Jud Hambleton lives in Pennsylvania where he's in the TechOps field in that thing we refer to as "Corporate America." The married father of one has a very eclectic taste in music, which I always admire in people. It also turns out that Jud is avid collector, so there was no question he would join our little club.
How long have you been collecting records?
One of my very first records that I called my own was a Flash Gordon 7”, not the Japanese band Flash Gordon you might be thinking of, but the Flash Gordon movie theme song by Queen. I started collecting around 1980.
Where/how do you usually find your records these days?
I look anywhere and everywhere there might be a crate to dig through. Records shops, thrift stores, garage sales (aka, yard sales, car boot sales, etc). Supporting local record shops and ordering online through labels, bands, and distros is an absolute must. Discogs is great, too, but I try and limit myself which is easier said than done!
What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
I'm glad this is not about box sets because there would be some embarrassing numbers. The most I paid for a single record is $70 for an original pressing of Swans' Cop from my local shop, Matones Music. If there is a small vinyl category, the most I paid was $50 for a Meatmen 7”. I try to stretch my record budget to strike a balance between quality and quantity. It really is amazing how much a single record can go for, an original red pressing of Youth of Today’s Break Down the Walls comes to mind.
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?
There are so many consistent hardcore and metal labels but If I had to pick just one, I would have to go with Relapse as they have been going strong for 25+ years with a wide range of metal releases that I continue to enjoy year after year. From early, essential death metal releases such as the Suffocation EP and Incantation’s Onward to Golgotha full-length to quality releases from Neurosis and Unsane. From significant grindcore releases from Brutal Truth and Benumb to more recent fabulous albums from Gatecreeper and Iron Reagan.
It's hard not to mention and give respect to all the smaller labels and distros (and zines too!) that don't get as much notoriety as the likes of a Dischord, or a Metal Blade, or a Deathwish. There are so many of these small, yet very important labels through the years that have contributed to our angry music scene, such as Combat, Slap A Ham, Escape Artist, to name a few. I believe it is very important to make a conscious effort to support these DIY labels. Most recently I have been obsessing over To Live a Lie Records, Dead Tank Records, Rotten to the Core Records, and Headsplit Records. No matter what styles or subgenres you are like, you can find small labels that have great music for you.
Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?
This is really a tough one, but any of my choices would revolve around my older brother Brian, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 26. I still have a few handfuls of his records and it is quite stirring to put on his copy of Kill 'Em All or Everything Went Black from over 30 years ago.
If I had to pick one it would be D.V.C. Descendant Upheaval from 1989, an obscure record on an obscure label. Hearing this record always takes me back to 1990, to my older brother’s apartment, where I first heard and fell in love with the release and promptly made what was a probably a 4th generation tape to tape copy. I picked up the record 10 or 12 years later for a nominal sum but the emotion and memories it brings are so powerful and vivid that I will always keep it close to my heart. Miss you, bro.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?
Not really. The scene is really flourishing and it’s great to see a new generation get involved with learning and collecting. Encouraging my young nephew several years ago, 12 at the time, and seeing him go from the first surprised realization that “you have to turn it over!?” to now debating various turntable types and setups is really fun to experience. I see the same at my local shop with younger people coming in and wanting to learn about records. My simple theory is the more people into records means there will be more records and the more records the better.
An important part of collecting to me is being a part of community, where you can share and discuss your interests but also learn about new ones. I'm fortunate to have a really great local shop that promotes this community atmosphere. The community aspect is one of the reasons I like Record Store Day because any day dedicated to records is a day I want to be a part of! Of course, it’s not perfect and it can be frustrating the way RSD is marketed with limiting releases, which in turn brings out flippers and unwanted competition. Otherwise it's a really a fun day to experience at your local shop as it brings out everyone from those just getting started to seasoned veterans.
Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
One thing that is nice about the resurgence of records over the last several years is that there are tons of great reissues coming out all the time. This is not the same as owning an original but some of the reissues are quite impressive with excellent sound and packaging with additions to liner notes, inserts, pictures, etc. Southern Lord’s reissue of Uniform Choice Screaming for Change is a prime example, along with Vio-lence and Kreator reissues from 2017.
The number one item on my want list is an original Deadhorse - “Horsecore...An Unrelated Story that’s Time Consuming”. Its available online but expensive and I just cannot bring myself to spend so much on a record I can not see and touch first. It remains to be seen if I will ever break down one day and buy online or if I will find it lurking in the wild.
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Tagged: record collector