An Interview With Rick Taylor

In this interview I talk to Rick Taylor all about vinyl, the vinyl revival and Instagram.

Rick: I’m from outside KC, KS in a town called Olathe, which is now part of KC.  Went to KState and KU and took off for Los Angeles to be an actor in 79, but best thing ever happened to me was moving to NYC in early 81 and staying the whole decade. Met my wife there. One of our first dates were The Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden. I won a raffle and had great seats.  Then when our first daughter was born in 89, we moved to Albuquerque.

Now that’s a great first date story to tell. How long have you been collecting records and how many do you have in your collection?

My first album I consider Beatles 65, but my mom wanted it she gave me the money and pretended it was mine. I still have it and bought it when it first came out and I really haven’t stopped since.  My parents were only 19 years older than me, one of those shotgun weddings. So I was exposed to Elvis and Beatles by my mom.  My dad and his friends were always in the garage building Hot Rods listening to the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean – surf stuff.  I haven’t really stopped buying since then but my big buying years were from like 73 to 89.  But I kept buying as I could after that.  I’m almost to 1600. Got roped into that thinking that you had to buy cd’s after 89 and have 900 or so, but I never lost faith, when others were selling there vinyl I was the one buying cheap.  

I saw on one of your recent posts on Instagram, that you still have a Beatles – Let It Be record for $2.99. Do you still have all your old records? What do you make of the vinyl comeback and the fact it is about to outsell cd’s.

I do still have all my old albums. Even have a few of my mom’s.  Like her Elvis original 45’s but they are in horrible shape, but I’m keeping them. I have quite a few 45’s.  

That Let It Be you asked about is one I bought from someone that had written in sharpie on all the albums he had. Most of them were in rough shape. I only bought that one so I could keep my original in good shape. People were nuts at one point getting rid of vinyl. One friend of my wife’s like 12 or so years ago told me to come over and get all their albums and just take them. She said they had like 75 and I almost didn’t go. I get there and they are all immaculate, even sealed original Miles Davis, John Coltance, plus a lot of rock. I told her over and over these are worth quite a bit. Didn’t care. I took them all.  Which leads to the next question….

The vinyl comeback is thrilling.  I’ve watched it gradually happen these last 15 years especially. Where I worked in Manhattan I walked by Tower Record on the Upper West Side every day, which was great, but dangerous cuz I’d go in 4 or 5 times a week. The last album I bought for quite awhile was Lou Reed’s New York in 89. After that they were gone and replaced by cd’s fast. I never gave up. I don’t know if I was trying to fool myself I mean all 3 plants basically closed at one point.  But I’d hear about Jack White was still pressing and then other’s would put out limited amounts of their music on vinyl and then it picked up pace. When my daughter’s friends would come over I noticed gradually more of them would ask me if they could look at my records and they’d say look at all this Clapton or Dylan. Just that they knew who they were and wanted to look at vinyl made me proud and gave me hope. Then one after the other the plants all gradually started pressing again and now all 3 of the biggest are working 24 hours and albums are selling more every year.  It’s something that you can hold in your hands and doesn’t feel disposable.  I know it can be argued but it does sound better. Especially if you have the right equipment. CD’s were always mixed compressed and you lose the middle.  Forget streaming, it’s convenient but the sound is horrible. It’s been amazing, I feel like a proud vinyl dad or something seeing the comeback. It’s not going away. Heck my daughters are getting mine someday far in the future, but like joining Instagram and the wonderful vinyl community, how big it is, is really incredible. 

Like I said earlier all these 20, 30 and let’s say 40 somethings not only listening to vinyl but sharing their thoughts and feelings about it…. Incredible. I’ll find an account not searching, but someone that someone I know on here that they recommend and they have a ton of albums I have and their 20 gives me goose bumps.  Honestly where else can Metal Heads, Deadheads, Rockers like me, folkies, Taylor Swifties (who I’m finally coming around too), etc…get along with each other and learn from each other and joke with each other go that’s better. It’s getting communal again. Used to be – let’s use Sgt Pepper – when that came out the whole world was opening it and listening to it at once. They might have rolled on it too.  It’s one of the one’s that got used a lot. People take better care of their vinyl now too.

Why did you start a vinyl themed Instagram? I like some of your photos like the Black Keys one, where do you come up with your ideas?

I started my Instagram account about a year ago, mostly because my daughters and a few of their friends and some co-workers had been telling me to for like 4 years.  Honestly I thought it’d be what I call a Dad Account with 40 followers and I’d say see and quit. So when I went to NYC to see Springsteen on Broadway I told them I’d try it and send photos to them. Then when I got home I tried a couple albums and didn’t even know to use hashtags until a couple bigshot women felt bad for me I think and clued me in. I’m constantly surprised and now I’m almost to 3000 followers, but the best part is getting to know people from all over the world.  Of course you end up knowing some better than others and some hardly at all, but knowing 20 and 30 somethings are out there listening to and loving the music I grew up with is a really great feeling. Plus I get clued in on new stuff or something I might have blown off when I was a very uppity my music or the highway type guy. I’ve opened up immensely since my 20’s. Guess my daughters were right to tell me to do this.  The best advice I got was when someone told me stick to a style and I did until I knew I’d earned wiggle room to play around.

The ideas for some like the Black Keys electric chair are mine, but as my daughter Tess will tell you some of my ideas are way to grandiose and have to be scaled back.  She takes all the photos. We cleaned out a whole bedroom really to get the basic chair and me. Hung up black all around. Then gave it to a friend of hers for the special effects. He did exactly as I told him. If I could all of them would be comedy recreations like Abbey Road, Ten, Zep IV or Born In The USA. I had an idea recently that included Steve and some others and I keep getting told it can’t be done. Which always makes me want to do it more. I think I need to turn into a photoshop expert, but at this point I’ve never used it.

What’s your favourite vinyl you own and what is your holy grail?

Holy grail album is easy Springsteen’s The Rising.  I don’t know why but the day it came out I bought the special edition cd and the regular. Thinking oh no problem I’ll get the vinyl in a couple weeks, not knowing it would sell out. Big mistake. My favorite vinyl is harder. The White Album is my all time favorite and Darkness on the Edge of Town and I love playing the white White Album, but if it came down to it and the house was on fire I’d probably grab Born To Run and my original Parlophone Please Please Me. If time I’d grab Exile On Main Street too, but if I’m honest with myself I’d take as many Bruce albums as I could.

To be continued…

@itsricktaylor

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