An Interview With vinylmike68

In this interview I talk to vinylmike68 all about, vinyl, music and Instagram.

His name is Michael Squitiro and he’s a record addict. He currently lives on the gulf coast of Florida with his girlfriend. He’s originally from New York. 

He was also the lead guitar player and main songwriter for a hair metal band in the 80’s to early 90’s in Hollywood, CA. They had great regional success and moderate success overall. Grunge was the end of it all for them. He tried music for about 15 years and then got into the high end audio business. He left that years ago and opened Brown Acid Records in Boynton Beach, FL. He was forced to close it due to illness almost two years ago. He is currently back in the high end audio business and an avid record collector that loves good audio gear. He has been pursuing the idea of relaunching the record shop but there are tons of shops here so who knows. “I may just have to buy one instead of starting from scratch again.”

How long have you been collecting records and how many records do you have in your collection?

I have been collecting records on and off for most of my life. I’m a kid of the 80’s so we didn’t have many choices other than vinyl or cassettes. But I’ve always had an affection for vinyl and high end playback gear. 

At the moment I have approximately 1600 records which grows weekly. I am a condition junkie so if the records aren’t flawless or near flawless I’m not interested. It takes me a little longer to find the right record sometimes being so picky.

You used to own a record store, how have things changed from then until now in vinyl sales?

At the moment I have approximately 1600 records which grows weekly. I am a condition junkie so if the records aren’t flawless or near flawless I’m not interested. It takes me a little longer to find the right record sometimes being so picky.

Yes, I did own a shop. But I also spent considerable time In one of the best collectors shops in the country so I have a good insight on this topic. 

Understanding your customers is the biggest challenge. You need to satisfy the newbies, the bargain hunters and the serious collector. Vintage records are a finite resource. 

The big change I have seen is the value of a lot of vintage records declining over the last few years. There are different websites that track this info. I have some records I paid upwards of $100 for some years ago that are worth 1/3rd of what they were. I can only attribute this to record companies releasing reissues/remasters of more artists and sought after titles. The majority of people that are into vinyl aren’t the high end critical listeners as much as just people that vinyl is the medium they choose to listen to music on. So a vintage or first press record is not that important to them. They just want the record and music so the demand, and often price for the vintage copy, declines dramatically especially if it’s pricey. 

There are certain records that didn’t have modern reissues that If you really wanted it you had to pay for it. That is changing every day. Take the recent Queens Of The Stone Age – “Songs For The Deaf” Vinyl Me Please reissue. I have sold two authentic copies of that record for over $450 each. That was probably the record in my collection that got the most attention. That record will probably no longer fetch that kind of money again. There will be those collectors that will want a 2003 original US press but won’t pay the price it used to demand. Hardcore collectors are very savvy. In the vintage vinyl business supply and demand is always in play.

What’s your favourite vinyl in your collection and what’s your holy grail?

Wow!!! Way to go for the jugular. Why not ask which of my kids I like better? I’ll tell you this and some may find it a bit weird but I have 5 records I am to be cremated with. The Beatles – Rubber Soul (mono US press), Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (mono), The Clash – London Calling, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Freedom Rider (original Prestige mono press) and Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsys (UK Track records press). But if I had to have only one record for the rest of my life it would be the US version of Rubber Soul. 

My holy grails constantly change but at the moment I am looking for a 1990 press of The London Quireboys – A Bit Of What You Fancy.

Why did you start a vinyl themed Instagram? You have a good following, how are you finding it all?

Great questions because in all honestly I don’t have a clue! I started my page to keep in touch with my son who left for college and a friend who left to play professional football. At the time I thought I was the only one that was into vinyl. I was in the high end audio business at the time and even in that industry I didn’t know anyone into vinyl.  

I posted a photo of my cat sitting on top of my McIntosh pre-amp. Suddenly I’m getting all these likes, comments and followers. Realize I had no idea how Instagram worked at the time. Next I posted a photo of some records I purchased online. More likes, more comments and more followers. I finally realized I’m not alone!

I have no idea why my page took off the way it did. A friend told me he hears my voice when he reads my posts and my posts are honest and informative for good or bad. Perhaps that’s what people connected with. 

I then got turned on to some local record shops, met my record “Yoda” and a lot of like minded people and went on a mad vinyl spending spree that lasted years. I was spending an embarrassing amount of money on records each week. Those records eventually went into my shop and a lot of them now belong to my followers. 

I have a love hate relationship with Instagram and the vinyl community and I know the feeling is mutual especially among some in the vinyl community. I have been accused of misrepresenting records, which I have never done, altering the photos of my OCD like obsession for the best quality vinyl, not possibly listening to as many records a day that I post which is also wrong as I used to work from home a lot and my favorite one of all… purchasing followers which is completely asinine. I’ve had pages dedicated to hating me and have received countless DM “hate mail”.  It’s a badge of honor! I can be outspoken and not politically correct at times and some people take offense to it. But it’s usually all in good fun. People need to lighten up!

My outspoken and non-PC nature has cost me thousands of followers. I was up around 12k a few years ago. My focus on the shop, lack of attention to my page and being outspoken causes the drop in followers. I despise trolls and overly pretentious collectors especially the types that openly refer to themselves as “music influencers”… gimmie a break! It’s just a record, you’re not a Kardashian. But I have immense respect for those that take pride in their collections as I know how difficult, time consuming and often expensive it can be to curate one. Vinyl is a choice. We choose to listen to vinyl over other mediums. It’s not easy and it’s not convenient but we do it because we love it. Plus you can’t roll a joint on an MP3! 

Unfortunately all of this nonsense has changed who and how I interact with people on Instagram. To me Instagram is just a fun fringe aspect of record collecting not to be taken very seriously. It’s why I adore Steve @diggin_n_pickin as he seems to have the most fun at this. I just play a record, take a picture and post it. I keep it simple. He makes movies! I even break the Instagram rule by posting a record more than once but I post what I play. It’s all real-time. I do love interacting with my followers that appreciate what I do and how I do it. I consider them friends. The haters can hate. 

Yeah you’re right about that and Steve, I’ve done two interviews and a story about his band on here. If you could have dinner with any musician from any time who would it be and why?

Another tough one. I’d probably have to go with John Lennon with John Coltrane a close second. As a musician I’d want to talk songwriting and what it was like being a Beatle. I’d also like to know his take on the modern music business which I imagine he’d be severely disappointed with just as I am. 

Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?

I can honestly say I don’t watch much TV. I’m a hardcore Manchester United fan so I’ll take a little time on the weekend to watch a match. Friends and co-workers are always asking me if I’m watching or have watched this show or that show and look at me like I have three heads when I say no. Never saw and episode of Game Of Thrones, Dexter, Breaking Bad or any other wildly popular show. I literally play records from when I get home to when I go to bed. I might only get three in a night or I could get nine in. 

I do watch movies but am particularly drawn to music documentaries. The last good one I saw was “Echo In The Canyon” about the Byrd’s and the Laurel Canyon, California music scene in the 60’s. Highly recommended.



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