In the first installment of Record Collector, we speak with a hardcore music lifer. Currently fronting Search, Tim McMahon has also sang for the bands Hands Tied, Face the Enemy, and Triple Threat, but he's probably best known for his work in Mouthpiece. A man with quite the impressive vinyl collection, we decided he would be a great person to highlight for the series kick off.
How long have you been collecting hardcore vinyl?
I got seriously into hardcore in 1986, but started off that first year only buying cassettes. At some point during 1987 and into 1988, I got a decent record player and I started buying vinyl. So I'd say I've been on and off actively collecting hardcore vinyl for 30 years.
Where/how do you usually find your hardcore records?
For those first few years, I was just buying what was coming out and available in the local record stores. Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton NJ, The Trenton Record Collector in Trenton NJ, those were two of my go-to spots. Other than those local stores, I was doing a lot of mail order. Maximumrocknroll was always a great source for info on the latest bands and releases. I was big into fanzines in those early years, so I was always checking out every ad very closely and ordering whatever I could. Mail ordering to Revelation, Schism and a handful of smaller labels (Hi Impact, Axtion Packed, Stepforward, New Age, etc.) was common practice for me.
What is the most you paid for a hardcore record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
I think the most I have ever paid for a record was the Youth of Today Break Down the Walls Wishingwell Records test pressing I bought off Mike Gitter. I'm pretty sure I paid close to a grand for that. You don't see test pressings for that record come up too often and considering Youth of Today is my all-time favorite band and Break Down the Walls is one of my all-time favorite records, it felt like something I should have. This was before I had kids, so bills and responsibilities were fewer. Problem was, during shipping, the record broke into about 15 pieces. Mike ended up giving me my money back and somehow or another, miraculously, my wife Traci found another, which she paid less for, but has never really told me exactly.
What is your most prized hardcore record and why?
In general, my most prized hardcore records are my Revelation Records test pressings. I've tried to collect tests for the first 10 Rev releases as well as a few of my other favorites from Rev, but there are still a couple holes I need to fill. If I had to pick one Rev test out that is probably my most prized, it would have to be my Judge Chung King Can Suck It test pressing. The Chung King is a hard enough record to get in it's self, so a test pressing of that record is even harder to come by. I was pretty much in the right place at the right time to even get that record. [Judge guitarist] Porcell had just sold his collection to Reconstruction Records in NYC and a few of us walked in and bought up a handful of them. The Chung King test was in that collection, as was a standard Judge Bringin' It Down test that I ended up getting as well. I don't recall exactly what we paid for each record, but it was in the low hundreds, if that.
Outside of the money you spend, what do you hate most about record collecting in the hardcore world?
I think "hate" would be a strong word, I'm not sure there is anything about record collecting that I legitimately hate. To be honest with you, I'm not sure I'd even call myself an active record collector all that much anymore. I still buy records and if I find something I've been looking for and the price is right, I'll buy it, but I don't actively search for much these days. I guess if I had to pick an aspect of record collecting out that I didn't care for, it would be people snatching up multiple copies of rare releases, just to flip on eBay.
Which record(s) are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
There are a few records that I still need, a Warzone Lower East Side Crew 7" test and a Gorilla Biscuits 7" test, but those two are probably my biggest wants and you just don't see them around.