Thursday, March 12, 2009

Turning Old Records Into New Music

Sunday, 8:00 am and the U haul truck drives up to our cafe. Packed in the back like sardines are over 10,000 records...LPs, 45's, and 12" singles. In someways it was a Deejays dream...until you realize that you had to carry them up stairs and each 13"x13"x17"box of records (100 in all) weighed over 70 lbs.

The record came from several storage units, basements, and all other places people put the things they once loved but no longer need. For months I have been asking folks to give me their vinyl records that they don't want and I will make sure they are played or used in some fashion.

For many of the records, the task would be easy...Rolling Stones, Rush, The Beatles, James problem. But what about Olivia Newton-John? Montavanti? Lawrence Welks? Air Supply? I wasn't sure how I would keep my pledge...but I figured I could always make record bowls and plates with them.

It took three guys plus myself to move 100 boxes of records out of the trucks, up the stairs, and stacked--ready to get sorted, alphabetized, cleaned, and priced to be sold at our record sale. It is my hopes that the sale of the records will make enough money to seed a new organization, RecordHeadz.

I got the idea one day while talking to my mother, a social services director and long time activist. Part of her position is to review grants and to act as an intermediary between the federal, state, and county level funding sources and the agencies that perform community services.

We talked about the changes that are happening on a federal level. Simply put, there is less money being given to the states and counties. The trickle down effect is less money at the community level as well. Every one will feel this change if they already haven't.

The big causes like United Way will have some support as they have a great outreach network and lots of good PR. The big artist organizations like the opera, ballet, symphony, and the theater will feel the crunch, but also have a great network of supporters that give donations.

I worried about groups like "Voices Rising", "Katalyst Project", "B-Girl's Bench", "Human Harmony", and "(206) Zulu"? These very small organizations do very big things in the community--working with kids in schools, at risk youth on the streets, and inspirational performances that bring awareness to their various causes.

It was in that same conversation that she reminded me that I needed to move all of my junk out of her garage and the back of our cafe. The majority of the junk being about 40,000 records I have collected over the years. The thought of giving them way passed my mind along with selling them to a record store or another collector. It was at this point I realized that I could create an organization to sell my records and use the proceeds to support small music groups and sponsor performances within the community..."turning old records into new music".

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