Henry Rollins: The Column! Are You Collector Scum?
[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
Limited-edition, colored vinyl, 7-inch single with a non-LP B-side? Wait, it gets better. The first of three singles all featuring the same A-side but different B-sides. Hold on -- the 12-inch version comes with a live track and a demo version of the A-side, but not the non-LP B-side that's on the 7-inch. To hear it all, you have to get all six releases. If you are someone burdened by a real life, all of this is boring and yet another example of the cruel and unusual machinations of predatory capitalism.
You would think the fans would be angered by their favorite band taking advantage of their devotion by such wallet-thinning acts, but quite often the only complaints you hear are from those who didn't get theirs in time.
You might think no one past the age of 17 could possibly lose sleep over this kind of thing, but that's where you'd be wrong. Collecting records is, for many, beyond a hobby. It is an obsession. Do this kind of thing in high school and you can play the youth card. Do it at 50 and you have some issues you really need to deal with.
There are different degrees of record-collector intensity. There are those who simply want to hear the music; they don't care if a record is an original pressing or a reissue. Then there are those who need to hear every single song by an artist, so they scour discographies for complete lists of releases. Fair enough. Do I want to hear every studio release of John Coltrane? You bet your fur -- that just makes me a true fan.
This is the tipping point. Once you get into combing discographies, you can easily end up with a want list. You might start taking this want list into record stores to aid in your search. Or you could do what many others do: Memorize your want list. That's right, internalize it. Make it a part of you.
Did somebody say gateway? Thus far, we have discussed the casual to enthusiastic record-collector types. It can get far more involved. Imagine someone so infatuated by a band that they have every different pressing of every album the band made. Most of the time the only difference in the album is the matrix number or a different "made in" notation on the back cover or label. This is enough to make some people extremely excited. Actually, much more than excited.