Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brown and Brown Present: Anthony Brown

UK collector Anthony Brown approached me about a month ago interested in doing a feature on different collectors and their collections. Being a fellow 'Brown', 'Brown and Brown Present' was born and will be a consistent feature on this blog. Email in if you are interested in being featured. Deathbydigital @hotmail.com

Let's start with Anthony Brown. I've known Ant through the digital collecting world for almost 5 years now. We both post on TMCC.SE (The Metallica Collectors Club) and, as you will see, we have one thing in common, our love for Metallica collectibles.

What Do You Collect & Why?

I collect a wide variety of music, but it all comes under the Rock umbrella, mostly at the heavier end. Within my collection, there are certain bands, styles and labels that I focus on, the main ones of which are:

Metallica - all time favourite band and probably the only one that I did go nuts on when it comes to collecting. The first album I got of theirs was Master Of Puppets which, to start with, I didn't like at all! It had a scratch on Leper Messiah so I tried to take it back to HMV for a refund. Inexplicably, when the guy behind the counter asked me why I was bringing it back, I said I didn't like the music rather than tell him it was faulty and, needless to say, I didn't get my money back and came home with the LP. It is now arguably my favourite record of all time. Funny how life goes. Anyway, for a while I collected everything by Metallica and at one point had amassed 60-odd versions of Puppets on CD, LP and tape and overall their section of my collection amounted to around 1800 items. Credit crunch came along and so I decided it was a good time to trim it down, so I kept really cool versions of the vinyl (promo's Japanese releases, coloured vinyls), as well as all UK released vinyl (how patriotic!), promo CD's and signed stuff and sold the rest. At the time, it was a very difficult decision to make, but I don't regret it now! I also sold all my bootleg CD's, but I did keep the 220-odd vinyl boots I have. Nowadays, I do still buy the odd new Metallica release, and pick up a few bits here and there, but I have slowed right down on them. Probably because the stuff on my wants list for them is damn expensive shit!!! Mind you, I am still a sucker for anything signed by them, or an official box set, or coloured vinyl.......!!

Metallica 'Fan Cans'- Fan club only release, quite rare!

Black Sabbath - I have always loved Sabbath, but only recently started collecting some of their stuff. Although Dio was a fine vocalist, I love the mighty Ozzy so I only buy vinyl from his era. The 7" singles from the 1970's have fantastic cover artwork and I adore the different country variations. I don't have many (about 25-30), but whenever I find affordable ones, I have to buy them!

Scott Weinrich - the man is a legend and someone who has truly earnt the accolade of being referred to as a "lifer". Every band and project he has been involved with is awesome - The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Wino, Shrinebuilder - I love it all. Despite his prolific output, there is not a huge amount of variations to collect, but I do have about a dozen or so signed items by him and the various bands he has played in. I have only seen him live once, which was with Saint Vitus on their second reunion tour and it was the closet thing I have had to a religious experience!!!

Earache Records - the finest purveyors of death and grind in the late 80's and early 90's. This labels output really was the soundtrack to my youth, with bands like Carcass, Napalm Death, Entombed and Cathedral leaving a lasting impression. In recent years, they have followed trends that are not my cup of tea, and there have been far too many re-issues in my humble opinion but the first 100 releases deserve the title "groundbreaking". I have a fair bit of their vinyl, but still need 28 of the original first 100 releases. For some reason their test pressings in company sleeves are the dogs bollocks to me and I have about 30 now (just got Nocturnus' Thresholds!). What I also loved about Earache was the thought that went in to their stuff - there were always cool limited editions of practically every release - embossed covers, splatter vinyl, box sets, free live lp's or 7"s with albums.

Other bands that I collect to a lesser degree (ie I will buy promo stuff from them, signed shit, box sets etc) include Down, Cathedral, Napalm Death, Carcass, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Spiritual Beggars, Exodus, Iron Maiden (UK official vinyl releases only, otherwise I'll bankrupt myself!), AC/DC, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Immortal, Obituary, Ornage Goblin, Pantera, Sepultura & Venom.

How big is your collection?

About 2,500 bits of vinyl and 1,500 CD's. Not big by any means, but I'd like to think you could say "quality, not quantity" would apply to what I have!! I do have periodic clear-out's, expecially of CD's to keep the collection in shape and to generate a bit of cash to spend on more vinyl!

Whole lotta grooves!

Explain Your Storage/Display Techniques

I did have it all stored in some Ikea units which were perfect for the job, when I finally filled them. After we moved house 3 years ago, I converted my garage and had 2 walls racked out to hold 12", 7" and CD's. This should give me space for a further 1500 LP's and another 1000 or so CD's on top of what I already have. I found these fantastic little clear plastic easle's on ebay which are perfect to sit a signed CD on, so I have some of those out. On the walls, I have some framed signed stuff and these really cool frames specifically for 12" vinyl's. You just slot in whatever you want into an opening at the top so I have a couple of thse up too and change whatever's inside from time to time...then there are the box sets on the top shelves which, as I buy more vinyl, are gradually being relegated to the loft as I run out of space. I can't bring myself to part with them though....!

Odd Record In My Collection

I don't have much odd stuff to be honest. Most of it is a variation on a theme....but I do have the soundtrack to Flash Gordon by Queen! You gotta love Brian Blessed as the king of the Vulcans screaming "Dive!" over the top of some great work by Brian May!!! Also, another odd one would be the "banana" album by The Velvet Underground & Nico. That stands out from the rest of my stuff, but it was always playing a 3 in the morning when I was at University and it reminds me of those care-free days of being a stoned student! There might be the odd Abba CD floating about too, but I am sure it is my daughters..........
Doesn't get much more metal than this.

Elusive Gems

Mayhem's original, individually numbered Deathcrush mini-LP with inserts. I bought it when it first came out and foolishly sold it about 7 years ago to buy more Metallica vinyl bootlegs! Since then, the price of it has trebled. Bugger. One day....

How Do You Keep Track Of What You Have/Need

You gotta love excel spreadsheets!! I have all of my vinyl and all of my Metallica stuff on them, as well as a wants list (currently about 300 items, but growing daily!). I still need to catalogue my CD's but I keep putting it off - there's always something better to do!!! I also have an online photo account that I keep shots of all my signed stuff, rare promo shit and Black Sabbath singles - this is mostly to remind me of what I have when I am searching ebay at work! The amount of times I have bought shit, only to realise I already have a copy at home is ridiculous!

Here lies some very tough to find Metallica boxed sets. The white one to the top left is the Japanese pressing of their '...and justice for all' Fan Can. To the right is one of my most wanted items: A CD longbox for the Metallica single 'One' - on a 3 Inch CD!

Online Collecting versus record Shops

Although we have two record shops in the town where I live and I am close enough to London to visit record fairs, a hectic job and a wife and two young children mean that I do almost all of my buying via the internet. As much fun as it is in a record shop, with that lovely old smell lingering in your nostrils of ancient vinyl, I've lost count of the amount of times I have spent an hour in one, only to return home with yet another ZZ Top LP that I didn't really want, but felt obliged to buy, all in the name of supporting your old fashioned dealer. The daft thing is, most of these guys will sell their really cool stuff online anyway...and why wouldn't they? Ebay gives you a global set of buyers. Some dusty record shop in a back street of a provincial town is hardly going to ensure you get top dollar for your rare Venom Black Metal coloured vinyl is it???!! Everyones lives are busy and time is precious, but unlike your local store, ebay is open 24/7 and invariably you will find exactly what you are looking for sooner or later.

Routines Surrounding Listening

Not really. New stuff always gets played almost as soon as I have it, but there is nothing better than leafing through your collection every so often and finding sometihng that you have not listened to in months to stick on.

Are there types of covers you look for, or is it all in the grooves?

It's all in the grooves...

Do you have a long-term plan for your collection?

I am hoping that one, or both, of my children would like to take it on and add to it as they grow older. At the moment, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Airbourne appeal to them but who knows! I'll probably end up selling it in my old age, and giving the cash to the kids to go towards first houses or cars or something!!

What is the longest you looked for a record before getting it? How did you feel once it was in your hands?

I have been after a signed copy of Spirit Caravans first CD, "Jug Fulla Sun" for about 4 years and finally one popped up last week. It should arrive any day now, so I'll come back to you on this one!!!!

What’s your all-time favourite record, regardless of value or rarity?

I have 3 - Metallica's Master Of Puppets, Black Sabbath - Vol 4 and The Obsessed's The Church Within. I couldn't choose just one of them. However my favourite song of all time is Paranoid by Sabbath. I want that played at my funeral!

What is the saddest record story you know.

I remember seeing photo's of some poor sod's Metallica collection after a fire in his house. These fantastic and rare items were burnt, charred and smoke-blackened. You had to feel for him. It did make me finally add my collection to my house insurance though - it pushes the premiums right up, but worth doing.

First album you bought?

Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet. I wish it was something cooler, but there you go!

Last album bought?

Wino - Adrift. New acoustic release from Scott Weinrich. Moving, uplifting, soaring. I can't stop playing it.

Ant with 4 KILLER Metallica items. Signed Jump In the Fire 12" (inc Cliff Burton), Signed 10" test press of One single and two variations of the glow in the dark Fade to Black 12" Promos.

Anthony Brown resides in the UK and is a mighty fine bloke. I have done numerous trades with the guy and look forward to many more. Thanks to Ant for being the first. Up next: Vancouver Terry.

Monday, October 11, 2010

As it heals...

On a Philosophical note:

I have been spending a lot of time listening to music. This doesn't imply that I don't normally find time for music; I'm speaking on 'active' listening. When sound becomes your only sense.

I find that when I have a series of deadlines at work or a slew of time consuming commitments ahead of me I procrastinate using what I love, Music. Saying 'music is my escape' is on the boundary of being cliche and arrogant, though it might have to suffice as it bares many truths. A friend from university would wait until he had 6 hours to write and submit a paper only to procrastinate further by cleaning his entire washroom. Yes, he had OCD. And yes, I do this with records. He later admitted his hated for cleaning, though I'm sure when an essay is in the works it's the lesser of the two evils. Part of my recent listening craze is based in circumstance. I recently got a rather large set of tattoos on my back and have been 'sitting out' the pain. Three days of relaxing has shown my speakers close to 20 hours of listening.

The conclusion: Music works. You can hide in music. Music can hide in you when you exist during the day light. A live band can spruce up a mediocre night for average people in an ordinary restaurant in a middle-of-the-road town. Music is a path for the blind and a voice for the mute. Admittingly I have listened to some far out stuff including a Goblin and a King Crimson binge this afternoon. When you dedicate large passages of time to music, unconventional listenings at that, you gain a great understanding of how it can effect your mood- I'm never sad when listening to music. That's one effective drug!

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