Monday, January 12, 2009


Here in the 21st Century, it's hard to remember how much work and toil it required to be a Music Geek before you could find everything you wanted on the Information Superhighway... Remember driving or taking public transit for hours simply to visit a record store? Me too. Remember going through all of the dealer ads in every issue of Goldmine in hopes of finding that elusive import-only promo 7" single? Me too. Remember calling the dealers in those ads to make sure they still had that elusive import-only promo 7" single? Me too. Remember having to visit a post office to get a postal money order to pay for that elusive import-only promo 7" single?? Me too. Remember attending local collector shows and record swaps and spending all day going through dozens of bins and boxes at dozens of dealer tables? Me too. How old are you really?

For Umlaut, the big Music Geek events back in The Day were the college radio records swaps at the University of San Francisco (KUSF) and Foothill College (KFJC), and the huge collectors show that happened twice a year at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. Sadly the KFJC now happens infrequently (if at all?) and the San Mateo event is long gone. However, it's nice to know that the KUSF Rock 'n' Swap is still held 4x a year.

I hadn't been to the KUSF swap in years and years... and upon entering I was struck by a slight wave of nostalgia seeing all of the dealer tables. Despite the amazing weather outside, the swap seemed well attended by both dealers and Music Geeks alike.

The Rock 'n' Swap is good mainly for those folks looking for vintage vinyl and dodgy concert bootlegs; some of the dealers have probably been lugging their crates of records around for decades. It's Old School and not the best place to go if you're looking for anything released after, like, 1993.

It's always fun rifling through bins of albums and 7" singles, and it's weird how second nature it is for me to pull a record out of its sleeve, hold it with my fingertips and flip it over, all the while holding it at an angle in the light to check how clean the record looks. If only this skill could be used for a practical career here in the 21st Century.

On the flip side (pun intended), some aspects of an Old School event like this wears thin for Umlaut here in the 21st Century... Such as $30 for an "original pressing" of Slayer's debut album? Really?? 30 bucks? No non-CD tracks... No special packaging (gatefold sleeve, bonus 7" single, insert poster, etc..)... No special vinyl coloring... 30 bucks? Really??

Anyway, I spent 6 bucks on two items:

  • The Clash - 'English Civil War' b/w 'Pressure Drop 7" single (CBS 7082 - 1978) for 2 bucks...
  • Iron Maiden - 'Aces High' b/w 'King Of Twilight' and 'The Number Of The Beast' (Live Version) 12" single (EMI - 1984) for 4 bucks.
Yeah, I know.. the purchases were pretty old fart boring.. but it was that kind of event, dude. Umlaut now owns all of the original formats of the 'Aces High' vinyl single (7", 12", picture disc); it's something I had never planned to accomplish, it just happened, man. If only this accomplishment could be used for a practical career here in the 21st Century.

My purchases seemed even more old fart boring after Umlaut friend Ray scored a copy of 7 Seconds - Praise on vinyl (never reissued on CD). Nicely done, my brother.

Umlaut saw a couple of old friends / familiar faces... and it was cool to see a good number of young Music Geeks amongst all the old timers... I smiled when a youngster standing next to me at a dealer table pulled out an album and excitedly said to the dealer "I've NEVER seen this Blue Öyster Cult album before!!!"

Unfortunately, the kid was excited about the shite Club Ninja album... but at least he was trying. An "A" for effort kid, just keep studying and you'll be alright.

Umlaut tends to be dogmatic in his opinion that the Old School ways are über alles... but then the Information Superhighway gives him things with just a couple of mouse clicks... like 'Fuck The Mummies', the unreleased album The Mummies recorded for Crypt Records back in 1991 that I illegally downloaded this morning.

I guess, with that reality check in mind, Umlaut is simply thankful that he can travel in both the Old School world and the New World here in the 21st Century.

Hope I die before I get old.