Record Collector Q & A
First published August 2011
My first musical memory is Rod and the Faces, playing football and miming (badly) to Maggie May on Top Of The Tops. I was hooked. My teen years were spent frantically devouring the NME until an encounter with the pre-fame Sex Pistols gave me the confidence to have a go myself. I was the vocalist with Trash who released two blink-and-you-missed-them singles on Polydor in 1977 and 1978. These are included on the compilation This Is Complete Trash!, just released by Only Fit For The Bin Records (detour-records.co.uk/trashinfopage.htm).
Following Trash’s demise I began writing for rock’n’roll magazine Bucketfull of Brains where since 1983 I have interviewed many cool people including John Cale, Ian McLagan, the Pink Fairies, Nick Kent, Paul Westerberg, Epic Soundtracks, Alex Chilton, Wayne Kramer, Peter Perrett and John Perry (bucketfullofbrains.com). My favourite groups are the Who, the Stones, the New York Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges, the Only Ones and Big Star.
My other great interest is sustainable food, and I have now helped to launch three ethical chocolate brands – Green & Black’s, Divine and most recently GO*DO (godochoc.com)
THE COLLECTOR QUESTIONS
What do you collect, and why?
7” vinyl singles – rock’n’roll, psyche and punk. I used to collect LPs as well until I read This Is Uncool by Gary Mulholland and realised that all my favourite songs are singles. I only buy records that I really, really like – most bands are capable of one classic track but a surprising number cannot manage a second…
How big is your collection?
Just under 1000 singles – a bit like an iPod that’s eight feet long! I use my singles when I DJ as Only Rock’n’Roll (myspace.com/simonjcwright). Recent gigs have included Shepherds Bush Empire, Koko, The Band On The Wall, Epsom Racecourse and upstairs at my local.
What do you think it is worth?
About 35 years of my life
How and where do you store it?
Next to my record player. Where else?
What’s the rarest/most unusual/most valuable item you have?
My most expensive purchases were UK psyche classics like the Soft Machine (Love Makes Sweet Music), the Pink Floyd (Apples and Oranges), Dantalion’s Chariot (Madman Running Through the Fields) and Family (Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens). Getting very hard to find is the withdrawn Decca version of Something Better / Sister Morphine by Marianne Faithful – a wonderful record.
What elusive gem are you still looking for?
Ian McLagan’s single La De La with Truly on the B-side, The Heroes 7 Day Weekend and the live Free single Mr Big / I’ll Be Creeping. Anyone got a copy?
What’s given you the biggest thrill?
Introducing the Only Ones at their ‘reunion’ gig on June 9th 2007 – being included on the DVD of the gig was the icing on the cake. I just wish they’d given me more than two minutes notice so I could have come up with something more original than “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Only Ones!”. John Perry suggested “The Latest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World” which would have been good.
How do you track stuff down?
eBay, GEMM and the occasional visit abroad whilst allegedly working
What’s your favourite record shop?
It used to be The Two Bills, otherwise known as Minus Zero/Stand Out, just off the Portobello Road. Since they shut I favour upstairs at Notting Hill Record and Tape Exchange (hi Jay!)
How often do you listen to the stuff in your collection?
Is there a visual side to collecting for you?
Most of my singles have picture sleeves, which for the pre-punk era means seeking out luscious French or German releases.
How will you eventually dispose of your collection?
When I interviewed Kim Fowley he told me he that he was so infused with rock’n’roll that he would live forever and I fully intend to follow his example
What’s your all-time favourite record, regardless of value or rarity?
I am constantly revising my top eight Desert Island Discs as I wait in vain for Radio 4 to get in touch. Today my favourite record of all time is the original release of I Am The Cosmos by Chris Bell on Car Records – a perfect record of heartbreaking intensity.