Next stop in our adventure to interview the record collectors: San Diego!
Huge fan of Punk Rock, Roger is a passionate about records. Well, his 15 000 records collection couldn’t say otherwise. Let’s have a chat with Roger about his record collection! Roger, now it’s your time to shine! 🙂
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Roger Lane, residing in San Diego, CA. U.S.A.
Profession: I.A.T.S.E. Member – Local 122 (Stagehand)… Set Builder for Theatre – Film – TV. Works directly for the San Diego Opera. Props Master. Professional Vinyl (only) DJ & Record Promoter for RECORDS WITH ROGER.
How and when did you start your record collection? How many do you own today?
35+ years ago. I started early, at around 10-years-old. My dad kept his records in our hall closet. It was at least a 6 foot long row, with all the classics of that time. It was massive to me. I loved everything about that row. It fascinated me. Digging through his collection is a favorite after school childhood memory of mine. The smell of the records, the art, the photos, the warmth of the analog sound, the lyrics, and how covers just opened up and folded out into the songs of… 10cc, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, Jethro Tull, Be-Bop Deluxe, Led Zeppelin, The Who & so many more.
My grandma, knowing how much I was loving my Dad’s records, started me off with my own. She would always take me shopping and give me gift certificates for my birthday & Christmas presents to my local record stores, like Licorice Pizza.
How many do I have? I’ve never actually counted my records, but I know I have over 11,000 LP’s and around 2,000 Punk EP’s (45’s). Probably closer to a 15,000 grand total.
What started your interest in music?
My Dad’s collection got me interested at an early age. A happy memory to me (I was reminded of this memory just the other day when I posted a picture of my 999 – Concrete LP in my CHASING THE VINYL DRAGON group on Facebook) is when I was a camper at a YMCA camp in the summer of me leaving the 5th grade & going into the 6th grade, I was 11 years old & our C.I.T. (Counselor In Training) would pick a kid to help him with his duties once a week (sweeping the cabin, emptying trash cans, dusting, etc…) He took a liking to me & made me his “assistant” for his chores. He said he wanted to play some music for me, but only if I wouldn’t say anything, because he could get in trouble and lose his position if the management or other counselor found out he was playing this kind of music for me with curse words. It was called PUNK music . I gave him my word I wouldn’t say anything. Top Secret. As we continued with our duties, he played 999’s “Little Red Riding Hood” on his ghetto blaster. I loved it. Then came Black Flag + Circle Jerks + Flipper. He made me a comp with all of these bands. Dead Kennedy’s, D.O.A., etc…
I wish I remembered his name & could track him down to thank him. Very grateful to that cool guy. Forever changed my life. No more Arena Rock bands for me. Punk Rock for life for this kid!
“You Can Take The Kid Out Of Punk, But You Can’t Take Punk Out Of The Kid” – RL
What was the first record you ever purchased?
I bought my first record in probably the 4th or 5th grade from one of my trips to the record shop. It was Cheap Trick’s classic, In Color, which is still an all-time favorite of mine.
What is your musical background?
I went to SDSU – School of Music & Dance. Studied Music Composition & Music Theory. I have supplied vocals to many bands throughout my young & mid life in California. Over this last decade I have been concentrating on DJing (vinyl only) as RECORDS WITH ROGER. Trying to turn you folks on to some new grooves. I’m having a great time while doing that.
What kind of music was playing in your house when you were a kid? Did your parents have records?
Like I mentioned in one of your earlier questions – Yes they had records – now considered Classic Rock, but at that time they were the current releases of… The Beatles, Be-Bop Deluxe, Little Feat, Cream, Pink Floyd, etc.
I do remember whenever 10cc or Steely Dan was playing, when my parents had company over and me and my Sister went to bed, we would hear these jams playing a bit louder than normal through the walls of our bedrooms & there was always this certain smoke smell during these sessions… As I grew older I obviously figured out what they were doing during these hangout sessions. #hippies
Do you collect a particular genre of music?
All of it! Seriously – From Classical/Opera to Hardcore Punk & all in between. I have a huge collection of Jazz. Lots of Heavy Psych + Stoner Metal. I’m most passionate for my Punk collection. It’s my favorite genre to collect.
What is your best find ever?
My best finds have found me honestly with people messaging me asking me to buy their records or given to me as gifts. Lots of stories about those, but while digging? Shopping and finding? Hmm. So many. Hard to pick just one. I’ll go with my Cheap Trick’s “California Man” bootleg signed by all 4 members on the front & back. Not my best find as far as worth, or even rarity, but special sentiment because they’ve been my favorite band since I 1st heard them in like the 4th grade. I love that record. 1978 live Bootleg Germany recording.
Any regrets about a lost record or about records you did not buy?
Of course, but I can’t buy every single record I want whenever I see one. I’m out of room (s)! I’d rather be happy with what I do have than those of what I don’t.
An interesting / funny anecdote about your collection or about vinyl that you have acquired?
Sure – We, record collectors are always hearing crazy record “score” stories throughout our life, of other collectors awesome finds. Some examples I have heard from friends/collectors: “I scored this today at the swap meet! I asked the guy how much for each record & he told me for $50 I could take the whole crate, so I did! Look what I got, “Butcher Babies” cover by the Beatles, a test pressing of Led Zeppelin II, etc”.What a score”. Or “I just met with my ex-girlfriend and she gave me back all of my old first pressing punk rock records from over 25 years ago” And How about: “I found the first two of the first four Dischord Records 7″s, SOA and Government Issue, in a thrift store for .99 cents each! Mint!”.
I’ve scored throughout the years of collecting records, too, but never anything close to those, until this happened!
A member of my Facebook group, Chasing the Vinyl Dragon, sent me a private message asking if I was interested in his 1st pressing of Bad Religion‘s debut 7” EP. He then told me the story of how on the inner sleeve it is written on and signed by the bassist Jay Bentley, for the future song “Voice of God Is Government” (the original lyrics! He used the inner sleeve) from How Can Hell Be Any Worse from the same year of 1981. He said that Jay wrote the lyrics on the inner sleeve on his mother’s living room floor while stuffing records for that 7″! Jay messaged me back after I sent him a message about it, confirming this is one of a kind record. That’s when he wrote the lyrics for that song & accidentally put it in one of the records. CRAZY!
Anyways, I said to the guy who was asking me if I was interested in the record, “I’m sure it isn’t in my price range, but how much?” He said, “How much does it go for?” I said, “Depending on the condition, Discogs last sale went for $250 bucks. Mint could go for… people are asking for $500. Who knows with the original signed lyric sheet. To the right collector, it could be as much as he or she wants to pay”.
I said “Throw me a price, just so I can see if I could even come close”. He said, “Call me” (sent me his phone #). I called him and he said something like, (this is after him telling me how long he’s had the record, how he got it, how he took it all over Europe with him – the whole story of the record) “As long as I know it’s going to a good home, and I can tell with you through your pages here on FB that you’re so passionate about collecting records and wouldn’t turn around and sale it… (wait for it)… (Yes!!!) YOU CAN HAVE IT” BOOM!!! We met later and he gave me the record!
It still blows my mind. So surprising to see that generosity from a complete stranger to another is out there. The best part of this story is not the gifted record, but to a new friendship. Best score ever! I smile bigger & bigger with every time I tell the story.
What was your latest purchase?
My latest purchase was a collection of 200 punk records. Lots of great records I didn’t yet have to fill the gaps & lots that I did already have, so I’m going through those (doubles) now and reorganizing my collection to make room for them. A little bit broke right now because of that purchase, but I’m stoked! I’ve inventoried them on my discogs and the value of the collection is 10 times what I paid. Big score. He’s happy too. He got the price he asked for. With the doubles, I’m wanting to trade for records of equal value that I don’t yet have.
Is there an artist or label in particular that you are trying to get the full discography?
I’m always “adding to”. I call it Chasing The Vinyl Dragon, because it’s my addiction. Always needing more & more. Always on the hunt! I’m looking for a couple Miles Davis LP’s to complete my whole discography from him. Still needing a couple of the 1st Dischord records releases.
It’s the end of the world, you can only take 5 records from your collection with you! Which ones and why?
Nope. The worst question you could ever ask a record collector. I get asked this question with every interview. Out of respect for all of my records, I can’t answer it.
Original pressings or re-issues?
Original for the collection – Represses for DJing out.
What kind of digger are you? (online, record shop, thrift shop, garage sale…)
All of the above. I love to shop in stores. I have my spots that I hit up frequently. I like to buy directly from the bands and labels when I can. Discogs is probably the best friend that I’ve ever had.
Do you think that collecting records helps to preserve our musical and cultural legacy?
I do. Different times. You used to have to buy vinyl records to get the music. Recording tapes onto cassette tapes for friends & family. There was a warmth to it. A friendship. These days with music apps & digital down loads, it’s so easy to get lazy. There’s no warmth with that. A cold shoulder rather.
What attracts you in a record?
The Bands! The sounds! The art!
How do you organize your collection?
Alphabetized by genre. #’s to A-Z to Various artists.
What does your record collection say about you?
I’m a hoarder. ADDICT! hahaha. I’m very eclectic.
What’s your current setup at home?
Two turntables & a microphone. 😉 Two Technics SL1200’s + Pioneer DJM- 300 mixer & 2 Tascam VL A5 Studio Monitors.
Want to add something about yourself? Now is the time 😉
Check out my Records with Roger DJ event schedule page & lots more → facebook.com/RecordswithRoger
More About Roger:
Thank you very much Roger for this interview. It was a real pleasure to discover and read about your passion for the record!