Anthony Begnal is part of the No Echo contributor family via his 'A Hardcore Conversation' interview series where he chats with musicians that have helped form the hardcore and punk landscape. Previous features include Eerie Von (Samhain, Danzig) and Todd Swalla (Necros, Laughing Hyenas), and from what Anthony told me earlier this week, there's some great interviewees coming our way in the next couple of months.
In addition to his writing, Anthony's biggest passion project is Chesty Malone and the Slice ‘em Ups, a horror punk band he handles guitar duties in. The group released their Satanic Brooklyn Scum 7" earlier this year. Anthony is an avid vinyl hunter, so it was only right that we feature him on the site's Record Collector series.
How long have you been collecting records?
Since I was a little kid really. Seriously, I have a Spiderman record I got when I was about 5 and I have my copy of KISS’s Destroyer from when I was about 9 or 10, and lots of others I’ve had for 30 some years.
Where/how do you usually find your records these days?
If I’m in NYC I’ll go to Generation or Music Matters out in Park Slope, but other than that it depends. There’s a good used spot by me where we’re at in Pennsylvania now and of course I order stuff online from Amazon and directly from labels. I look at records wherever I happen to see them too, like thrift stores and stoop sales etc. You never know what you’ll find and I like weird, funny stuff too so I always look where and whenever I see a record bin. I used to love going to record stores and I’d hangout for hours at a couple stores when I was younger, but of course they mostly don’t exist these days. [Laughs] What do kids even do to kill an afternoon anymore?
What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
Well, most of my most valuable records I got when they came out and were cheap so believe it or not, probably the most I’ve paid for a record is my copy of the Misfits’ 3 Hits from Hell, which I got for $100 about 18 or 19 years ago off of eBay. I once bought a Night of the Living Dead 7” from Bleeker Bob’s for $65 and everyone I knew thought I was crazy for spending that much back then hahaha. Unfortunately, I subsequently sold it for rent back in the '90s. I got $150 for it at a shop in LA called Green Hell, so at least I made a profit.
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?
That’s a tough one! I mean, Touch and Go had some awesome hardcore classics like Meatmen, Negative Approach and Necros. Then they had Laughing Hyenas in the '90s, but I didn’t love a whole lot else that they put out. Similar with SST, of course the Black Flag records remain some of my favorites, but other than a couple Hüsker Dü, Stains, and Saint Vitus, there’s not too much else in terms of great stuff on there. I think I’ll go with Plan 9 because every single Misfits record on that label rules [laughs].
Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?
I collect a lot of different type of records; punk, metal and hardcore chiefly, but I also like movie soundtracks, '80s and early '90s hip-hop, '70s disco, and even some EZ listening [laughs]. So this is hard to nail down to just one! But, push comes to shove, I’m going with my OG copy of Misfits Walk Among Us currently signed by 3 out of 4 band members. I’ve had this record basically since it came out (I got it from a friend of my older brother and I was there when he bought it) but I started trying to get it fully signed when I got Jerry Only to sign it in ‘98.
Then a friend of mine knew Googy from graffiti circles and introduced us in ‘09 and I got Doyle’s on there the day after the Misfits show in New Jersey in 2018. Someday I’ll get the one guy I’m missing on there! Someone offered me a grand for it but I’ll never part with it, it’s gonna be with me in my coffin [laughs]. Don’t tell my lovely wife!
Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?
Yeah, the fact that the current fad of collecting records has driven the price way up. That’s super annoying. It’s obviously cool that people are into it and keeping it going but new releases are sometimes like $40 and up and used ones that used to be around $1-5 are now $20 and more. Plus people that collect records and don’t play them, ugh! I hate that, records are meant to be played, people!
Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
Number one on my want list is The Kids Will Have Their Say by SSD. I have all their others and technically I think Get It Away is their best, but man, I want The Kids Will Have Their Say so bad. I do have the awesome album cover singed by Al Barile but there’s no record inside. I also need a copy of How the Gods Kill by Danzig and the Shining soundtrack.