First album: That would be Pieces of Eight by Styx, when I was maybe in third grade? The story behind that is that Styx is my dad’s favorite band, and he used to drag us kids to his favorite record store Wax ‘N’ Facts, where he’d spend hours (or at least what felt like hours to us) flipping through records. Anyway, one day he must have forgotten his wallet because he didn’t have any cash and here I am with a few bucks in my pocket, so he convinced me to buy the album and it would be “mine,” but of course it ended up residing in his collection. Needless to say, I still don’t have possession of that particular copy, but I’ve never forgotten that technically I own it!
Favorite album: So many albums I could list here! I don’t really have just one absolute favorite, there are so many different genres I listen to depending on what I’m in the mood for, but I tend to go back to the albums I’ve loved since early childhood when thinking about favorites (and that was everything my dad was listening to at the time). It has to be a record that has been with me most of my life and I can still listen to it again and again. So, I’ll say Def Leppard’s Hysteria is definitely one of them. So much nostalgia tied to that record for me personally. Every song is a hit, the production is awesome, and yea, it never gets old for me. I’m sure I’ll get some grief from someone somewhere for that pick but too bad, so sad! As for a slightly newer album (and even then, this one is still pushing 20 years old), I would pick Guilt Beats Hate by Benton Falls (released on Deep Elm), that album is very raw and visceral and takes me back to my college days. Pretty sure that’s the first time ever these two bands have been mentioned in the same paragraph lol! But yea, Benton Falls is definitely one of my favorite bands ever. I wish they had put out more than two albums!
Favorite Enjoy The Ride or Enjoy The Toons release:
Musically, probably Hard Ticket to Hawaii
, that theme song is a total ear worm! Commando Ninja
would be a close second (another one with a super catchy theme song)! But I’d also have to include the only liquid-filled record in my collection, the 28
Favorite album artwork: Hard to pick just one but I love pretty much anything by Eric Adrian Lee. Everything he has done for Spun out of Control and Giallo Disco. His cover for Hattie Cooke’s The Sleepers is a personal favorite, as well as the three covers he did for Rupert Lally on Spun. I also love his cover for Shock by Libra (Death Waltz). And then of course, the two covers he did for Jason Priest. He doesn’t disappoint, which is why he was my first choice to do the Midnight Mannequin logo (and of course he absolutely nailed that)!
Favorite albums to play around Halloween: That one’s easy - all of the Halloween scores, especially 1978 and 2018. The first five Halloween films and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre are what started my love of horror, so those will always be my favorites. Staying up late on Halloween night to watch Michael Myers terrorize Haddonfield, there was nothing more thrilling as a little kid! Also, the score for Maniac (1980) which is one of my favorite horror scores, and then the entire Terror Vision catalog also makes for great listening this month!
What are your favorite local record shops to support? There are three main shops I like to frequent here in the Twin Cities. Cheapo Records in St. Paul is always my first stop, I’ve found some great used finds there, including earlier Death Waltz stuff like Assault on Precinct 13 and Rome Armed to the Teeth. Next stop would be the Minneapolis location of Cheapo Records. And then last would be Mill City Sound in Hopkins. They have a large soundtrack section, and I even found the pink variant of Mondo’s Drive pressing there for $50!
What have you been listening to more frequently lately? Modern post-punk, new wave, darkwave, shoegaze, goth and synthpop. I’ve fallen hard down that rabbit hole! Especially the stuff that veers into more post-punk territory. I really wasn’t very familiar with the modern darkwave/goth scene prior to this year. But when I first heard Jason Priest Is Missing, it definitely awakened this love for modern post-punk and new wave music (and adjacent genres like goth and darkwave). There’s just a wealth of talented acts right now making these styles of music. Some favorites are Twin Tribes, Panic Priest, topographies, Drab Majesty, Boy Harsher, Sculpture Club, Choir Boy, Soft Kill, She Past Away, Molchat Doma, Kindest Cuts, Dead Astronauts, and Black Marble. Really there are so many more, the list could go on forever!
Any specific albums you wish you had on vinyl? Hmmm…I’m a pretty impatient person, so usually if there is something I want I find a way to get it. But I’m still on the hunt for Core by STP (the MOV 2xLP pressing, because there’s too much music on that album for one disc) and an original pressing on orange vinyl of Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins. I’ve definitely been making an effort to grab vinyl of all the stuff I listened to in my teen years (and originally had on CD).