In our trip around the world to meet the record collectors, we made a stop in Texas to have a little chat with Alexandra. We talked about collecting records obviously, her influences and favourites bands. An absolute fan of The Black Keys, Alex was kind enough to take the time to share her story with us. It’s now the time to discover her very interesting interview!
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Alexandra, most people that know me on a personal basis call me Parker. I am a Mother to two girls 10 and 5. I have lived in a lot of different places throughout my adult life. From Washington state to southwest Germany. I currently reside in Texas but will be moving to the beautiful east coast this year. I work as a Sales Manager for a company that manages brands/products sold on Military bases across the world and have for the last 9 years. I have always loved music and record collecting gave me somewhere to focus that energy.
How and when did you start you record collection? How many do you own today?
I started collecting about 5 years ago when I found an album that had helped shape my love for all things rock. I wasn’t planning on my collection becoming what it is today at all. I have always loved album art and how it can set the tone for an album but also is such a huge piece of how people recognize/reminisce about the music. I was terriﬁed to buy a player for a long while because I didn’t want to put it together wrong or ruin any of the records I had. I watched half a dozen YouTube tutorials on “How To Put A Turntable Together” and it scared me out of purchasing one for the ﬁrst two years.
I chose not to count how many I have because it’s never been an important factor in why I love the music I do. I keep a mental note of what I have and don’t. So far I haven’t purchased duplicates it’s worked out well so far.
What started your interest in music?
I have always had an interest in music. Growing up I have always loved watching people listen to music, and loved to sing along. My parents have always encouraged questions about the music they listen to which was nothing short of amazing and wide-ranged to me. I also became a little obsessive about how music came together when I learned to read music while playing the cello and violin. I played for about 10 years before learning there was a famous violinist that has my exact name from the UK, because there can be only one.
In my early teen years, I started reading Metal Edge magazine for the details about all of my favorite artists, and where I discovered a lot of new ones, it was an entire routine every month for me. I was always so excited about new issues. Over the years it just became a way of life and how I keep myself productive.
“I have always loved music and record collecting gave me somewhere to focus that energy
What was the first record you ever purchased?
The first record I ever purchased was Alice In Chains – Facelift a European pressing I found in Belgium. I paid about $100.00 for it and I had no plans to buy any more after. That album got me through my moody teenage years in one piece not even knowing what the songs were about. It was something my Dad had played in his car and I swiftly removed his CD from him after hearing “Put You Down” and “Sunshine” how creepy, powerful Layne Staley‘s voice was.
What are your 1st musical influences?
I would have to say most of my parent’s favorite artists had a major role in where I took my love of music. My Mother has always been a rocker she loves the Scorpions, Queen, AC/DC, Van Halen (she’s more of a Sammy fan though), etc. My Dad is all over the place he gave me a love for Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Kenny Loggins, Robert Palmer, George Strait, N.W.A.
What kind of music was playing in your house when you were a kid? Did your parents have records?
The short answer would be a healthy dose of everything with a focus on every sub-category of rock. My parents have never discouraged me or my siblings from listening to any specific type of music, and I have always appreciated that about them. They have also always been open to answering questions about the music they listen to. They don’t and have never collected records. My Dad had a pretty impressive cassette collection before he met my mother but got rid of it soon after.
Do you collect a particular genre of music?
I try to pick up a little of everything if I had to take a guess what I have the most of its Rock through the decades though. I do have a little of everything from classical to Metal.
What is your best find ever?
Ohhh that’s a tough one, recently my favorite find was Wanda Jackson. I heard a snippet of her song “Whirl Pool” and did a bunch of research to see who she was fell in love with her story and accomplishments went on the hunt to find her.
Any regrets about a lost record or about records you did not buy?
So many… I have a way better memory than I should but I have walked past a few different albums optimistically thinking that it would be there next time. One album, in particular, was a copy of Fever To Tell by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at $25 on multiple occasions.
An interesting / funny anecdote about your collection or about vinyl that you have acquired?
The only thing that comes to mind is a lot that I bought for $20 of about 400 records from an elderly, retired music teacher whom, I still talk to regularly to check up on. I quarantined for two weeks before I picked up the records from her early last year because she wanted to explain some things about the collection to me, which melted my heart a bit.
What was your latest purchase?
My latest purchase has been an addition to The Black Keys collection, I am currently waiting for El Camino in the mail as we speak. Very important album for me because it is where the love for them started.
What is the most expensive record you bought?
As of today, the most expensive I have bought is my Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears but I will never say it wasn’t worth it.
Is there an artist or label in particular that you are trying to get the full discography?
I have three artists I am actively working on completing this year. Deftones, The Black Keys, and City and Colour. I think that trio would have to be my favorite artists that I didn’t inherit from my parents or someone else.
“As a Mother, I think that the interest even if it’s minimal that records bring to my little girls is so important
Which records are still on your want list? (the one you have been looking for years)
First, one that comes to mind is City and Colour – Sometimes. I have never seen it in person and I just completely missed the reissue drop this past month. The only other one I can think of that I check on at least once a month is Rihanna – Anti.
It’s the end of the world, you can only take 5 records from your collection with you! Which ones?
- Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears
- The Black Keys “Let’s Rock” (RSD release)
- Deftones – Diamond Eyes
- Etta James – At Last
- Marvin Gaye – In The Groove
Original pressings or re-issues? Why?
In a perfect world original pressings all day, but my collection is a direct reﬂection of how much sentimental value they have to me personally. I will spend more time, effort, and money on something that means a lot to me than I will on something I don’t have an attachment to.
What kind of digger are you? (online, record shop, thrift shop, garage sale…)
I am all of the above. I know my local store here like the back of my hand and call at least once a week to see if anything of interest has popped up. Online, I use Discogs, eBay, and the Salvation Army online store to grab anything I can’t expect at my store here. Wherever I can ﬁnd them.
Do you think that collecting records helps to preserve our musical and cultural legacy?
I absolutely do. As a Mother, I think that the interest even if it’s minimal that records bring to my little girls is so important. They ask questions, get involved in digging, and get excited about their favorite artists. It builds memories and has been a joy to watch them experience.
What attracts you in a record?
Hands down I think album art is really important from the minimal to extravagant, I think it attracts who it should, it is just that simple. It’s how you will recognize the album, it is a planted image by the artist to stray you in a direction before your mind has time to make one up on its own. As far as what I ﬁnd appealing about records themselves it is the care and attention you have to pay to them.
How do you organize your collection?
The short answer is…. I don’t. I started cataloguing recently just so that I have some type of formal list because I am about to move, but I don’t like the thought of alphabetizing them. Does it make it hard to find what I am looking for sometimes? Absolutely. But I generally will find something else to listen to and come back with fresh eyes for the search.
What does your record collection say about you?
It says I was observant of what my parents listened to, refused to stray from early 2000s rock for a while, and then finally started to branch out and admit I like a little bit of everything. Very specific.
What’s your current setup at home?
Audio Technica LP60X and some Edifier RT1280T Speakers. Nothing special.
More About Alexandra:
Photos credit: Courtesy of @alx.parker
Thank you so much Alexandra for the interview. It was very interesting and I loved hearing about your story ;).