An Interview With The Bells Toll

In this interview I talk to twins Kady and Jessica Bell all music, vinyl and Instagram.

Kady: We appreciate you thinking of us for this! Sis and I just have our blog thebellstoll.com. We haven’t posted anything since December, because we’ve been busy with work and toddler-tending, but we hope to get back to it soon! We’re the Bells we both still think of ourselves this way, but we have married names now and we’re lifelong music lovers and collectors, though we started with CD’s and then switched to records in 2006. We’ve grown up all around Los Angeles, CA and we’ve mostly pursued the same interests since we were little. We went to college together, earning our doctorates in organizational leadership in 2014, and both write and/or edit for a living, working on our blog in our spare time. Kady has a baby girl Johnnie, who’s almost 3-years-old now and she keeps both of us pretty busy. Kady’s also been married for almost 9 years, and Jessica has been married for almost 2 years.

Why did you decide to start a vinyl themed Instagram?

When we started our account last August, it was meant to promote the relaunch of our blog, thebellstoll.com. We wrote a music column together in college for our university newspaper, called “The Bells’ Toll on Rock ‘n’ Roll,” continued that for about a year after graduating with IE Weekly (2007-2008) and then gave it up when we both started working full-time. We’ve had a Twitter account with a very small following for a few years, but we’ve never posted regular content on that platform. We’ve been collecting records since we got our first record player for our 21st birthday 14 years ago. We decided to post a photo of one album we were listening to one day and our vinyl account got started from there! We had each shared photos or videos of us playing records on our personal accounts in the past, but we were never tuned into the vinyl community and didn’t even know it existed until we started posting records on our blog account. We were so happy to discover it though and we hope to keep sharing our love of music with everyone we’ve met!

You have a good following, how are you finding it all?

Thank you! It’s all been really unexpected, but we love it and we’ve made a lot of IG friends, have discovered new music and just feel like we’ve found our people.


Being twins do you both like the same music or does it differ?

We’ve both always had the same musical tastes but we’ve had different favorites here and there. Jessica was obsessed with Tool in high school, for example, her old Yahoo and AOL user names used to be “ledjessilin.” For many years, she has also loved Ryan Adams. She still does, but it’s difficult to be a fan these days. She also has always been obsessed with Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. Kady has always been obsessed with the Goo Goo Dolls and Tom Petty, but we’re both big fans of both bands, we like most of the same artists, in general, for the most part.

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

We counted our records for the very first time, in preparation for this question (we anticipated you asking, haha!). Sis and I aren’t the most organized when it comes to our records – they aren’t alphabetized and we haven’t yet cataloged them on Discogs, though that’s a project we hope to one day have the time to undertake! We have about 980 records in our combined collection, including 45s. Kady has most of these at her house. When Jessica moved out of the house she shared with Kady and her husband. There was a big argument about the division of our prized records, Kady came out largely the victor and Jessica did snag the whole Led Zeppelin collection. Kady is still rebuilding hers and is still missing a couple! Kady also has our whole CD collection, some 8-tracks, our cassettes, and one reel-to-reel. Jessica and her hubby’s collection is largely digital now, so this wasn’t that big of an argument. We’ve also mostly stopped collecting CDs, but we still grab cassettes when we find them and are always adding to our record collections.

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

We think our box sets are our prized possessions. Kady has a signed Goo Goo Dolls’ box set, Pickpockets, Petty Thieves and Tiny Victories (for her baby girl, who was named after John Rzeznik), and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ An American Treasure and The Live Anthology. Kady also has OG pressings of a couple of Goo albums, which she found in the wild. Jessica is pretty fond of her Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams, and Prince collections. Our holy grail has long been an OG pressing of Tom Petty’s Wildflowers. We got lucky and were able to preorder unofficial copies for our birthday this year, though, so that’s now among our prized possessions. We’ll keep searching for reasonably priced OG copies, and we also want the complete recording box sets at some point, though we’ll have repeats of albums. Jessica’s holy grail has also always been an OG pressing of U2’s Achtung Baby, (though she has a box set) and Ryan Adams’ Love is Hell, (which she actually found recently and had to pass up).

Who’s in your top five of favourite bands?

That’s a really hard one, and we think it can change from time to time, but here they are, broken up for each of us:

Kady
1. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2. The Goo Goo Dolls
3. The Replacements
4. Led Zeppelin
5. Prince

Jessica
1. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2. Led Zeppelin
3. Ryan Adams
4. Dinosaur Jr. 5. Prince

It’s hard to leave the Smiths, Pearl Jam, U2, Mother Love Bone, Alice In Chains, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, and others off this list, though…a top 20 would be an easier list to make!

If you could have dinner with any musician from any time who would it be and why?

We think that we’d both choose to have dinner with Tom Petty. We felt a big loss after his death and the Heartbreakers have played a giant part in our lives since we were little. We would love to go back to the late ’70s-early ’80s (we’d obviously be a bit older in this scenario), have some dinner and discuss anything at all with him related to the Heartbreakers, or just life in general. He was one of our idols (still is), and we’ve always thought of his music as playing a part in every aspect of our lives (we wrote a blog about this!).

Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?

We’ve both recently fallen in love with Orville Peck (we were late to that party). We’re also big supporters of local bands and artists, so we’re always looking for new artists and hope to start writing again soon! As far as shows, we both loved the remake of “High Fidelity,” and are watching “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” We usually like anything music-related. We haven’t seen any movies lately (it’s hard to get out with the baby), but Jess loved Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman!

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