whatever I can find from them. I’m not a huge fan of greatest hits albums or even live albums so I typically will only but them when I can find them for the right price even if that means it taking a little longer to complete a collection.
How do you organize your collection if at all; by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?
Alphabetical order by band, oldest to newest release.
Do you insure your collection?
Currently it’s covered under homeowner’s insurance but I am looking to take out a separate policy on it.
How do you store your collection?
Custom built shelving that I did myself in my finished basement, floor to ceiling. I’m actually quite proud of my shelving system as I put a lot of time and effort into making and installing them.
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’m not sure that I can give percentages on genres as I’m into everything from pop rock to death metal. I will say that my favorite genres are classic and current power metal and melodic metal bands so that is definitely the larger percentage of my collection. Some of my favorite bands of all time are bands like Crimson glory, Savatage, Vicious Rumors and of course Maiden.
Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?
I mostly buy but will sell or trade from time to time. I just recently researched a cheap and easy way to clean and re-surface CDs and set up a workshop in my basement to do so. I have several hundred CDs to clean up and eventually sell. In the future I’d like to get more involved in buying and re-selling.
What is your preferred format?
CDs for sure. Not much of a vinyl guy. I’ve recently started buying cassettes when I can find them cheap. I now wish I wouldn’t have sold all the ones I had when I was a kid!
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 keep everything listed on a simple word document. It’s pretty basic but it works for me. I always have an updated version saved on my phone to reference to avoid double purchases.
What is your most valuable piece? (not in terms of sentimental value, but in actual terms of resale value on the open market. i.e. Goldmine etc. )
I’m not really sure as I don’t keep track of the values of things much especially since it seems to change a lot. I know I have several valuable pieces in my collection, but I’m not really concerned about the value, I’m just happy to have it!
What is your rarest item in your collection?
Kind of the same answer as the previous question. It’s probably more of a sentimental thing for me. I have quite a few autographed CDs and would consider them to be more of my rare items. I did recently find an original mint copy of “wear and tear” from Concrete Jungle in a used music shop. It usually goes for big money on eBay.
What is the most you have paid for an item?
I think the most I ever paid for a CD was $60. Japanese import version of Lion “Dangerous Attraction”. In general, I rarely will pay a lot of money for a single CD. I’ll spend years waiting to find it at the right price. In my opinion that’s part of the fun of collecting.
Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc.
I love to read so I do collect books. I’m a big Stephen King fan. I also read and collect books from similar writers such as John Saul, Peter Straub, etc. For nostalgia reasons I also collect young adult mystery series books, i.e. The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators.
What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?
I guess I can’t really name any one specific thing as there is a lot I wish I had. I always prefer to have an original first press as opposed to a re-issue, so I guess any first presses that I’m missing.
Why do you collect Metal music?
Simply put, I couldn’t function without it. Metal music grabbed me when I was 13 years old and to this day, I continue to love it more and more every day. The power, melody, grace, emotion and skill level just moves me. I listen to music in just about everything I do throughout a day. No matter how I may be feeling metal always puts me in a better place. I know it a very biased thing to say but I just don’t get how everyone can’t see how truly great this genre is!
In a morbid and Metal question, what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?
Have it buried with me of course. Just Kidding (not really). I told my wife if something ever happens to me to have one of my buddy’s cherry pick a few things they want and then sell the rest. I look at it as an insurance policy for her and my kids.
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.
Overall, I’m extremely proud of my collection. I’ve spent a lot of years (and money) accumulating my collection. I spend a lot of time scouring any place that has CDs for sale. I often buy from amazon and eBay but the majority of my purchases are from music stores of any kind. The thrill of the hunt is a big part of the joy of collecting. Never knowing when I’m going to stumble across something rare and the excitement when I do, especially if I find it at a great price. I’ve literally risked my life searching for CDs.
I was once in a pawn shop digging through CDs when a dozen or so cops chased two (armed)guys who had just robbed a jewelry store into the pawn shop. They had them cornered at gunpoint with me stuck between them (crouched on the floor). True story. Thankfully it ended without any shooting. Needless to say, I stayed out of pawn shops for a while.
Surprisingly not many people have ever seen my collection, which makes it odd I’m having it posted here. I’ve always been pretty private about it. I’m not sure why. I guess because I know most people wouldn’t get it or even worse, they wouldn’t appreciate it. I would rather them just not know about it, less risking my irritation when they can’t appreciate the beauty of it. I guess that’s why I’m comfortable posting it here as I know it will be appreciated!
Raise the Horns!!