Tell us a bit about yourself: According to the white sticker with blue border on my shirt: “Hello, My Name Is Peter Skiera.” I’m a recovering audiophile. I love vintage audio equipment, records (I own 3 turntables), CDs, cassette tapes, MiniDiscs, 8 tracks (!), and listening to Internet radio. I worked in commercial radio broadcasting both in front of and behind the microphone as well as for several audio companies like B&W, Rotel, Cambridge SoundWorks, and Como Audio. Nowadays I have my own music-related blog- www.RecommendedStations.com: https://recommendedstations.com/blog-stuff/ I spotlight vintage records, write about Internet radio, and conduct interviews like the one I did last December with composer Paul Zaza (Black Christmas, Popcorn, Porkys, My Bloody Valentine, A Christmas Story) and with The Goldiggers (Dean Martin’s backup singers). For April I’m crafting an article about Record Store Day’s 15th Anniversary featuring an interview with their Project Manager.
I also make monthly Internet radio station recommendations via my Patreon campaign: https://www.patreon.com/RecommendedStations by sifting through tens of thousands of radio stations and hand picking stand out streams. I’m the only person in the world who does that. I want to become the Roger Ebert of Internet radio. Moreover, I uncover unconventional Internet stations such as the station that plays music for cats and the station that streams sound from a microphone 23’ underwater. I even have my own Internet radio station…Wind Chime Radio. I bet you can’t guess what the station plays.
First album: I inherited my father’s very modest record collection when I was around 9 years old after my parents divorced, so technically, those were my first records. He owned mostly classical albums, although I do recall some odd titles like Ballads of the Green Berets, something by Burl Ives, and a military air show record. I’m not sure which traumatized me more as a child, my parent’s divorce or those records.
I believe the first record I actually purchased with my own money was The Best of Roger Whittaker. My Aunt Mary hosted a family gathering and played that record. I loved his voice and the songs (The Last Farewell, New World In The Morning, Durham Town, All Of My Life) so I bought the record straight away. I was probably the only 10-year-old kid who owned that record. I was a strange child. I still am.
Favorite album: One of the many fantastic albums I’ve yet to discover.
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: The Brady Bunch Movie soundtrack. I grew up watching The Brady Bunch TV show. I don’t have any brothers or sisters and after my parents divorced when I was young, the Brady’s became my surrogate TV family (I have Barry Williams’ autograph).
I thought the movie was a hoot. The actors totally nailed the characters from the TV show. Enjoy The Ride pressed some groovy colored-vinyl and I love that the soundtrack includes snippets of dialogue from the film. I hope the cast makes a third movie, especially now that the house used to shoot the exterior scenes for the TV show has been faithfully converted into The Brady Bunch house. Instant authentic movie set!
BTW, I also own your vinyl record pizza cutter. No pizza-loving, record-collecting bachelor should be without one. Yes, I made that pizza myself and baked it in my outdoor gas grill. Yum.
Favorite album artwork: I love vintage album covers. Behind Brigitte Bardot from 1960 ranks pretty high on my list. I’m not sure you could get away with an album cover like that today. It would be considered politically incorrect by some, including the album’s title. Interestingly, Bardot doesn’t even sing on the record. It’s all instrumental music taken from films she starred in. But boy, what a fantastic cover.
What are your favorite local record shops to support? For brick and mortar, I usually go to Newbury Comics which is a small chain in New England. Some of their locations also sell used records. Unfortunately, there are no independent mom-and-pop record shops near me. I buy most of my records online. Sometimes I prefer the lack of direct human contact; a by-product of the COVID-19 era.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? Mike Flanigan’s The Drifter (blues), Keith Slattery’s Duality (jazz), Metropolis’ The Power of The Night (rock), and Michael Learns to Rock’s Paint My Love (pop).
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? The soundtrack to the great 1997 German film Bandits about a fictitious renegade all-girl rock band and Siren Song by Dutch pop trio Zazi. Bandits has never been released on vinyl and Zazi’s music has never been released in the USA in any form.
What was the best album(s) you've discovered this year (it can be anything, doesn't have to be a new release): Wamono Groove. It’s a new release but it’s a compilation of music from 1976. It’s jazz+funk+disco meets Japanese musicians. The label describes the music as “the cream of the Japanese jazz, funk, soul, rare groove and disco music developed throughout the years since the end of the sixties in Japan!” Far out, man! The music screams 1976 and it’s against the law in 39 states to play this record below volume 11.
What upcoming releases are you most excited about? Enjoy The Ride’s Scrooged soundtrack. Technically, it’s already been released, but the record won’t ship for several more months due to the liquid filling which makes the record much more complicated to manufacture. I was lucky enough to snag the snow globe variant limited edition which sold out in 13 minutes. I’ve never owned a record like that before so I’m especially excited to receive it this summer. I’ll be Christmas in July!
Who is a band or artist that you think is underrated that we should give a listen to? Without a doubt, Bandits On The Run out of New York…vocals, acoustic guitar, suitcase drum, cello, accordion, and percussion. They’re a very talented trio and words cannot do their beautiful, youthful sound justice. Their voices blend like honey. They only have one 45 RPM single but they’ve released several CDs and many videos on YouTube. Someone needs to put out a BOTR vinyl record best-of with all the trimmings.
Scenario time! If you could create a vinyl variant for any album (already pressed or never been pressed before), what would it look like? Feel free to get creative with this one, it's always awesome to hear what different features everyone likes! As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m a horror film freak. A few years back I saw 4D Man starring Robert Lansing and Lee Meriwether on Svengoolie. It’s half sci-fi, half horror, but I loved it and I loved the period 1959 music even more. I went so far as to track down the company that owned the rights to the music and ask them if I could license it so I could put it out on limited edition vinyl via Kickstarter. The soundtrack has never been released in any format. I imagined creating a cool 3-D cover, a gatefold jacket with color stills from the film, a 3-D post card showing a hunk of steel with a hand through the middle (a reference to a key scene in the film), liner notes from the original composer (whom I had also tracked down), a brick wall printed on the label, bonus tracks if available, dialogue from the movie in between music tracks, and pressed on 180g green, glow-in-the-dark colored vinyl. The company all but told me to go pound sand.
I’d also love to put out a numbered, limited-edition colored vinyl EP of the songs from John Waters’ film Polyester with an Odorama card included with each record!
If someone adopts any of my ideas, please at least comp me a few copies and give me credit in the liner notes. My last name is spelled S-K-I-E-R-A.