I have run into Jason numerous times over the years, usually looking around at Little Boxes Vintage, The Swing Station, The Forge or Moe’s. Music was always the reason for the season so I was happy when he walked into Driver 8 Records the first time. I don’t remember how he heard about the store and I don’t think he knew I was the owner until he walked in. I have met several of the guys in his listening club now and it is always cool to hear what they have been listening to.
Jason was kind enough to have me over to his house one evening after work to show me his collection.
D8R: Jason, tell us a little about yourself. How long you have lived in Ft. Collins, what you do for work and early music memories.
Jason: I grew up in Pipestone Minnesota and moved to Fort Collins in 1997 in the hopes of finding milder winters, less humid summers and smaller mosquitos. I worked for a company in Minnesota that provided services for adults with developmental disabilities and was able to transfer with that company to their location here in Colorado. I met my wife Harla at that company; we have a son who is 32 and a grandson who is 11. In 2000 I switched careers and began framing residential homes and continue to do that to this day.
Some of my earliest music memories was the giant console record/ 8 track player in our living room, the 8 tracks of the Beach Boys is what I remember listening to mostly.
We didn’t have many records but I had a couple uncles with larger collections who turned me on to VanHalen, ZZ Top, John Prine and SRV. They both played guitar and some of my fondest memories were when the guitars came out at family gatherings and they’d take requests from the nieces and nephews.
D8R: When we were hanging out and taking photos you mentioned that you used to buy CDs. When did you make the switch to vinyl and how is your record collection different then your CD collection?
Jason: Collecting music is something I’ve always done and CD’s were one stage of that, cassettes and mixed tapes recorded from the radio was how I first started. When CD’s came out that began the next collecting phase and Colombia House and BMG Music CD clubs allowed me to build my catalog of music quickly. I continued buying and burning into the 2000’s and moving to Fort Collins and having access to music shops like ABCD’s and The Finest I found a much greater variety of music compared to the small Midwest towns I lived in before.
I switched to vinyl several years ago when my wife Harla and I would go to garage sales and flea markets on the weekend. Harla’s first job was at record store in Mystic CT called the Mystic Disc, which is still in business to this day; she is the reason I started collecting records. We never found anything that outstanding but it was just fun to dig because you never knew what you might find.
My CD and vinyl collection differ in that they’re from different phases life; I find myself not listening to the hair bands of the late eighties anymore. But both contain blues, jazz, soul and various forms of rock.
D8R: You and I both bought a bunch of records from Little Boxes Vintage when they were open in Ft. Collins. For folks that don’t know that store can you tell us a little about that store?
Jason: Little Boxes Vintage was cool man, Jimmy Richter was the owner and always had some great records to look through; he also ran the Choice City Stomp concerts here in town. It was always fun to go hang out at the shop with Jimmy and talk records and bands he had booked for upcoming shows; he introduced me to some great bands like The Hooten Hollers, Left Lane Cruiser and artists Charlie Parr, Willy Tea Taylor and many others. I bought a lot of records at his shop.
D8R: It looks like you have a bunch of blues records. Is that your favorite genre to collect? Who are some of your favorite blues artists?
Jason: I do have a lot of blues records, and a majority of them were bought at Jimmy’s shop. He always had a amazing selection of used blues and blues compilation records. Some of my favorite blues artists are Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry, Lightnin Hopkins, T Model Ford, Charles Caldwell, and Junior Kimbrough. It was my favorite genre to collect for a while but I’m always looking for something new to take me in a different direction. Last year I listened to MF Doom’s album Vaudville Villian and that sent me down a Doom rabbit hole for awhile. Lately it’s been the folk music stylings of Jake Xerxes Fussell, his new album Good And Green Again is something special.
D8R: What are some records that you have hunted for for a long time? What have you found after a long hunt and what are you still looking for?
Jason: Some records that I’ve found after a long search have been, Willis Alan Ramsey’s one and only album which I found in a 1$ bin in Loveland; also found Tom Waits “Heartattack & Vine there. Recently I knocked John Hartford’s “Mark Twang” of the list and Can’s “Ege Banyasi” at a store in Longmont. I am still searching for Paul Pena’s first record, Guy Clark “Old No 1”, Chris Whitley “Dirt Floor”, Dope Lemon “Honey Bones” and Marlene Shaw “ Live in Montreux”. I’ve found some online but the prices can be pretty high especially the Paul Pena record which I recently saw go from $41 to $295 in the last ten seconds of a e-bay auction; so I guess I’ll just keep flipping through stacks in hopes of getting lucky which is more fun for me anyways. I also search out labels I enjoy; Smithsonian Folkways, Flying Fish, Shelter, Arhoolie, Chess and Oh Boy are some that I’ll always pull out and give a go.
D8R: You get together with a few guys on a regular basis and listen to records. Can you tell us about how that works and how that group came together?
Jason: The way the group works is we get together every few months when we can agree on a evening; which can be difficult sometimes. We each bring a few different albums to share. Albums are played in full and the hope is to bring one that makes everyone shut up and listen with the worst case scenario being the needle gets lifted, which is brutal. I’ve learned to bring variety so I can gauge the evening’s energy so that doesn’t happen. I was invited to the group several years ago and it’s been a lot of fun sharing and discovering artists and bands together as well as going to concerts. There are special club nights like Christmas where records are unwrapped, played, stolen, argued over, stolen again, etc.
It’s a great group of guys and I’m grateful they let me join. Sharing what I have found with friends is the best a part of the record collecting hobby, so thank you John, Tim, Andy, Seth and Paul.