Born and raised in Miami, Rene Fernandez is a music geek of Mexican and Cuban descent currently living in sunny South Beach. A graduate of Florida International University, he works for the Miami Dade County Clerks's office at the Miami Children's Courthouse as a Courtroom Clerk in the Dependency Unit. When he's not busting his ass at work, Rene keeps busy hunting for vinyl, so I had to invite my dude over to the Record Collector club.
How long have you been collecting records?
I started collecting records when I turned 14-years-old, and it was out of necessity as opposed to preference. It was around 1990 and I started listening to punk rock through friends and some hardcore but I got into metal first. I remember the first time I heard Slayer it pretty much changed my life. I used to listen to stuff on Sub Pop like Tad, Seaweed, Nirvana, and Mudhoney, and I was also into Sonic Youth and got into Metallica after hearing ...And Justice for All.I liked stuff that wasn't really hidden but not exactly on the Pop charts, but Slayer was an unholy alliance of punk/metal/hardcore and I just went crazy with death metal and thrash, etc.
Back then, before the Internet, we would make and read fanzines (mine was called Another Leading Bathroom Tissue) and the way we were exposed to new music was through touring bands that would have their 7"s with them. I started collecting them and just needed more and more because it was amazing to me that bands could put out their own stuff.
I then started to visit local record stores like Yesterday and Today, Blue Note Records, Open Records, and a handful of ones that opened and folded within a few years. I was hooked! I would go and hang out for hours listening and talking to the staff and customers and getting recommendations and often times would just buy records blindly simply based on the jacket! Over time my taste developed and I became well-versed enough to know what labels put out bands that I liked. Dischord, Touch and Go, SST, Sub Pop, K Records, Kill Rock Stars, Victory, Revelation Records, Ebullition, etc.
Before I knew it, record collecting became therapy for me and as I got into my 30s, I began to realize that I had collected some pretty rare stuff mostly Nirvana records cuz they still remain my favorite band and I began to go backward, and thanks to the Internet was able to start filling the gaps in records I didn't have and then got deeper into collecting looking for original pressings to different color variants. Here I am today, 41-years-old and with a record collection that easily be valued at over $30,000.
Where do you usually find your records these days?
I usually find my records on line and through a handful of record stores in Miami like Technique Records and Sweat Records. I like to buy stuff directly through the artist or label. Bandcamp is a great place for that purpose, but if I am looking for something to add to my collection or complete it, eBay and Discogs are great.
What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
This actually happened a few years ago. I am obsessed with Wiretap Scars by Sparta and I completely blew my chance to buy this album when it came out and it was rare then since it was pressed on vinyl on the Dreamworks imprint. I came across it 3 years ago and paid $250! I think I talked myself into it somehow and it was purchased by a private owner in Germany. It was worth it. I love that album. The runner up was this last Record Store Day I found a copy of the Fugazi 7" Song #1 on green vinyl that was released on Sub Pop and it's frigging rare! I paid $100 and bought it at Technique Records.
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 is terribly difficult since my tastes range from heavy to melodic. I will name Top 3. I guess they would be Dischord Records (Rites of Spring, Embrace, Fugazi, Shudder to Think, Jawbox), Epitaph Records (Bad Religion, Good Riddance, Propaghandi, Thursday), Touch and Go Records (The Jesus Lizard, Girls Against Boys). This question is very hard!
Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?
My most cherished albums are my Nirvana ones. They remain my favorite band and I have so many memories of working hard to buy them when they were new. To see what they cost now is weird. My copy of Bleach on red/white swirl vinyl is probably my most cherished since only 500 were made.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?
The only thing that frustrates me is that it takes so long to press an album due to the fact that so many are made and so few plants exist. This is a good problem cuz more people are embracing vinyl and it can only strengthen the respect and admiration of music and music scenes. It sucks when majors try to cash in on RSD by pressing something that's readily available, but I guess those are the breaks. People that buy records and post them on eBay and Discogs immediately just to turn a buck are capitalist slime and need their legs broken (or just sell me your shit at a fair price)!
Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
Too many to mention but I will say that I am still trying get my hands on Nirvana's Big Cheese/Love Buzz 7". It's very attainable but I just can't afford it yet.
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Tagged: record collector