Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series
Part 30 Wayne Noon
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?
Around 1990 I was 11 years old. I would only listen to a few rock bands Def Leppard, Guns N Roses and Led Zeppelin. I remember someone giving me a mix tape with Judas Priest, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Testament, Metallica and a few others I can’t remember, but after listening to that tape I had to find their albums. I remember Testament Souls of black being a favorite. Then I’d get heavily into Metallica, Megadeth, Living Colour and a few more, but when a friend turned me onto Helloween that’s when I really started to get deeper into music because that was a new sound to me. I only had a cassette player at the time and Helloween released a new album but it was only available through import and a store I would go to had the cd but it was $30. Back then it was a lot especially for a cd and I didn’t even have a CD player but my mother eventually got it for me for my bday and I had to go to a friends house to listen to it and copy it over to cassette. A short while after that I would get a CD player, and forget it. I rebought all the albums I had on cassette with cds and then it just kept going as I would find new bands.
How big is your collection?
Over 4,000 cds, records and some cassettes. An exact number I’m not 100% sure. I have my collection on Discogs and it says right now 3,989. I just updated a few things in between answering these questions. Plus Discogs counts sets as 1 where I have a few sets that are of a bands discography so that I would count each cd individually.
Can you give us a break down? (Vinyl, vs. Cassette, vs. CD vs. digital)
The bulk of my Collection is CDs. As far as records go there’s about maybe 200-250 and cassettes about 25. I just actually bought a bunch of cassettes at a yard sale and there’s a bunch I’m going to be keeping.
The biggest part of my collection is Helloween. I have multiple copies of each album, all their singles, records etc. I think I’m up to at least 300 cds, cassettes and records combined.
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?
Who does that? Haha! No, every cd I own is counted as one. I guess that’s kind of how I cheat a little for having the collection I do cause for some bands I’ll have multiple versions like, originals, remasters etc. depends on the band.
When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc?
Pretty much every band I listen to I try to own all their studio albums first. Once I complete that then if I see something cheap enough like a live album I’ll grab it. Compilations I usually won’t buy unless it’s a certain band or they have new tracks or other tracks I don’t have on other releases. Same with boxsets. I’ll only buy those for certain bands unless there’s extra content.
How do you organize your collection if at all; by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?
Mostly Alphabetically. Box sets it’s kind of hard because I’ll have to arrange those differently on the shelves. With the bands I have multiple versions of their discography, I’ll put the remasters or whatever in a different section.
Do you insure your collection?
No but I have thought of it.
How do you store your collection?
I renovated my garage and turned half of it into my man cave. The other half is storage but I’m starting to run out of room on my collection side haha!
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 don’t really have a preferred genre. I like the bands I do because of their music. If I happen to like a song and it’s black metal then cool. So my collection really varies between Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Power Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, Thrash Metal, Punk, Alternative, Pop Rock, Ska, Goth, Synth, Progressive Rock and Metal.
Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?
Actually yea I’ll buy stuff in yard sales to sell all the time. Actually sometimes but it’s rare, I’ll sell stuff off from my collection either because it’s something I just don’t listen to enough or I won’t like the band anymore but it’s rare. I used to trade but haven’t done that in a long time.
What is your preferred format?
CD. I swore I’d stay away from vinyl but the last few years with seeing how cool looking some of the vinyl is and sometimes the extras they come with I’ve been buying that too but cd is always the first thing I’ll get.
How do your track your collection? Do you use a spreadsheet or one of the on-line services or even a hand-written list?
Discogs. I used to use RateYourMusic but when I saw discogs made an app for phones I switched over. Also it can scan barcodes which makes it so much easier.
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 have anything really worth thousands of dollars but there’s 2 things I know that are worth a little bit, the Sentenced coffin box set, and Iron Maiden Eddies Archives box set. Apparently now the Metallica Master of Puppets box set has skyrocketed in price which I have.
What is your rarest item in your collection?
A signed promo of Helloween- Halloween pumpkin shaped promo pic disc. It’s supposedly signed by the band. From what year I’m not sure. I got it from a local music store. They could guarantee it was authentic but I’ve had people who knew the autographs and they’ve said it is real so if they are then that’s pretty rare for me.
-Ty Tabor- Naomis Solo Pumpkin on cd. I know that’s pretty hard to come by.
-Mercyful Fate EP with the black border.
-Something I got recently which was limited to 666 copies Destruction box set called Tales of a morbid Brains.
-Motörhead the world is yours Vinyl signed by Lemmy, Mikkey and Phil.
I’m sure there’s more I can’t think of at the moment.
What is the most you have paid for an item?
Really depends something that was old, I think maybe around $80 for a promo item for Helloween. It’s a top hat for the Rabbit Don’t Come Easy album. Everything was still there the CD, T-shirt, pumpkin seeds, a plush rabbit etc. But some box sets have been expensive so probably $250. I kind of cap it off at $300 depending on what the item is. I’m itching to get the Judas Priest box set but $500 is pushing it.
Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc.
Not really, I have a few DVD’s here and there but I usually don’t buy them cause I most likely will never watch them. I buy t shirts to wear so I don’t consider that collecting them and I do have a few music related books from Dave Mustaine, Bruce Dickinson, Snowy Shaw and Steven Adler cause they’re signed but that’s about it. I do collect video games and certain wrestling figures or old cartoon figures.
What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?
I kind of given up at this point cause the band isn’t even around anymore and it’s not really a big deal but Lullacry- Sweet Desire. Actually just looked on discogs someone has it for $70. I don’t want it that bad.
Why do you collect Metal music?
Cause I think unlike other genres it still has a meaning. I know everyone loves streaming nowadays but like the other day I heard a song and it sounded so bad cause the the file sizes shrink and the quality doesn’t sound as good as a cd or record so to have the actual cd and to be able to play it the way it’s meant to be heard, I love that. Also, some albums aren’t put on streaming platforms at all for various reasons so it’s almost like they don’t exist. Well more times than not I’ll own the missing album and I can just upload to my phone or whatever. Last but not least it’s like a treasure hunt going into whatever store that sells music and finding something you might have been looking for, for a long time. It’s fun.
-In a morbid and Metal question, what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?
My son will probably be stuck with it. Ha! By then I’m sure there will be no where to play any of it and it’ll go in the dumpster, but who knows. I try to get him into some of the music and he does like a few things so maybe when he gets older he’ll appreciate it and keep it, who knows.
-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.
Thanks for the opportunity to let me talk about my collection. Always support the artists because without you buying their albums and merch they can’t continue to make music. Recording is a huge expense especially for independent bands who have to pay out of pocket for that as well as printing their own cds, records, t-shirts etc. which I’ve went through myself with my old band Phoenix Reign and now with my new band Project Resurrect. Everything came out of our pockets to make our album and if people continue to illegally download I don’t see how bands will be able to carry on much longer. Also check out my podcast Rat Salad Review on YouTube.