For me personally, record collecting has always been somewhat of a tribal ritual. As someone who has collected, owned and yes, hoarded everything from cassettes to vinyl, to CD’s and ultimately, back to vinyl. I have been a part of this tribe. As both a member and a a curious observer. I strangely find that I am often more at peace thumbing through friends collections than spending quality time enjoying my own. My quest and my feverish quest to replace the record collection I sold some fifteen years ago has more than quadrupled that of the original. Regardless of any retainment. I constantly find myself digging, searching and investing time and money for records new and old. I have come to realize that the hunt is just as, if not more rewarding than the capture. How, there is no end, completion or end to the ultimate race to acquire. So, in what I hope to be a running feature on this blog. I plan on reaching out to some of my favorite vinyl junkies. Ask about their collections, favorite records and just what it is that fuels that endless quest.
The following interview was done with long time friend Ted Dougherty (aka Teddy Spaghetty) An avid record collector, DJ and the man behind the newly formed ‘Spaghetty Town Records’.
James: What was the first band / record you really gelled with as a kid? Does it still hold up?
Ted: I actually remember this pretty well. I remember making cassette copies of my sister’s records like the Cars and Bryan Adams. But the first record I remember buying with my own money was Van Halen “5150”. I don’t know why picked that record specifically. Does it hold up? Eh, not so much. Had my first record been “1984” the answer would be a big yes. That record is still great!
James: You were born in Australia. Did you form any connection to the music that was coming from there? I can recall countless Australian bands who influenced me early on. The Divinyls, The Easybeats and the Church immediately come to mind, but there are so many more.
Ted: Oh yeah totally. I got into the Easybeats and Church in my 20’s. But growing up AC/DC of course, INXS and Midnight Oil. I’d read about The Saints and Radio Birdman in MOJO and I remember going to Mondo Kim’s to buy the CD’s. When I would visit Australia I’d look for the vinyl, it’s a little easier to find there. Cosmic Psychos, another great Aussie band.
James: What’s your usual method of acquiring records?
Ted: Ha, the first thing I thought when you asked this was “by any means necessary!” I still prefer the old fashioned way, going to record stores, flea markets and yard sales. I’ve found some amazing records at yard sales. I’ll still check the record section at the Salvation Army. Occasionally mixed in with Christmas and polka records you can find something. I travel quite a bit, so I pack an cloth LP bag in my luggage. My customs form is usually just records. I do use discogs.com occasionally. But it’s all about the thrill of the hunt and that feeling you get when you finally got your white whale record.
James: What’s the most obscure, rare or valued record you own?
Ted: I have a few that are rare. I’m normally not even aware when I get them that they are hard to find. But my favorite story , I was at the Englishtown flea market and this guy had stacks of records in a wagon. I started flipping through them and he had some pretty solid stuff for sale, Stiff Little Fingers, X, The Clash , stuff like that. But i’d noticed a Misfits “Walk Among Us” record. I’m from NJ and it was one of my earlier punk cassettes, so I was pretty excited. At the time it hadn’t been repressed for a while, so it was hard to find. I brought about 20 records to the guy , he said he brother in law had been a DJ in Staten Island in the 80’s and asked him to sell the records. They were $1 a record. So i paid him $20 and carried on with my day. It took a while, but I gave the Misfits record a good look later. It turned out to be a first pressing, it’s pretty valuable to Misfits fans. I’m not sure what they go for now, but I have no plans to sell it.
James: The most elusive. (Something you have been unable to attain.)
Ted: I’m always on the lookout for first pressing Hellacopters, Zeke and Turbonegro reocrds. When i got to a record store I check the H, T and Z sections first. My white whale of a record is oddly the “Fire” by Electric Six, the first album. There are a few really great songs to play when you DJ, Danger High Voltage, Gay Bar and Dance Commander. It’s a crowd pleaser. I’ve never seen it in a store , aside from when it came out. I can buy it online, but where is the fun in that.
James: The most you ever paid for a record?
Ted: Really man! I try not to think about it. Ummm, somewhere close to $100. Probably some Soul 45. I’m not sure.
James: As a DJ what type of music are you generally known for spinning?
Ted: Usually a little bit of everything really. Punk, hardcore, RnB, Soul, glam, garage, 80’s new wave, metal, whatever is appropriate for the crowd. I’ve been collecting records for over 20 years and I’m still surprised by things I’ve acquired over the years. I do a monthly night here in Atlanta. I usually do RnB and Soul for the first half. It’s fun, people seem to enjoy it and it sets a nice vibe. As the night progresses I usually transition into more garage or punk. I could do a 4 hour set of just punk or hardcore but most of those songs are short. A lot of those RnB songs are 3 to 5 minutes. “Sailin’ On” is less than two minutes long!
James: You’ve mentioned due to your overflowing stash of records, there was no available flat spaces in your home. How do you go about or, perhaps in your case, avoid properly storing your records?
Ted: It’s true! There are records everywhere. I have one of the big ikea record shelves. But between buying records, DJing and just playing records at home I have a bad habit of not putting them after I play them. My 12 inches are alphabetical, the 45’s are by genre, kind of. It usually makes is easy when I’m looking for something though. There are those times when I’m looking for a specific 45 and I have to go through nearly every stack of records to find it. Oh, that’s the other thing. It’s bad to stack records on top of each other, so they are all sitting upright and on every flat surface in the house. We also have cats, so if I leave them on the floor they’ll likely pee on them, or use them as a scratching post. If I could leave them on the floor my life would be so much easier.
James: Is there a particular genre that dominates your collection?
Ted: 20 years ago the answer would be largely punk and hardcore records. But now it’s a lot of everything. There is still a lot of punk and hardcore records. You’ll also find a lot of RnB and soul records, metal and garage I guess is the bulk of it. I own a bunch of Yes and Grateful Dead records, which is weird because I don’t even like those bands. I think someone just gave them to me. I said earlier that everything is alphabetical, but I had to make a section for sound tracks, compilations and twelve inch singles to help keep my sanity.
James: You recently decided to start your own label. What inspired you to invest your money and time in this quick and easy money making scheme? Tell me about the band?
Ted: Yeah, I’m really excited about it, Spaghetty Town Reccords. My nickname is Teddy Spaghetty, so it just made sense to name it Spaghetty Town. I’d been telling my wife that I always wanted to have my own record label. I said I needed a band though, if I could find a band then maybe I’d do it. It took a while, but I remembered this band I’d heard at a friend’s house in Lima Peru the year earlier, Motosierra. They’re a sleazy punk band from Uruguay. Remind me a bit of The Dwarves and Turbonegro. Latin America has so many raw punk and metal bands. Just tiny scenes with hardcore fans. It’s amazing. So, I started messaging Motosierra on Facebook. Turned out they were looking for a label, they’d never had a release in the US before. They just finished recording some songs and we should have a 7 inch out by the summer of 2016. The dream is to get them to North America, but I’m focusing on getting the record out and trying to build a fan base in the US. It’s going to be a labor of love. But it’s exciting to turn people onto a band they’ve never heard before and otherwise may have never heard.
James Five records in your collection you could not live without?
Ted: I’m going to list a few, and later change my mind. Misfits “Walk Among Us”, you know the story. Cro-Mags “Age Of Quarrel”, it was kind of hard to find for a while and just a classic.
Queens of the Stone Age , the first album. It still blows me away.
Saints, the first two records. Early Aussie punk, and two awesome records.
Bronx, the first record. I had fallen out of love with hardcore and then I heard this. All records should sound this good.
James: So, in the end, when it comes to collecting records. What’s more exciting? The chase or the capture?
Ted: The chase, all day. Lemmy knew it, the chase is better than the catch. The capture is satisfying, but the chase, the uncertainty, that feeling of not knowing what you’re going to find, that’s where the excitement is.