Like many a “90s kid”, reader Steve Fletcher began collecting the black stuff in earnest in the 2000s – and has been making up for lost time ever since, expanding out from classic rock via explorations into grunge, US alt-rock and instrumental guitar…
What was the first record you bought?
“I only really started buying vinyl in the early 2000s. Before then, it was all CDs and I have quite a few of those. But if memory serves, the first record I bought was Flying In A Blue Dream by Joe Satriani. I remember listening to a dodgy copy my brother had on tape and being blown away by the guitar work. I had to have it on wax. Still one of the best solo guitar albums to date…”
Which artists and genres are you most interested in?
“I listen to a lot of music, on vinyl and hi-res download/streaming services for mobility. I tend to go for anything edgy and original; nothing particularly mainstream. I’m a 90s kid, so mainly classic and alternative rock, in its many forms – from Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Beatles and Aerosmith to lots of grunge and all the side projects, Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction and Faith No More. I love finding LPs by bands from that era that were completely overlooked, too; like Chasm by The Beyond. That had me very excited recently.”
How many records do you have?
“The collection is growing by the week. It tends to be what I spend the disposable on, much to the disgruntlement of Mrs Fletcher. I like to dig out the second-hand originals rather than invest too much in the newer releases (they seem to feel and sound better), but I reckon I have about 2,000 spread about the place by now. If money was no object, I’d have many more…”
What’s the most valuable record in your collection?
“Personally, or financially? Ha! Superunknown, Chasm by The Beyond or Brave by Marillion are personally treasured. Financially, I don’t think I have many worth vast sums of money, but I think a limited-edition release of the debut QOTSA album is worth around £300 now. Nice artwork, too!”
What’s the Holy Grail record that you’d most like to own?
“I used to dream about owning particular albums on vinyl. Sad, I know. Brave by Marillion haunted me, in particular… I’m really hankering for EDC by Satchel. An amazing album from ‘94, completely overlooked, that never seems to have been released on vinyl. Or Dig by I Mother Earth. Another hidden gem.”
What’s your listening setup?
“It’s not optimal yet, but I’m running from a Pro-Ject turntable and preamp, through a Marantz amp and a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 2s. I was recently supplied coils of AudioQuest cable that’s really enhanced the sound, but I hope to move from budget to mid-range kit at some point. If money was no object…”
Read more: The Vinylist: Alan Harwood