In this interview I talk to Pam all about her huge record collection, music and her following on Instagram.
Why did you decide to start a vinyl themed Instagram?
I was previously on Facebook and got sick of that platform for various reasons that I won’t go into, and then started an Instagram account. I was posting pictures of records on Facebook and would get a handful of sympathy likes from friends and family. When I started posting records on Instagram in 2017, I was surprised to find that there were others doing the same and I found my way into the vinyl community.
How long have you been collecting records and how many do you have in your collection?
I’m in my early 50s. There were record collectors when I was growing up, but for most people back then it was just how one listened to music. So, I can say that I started accumulating records when I was around 7 years old. That’s around the age that I started liking the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Monkees. I think it transformed from “accumulating” to “collecting” somewhere in the early 2000s, after I got a steady job and settled down in one place long enough to stop thinking about what a pain it would be to move all this stuff. As for how many I have, around 6,000 records.
You have about as many followers as your record collection, how are you finding it all?
How am I finding records? There are a few different sources. I got about 100 of them from my mom. Back in the mid-1950s and early ’60s, she was really into jazz and blues and, being the kind of person she is, she was fastidious about her records. She kept them in pristine condition. I inherited another hundred or so from my dad, and those are mostly classic country records. I also have around 30 of my grandmother’s 78rpm records – mostly Hawaiian music like Alfred Apaka and Genoa Keawe. Beyond that, it’s all stuff that I’ve gathered over time from record stores, thrift shops, garage sales, and online.
As for the followers, I don’t know why people follow my account. I certainly haven’t bought them or anything like that. It has happened over four years, so I think that new Instagram users have to remember that it takes some time for most accounts to grow.
What’s your vinyl holy graill?
It would have to be a first state Beatles butcher cover. I’m pretty sure that will never happen, but one can dream.
Who’s in your top five of favourite bands?
There are four who are always in the top – The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Allen Toussaint, and Philip Glass. Beyond those, it changes from time to time. Right now I’m really interested in Django Reinhardt.
If you could have dinner with any musician from any time who would it be and why?
At first I was tempted to say “Paul McCartney” for the simple reason that his music, both in the Beatles and solo, has impacted both me and modern pop music to such a vast extent. But then I started thinking that I already know a lot about him from books and whatnot. The poor man is asked the same questions repeatedly. So, instead I’ll choose Allen Toussaint because I would love to have talked to him about what New Orleans was like when he was growing up, the other musical giants that he knew like Professor Longhair and Fats Domino, what were some of the things that went down at Cosimo Matassa’s studio, what he thought about the evolution of popular music over his lifetime – stuff like that. Plus he seemed like a real gentleman.
Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?
Akira Kurosawa is my favorite movie director, so I recommend his films like “Throne of Blood” and “Seven Samurai.” I don’t watch regular television but I recently watched the Fran Lebowitz series on Netflix, which was excellent. As for music, and really for movies and television as well, people’s tastes are so varied that I hesitate to recommend anything specific. My best advice is to be open-minded about the kind of music you listen to and if you do that, you’ll probably find a few gems that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.