AMH Vinyl & Record Store Memories

For many music lovers, our vinyl collection is an extension of ourselves. You can learn a lot about a person by one glance through their record collection, and you can also discover your favorite band by just a glance of the album cover. The vinyls become your friends, passed down from your parents & found at your favorite local record store. They’re always there for you when you need them, and they can give you the best advice in the world if you just listen.
“And if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” – Almost Famous

The AMH staff took the time to share their fondest memories of their first vinyl purchases and what albums made an impact on their lives…

Nik Greeley – Booking & Marketing Asst.
My first experiences with vinyl were at a very young age like many of us through my parents record collection. My parents are music junkies, so there were crates and crates of albums to look through. Unfortunately, when my parents split, my Dad sold all the vinyls at a garage sale, and I always felt like I had to get those records back somehow. I started my record collection my Freshman year of HS and the the very first vinyl I purchased was Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love. I already really liked Hendrix and was playing guitar, but when I saw this album cover in my local record store called Tunes, it blew my mind. Without knowing a song on it yet, I purchased it because it looked so cool. It turned out to be an amazing record, and one that holds a lot of personal meaning to me where I discovered some of my favorite songs ever like “Little Wing”, “Castles Made of Sand”, and “Bold As Love”. Vinyl is the best, and going to the record store always makes me feel at home.

Alyssa Kriner – Marketing Intern
I also bummed albums off my father who had a pretty extensive collection being a radio DJ for a few years, but I eventually bought my own Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love too like Nik. I loved the album artwork and the significance of the record also inspired me to get “Bold as Love” as one of my first tattoos!

Jesse Brenner – Box Office 
I started listening to vinyl in high school and like others, I took all of my parents and relatives old records that they didn’t listen to anymore. I started buying my own vinyl in college during a family trip to London. We spent a day along Portobello Road in the Notting Hill district of west London and I stopped at one of the many antique booths that had a few dozen crates of vinyl. As I walked over, the owner of the stand started asking me questions about my taste in music. Eventually, he showed me what he said was an original copy of Abbey Road. I had no idea if what the man was saying was true, but he went on and on about what made this an original pressing and how I would be buying a record that was worth way more than what I was paying for it. I decided to take his word for it because I would either end up with an actual original pressing or a classic Jesse story in which I once again believe everything I’m told. Anyway, when I got home and was able to do some research, I realized the man was telling the truth. The very first record I bought for myself was an original pressing of The BeatlesAbbey Road, which still remains one of my most prized possessions.

Zach Roumaya – Marketing Asst.
My first vinyl record purchase happened when I was a junior in high school. We had just bought a record player for the house (the first time we had one while I was growing up), and I wanted to get my own music for the collection. I went to see one of my favorite bands, Dinosaur Jr. at the Union Transfer and saw they were selling their newest album I Bet On Sky on vinyl and I immediately purchased it. The best part? It was pressed on purple vinyl. So sick!

Jesse Lundy – Talent Buyer/Point Entertainment
I think I was on tapes until college. My parents and uncles had amazing record collections, but I would tape them…in college I scored a ton of vinyl from the college radio station when they made the transition over to CDs, but I traded ALL of it for a single CD (Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, The Early Years) when I left because I couldn’t fit it in my car. When I got out, I got a crappy record player from a friend and my first purchase was definitely Doug Sahm and Band which remains one of my all-time favorites. I ended up with some European reissue of the album, but it sounds great and was a nice, clean copy.

Graham Noel – Jr. Talent Buyer
My first LP was Pink Floyd’s Animals purchased at a Jersey shore music store. Since then, I’ve been an obsessive collector. My meticulously alphabetized collection now totals over 300…

Allison Friedman – Booking Intern
My first vinyl purchase was at a music camp at UNCG after my freshman year of high school. On the campus there was this second hand music shop and I scored copies of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The BeatlesYellow Submarine, The Who’s Tommy, and The KinksState of Confusion. Clearly I had a deep love for the British Invasion and English bands, an interest sparked in me by my mother.

Jade Frias – Marketing Associate
My parents passed down a pretty extensive record collection to me so I really didn’t venture into buying my own stuff until college. I bought a bagful of records down on South St my first time crate digging, but technically the first one that got rang up was The College Dropout by Kanye West.

Lauren Silvestri – Box Office Mgr. & Promotions Coordinator
I relied on my father’s collection of vinyls for a while, but finally purchased my own a few years ago: Simon & Garfunkel‘s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. I’m a huge fan of harmonies, and it doesn’t get much better than the duo’s intertwining vocals on “Scarborough Fair / Canticle,” “Homeward Bound,” and many others. And it sounds sooo good on vinyl!

Kaitlyn Grass – Co-Venue & Beer Mgr.
Most of my initial record collection was also passed down by my dad, and I like to think of one as my very first, even though I didn’t technically purchase with my own money. Pink FloydThe Division Bell was and to this day remains a cornerstone in my musical biography. I remember putting it on at my parents house and controlling of the volume so when the super intense licks came through, we’d crank it. My sister and I would sing aloud “Poles Apart” and “Coming Back to Life” and grab each other’s t-shirts and spin each other around all overdramatized-like. And there my dad was in the smooshy green leather chair, smiling proudly while my mom huffed and left the room, with hopes that one day it would instead be Rubber Soul or Abbey Road.

Julian James Booker – Production/Sound Engineer
I would be remiss if I didn’t start by saying that the first record I remember listening to was “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang w/ my dad. Also, for the record, the first CDs I ever bought were Desireless by Eagle Eye Cherry and Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too by New Radicals. I didn’t start collecting vinyl until I was in college, and the first record that I can definitely remember buying is White Light/White Heat by Velvet Underground. I was a big fan of Loaded, and I knew WL/WH because John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity lists it’s opening, title track as one of his favorite Side 1/Track 1s of all time. Seriously, that’s all I knew. So if you know Loaded, you know that it’s a very accessible, pop oriented album with songs like Sweet Jane, Who Loves the Sun, and Oh, Sweet Nuthin’. You can imagine my total confusion listening to The Gift, which is an 8 minute spoken word song that culminates in an woman stabbing her boyfriend through the eye through a cardboard box and killing him, and Sister Ray, which takes up almost all of side 2 and makes you ask, “how many times did he really just say ‘suckin on my ding dong.'” Anyway, it’s still one of my favorite records…

Jesse Soifer – Production/Sound Engineer
It took me until 2015 to set up a record player in my home. I’ve always been slow to change and I liked my CDs and my Ipod. I thought they served me well, and I felt like I wasn’t missing any musical experiences by not spending a ton of money on records. When I did finally get around to it, like many others here, I was lucky enough to inherit my parents records. Their collection was 75 records deep or so (after leaving behind a few duller musicals and losing doubles of what must be every Seals & Corfts record). My parents had a very eclectic musical taste, so I had quite a bit of work in front of me experiencing a heap of my favorite records from the 60s and 70s in a new way. While working through these gems I discovered what it was about listening to records that I really loved, the very real sense of time and place. I loved being tied to the record player by a 20 minute string and picking out a record that would be the perfect vibe and timing to get me through cooking and eating breakfast. There seemed to be a more immediate connection to where I was and what I was doing with a record on. At the time I was living at 2nd and Girard only a block and a half from Creep records. It was only a matter of time before I felt the need to expand on what I had in the crates. I went into Creep with the intention of finding a new breakfast record. For me this is a pretty specific vibe, though not a specific genre or sound. It has to be chill but have a hidden energy. Paul Simon is great for breakfast. I have a collection of Hawaiian folk songs that has become one of my favorite breakfast records. Its the feeling of the sun peering through windows asking you to come out and play…I know, we’re getting a bit out there, but this is the process. After some time browsing around, I realized that there was an awful lot of music that I wanted to hear from this new perspective. With my eyes back on my intended purchase, I landed on a fantastic breakfast record, Jimmy Smith‘s Respect. This purchase powered many delicious and memorable breakfasts as well as a few swanky dinners for two. Thanks, Jimmy.

Shane Kandravi – Bartender
So my record collecting story isn’s as much as a fond memory as everyone else’s may be because its only a year old. Also because my parents don’t really care for music much and have only listened to the radio for as long as I can remember, so they didn’t have a record player. And my grandparents only care about Jesus, basketball, and the Marine Corps (in no particular order) so they didn’t have any records either. I got my record player about a year ago as a gift and the owner told me that I could also take as many records of theirs as I wanted. So I snagged about 30 or so records ranging from orchestral classics to Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space to Bossa Nova to the Sound of Music Soundtrack. As for my first record I purchased, it was The Doors L.A. Woman. A record I was very familiar with and had adored before owning it. I can still remember hearing this album for the first time with my friends. I walked into the record store, saw that record, and then picked it up right then and there without an second thoughts. Safe to say, after one year of ownership, its still a joy to listen to.

Ethan Tauber – Security
I got into the vinyl game kind of late. Up until College my car had a tape deck, and I also owned a million CDs that I kept in 2 large cardboard boxes. My Aunt and Uncle were cleaning out their house when I was a junior in college and donated their extensive classic rock and soul collection to me. I was super excited but I had no way to listen to them as they wouldn’t fit in my CD player. It was then that I decided to buy a record player! I knew immediately what my first purchase was going to be. I bought Santana‘s Abraxas album at Young One’s Records in Kutztown, PA. Nobody has ever or will ever play guitar like Carlos Santana and the band has a way of taking you to places you didn’t know existed. There is a special kind of magic in the grooves of this record and It remains the most played in my collection.

Chris Perella – Co-Owner/Talent Buyer
I’ll start by saying that the first 2 CDs I bought myself were Tubthumper, by Chumbawamba, and Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits.  I can’t believe they snuck “Secret Garden” from Jerry Maguire on there- it was written the year the compilation came out!  Inappropriate, and no Jungleland, or Rosalita…. anywho – I, too, inherited records from my parents.  College with the same roommate for 4 years resulted in a lot of general vinyl purchases- and we couldn’t really remember who bought what by the end, so we had a draft when we graduated to figure out who would take the more sought after and controversial records.  I lost the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet, which hurt, but I got a few priorities (Springsteen’s “The Wild, the Innocent and The E Street Shuffle” and Grateful Dead’s “American Beauty”) The first two I can remember buying- but I can’t promise they were the FIRST because let’s be real, freshman year of college is real hazy – are Bob Dylan‘s Blood on the Tracks and Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon.  Spent my fair share of time sitting with my buddy in the dark in our dorm, listening to Dark Side – call it cliche but it happened.  As for Blood on the Tracks – it was and remains one of my top 5 albums of all time, an absolute masterpiece of songwriting with amazing storytelling and a whirlwind of emotions.

Becky Blumenthal – Marketing Director
My dad was responsible for my first interaction with vinyl records. I vividly remember singing along to the Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan, The White Album and everything by Blood Sweat & Tears. When I was 12, I got really into punk and ska. Anything that was on Fat Wrechords, Epitaph, and Victory was my thing. So actually, my first record was ordered by mail from Victory Records. It was a light blue 45’ Catch-22’s Alone in the Crowd.  As my love of music grew, my Dad bestowed his collection to me, along with 70s record player, which I fatefully used to my play Rancid and Casualties 7.” My first cassette tape was Ace of Base (I was 9), I saw the sign. And my first CD was White Zombie’s Astro-Creep 2000.

Dylan Hepner – Security
The first record I ever owned was one that was gifted to me by my grandfather at an early age as a Christmas present. Years before I even owned a record player, I had quite the childhood addiciton to Star Wars and knowing this, my grandfather reached into his own collection and decided that his orignal copy of the Star Wars: A New Hope Theatrical Soundtrack would look better framed on my bedroom wall than collecting dust in his study. To this day I still have it in the frame that he had built for it!

Joe Pasternak – Chef
I did not have the luxury of being gifted classic vinyl by a member of an older generation…instead I had my brother. Although a stickler for the classics such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, I was introduced to the Misfits/Sanhaim/Ministry/Frank Zappa and Pavement to name a few. But the gem of this collection for me was the motion picture soundtrack to a film called Beetlejuice. I didn’t know it then but this soundtrack not only gave me an inside look at the differences between diagetic and non-diagetic music, it also introduced me to the scores composer Danny Elfman. Elfman has been known to do soundtracks alongside longtime friend Tim Burton, but did you know that Elfman also scored the Simpson’s theme? One of my long term goals is to score TV/Movies/etc, and this dream of mine would probably not have surfaced had it not been for the unlikely marriage of Harry Belafonte, Harry Nilsson and Danny Elfman. “Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose.”