I first became aware of Justin Sitner through xStuck in the Pastx, the excellent blog he co-founded, some years back. Since then, we've gotten to know each other via heavy metal and hardcore nerd-outs on social media. A fellow lifer, Sitner is currently fronting Unrestrained, a hardcore band that recently premiered their new EP on this very site.
A huge vinyl and cassette head, Sitner is a natural addition to No Echo's Record Collector series.
How long have you been collecting records?
I've been buying records for most of my life, as that's what my parents primarily listened to. I had to have been around 8 when I started using my own money for records, and recall buying Dokken, Fat Boys, and Weird Al from a cut out bin at Fred Meyer. Over the years, I've never stopped buying records, but it wasn't until my late teens that I became one of those "ok, sure, I'll buy any/all variations of ____" type of collector.
Where/how do you usually find your records?
I still get most of my records from stores. Digging through used bins has definitely become a calming, peaceful ritual for me. I usually hit one record store on my lunch break every day, and I used to hit three or four stores on my days off, but that's not as easy now with young kids in tow. Every once in a while, a friend will hit me up and want to part with most or all of their collection. Those are some of my favorite buys, because I'll get to hang out and nerd out with them about records for a few hours and then head home with a large chunk for a friendly price. Internet purchases occupy a pretty small portion of the pie. It's definitely not as fun to buy off the Internet, so I tend to only do it if I see a bonkers deal or come across a variation that I probably won't see again for a very long time.
What is the most you paid for a single album, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
The most I've ever paid was $100 for a test press of Morning Again's As Tradition Dies Slowly. After a little negotiation, I was able to pry it from the hands of [Revelation Records founder] Jordan Cooper. I typically don't spend a whole lot of money on records, and I think that's, in part, because I still have this outdated vision of what records should cost. The Iron Maiden records that I see being priced at $30 now, I was paying $8 for as a teenage, and there's a part of my brain that has trouble letting go of that. Patience has always been the key to my collection. Sure, there are some records that I've passed on before and haven't really seen again, but it usually pays off when I find something I once passed on years down the road for a fraction of the price. Within just the last 1-3 years, I have been able to come up with some insane scores just by digging and being at the right place at the right time:
- SSD, The Kids Will Have Their Say - $15
- Turning Point, s/t 7" (first press) - 50 cents
- Lockjaw (Portland), both 7"s for a total of 5 bucks
- the first two Wipers 7"s and the Sado-Nation 7" from a yard sale for $12 total
What is your most prized record and why?
Although far from the most valuable, my most prized record is probably my Poison Idea Kings of Punk (Portland Edition) on Pusmort with both posters and lyric booklet intact. It holds a special place with me due to its obvious connection with the legacy of Portland punk. It reminds me of the town that I grew up in, which has seen dramatic change over the last 10-15 years, and I bought it off of an old friend that appreciated how well taken care of it would be in my collection.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the whole record collecting scene?
Not really. Maybe just some of the nonsense that has come along with the recent resurgence. I used to love digging in solitude with just a couple of other weirdos in the stores, but now there's always a bunch of yahoos talking loudly across the aisles at each other about some dumb Mumford and Sons record. However, I've actually developed really cool friendships with a good number of people throughout the years due to the record collecting circles, and that's what matters.
Which record(s) are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
MINOR THREAT! MINOR THREAT! MINOR THREAT!
Since I'm a cheapskate, I still don't have any copies of the s/t 7" or In My Eyes 7", but before I die, I vow to have acquired various versions of both. There are lots of bands that propelled me down the path (AC/DC, Metallica, Sex Pistols, etc.), but Minor Threat truly had an astounding impact on me, and I still get the same feeling now when I hear that distorted opening chord ring out at the beginning of "Filler" as I did the first time I heard it at 13.
I'm also missing one solitary piece to my Morning Again collection, and that's a test press of the s/t 7" on Intention Records. I've also heard of a potential xeroxed cover version, but haven't been able to track down any solid info.