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Stefan Sonic x The Collection Space ...
  -- Thursday, September 11, 2008



Stefan Sonic has seen it and done that. He's been collecting since before you were born. While I was collecting matchbox cars, he was collecting Misfits singles. His Cough/Cool was certainly more awesome than my 82 Trans Am miatchbox. He probably never played his Cough/Cool while singing Michael Jackson Beat It ,though. Maybe you'll get lucky. His daughter is probably going to attend college in a few years. Maybe you can score some gems. But don't expect any bargains, his collection is way ABOVE the dollar bin. Read up and learn more ... then go visit his collection on thecollectionspace.com



Yo dude, how's your edge?

My edge is excellent. I got it back in 1998. Before that I was not so straight edge...

I began donating blood that year, and never looked back. I am a frequent blood donor. A healthy person can donate blood every 8 weeks (56 days). I try to spread the word to who ever will listen. My wife always donated, but I couldn't then, but I sure do now, and I'm back on track and strong for the last 10 years. I have donated over 60 times since. It's 1 pint each time for whole blood. Do the math on how many gallons I've given...

Click here for more details ...

Stefan Sonic has seen it and done that. He's been collecting since before you were born. While I was collecting matchbox cars, he was collecting Misfits singles. His Cough/Cool was certainly more awesome than my 82 Trans Am miatchbox. He probably never played his Cough/Cool while singing Michael Jackson Beat It ,though. Maybe you'll get lucky. His daughter is probably going to attend college in a few years. Maybe you can score some gems. But don't expect any bargains, his collection is way ABOVE the dollar bin. Read up and learn more ... then go visit his collection on thecollectionspace.com



Yo dude, how's your edge?

My edge is excellent. I got it back in 1998. Before that I was not so straight edge...

I began donating blood that year, and never looked back. I am a frequent blood donor. A healthy person can donate blood every 8 weeks (56 days). I try to spread the word to who ever will listen. My wife always donated, but I couldn't then, but I sure do now, and I'm back on track and strong for the last 10 years. I have donated over 60 times since. It's 1 pint each time for whole blood. Do the math on how many gallons I've given...

How and when did you get into hardcore? Metal head, skate punk, a cool neighbor ...

I got into hardcore because it really was a progression from punk. I had always like rock music ever since I was just a kid. I bought my first record album in 1974, was influenced by my father, he was always playing music around the house. When disco hit in 1977 I was one of those kids who wore a disco sucks t shirt to school, and I was sent home because of it. From liking Elton John and Wings in 1976, I went to Kiss and Led Zeppelin in 1977, then at the end of the 70's discovered Bowie, Sex Pistols, Clash, and the CBGB scene: Johnny Thunders, Ramones, Plasmatics, etc. Through 1983 I broadened to the west coast bands like Flipper, X, The Go-Go's, and Dead Kennedys, and some UK goth bands that began as punk bands: Siouxsie, Joy Division/New Order, Human League, and Lords Of The New Church. In 1984 when New York punk band Kraut disbanded and reformed as Cro-Mags, the sound was a little too metal for me, and I fell out of the New York scene. However, I did go see 2 memorable shows at The Rock Hotel in NYC: G.B.H. / Murphy's Law, and Toxic Reasons/T.S.O.L. At one of those I met Ray Beez, very big very scary looking guy, didn't know until later that he would reach icon status. Rest In Peace Ray. Thanks for your contribution to NYHC.



How involved are you in your local scene now? What local bands do you wish were getting more recognition currently?

Unfortunately I am not involved in my local scene at all. Having a full time job and a family really doesn't give me too much spare time. There is a small scene currently with bands like Billy Club Sandwich, Four In The Chamber, Step 2 Far, Maximum Penalty, but I prefer the current scene in Baltimore with such bands as Pulling Teeth and Ruiner. Being friends with the guys in these bands helps my involvement a lot. I could live without the 3 hour drive down there from Brooklyn every time there's a show there.

Break down your current top 5s (some stumpers here!):

I can't say that I have one favourite EP or LP, but I will try to answer each entry by bands I listened to the most during that time frame: Basically I get to listen to music when I go to the gym for a 60 minute aerobic work out on an elliptical machine. I bring one of my favourite compact discs down with me, put on a pair of headphones, and just concentrate on the music. The top 5 album cd's I usually bring with me are: Heartbreakers "LAMF", Plasmatics "New Hope For The Wretched", Sex Pistols "Never Mind The Bollocks", Pulling Teeth "Martyr Immortal", Slumlords "On The Stremph".

Releases '84-87: During this time in my life I was greatly into Siouxsie & The Banshees, Jesus & Mary Chain, New Order, The Mission, and Gene Loves Jezebel.

Releases '91-98: This was a very dark time for me in my life. I had fallen out of music once my daughter was born in 1993, and my work situation was on a downward spiral. I took a 2nd job in a record shop, and one day some Skrewdriver records showed up. I got into that type of music because at the time I had not heard anything like that, and the music just moved me like nothing else within the last 10 years. I actually had a small cd distro going which helped me get by financially for a while. I kind of went off the right track, people make mistakes sometimes, we're only human...

Releases '02-07: I got out of that whole other scene I was into, thankfully, got a real job, and picked myself back up on my feet. Currently, besides all the old bands listed above I now listen to Slumlords, Pulling Teeth, Iron Age, Mind Eraser, and Cold World.



Let's discuss your collection: When and how did your collection begin?

I bought my first rock album at age 11, in 1974 (do the math for my current age = old) It was Greatest Hits by Elton John. I was influenced by my father, he was always playing music around the house when I was young. I have since inherited his vinyl albums and my mother's singles from the 1950's. There was a Bill Haley "Rock Around The Clock" in that box! I am still buying records to this very day. I try to buy with my head and not over it since I have a daughter who is about to enter 10th grade, and looking at New York University as a college of choice. So I either have to start saving and buy less, or begin to liquidate to help fund her education. Although I think I'm safe because I have a financially practical wife. I'm one lucky guy.


Estimate if necessary, what is the size of your collection?

I don't know if it's necessary to estimate the size of my collection, but I would think I have between 3000 and 4000 different pieces of vinyl within the walls of my little 4 room apartment.

What is your favorite piece?

All of my records are my favourite pieces! Though I must say one of my favourite pieces is a UK promo 12" single by Sisters Of Mercy titled Lucretia My Reflection. I absolutely love the Sisters. This record was a gift to me from a dude named Simon Waterman from Surrey, England. I met him through correspondence in a UK magazine titled Record Collector. Before we were married, my wife and I took a trip to London in July 1987, took a box of records along to trade, made some trades, bought some stuff, and one day made a side trip to Surrey to meet him in person. I have since lost contact with him, but thank him for this item. It comes in an embossed snakeskin sleeve and is a black label promo (test press?) and has no indication on it whatsoever as to what it is.



My other most favourite pieces have to be without question a bunch of acetates recently acquired by The Plasmatics. 9 X 7" single acetates of individual songs from The New Hope For The Wretched LP and 8 X 10" single acetates of individual songs from the Coup d'Etat LP.





What is your most limited piece?

My most limited piece has to be any of the many pressing plant mix ups I am fortunate enough to own, leave it to Musicol to not clean out their vats after they do a pressing. Any of the Dead By 23 swirls is rare, then I have some test presses that are limited to 12...I also have a (Johnny Thunders & The) Heartbreakers withdrawn single on Track Records UK titled It's Not Enough b/w Let Go with a picture sleeve. I have a German Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK, but that has since been reissued (thanks Germany), another prize possession I have is a US Test Press for Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks LP. Then the acetates mentioned above.

Which would you guess is the most valuable (ebay standards)?

My most valuable record in my collection has to be either the Youth Of Today "Can't Close My Eyes" orange vinyl 7" with Batman Stamps /100, or a Warzone "Lower East Side Crew" clear vinyl 7", probably both can fetch $750 each. For the record, let it be known that I used to own every original single by The Misfits, with the exception of NOTLD. I had a Cough/Cool, and I also had a Nirvana "Love Buzz", so either one of those would have been my most valuable record. But who would have known those titles would have blown up so much? They have been traded away long before they exploded as they did...

Funny story about how I got my Youth Of Today single on orange: Remember my trip to England in July 1987? Well, John DeSalvo, bassist of legendary CBGB NYC band The Tuff Darts, who works in Bleeker Bob's Golden Oldies Record Shop, asked me to get him a few things while I was there. He asked for shaped picture discs, and anything I could get by Skrewdriver. Now mind you I had not heard of Skrewdriver to this point, so I had no idea what I was in for when I went around London record shops asking for Skrewdriver. I found one shop that had their first single and their first LP. When I brought those back to John at the record shop, he quickly handed me a Minor Threat "Filler" single with the green cover, mint as could be (ask Sean O'Donnell of Youngblood Records because he now has that record because I traded it to him, but have since replaced it), and a Youth Of Today on orange vinyl with batman stamped blank white B side label and batman stamped dust sleeve. Only problem was there was no cover. John told me to come back in one week because the dudes who made these records were going to bring the covers in at a later time. I went back every week for a month, and the covers never showed up. Some years later, the same Youth Of Today single was hanging on the wall; I told John to let me have the cover. I took it across the street and made a Xerox copy for myself. So I actually have the right record without a batman stamped cover. It's always something with Revelation...



Tell one funny story involving tracking down that one "crucial last item" as part of your collection. What piece was the hardest to get?

The hardest pieces to get in my collection were all Sonic Youth items. One would think that their items would be easily available in New York City since they are from New York City. Finding these few rarities proved to be extremely difficult for me. I began collecting SY in 1990 (a bit late I admit), learned of their back catalogue, and began searching. Locating their 1st single, which is actually not even their 1st release, proved difficult. It's a record on the Forced Exposure label, which is also a fanzine. 1246 copies made, and I finally had to beg a fellow record store employee to sell me his copy. I have since seen the record at WFMU record shows, and on ebay for a lot less than what I paid. I even scored a test press of this record (see my entry at thecollectionspace.com). I had doubts about the test press' authenticity once I got it, but the etchings on both records are identical, so if it is a bootleg, then it's a damn good one...



Another early release by SY is the "Flower" b/w "Halloween" single. There is one 7" version and four 12" versions. The 7" version I got through the Usenet SY news group, before there was ebay. Funny thing is that the person who sold it to me was Barry Henssler, singer for the Necros. I sent him a personal check and he cashed it, obviously, somewhere I have his cancelled check with his "autograph" on the back! Two of the 12" singles were readily available: a gold vinyl UK version, and a black vinyl US version. However, there is a 12" version supposedly withdrawn by SY: the B side is titled "Satan Is Boring" which is basically just 15 minutes of noise recorded live in Europe in 1985. Unhappy with this version, it was withdrawn. Next is a single sided 12" of the first mix for the song "Halloween" and the B side has etching by Savage Pencil. There are supposed to be 100 made signed and numbered by Pencil. I have # 75/100 signed, and I have one unsigned. How many are there out there unsigned? I'll never know...I wound up finding both of these one day apart in 1999, one in a used bin at Second Coming Records in NYC, and one by mail order from London, took me 9 years to find the 2 most rarest records by them.



The other hard to find record comes courtesy of my friend John DeSalvo from Bleeker Bob's Golden Oldies record shop in New York City. Continuing from the above story about my trip to London, he asked for a picture disc of a girl in an SS uniform. He said if you find me this record you can have anything in the store! The record in question is by a German techno/disco outfit called Ryker, the song was called Funkmeister. I couldn't find it on the London trip. He still said if you can find me one, you can still have anything you want in the store. Well, 10 years went by, online came along, Usenet newsgroups found me someone who had it. Got it, brought it in, he told me he had just gotten one like
the previous week. I hadn't told him I was getting it because I wanted it to be a surprise. I was crushed. I still have the record.


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What (if anything) else do you collect? Do all of your collections get equal love, or is one definitely your "first love?"

I also collect books by the author Dean Koontz. I really like his stories. I have many first edition books by him, some personally signed to me, Stefan Sonic, very early science fiction paperbacks, and even almost every book he's written under pen names. It's impossible to get every book ever because books are printed so many times, at least in paperback, it doesn't pay to get the same book just for a different cover. Wait, look who is talking: the multiple collector, me. See books are cool, but records are cooler. I always say once you get a book you can't even read it because once you crack the spine the book is worthless, so it just sits on a shelf. But with a record, you can "hang out" with a record. You put it on your turntable, it plays, you mosh around to the music, you play air guitar, bass, and drums, you sing at the top of your lungs when no one else is around, you look at the insert and read along to the lyrics. You can't do that with a book, especially a book made by Charnel House, look them up, their books are hand made, and crazily priced, but to some it's worth it, I'm not rich enough.

Thanks for taking time for this interview. Any closing shout outs, words of positivity or parting shots?

You are very welcome. The first thing I want to say is thank you for wanting to interview me. I am very flattered that you asked to interview me; no one's ever done that before. I am very happy to have been able to share some stories and share my photos with you. Thanks to my wife for putting up with me, and not throwing me out of the house and not putting me in divorce court. Thanks to the labels I currently collect and to the dudes who run them: Dom Romeo at A389, Sean O'Donnell at Youngblood, Alex DiMatessa at Grave Mistake, and Mike Riley at Firestarter and Toxic Pop. Thanks to whomever I've met at shows and whomever I've traded with on How's Your Edge; you are all listed on the top of my page! Words of positivity: never think you won't get that item that you really want: I always wanted a God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols on A&M. When I saw one in 1981 for $1000, I was just a kid in high school and couldn't afford it then. Since their reunion in 1996, it has now skyrocketed to over g-d knows how much and certainly can't afford it, but did get a test press for NMTB. Had they not reunited, maybe their image would have diminished and I would be able to afford it now. I have parting shots to 3 labels I used to collect, they know who they are, but my wife says I should not mention that here...

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