Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kevin Beal from Black Buffalo Records in Halifax!

Next up we have Kevin Beal, owner of Black Buffalo Records in Halifax Nova Scotia! I got to meet Kevin recently at the Moncton record expo and he was a great guy. He had a great selection of vinyl and very fair prices! I encourage you to check out his store!

Here we go!

Introduce yourself!

Name: Kevin Beal

City/Town: Halifax NS

Job: Owner of Black Buffalo Records/CO-Organizer of Halifax Record Fair

Maritime Vinyl (MV) - What do you collect? Vinyl; CD’s; Cassettes; 8 tracks; bootlegs; music memorabilia; magazine; etc..

Kevin Beal (KB) - I collect all genres of vinyl, hip hop cassettes, Gig posters and portable turntables

MV - Do you prefer one audio format more than others? (example: vinyl more than cd’s)

KB - I prefer vinyl at home and cds in the car

MV - What is your favourite genre of music? Some of your favourite artists?

KB - Im a huge fan of stoner rock, blues  and funk. My favourite artists are Kyuss, Brant Bjork, QOTSA, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Bootsy Collins, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley

MV - How big is your collection?

KB - I have over 2000lps and over 2500 45s

MV - What is the first album you remember purchasing? Do you still have it?

KB - I remembering buying a Kool Moe Dee and Fat Boys 45 from Discus in the Mic Mac Mall when I was about 8 and I think I have a copy of them

MV - What is your favourite item in your collection?

KB - My grunge collection. I have original presses of Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Mad Season.

MV - Do you still actively collect or was this something you concentrated on in the past?

KB - I like to get out and dig through crates and boxes as much as I can.

MV - What is your preferred way of adding to your collection? Shopping online? Flea Markets? Independent music stores? Etc… Any favourite store or websites?

KB - All the above. I just like adding to my collection any way I can.

MV - How do you store your collection? Shelves? Boxes? Your attic?

KB - Shelves

MV - What is on your “wish list” at the moment?

KB - Blind Melon and Stone Temple Pilots

MV - Do you know any other collectors?

KB - I have huge network of collectors.

MV - You own Black Buffalo Records (www.blackbuffalorecords.ca) ! What is it like owning a record store in the east coast in 2012?

KB - Its been very exciting to own my own store. I have only been open a short time, but the support from the city is tremedous


MV - You must be a relatively new independent record store? I never saw you last time I was in Halifax (which would have been Halifax record fair 1).

KB - Yes, I started after the first record fair selling out of my garage. I join Plan B Coop in August and have been selling from that location ever since.

MV - What’s with the name and what’s with the big scary buffalo head?

KB - I had to change my name quickly as I was threaten with legal action with my first name “In Vinyl We Trust”. Black Buffalo comes from my favourite color and animal. Im metis and the bison is a very sacred animal to us and I wanted my business to reflect my heritage.

MV - Do you have a lot of collections coming in the door or are they becoming harder to find?

KB - I cant keep up with it! I wish I had more money to purchase everything that comes through the door, but I have to show some restraint.

MV - You also co-organize the Halifax record fair! This has been a great success for you guys. Does this blend well with owning your own record store? Or does it take business away from one another?

KB - The record fair certainly compliments the store, I could not have started my store without the fair. The fair has provided tremendous opportunities for me to grow my business.

MV - What do you think of Record Store Day? Have you been able to participate yet?

KB - I think RSD is a great idea and have participated as a buyer since the start, as a store, hopefully next year I will sell RSD itmes.

MV - Is your store able to ship vinyl?

KB - Currently, Im not set up to ship any where.

MV - Are collectors interested in new releases in vinyl or are they leaning more towards the vintage lps?

KB - Depends on the collector and what stage their collection is in. If they are young and just starting their collection, I find they like the cheap used lps, however, if they been collecting a while, they tend to buy reissues or good condition used.

MV - Are your customers a younger crowd? University students? Older folks? Majority?

KB - My target market is male between 17 and 30.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Moncton Record Expo Review!

 What a great day! Awoke at 6am to leave for the Moncton Record Expo with my Wife and Daughter. That’s right, 6AM…. On a SATURDAY! Now that’s addicted to vinyl records!!

Moncton is about an hour and a half drive from Fredericton, and we decided to take the scenic route to enjoy the morning! So we followed the Saint John River up on the north side until we caught up to the Trans Canada in Jemseg. . About a half a kilometer before we were done following the river we pulled over and watched a bald eagle about 15 feet in front of us sit on a piece of driftwood along the river. Now that’s worth taking the long way! Great way to start off the morning!

Pulled into Moncton shortly after 8AM and went directly to the record expo. We always like to get there early to get the full selection of the vinyl. Usually I just walk around these expos aimlessly and spend all of my money on the first batch of cool albums I see, but I approached this expo a little different. I actually made a list to bring with me! So this time I still walked around aimlessly, looking even dumber with a list in my hand!

The number one item on my list was the “Concert for Bangladesh” triple lp. I am finishing a book by Chris O’Dell who helped organize this concert with George Harrison and really wanted to hear this concert (and own the lp!). I’ll be finishing the book this evening and plan on writing a review of it very soon, so stay tuned! My entire venture at the expo was based on finding this one album.

When I first arrived I started going through the unoccupied crate of records I could find. Turned out to be Kevin Beal’s vinyl! Kevin is the owner of Black Buffalo records in Halifax and co-organizer of the Halifax Record Fair! I actually have an interview from him that I plan on posting this week. Kevin’s table was set alongside Phil MacDonald’s, the other organizer of the Halifax Record Fair (See Phil’s interview here). It was good to actually meet these guys. I do a lot of emailing back and forth but never actually had the opportunity to meet them.  I’ll admit these guys really had some great vinyl, and well-priced! I always find a few vendors at these events that think their vinyl is gold and charge three times what their worth, but not these guys. Great fair prices! I bought a few from them..  “Queen Live Killers” and “Dylan’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”. Great condition! (I am so picky about condition of vinyl, too picky really..)


No Bangladesh lp’s!

I made it to a few other vendors and picked up some common lps. Like “The Car’s” lp I wanted. These common records are not usually worth the shipping on eBay, so I really try to take advantage of finding them at these events (and of course record stores in general).

I ventured to Birdman Records table! These guys are from Ottawa (see interview here) and had some great vinyl! A lot of cool colored lp’s and picture discs. They really had a great selection of high end albums. They treated me great as well.. I got a nice copy of “Blind Faith” and they threw in a copy of “Live Cream”.. This was very kind.. especially when I never ask for a deal.. If vinyl is priced fair I’ll buy it with no bargaining.. If it is overpriced.. I don’t even bother trying to get a fair price out of them.. If they don’t realize they are overpriced, they will learn. If they do realize, stop ripping people off!


Still no Bangladesh lp’s!

Another lp I was looking for was “Queen – self titled”. I found a great copy of this at Scheherazade Books table. I have bought records from them before and always enjoy talking vinyl with the owner. Great guy! I also got a nice “George Harrison” lp!

Still no Bangladesh lps!

Went to a few other tables and picked up a “Leon Russell” album I was looking for as well as a “Mary Hopkin”.. About ready to call it a day when I decided to just yell out to the Vinyl God’s above…. “Does anyone have the “Concert for Bangladesh” LP’s????”

“I do!”…... who is it? None other than the guy who sells at the Fredericton flea market.. That’s right, my home town!!.. Who would have thought! He had an absolute near mint copy including the booklet and the brown paper sleeves!! Cue the fireworks!! the dog catching a frisbee!!.. Somewhere an Angel finally gets her wings!! Whoo Hoo!!

So overall it was a great day for vinyl collecting. My 5 month old Daughter was a huge hit with all the music fans! Marty pulled off another great record expo and I am already anxious for the fall expo! Good to see a lot of you there!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Being the old guy that doesn't understand today's music!

Pretty disappointed in television last night. Decided to watch the American Idol finale because it was mentioned that Aerosmith was going to perform.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have it out for American Idol for the same reason most people do. Seems like the majority of people who hate shows like this is just because it is cool to hate them (like Nickelback). I give everything a fair chance and come up with my own decisions. This includes television shows, bands, books.. I never base my decision on somebody else’s taste. Too much risk of missing some great entertainment!

What made me sad was what mainstream music has come to. I felt so damn old watching this show. I kept telling my wife that “music just isn’t the same as it was when I was younger”. I can’t believe I finally turned into that old foggy guy, but I have.

Sure Rhianna looked good showing off her legs. Any guy will admit that. She also has one hell of a voice which she has proven in a few cases (Eminem Recovery is what comes to mind). But if she was wearing baggy clothes or weighed a hundred pounds more, nobody would care about her. She is selling sex appeal and that is all. Just like the majority of the female singers out there. Now there are a few obvious exceptions of course, Adele being the main recent one in my opinion. But Rihanna’s music was absolute garbage. Sure it was a cool dance number and theatrical performance, but it is pretty sad when this is what is dominating the charts.

This was my first time giving a Rihanna song a chance, and these were the opening lyrics:

"I've been everywhere, man
Looking for someone
Someone who can please me
Love me all night long
I've been everywhere, man
Looking for you babe
Looking for you babe
Searching for you babe"

Do you think if Adele was singing that garbage she would have sold almost ten million copies of 21 in the USA?

Throughout the entire two hour episode all that kept going through my head was that interview Billy Corgan gave at SXSW. Talking about how he was part of a music era that changed the world, and how all the bands out there now wouldn’t have stood a chance twenty years ago. After Billy’s interview I read the comments below. Everybody saying he is just bitching. Well… yeah…. he is…. BUT he makes a lot of damn sense. Like he said the only way to get noticed now as a band is to light yourself on fire on youtube. Nobody cares about the talent, they just want the next cool thing. Like he said, todays generation has a goal of being famous, rather than being respected. He also pointed out that at the turn of every decade there is a moment of music that is absolute garbage, until it finally gets sorted out and the good bands prevail. But this time it got stuck at the garbage stage. I’m with you Billy! Well said!

Now I know every generation has their teeny bopper music. And there is a place for this. When I was younger my sister was always listening to New Kids on the Block, and my wife was into Backstreet Boys. The teenage girls need this and I think its healthy. And these groups were perfect for that. But these performance at American Idol are what is mainstream success. This is what the majority of the population enjoys.

Everybody is entitled to their opinions and I respect that. If you like this music that’s great! But again, it disappoints me tremendously. 

There were a few highlights of the show. John Fogerty being one. Except the fact that he was playing his songs at such a lower pitch to give the American Idol winner a chance of actually hitting the notes. You could tell John was holding back. Sure the producers didn’t want him to outperform the new American idol. As well, Aerosmith was great. It is noticeable that they have aged but they can still pull off a rockin’ performance. However, it sure wasn’t worth putting up with the other two hours of the show.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

John Westhaver from Birdman Sound in Ottawa!

Got a short interview here! But still any interview is fun to post! Looks like John runs a great record store in Ottawa!

Here we go!

Introduce yourself!

Name:  John Westhaver

City/Town:  Ottawa

Job: Cultural enlightenment ambassador....curator of Birdman Sound (since 1991), Live music Promoter (Dirtbombs, Bellrays, Brant Bjork, Atomic Bitchwax, Andre Williams and hundreds more over 20 years), Host of “Friday Morning Cartunes” 93.1 FM, www.ckcufm.com in Ottawa since 1988. , drummer in “the band whose name is a symbol” aka... “TBWNIS” or “TBWNIAS” (punch any of it into google...we have 5 vinyl LP’s out and at least 5 videos on either VIMEO or You Tube)


Maritime Vinyl (MV) - What do you collect? Vinyl; CD’s; Cassettes; 8 tracks; bootlegs; music memorabilia; magazine; etc..

John Westhaver (JW) - Since the late 60’s I’ve been consumed by wax....

MV - What is your favourite genre of music?

JW - Free Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, Prog and experimental

MV - How big is your collection?

JW - 5000 LPs give er’ take


MV - What is your preferred way of adding to your collection? Shopping online? Flea Markets? Independent music stores? Etc… Any favourite store or websites?

JW - I run the most eclectic store in the country (not my opinion) I also buy a lot of stuff online but only new LP’s never used.......


MV - How do you store your collection? Shelves? Boxes? Your attic?

JW - Shelves

MV - Does your significant other support your collection? Did you have to convince him/her?

JW - She never says a word......

MV - What is on your “wish list” at the moment?

JW - A private press lp from 1974 by a German band called Tortilla Flat....heard of it?

MV - Do you know any other collectors?

JW - I know everyone......just kidding, but sadly yes too many people that are way more OCD than me....

MV - You own Birdman Sound (www.birdmansound.blogspot.ca) in Ottawa, Ontario. On your profile it says that you have been selling music since the 70’s. What is it like owning a record store in 2012 compared to the 70’s?

JW - The floor has become closer to the ceiling....as in the overhead cost of “doing” business is ridiculous......and will only increase.....!

MV - Are there a lot of vinyl collectors in Ottawa?

JW -  ..........YES

MV - Do you find customers are looking more for new vinyl or the vintage lps? 

JW - Both

MV - Are the majority of your customers younger? University students? Adults?  

JW - No “kids” really that’s a myth.......Uni students some, mostly

income earners . Average age  would be 40

MV - I understand you are coming to New Brunswick for the Moncton record fair. Have you been here before?

JW - Not since the early 80’s when I was with Magic Forest Music Store In Fredericton (where I grew up)

MV - Do you go to many record fairs in Ontario?

JW - We host a big one here twice a year.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Marty Leblanc from Live Wire Music Emporium and organizer of the Moncton Record Expo!

To keep our record fair momentum going. We now have Marty Leblanc from Live Wire in Moncton as our next interview!

Marty is a great guy and I always enjoy taking a look around his store.

He is the sole organizer of the Moncton record expo which has been a great success. I am sure most of my readers have been to Marty's expo before. The next one is in less than two weeks! I'll see you all there!

Here we go!

Name: Marty Leblanc

City/Town: Moncton, NB

Job: Music Store Owner ( Live Wire Music Emporium)


Maritime Vinyl (MV) - What do you collect? Vinyl; CD’s; Cassettes; 8 tracks; bootlegs; music memorabilia; magazine; etc..

Marty Leblanc (ML) - I’m what they say a “Music Junky” I started collecting when I was 6. I was big into collecting Hit Parader magazines and cassettes back in the 80’s. I was also into old school memorabilia like Beatles/Kiss items ex: 45 holder, figurines, and name brand products with your favourite band/artist. When I was 16, I went to my first flea market and fell in love with all the used items people were selling like Record Players, Vinyl, and 8-tracks. I still remember picking up a Meat Loaf reel-to-reel for $5.

MV - Do you prefer one audio format more than others? (example: vinyl more than cd’s)

ML - I actually like both. I find CDs are quick and easy for trips or walk around the park and have a clean sound. Vinyl on the other hand has a warmer sound to it for that sitting at home and relax time.

MV - What is your favourite genre of music? Some of your favourite artists?

ML - I like 70’s Rock and Metal. I also listen to Blues, Country, and Rap. For my favourite bands/artist well the list is endless but in the top 10 I would have to say The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Hank Williams, Pink Floyd,  Scorpions,  Ozzy/Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper.

MV - How big is your collection?

ML - I have a little over 2000 lps in my personal collection right now and over 5000 lps at the store.

MV - Do you concentrate your collection on one or more artists in particular?

ML - I collect mostly 70’s/80’s Rock & Metal but I do have a variety of Punk, Jazz/Blues, Rap, Country & French records as well.

MV - What is the first album you remember purchasing? Do you still have it?

ML - My first record was Led Zeppelin IV that I found at the yearly Sussex Flea Market back in 1996. I do still have it in my collection but over the years I picked up a better copy.

MV - What is your favourite item in your collection?

ML - I would have to say my banned copy of Guns ‘N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction is my favourite Item.

MV - Do you still actively collect or was this something you concentrated on in the past?

ML - I’m always searching for that odd gem. Even when collections come by the store I bring them home first to compare the condition with my own (the advantage of a record store owner).

MV - What is your preferred way of adding to your collection? Shopping online? Flea Markets? Independent music stores? Etc… Any favourite store or websites?  

ML - My favourite places would have to be Yard Sales and Flea Markets ‘cause you never know what you’ll find. I also like going to stores around Canada. My favourites are Birdman Sound Ottawa ON, Beatniks Montreal PQ, Second Spin Saint John NB, Backstreet Records Saint John NB, Select Sounds Bedford NS

MV - How do you store your collection? Shelves? Boxes? Your attic? I have metal shelves that are nice and secure.

ML - Does your significant other support your collection? Did you have to convince him/her? She doesn’t understand why I need so much music but accepts it knowing I’m a music store owner

MV - What is on your “wish list” at the moment?

ML - At the moment I’m looking for: Beatles – Yesterday & Today (Butcher Cover)

MV - Do you know any other collectors?

ML - I know lots of collectors on line as well around the Maritimes. We always talk about our finds and try to wheel and deal and trade items from our collections.

MV - You have been the owner/operator of  “Live Wire Music Emporium” for a number of years. What is it like to own your own independent record store in 2012?

ML - It’s hard work and exciting at the same time. Hours go by fast during the day when you’re doing something you like and there’s always something to do.

MV - Do you still get a lot of new faces walking into your store or is it mainly repeat customers?

ML - It’s actually both, you’ll get your regulars that come in once a week to chat and share music stories. Then you get what I call “Hawks” which are customers that come in every day to have first picks on anything that comes in the store. Around May – Aug is tourist season so you get all sorts of customers from all around. I’ve seen people from New York, Toronto, California and even England come by to shop.

MV - Are vinyl record collections becoming easier or harder to find?

ML - I find used records are getting harder because there are more people collecting. It’s good that companies are getting back in the game to print vinyl cause it’s easier to find that hard gem for your collection.

MV - What do you think of “record store day” and has it be beneficial for Live Wire?

ML - I love “record store day” ‘cause it’s like Christmas for Record Freaks like myself. You never know what they’ll be printing that year. For us as well we like to have sales and clear out some of our used vinyl for the public.

MV - You also host the semi-annual “Moncton Record Expo”. I have been a vendor at this event before as well as a customer and am always happy to see such a huge turnout for this event. Has it grown since you started the expo?

ML - I find each year the attendance grows higher and higher. We also have variety of vendors as far from Ottawa and Montreal this year that want to book so I’m surprised and happy how much the word went out.


MV - I know a lot of people that plan their weekend around your event. Do you hear of many people travelling far to get there?

ML - Absolutely, It’s all over the Maritimes. From Saint-John, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, Truro. I also saw people from Bangor, Montreal, and Alberta coming down. If they’re vinyl fanatics and can get a cheap plain ticket or they have family around here they’re definitely coming to spend some money at the Expo.

MV - This event has been a great success and you get a lot of vendors. Are most vendors record store owners? Or do you get many collectors trying to trade their vinyl?

ML - It’s actually both, we have private collectors, music store owners as well dealers from flee markets and internet stores Ex: Ebay, Kijiji


MV - I just did an interview with one of the co-organizers of the Halifax record expo, and he also mentions how he is looking forward to your Moncton expo. Has the Halifax record expo taken away from yours or is it healthy to have both. There seems to be a large crowd at both.

ML - Not a bit, if you’re crazy about vinyl like I am you’ll go to both shows. I’m actually glad that there’s one in Halifax again ‘cause they haven’t had any for a while and for them to be on #3 must mean that they’re doing something right. I’ve only heard positive feedback from the HRF and being in Halifax it brings in a different crowd of vendors and people.