Record Collectors

Record Collector: Doug Wurzer, aka microphone_check_1_2

Doug Wurzer is a 48-year-old music lifer living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A married father of two girls, he works as a Health and Safety manager with a renewable energy company. Doug also has one of the sickest vinyl collections I've come across on Instagram, so it's only fitting that he gets featured on No Echo.

How long have you been collecting records?

I have been at it now for over 37 years, ever since my brother and I combined our allowance money to buy the Black Sabbath Paranoid album. He moved on to other interests and I kept the record. That pretty much kicked off my weekly routine of visiting record stores and buying every hard rock or metal album with a scary cover. 

Some time in the mid to late '80s, traditional metal got lame and I transitioned into listening to thrash metal which naturally led to crossover, punk, and hardcore. Then as all old metal heads do, I never forget my first love and it was back to all forms of extreme metal, doom metal, and some post-hardcore and drone. All the while, I was buying albums and 7”s of everything I had gotten in to.

Where/how do you usually find your records these days?

I have kind of come around full circle and really enjoy hunting at record stores again. I definitely hit eBay and Discogs hard for a long time, but with the weak Canadian dollar and super expensive shipping costs, I have to be selective on what I mail order anymore. Plus, crate digging is a blast! I like finding something I never would have considered looking for if I was only online.

My job requires me to travel a bit, so that affords me the opportunity to visit record stores across the country. I consider myself pretty lucky to be able to drop in at record stores from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal on a monthly basis.  

What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?

I would love to say that I was into the hardcore scene from day one and I was able to pick up all my rare records for $2 directly from the band, but in reality I grew up in a small Canadian city, 5000 light years from anywhere cool, both culturally or geographically. It wasn’t until the internet and eBay that I crushed my want list hard! I finally had the means, and more importantly the opportunity to score all the big ticket items I never believed I would ever see in my life. 

The most expensive one by a long shot was Judge Chung King Can Suck It. I saw someone was offering one up on a message board and I went for it. I think the dude lived in Spain. We got past the language barrier and agreed on a price within two or three e-mails. I paid the going rate for it at the time, which was still a lot, but honestly I never thought I would ever see it pop up again. Seize the day and all that.    

If you had to pick one record label you feel had/has the best track record of quality releases, who would that be and what are some key titles you love?

I’m going to go with Death Records. Death was a subsidiary label of Metal Blade that released pretty much the greatest crossover albums in history! 

From 1985 to 1989, Death released albums like DRI Dealing With It and Crossover, C.O.C. Animosity and Technocracy, and the first three Cryptic Slaughter albums. They also released albums from lesser-known but awesome crossover bands like Angkor Wat, School of Violence, and my personal favorite, Beyond Possession.   

Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?

Damn, that’s tough. I guess I will go with my yellow cover second press of the Minor Threat Filler 7”. I was still relatively new to the eBay game back in 1999 or 2000 and probably had no business buying such a big ticket item, as money was kind of tight. My girlfriend at the time, later to become my wife, actually supported my decision to bid on it with money I didn’t have as she knew how much it would mean to me. She even helped me win the auction while I was at work. We went a month without dining out and had to put off buying furniture, but I look back on that time as special.

Or Slayer Reign In Blood because SLAYER!   

Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?

Not really, at least not anymore.
 
Like most straight edge hardcore collectors, I went a little nuts in the mid-'00s with buying every version of every release from every label. It was not uncommon for labels like Bridge Nine or Deathwish to put up five versions of the same record at the pre-order. Then came the represses! A couple years ago, I went through a period where I was just fed up with the non-stop repressing of records on different colored vinyl that somehow I felt forced or pressured to buy just to keep my collection “complete”.
 
What I finally realized was that those feelings of being taken advantage of were all on me. Who am I to say a label shouldn’t repress their records if the demand is there? I took responsibility that it was me who made my collection look like a distro and I started selling everything but the first pressing. Sometimes, I sold those too and only kept one copy. The money I made selling all those records let me buy more albums from lots of different bands I hadn’t collected before.

If there is anything that drives me nuts right now though, it’s how close the represses and reissues look to the original version. You have to be a damn forensic scientist to tell the difference these days. Thankfully, I carry my phone everywhere and can pull up Discogs to research while I am digging. Its saved me from wasting money a few times.   

Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?

Hands down, Misfits Cough/Cool 7” on Blank Records tops the list. 

I hate bootlegs. No, I despise bootlegs. I fully understand that the marketplace supports cheap and readily available versions of rare out of print records, but damn, some Misfits bootlegs are so close to the original that they can only be verified as real by feeling the record’s edge, counting the rings between songs, reading the matrix or what isn’t in the matrix, and checking the paper quality. I just can’t stomach the idea of paying $3000+ for a counterfeit record. There is no way I’m finding one locally in Calgary, so I would be left to the mercy of eBay and buying sight unseen. I just can’t do it. So, I guess the hunt continues.

Other records on my want list I can never seem to find are things like:

  • Spazz — 1” Funky Ass Lil Platter
  • Heavy Load — Full Speed at High Level 
  • Minor Threat — Out of Step with the $8.00 price on the cover
  • Legend — From the Fjords
  • the original,self-released Cause for Alarm 7”,
  • Ramones — Mondo Bizarro US press on Radioactive
  • Cro-Mags — Age of Quarrel with Run-D.M.C labels
  • The remaining 23 versions of the Have Heart demo 7” I am missing to go along with the 46 I already have (Yes, I know how insane that sounds)

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Follow Doug on Instagram.

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