Bradley Smith an American Air Force veteran who lives and breathes hardcore and metal music, and that's enough for me to love the guy without even ever meeting him in person. I first became digitally acquainted with Bradley when I started the No Echo Instagram page a couple of months back. His collection of Unbroken records and t-shirts is something to behold. Seriously, this guy loves that band.
It's about time I got Bradley involved with the site's Record Collector series.
How long have you been collecting records?
I started collecting records, probably back in 1989 and the first vinyl purchase I can really remember was Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness, which makes sense because I was growing up in Tampa, around the death metal scene there. But there was a lot of blending between the death metal and hardcore scenes in that area.
You are a massive Unbroken fan. When and how did you first learn about the band, and why are they so important to you?
I first learned of Unbroken when I was stationed in Okinawa in the Air Force. It was late 1994 I believe and I was still hit hard emotionally due to having been through a divorce and being isolated from my family and such, and the emotional darkness and pain of that album really connected with me. On a side note, the choice of utilizing stills from the movie Swing Kids had an additional connection for me with that album as that movie had a huge influence on me. Anyways, that album really stood out compared to the standard Revelation and Victory bands that I was listening to such as Strife, Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Earth Crisis, etc. Nothing else sounded like it in the hardcore scene. It was a very cathartic album for me and it opened the door to other bands like Undertow and Outspoken.
Where/how do you usually find your records these days?
These days mainly I do eBay and Discogs because I don't know of any decent record stores here in the Kansas City area. If there are any recommendations that anyone can make, please hit me up.
What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
Umm...I am not sure, maybe $200, maybe, and it was probably for a Darkthrone test press. The most expensive music-related purchase for me though was the $500 I paid for the Darkthrone Under Beskyttelse Av Morke boxed set which I managed to obtain from Shyaithan of Impiety when I was stationed in Turkey. I was a huge Darkthrone completist for many years and my Darkthrone collection is huge [laughs].
Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?
It's a toss-up between the blue vinyl version of Unbroken's Life.Love.Regret., the Japanese tour pressing of Life.Love.Regret., and the limited pressing of Unbroken's Circa '77 7". But I will go ahead follow @vinylxdenim's lead and stick with the blue vinyl version of Life.Love.Regret.
As for why it's my most prized possession, along with the aforementioned emotional connection, it was a monumental task somehow for me to track the blue version down and finally obtain it. I had both black versions for many years, but the blue version somehow always escaped my grasp.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?
One thing that is a pet peeve of mine is when people are selling stuff on Discogs and eBay and they won't send you pics of the items. This is very important for me and several of my contacts since we hunt these very minor variations and need to verify if something stands out. The main reason it is irritating, is really, how hard is it to send a couple of pics? And I thought these individuals were trying to sell their vinyl, yet they can't be bothered to put in the effort to send any pics? (Guido knows what I am talking about!)
Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
The records that are still on my want list are Unbroken test presses, any of them. I still don't have any Unbroken test presses and it's killing me. I also am looking for a Fall on Proverb 7" with a sticker and any ones with colored sleeves, unique stamps and multiple logo stamps. My ultimate white whale is the "wedding edition" of Unbroken's Live in Dagenham 7".
Follow Bradley on Instagram.
Tagged: record collector