From the years 1993 to 1996, Hardware was one of the best zines chronicling the hardcore scene. The zine was a passion project of New Jersey music fans Brett Beach and David Koenig. Around the same period, Brett also ran In My Blood Records, a label that released material by Floorpunch and 97a.
An avid vinyl head, I asked Brett to be part of the site's Record Collector series.
How long have you been collecting records?
I had heavy metal records since about 1982, but didn’t really collect them. It was just the media I bought for a bit (then cassettes). I bought my first hardcore record in 1987 and quickly started stocking up. Luckily for me, I was friends with a pretty well established collector already, so I picked up on his mentality. It didn’t take long to hear about the already legendary records that everyone wanted so you immediately start looking for those, talking about them, dreaming about finding them in a used bin for $1. My collection was meager for a bit, but there was a whole world of hardcore to buy. And most of the records you could pick up then, which were common, have become collectible over the years.
Where/how do you usually find your records?
Nowadays it’s pretty much eBay and Discogs. But I still do some trading. Back in my early collecting days we had a circuit of record stores we’d hit up regularly. Of course Vintage Vinyl (there were two for a while), Pier Platters in Hoboken, PREx, the old Venus on 8th Street then the bigger one on St. Mark’s with all the hardcore downstairs, Bleeker Bob’s (mostly for looking; I almost never bought from there), CB’s Record Canteen, Second Coming… the list goes on. I went to record conventions (mostly for KISS records). I went to California twice, basically to go to record stores.
Of course I was always on the lookout at shows for bands selling their records or people selling their collections (which I didn’t have a whole lot of luck in). I did a lot of mail-order for whatever records and demos were coming out that interested me. Sending “well-hidden cash” to Rev and praying my records would actually come… someday.
I would scan the MRR classifieds line-by-line every month, banging out letters and SASEs to anyone selling their collections, which actually led to a great score once that almost cost me my life. Through the slow process of mail and phone calls I agreed to buy an AF United Blood 7” for $50. I was in college at the time (1991-ish) and essentially broke, but I scraped the $50 together and met up with the seller in NYC, alone on a weeknight, on a corner near NYU. She hands me the record, I hand her the $50, we shake hands and go our separate ways. I head east down 3rd street towards the east side for whatever reason and I hear a lot of shouting behind me, then in front of me. I’m in front of a long NYU building; I pick my head up and see there’s two groups of guys at each end of the block yelling shit back and forth. One guy at the far end of the block in front of me pulls a gun and points it in my general direction and in the direction of the guys behind me. As luck would have it I came to a doorway and duck inside, plastering myself against the locked door. I looked down at the AF 7” and thought, “Damn, I’m going to die alone in New York City for a United Blood." I guess the gun scared the other guys off because I peeked my head out and both groups were gone. I jumped out into the middle of 3rd street and hauled ass to San Loco for a couple tacos and to stare at my United Blood.
What is the most you paid for a single album, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
I paid $100 for a dead mint DRI 7”, which was one of my top wants at the time; probably about 15 years ago. It popped up on eBay as a Buy It Now. I must have caught it just as the guy listed it. Turns out he was from NJ. I spoke to him on the phone and he told me he bought the record from the band when they played at the Dirt Club or somewhere in like 1983. So I’m sitting there pondering it for a few minutes when I snapped out of it and realized I better grab this thing because someone else will and I probably won’t find one as nice for $100 again. That was a pretty big leap. I think my previous record was maybe $35. Over the next couple years I bought a Teen Idles 7” and a Misfits Evil Live numbered Fiend Club 7” each for $100 or $125.
What is your most prized record and why?
It has to be my Judge Chung King Can Suck It! LP. My wife knows: if there’s a fire, GRAB THE CHUNG KING! I wanted that record bad. Judge were one of my favorite bands. I saw them many times, and it was eating me alive not having a Chung King. When it came out I didn’t have anything that Rev would trade for one; GI Joes (who gives a shit about dolls?), Misfits 7”s, etc. From the get-go I had to have one. Then Reconstruction got a pile of them as part of Porcelly’s collection, and still I couldn’t get one (they sold them mail-order auction style). I held them in my hands! It was killing me.
So eventually I heard about a good collector who had one for trade around 1997 and we worked out a deal. I still feel that I over-traded, but having a Chung King outweighed having the items I traded for it in my mind.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the whole record collecting scene?
No, not really. Records are just so cool. Yes, the game has changed and evolved and I haven’t really kept up to some extent. But, thankfully, I got a lot of good records over a long period of time, because I can’t hang with the market value in 2017. I still have that old mentality that I can’t, or shouldn’t, pay a huge sum of money for a hardcore record. But I will for a couple of my top wants. If anything frustrates me, and “frustrate” probably isn’t the right word, it’s reissues. I’m just not into reissues of records I already have that have a million different versions. No matter what, everyone is going to want the original the most.
Which albums are still on your want list that you’ve had a tough time tracking down through the years?
The Bad Religion 7” and the Major Conflict 7” are #1 and #2. They have eluded me. I’d add Heart Attack God Is Dead, but I’m never getting that. It’s on the “unattainable” list with The Fix Vengeance and Necros Sex Drive. My top non-hardcore want is a copy of KISS S/T LP white label promo. They’re out there, but big bucks.
Follow Brett Beach on Instagram (even though he's a Yankees fan).