Home Grown: The Led Zeppelin bootleg collector

Home Grown: The Led Zeppelin bootleg collector

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Because every record collection has a story.

Home Grown is our series profiling you lot and your excellent record collections. Taking our cue from the brilliant submissions to the #VFRecordCollections thread on Instagram, we want to share a little of your hard-earned love for vinyl with the world.

Each week, we’ll be profiling a different collector from around the world and finding out what makes them tick. Want in? Send us a pic of your collection and a few words about your collection to social@thevinylfactory.com.

Name: Brandon Newell

Location: North Little Rock, AR

Size of collection (approx.): 1,000

How long have you been collecting for? I’ve been collecting records since 2010.

What part of your set-up are you most proud of?

Stereo

When I started collecting vinyl, I naturally picked through my parents collection. Growing up, I always knew that their records were in the garage, but my parents insisted that they would likely be warped and melted together. When I finally opened the box, the albums were in the same condition they were in when they boxed them up almost three decades prior. I gladly took any of The Beatles, Black Sabbath, and CSNY I could find and took them away to my house before they could say no.

I had some cheap equipment for a while and it wasn’t quite living up to my expectations of what vinyl should sound like. For Christmas that year I got an Audio Technica AT-LP120 turntable and played it through an old surround sound. I was happy with the turntable, but still wanted more from the speakers. I went back to my parents to see if they still had any of their old stereo setup that I could use.

It’s at this point that they gave me their JVC JA-S22 Stereo Integrated Amplifier, JVC CD Player and Tape Deck, and the Norman Laboratory Model 8 speakers. My dad got this gear in 1980 and it sounds wonderful. I took it home and was absolutely blown away and it has not left my setup since. I may upgrade some equipment in the near future, but I will always have a system that includes this original stereo equipment and records that were passed down to me.

Records

After I had picked over my parents collection, I started buying my own records. There was a little flea market down the road that had a killer vinyl selection. In that little booth, I got bit by a bug that would influence my collection from that point forward. The booth had Black Sabbath, The Beatles, Pink Floyd all in pristine (and cheap) condition.

The thing that caught my eye however was a 4LP box set on the wall called The Destroyer by Led Zeppelin (spelled Zeplin on the box). I had always burned CDs growing up so I was familiar with the idea of pirated/bootlegged music, but I never realised that people did the same on vinyl. I took that box set home and was amazed at the band I heard.

I had always heard the amazing studio albums and cleaned up official live material by Zeppelin, but this was different. This was raw, uncut, unclean, sloppy, exhilarating. I had been bitten by the Led Zeppelin bootleg bug and it still has its hold on me. I went back to that flea market every few weeks until I had all of the bootlegs he had to offer. I now have around 25 Led Zeppelin bootlegs along with a growing collection of other artists live bootlegs.

What does your record collection mean to you?

My collection is very important to me. It can transport me back to a time in my life, completely change my mood, and it provides endless hours of experiences in both listening to the music and reading liner notes. I also have two young children, so my collection will mean being able to introduce them to the music that has shaped me over the years and eventually pass down albums to them that are a representation of myself.

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