I’ve known Tom Casetta, host of a weekly radio program Listen Up! (on Internet radio station G-Town Radio), for over a decade now. He’s my music guru. If I have a question about records, bands, music history, or just want to discover something cool to listen to, I contact Casetta. I figured it was time to share the resource.
Hey, Tom, pretend I don’t know you… How long have you been collecting records?
I started acquiring records at a young age, but I probably started to seriously seek out music during high school. It was more a means to discover these records, bands, and singers I was reading about. I grew up in a time where vinyl LPs were the main format and I didn’t pay much attention to the fact I was suddenly gaining a decent size library.
Did you consider yourself a record collector originally?
Not at all and I still don’t. I obviously collect records, but I don’t look at them as these sacred museum pieces.
Yes, but you’ve got a ton. How many records are in your collection-that-is-not-a-collection?
My guess is eight thousand or so. I honestly don’t know.
Eight thousand?! That’s some hefty weight on your shelves!
Record shelving is spread across a few walls and some are also in boxes and crates…
Would you say there’s a large percentage of your collection dedicated to any time period or genre?
The majority of the collection is rock oriented with the huge chunk of 60s garage and psychedelic rock, lots of punk, post punk, and new wave stuff… Oh, there is the 70s art and glam rock stuff too… And the prog rock as well.
How do you curate your collection? What niches, artist, do you keep? What do you cull? Or don’t you curate?
I file it in your basic A-Z format, with related acts put in with the “parent” act, and it is all over the place in terms of genre. In terms of culling the collection, I have not really done that much of it. I have digitized a good chunk of my records and so the records themselves get less play — but I still pull them out and look at the sleeves though.
Anything besides records you include as part of the collection?
I have worked in and around the world of media and keep finding myself connected to it in some fashion, be it directly or indirectly. I have been on guest lists and such and/or covered various music performances. I have saved the lamented passes and some of the more artistic posters and flyers as memorabilia.
I have CDs too, but they are not a pretty format.
Yeah, vinyl… What’s the lure of vinyl for you?
I think there is tad of nostalgia as it is what I grew up with. I don’t really know… I am not a vinyl purist and do have music in a variety of formats. Unlike CDs, whose look is not unique to the music format, or a digital file, the vinyl record format serves one function. It’s a whole packaging thing. And the fine-grooved disc made of vinyl just looks sexy.
Let’s talk about nostalgia… Which record captures “you in high school” best?
Good question. I am 30 years out of high school now… Maybe The Jam’s record Sound Affects. Not sure if it captures “the me” in high school. I was rather quiet. But I dug The Jam and their sound and look.
Are there any records or pieces which are Holy Grails for your collection that you still seek?
Without a doubt. I will probably read or hear about some band or sound and realize I know very little about them and then find myself digging deep into the roots of that stuff as I opened a whole new world… It is never ending.
What three tips would you give record collectors?
3) If it says “Hot Rod”, “Beatnik”, “LSD”, has a woman on the cover looking suggestive or wearing next to nothing, or looks blatantly exploitational in nature — buy it. Who cares if it is worth nothing.