I thought I would take a break from the usual blogging about semi-obscure artists and their recordings to tell you a little more about The Nerd, which is me. Specifically, how I go about CD scavanging and getting these wonderful CDs I write about.
First off, let’s be honest – like any person who “collects” things, sometimes I feel like my penchant for hunting CDs is actually a sickness or, maybe more accurately, a compulsion I cannot help. I have sometimes decided to buy CDs instead of pay a bill. Thankfully, these occasions are rare and usually I can control my spending, buying just enough to satisfy my herculean thirst for cool music without jeopardizing things like my home.
When I was a teenager and just starting to become obsessed with music, the way I would usually hunt down new albums was to start at the writer’s credits of the songs on the albums. For example, one of my favorite bands is the Rolling Stones. In checking out their records I would invariably find some songs written by a C. Berry or McKinley Morganfield. Well, most music fans would recognize these names as aliases of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Once I figured these things out I would start by searching down those artists’ records and learning about them and their influences. I did that for just about every album I acquired, artists leading me to more artists, expanding my musical tastes as I went. I don’t collect much that way anymore, but I am still a compulsive liner note reader, as I believe most music freaks are. I am always scouring for more names, whether they be contemporaries or influences – anything to give me another lead to find music I might like.
Of course, collecting music can be much simpler than the way I do it. A music fan could just be interested in a certain artist and be determined to track down every release, whether it be import, domestic, single or album. Or, like some collectors I know, a person could just be fanactical about a certain genre, say metal, and be determined to seek out the very best stuff, no matter how obscure or rare.
I have noticed these days it’s getting easier and easier to find stuff you had to really search for years ago. Thanks to the Internet, the world is pretty much just an email or website away. Personally, unlike most collectors and music buyers, I don’t really use the Internet to find music I am looking for. I have always felt it was too easy. I take what I like to call a “zen” approach to finding music. I believe the music I am “supposed” to find is out there just waiting for me to get in the right store and find it. Being a music nut, I have a huge want list comprising many artists, genres, and traits. But when I go somewhere to search for music, be it flea market, garage sale, used CD store, thrift store, whatever – I am not trying to find anything overly specific. What I am looking for is for something to “jump out” at me and almost “command” me to buy it. It doesn’t have to be on my want list or anything, it just has to be something I think is going to be cooler than anything else I might find that day. Do I always have to leave a store having bought something? Not always, but I usually do. Any decent size store in my area (Charlotte, NC)- Manifest, CD Warehouse, Record Exchange, what have you – is going to have something I want, new or used, whatever.
I have found Charlotte, where I’ve lived for the past 11 years, to be a haven for music collecting. While only medium-sized, it is on the grow (damn, I should work for the city) and people moving here bring their CDs with them, only to trade them in when they buy an Ipod or if money gets tight. More people means better selection and I have found many rare items (especially Blue Note jazz)over the past few years I don’t think I would have found if not for the constant influx of new people.
Now, I have went to Atlanta several times and have tried to do some CD shopping at Little Five Points (I believe that’s what the area is called) and have found absolutely nothing each time I went. Maybe it’s not all about population – maybe Charlotte has something other places don’t, I don’t know.
So, is my music collecting jones sickness or passion? Often, I have no idea. What I do know is this – if you look hard enough in the music shops in Charlotte on any given weekend, you will find someone who looks just like me quickly flipping through the CD stacks looking for some sort of musical Holy Grail.
Just remember – if you find something cool for yourself in the stacks – I was there first and it wasn’t cool enough for me.
The Music Nerd Knows……