Records Collecting Dust :A look into the record collections of the bands you have in yours
If there’s one thing that is always on the mind of record collectors—besides what records they already have or may need—it’s what other record collectors have. Facebook, Meetup, and various other online outlets offer a haven for vinyl enthusiasts to share their treasures with like-minded individuals.
Filmmaker Jason Blackmore took this a step further, posing the question, “What do the people making the music have on theirshelves?” In his new documentary film, Records Collecting Dust, he engages a wide array of musicians to find out, and we were on hand at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (1/15) for a first look at the film.
The doc begins at a blistering pace, cutting from one musician to the next in rapid succession. Punk luminaries like Jello Biafra, Keith Morris, Mike Watt, and Chuck Dukowski sound off, joined by artists like Matt Pike (High on Fire, Sleep), Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Mondo Generator), Matt Caughthran (The Bronx), and more.
Relying on off-camera questions, Records Collecting Dust shifts from one common thread to the next, splitting the movie into segments. The first segment begins with the standard curiosity from anyone who has ever owned a record, “What was your firstrecord?” Some answers given are rather expected from an older generation, like Keith Morris who proudly shows off his copy of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Others are unusual and just plain funny like a record of sound effects. A common theme with the older musicians too is that their beginnings were ’60s hippie music or classic rock—bands and artists like Donovan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Steppenwolf gave way to bands like Kiss, Mötley Crüe, and Iron Maiden as the age of the musician faded.
From there, the conversation shifts into the 45s in their respective collections. One particularly funny item was from John “The Swami” Reis (Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu), who conveys his devotion to his copy of the children’s song, “On Top Of Spaghetti.” Moments like this are very relatable, as anyone with a vinyl collection of any size has at least one funny, silly, or just strange record on their shelves that brings back fond memories. (I personally played my copy of Disco Mickey into oblivion in my younger days. Yeah, I know.)
Another theme throughout the doc is a common thread of certain bands who made an impact on so many others—a great number of them singing the praises of Kiss, while others reminisce about when they first discovered the Beatles, Black Sabbath, or Led Zeppelin. This was very striking, as you see how musicians across genres were influenced early on by many of the same bands.
Occasionally, in between segments, the film would veer off track a bit and feature a live performance from bands such as B’Last and Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine. This was one of the few faults of the film, in my opinion. Rather than intermix clips of these songs throughout the movie, it served as an aside, or almost an intermission as you waited through the full song for the interviews to resume. It wasn’t the quality of the music—the performances were fantastic—it just seemed to break apart the flow of the film to an extent.
One of the last questions posed to the artists is the dreaded “desert island” question, challenging the artists to pick only five records from their collection. The reaction, to be expected, was universally dumbfounding and provided a laugh. The best response came from Matt Pike, who asserted that “someone should kick you in the balls for asking that.”
After another musical interlude, the film came to an end somewhat abruptly, however the main focus of the doc was indeed a look at the artists’s record collections, and in doing so viewers are able to get a look at what moved them throughout the years and what drove them early on to pursue a life of music. Pacing and structure issues aside, Records Collecting Dust was a very enjoyable and relatable film for any vinyl enthusiast—and sufficiently entertaining to satisfy even those who may not happen to be a fan of the format.