Tell us a little bit about yourself: Hi I'm Phil Hendrix, and I'm a vinyl record addict. I've been collecting records pretty much my whole life. My preference is for the more “traditional music” releases, with an emphasis on the songs and sounds from the era I enjoyed (and miss) the most: the 80s and my teenage years. My wife and I turned 50 this past week, so I am wearing reading glasses while writing this and that isn’t very fun. I was born in the Midwest and raised by a single mother as an only child. My father had the stereo and record collection, and it was always a treat to visit him so I could spin his records. He also had the right version of cable television so I could actually watch MTV back when they still played music videos. To this day, my father still has no idea the influence that all of this had on me - because back home with my mom in rural Nebraska, it was all network TV and Top 40 radio. I remember listening to cheesy music on AM radio in my mom’s car and preferring, from my very earliest memories, listening to music over watching television or reading or sleeping...
Here is what 50 looks like on me.
The year 1983 was big for me - my mom let me get (she bought me) a membership in the Columbia House Record Club. That was also the year my dad sent me my first rack component stereo system with turntable for my 13th birthday. A totally basic set up (Sanyo?) but it had an EQ and its own cabinet with a glass door! A glass door!!
Before I graduated from college, I DJ’ed on two different radio stations at two very different schools. Also while in college and dabbling on-air, I discovered the goth and industrial club scene. Working shifts at the radio station exposed me, rapidly, to volumes of various music I would have otherwise had a hard time identifying and finding on my own.
After college, I missed being on the radio, so I tried doing some mobile DJ work on the side. I realized I needed my own gear when I borrowed a small PA system so I could DJ for a military dining out that took place on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. It was great and fun but I learned that a borrowed PA is not a good setup for DJing! So pretty much right after that, I bought my own mobile DJ gear and played for wedding receptions, parties, and even a few more military functions. Still have all the gear but rarely use it, because...
I’m a USAF Academy alumnus, and served in 12 different assignments over a 24 year career before retiring as a Colonel in 2017. I was stationed in both Germany and Okinawa, Japan, and was deployed on 4 different occasions. I bought music whenever I could, wherever I was. My mom’s place in Nebraska was where most of that music ended up. I have been waiting since 1996 to marry that half of my collection with the records and CDs that I have with me! And the DJ gear!
Yes I still buy vinyl, mostly used, and CDs too. I am also a big fan of 7” records. I’m guessing I have somewhere between 2,000-3,000 in my collection (roughly half of it is with me). This year I subscribed to Cadabra and bought a few of their back-inventory of 7” as a result. My wife has expressed some concern…
First album: The first album I remember hearing was KISS Destroyer. At 6 years old, my mind was blown! The first albums I got were the introductory 12 for a penny thru the record club. Those included Van Halen Diver Down, Men at Work self-titled first album, Billy Joel The Nylon Curtain, Madness self-titled album and Duran Duran Rio. The first album I ever bought with my own money in a store was going to be either Def Leppard Pyromania or Michael Jackson Thriller. I opted for Def Leppard as my first, with MJ being second a few days later.
I did not actually get into soundtracks until late October 2018, when I learned very late in the game that Death Waltz/Mondo and Sacred Bones Records released Halloween with all the variants worldwide. That really caught my attention and I dove into the scene. I found the MovieWax Group on Facebook, so that ratcheted up my FOMO. I went to MondoCon in 2019 and thought "these are my people" - compulsive, obsessive, and not afraid to lay down some cash for things many (most?) would probably never consider buying. Haha.
Our media room holds the bulk of LPs and boxed sets. Most of the music on the left is new or reissued music. The soundtracks on the right primarily are from Waxwork, Cadabra, Graveface, 1984 Publishing, Burning Witches, Death Waltz/Mondo, and many more.
Favorite album: I’ve never really been able to answer this question, there are just too many. I think mood plays a significant factor. I have something for every occasion. My favorite sound is 80s new wave/new romantic and synthpop. My favorite band is The Cure.
My Cure collection is in full view from my desk, along with all my Japanese 12" and LP records. The Cure is taking up almost 6 cubes now. Also, that's a functioning laserdisc player on top of the shelf, just under the TV.
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release: I have a handful of ETR releases, a few are variants and a couple are test press bundles. Those are all still sealed. I am bummed I missed seeing the tie dye repress of Porno For Pyros!! Oh wait, thankfully a seller in Italy has it on Discogs for €1,200.00… ha! Blerg.
My small collection of Enjoy The Ride.
Favorite album artwork: The physical package is critical for me. It is what draws me to any release. It always has. I’m old school in that I got into different music initially by going to friends’ houses and getting out the records. You hold the jacket in your hands. You read the liner notes. You talk about it with your pals. It’s a bonding experience. You also do your best to maintain the condition. I used to buy a record and play it once to record onto blank cassette, then file the record away. The cassette could get eaten, lost, broken, destroyed - whatever - I still had the original if I needed it. The vinyl LP is coddled and cherished in my collection. My shit is cherry!
Of course I'm a sucker for a nicely produced package. Here are 2 variants of Death Waltz' The Autopsy of Jane Doe from January 2019.
Cadabra puts out these amazing limited wax mage variants and they are tough to get and pricey. Such a nice overall package to this.
I don’t remember the first Japanese record I ever bought, but those original pressings are pure artwork. I adore the Japanese packaging. Any find must come complete with insert and obi (although some rare promos never had either to begin with).
Two of my absolute favorite Japanese pressings are promo-only and not issued with an obi nor with an insert. Duran Duran Story has all the hits from early 80s, and Prince Strange Tales from The Rain includes hits from the Purple Rain soundtrack as well as other artist's material also featured in the movie. Not sure how many Duran Duran were pressed but supposedly only 500 Strange Tales. I have two copies. These are trading now at very high prices.
It was probably the obi that attracted me first to Mondo. It was those 5 Halloween issues, 4 of them with obi, and the box that hooked me. Then the BeyondFest variant. Then I discovered soundtrack collecting was this whole thing. Now it’s a tension between new releases (represses for me), filling in my 80s collection with used items from across the globe, and new pressings of film and tv soundtracks. Takes a lot of patience, time, and money - everyone who might read this knows exactly what I am talking about.
A few original/reissue Japanese pressings from the 80s.
What are your favorite local record shops, in case any readers are traveling through your town in the future? I live in Northern Virginia. I like Dig! in Leesburg - small shop and the owner is cool. He somehow manages to get a lot of good quality used records into his shop. I also like to swing into CD Cellar in Falls Church. Great selection of used items, including DVD and Blu-Ray. A couple I need to branch out to are Admiral’s Analog in Shepherdstown, WV and The Record Exchange in Frederick, MD.
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? The Psychedelic Furs just last month released their first new material in 30 years! Made of Rain is so good, it’s been on non-stop replay for 3 weeks now. And it’s made me go back and pull out the back catalog. So, short answer: Psychedelic Furs.
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? I collect records pressed in different countries. There are some Japanese-only promo only records that I am patiently waiting to find. Some things on my wants list are priced over $500. So to line that up… I have to find it, and it must be in decent shape, then I have to have the money(!), and also be willing to part with it, and for that reason, when that specific moment arrives. Doesn’t happen very often, that much I can tell you!
What was the best album(s) you've discovered this year (it can be anything, doesn't have to be a new release): I learn a lot about soundtracks and specific pressings from Facebook, specifically the MovieWax group. Great bunch of people there. One thing I was happy to discover was the soundtrack to the movie Wavelength from 1983. I’ve had people over my lifetime tell me I would like Tangerine Dream, but I didn’t bother. So when I saw the original soundtrack in the used vinyl bin, I thought there is no better time than now. I’m so glad I did! The minimalist synth sound is great. I need to find more TD now. I was also compelled to track the movie down on VHS. It arrived a couple weeks ago, so now I need to find the VCR and hook it up.
What upcoming releases are you most excited about? The Cure keep talking about a new album, but you just never know with those guys. I tend to get excited about represses of 80s records, but that is the completist in me. I think I have at least one copy on vinyl of the songs I care about. RSD does an okay job at putting stuff out there, but I have issues with artificial demand due to limited supply. I usually find out about new soundtracks by scrolling thru the MovieWax Facebook page.
Since many of us are still practicing social distancing, can you make a few top 5 lists for us, to help keep folks at home entertained?
Here are 5 Albums I never tire from hearing
The Cure Pornography
Depeche Mode Music For The Masses
Prince Purple Rain Soundtrack
Japan Quiet Life
Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral
Here are 5 Films I’ve seen more than once
- Blade Runner (Director’s Cut)
So I Married an Axe Murderer (tied with Go)
- High Fidelity
- The Crow
- The Lives of Others
Runner up: Bone Tomahawk
Here are 5 Books I may have read (or had read to me while driving)
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
Interview with A Vampire by Anne Rice
Michael Hutchence A Tragic Rock ’N’ Roll Story - A Definitive Biography by Vincent Lovegrove (still reading this one!)
D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose
Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division by Deborah Curtis
Here are 5 Podcasts my wife keeps trying to tell me about while I’m trying to listen to music
- In the Dark (APM Reports)
- Lore (Aaron Mahnke)
- They Walk Among Us (it’s a UK True Crime podcast)
- Don’t Ask Tig (Tig Notaro)
- Hardcore History; also Common Sense (Dan Carlin)
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, its always awesome to hear what different features everyone likes! The Umbrella Academy is a family favorite and with the second season now in the books, it is deffo going to need something more than an FYE-exclusive ltd ed picture disc. Depending how many seasons, they could press one and two now and make a binder to hold future seasons. What would be great is if each LP could be character-based - the show would need 7 seasons for that, and I’m just not familiar with the story arc to know if it’s meant to go that long. The particulars for each season could be based on one of the seven main characters’ attributes. Nothing too extreme - don’t need season one to be oversized and lined with body hair! Could go in a lot of different creative directions with this.