Record Collectors

Record Collector: Ron Grimaldi

Photo: Mark Valentino

Ron Grimaldi is one of my favorite record collectors. He’s also been a close friend for over 25 years. For those that don’t know Ron, he has been the singer of such Long Island hardcore bands such as Leech Implant, Sonic Poison, Faithless, and currently, Deathcycle. Ron was also the original drummer for Kill Your Idols.

Many people in the NYC/LI area know him from his bands and seeing him at practically every show. Ron is also a fixture at many of the record fairs that have popped up in the area in recent years. He has wealth of knowledge when it comes to music. No doubt about it, Ron has certainly been an influence to many of us in the local scene and it’s my pleasure to interview him for No Echo. 
 
Tell me how you got into music and collecting records.  

I got into music as a kid through my older cousin. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, etc. When I was at her house, I’d listen to them and I guess that's where it started for me, but I didn't get into collecting till years later with Iron Maiden and had to get every single for the artwork and the unreleased B-sides.  

Photo: Mark Yoshitomi

What was the first record you bought with your own money?

The first record I bought with my own money was Black Sabbath's Master of Reality at [since defunct chain store] Pergament for $3.99. I heard the cough intro into “Sweat Leaf” and my world changed both musically and mentally. I knew I had found what I was looking for. Not with weed, though. Smoked it once, it was dumb. 

Photo: Andrew Orlando

Why do you collect records? Also, do you collect tapes and CDs also?

I always loved collecting records from the art to the lyrics and the complete package made me connect better with the music and the ideas of the band. I have tapes and CDs, but vinyl is my main thing.

Photo: Mark Yoshitomi

Do you collect specific genres?

I collect punk, hardcore, and metal the most, I’d say.

Photo: Mark Yoshitomi

What were the best record stores like on Long Island in the '80s and '90s?

Slipped Disc in Valley Stream and the Wax Museum (later called Agents of Fortune) back in the day. Then, in the later '80s, a store called Uncle Phil’s, which friends from the hardcore scene worked at. All of these stores were deep into independent and underground music of all kinds, especially Slipped Disc. I met ton of bands as a kid, too, like WASP, Exodus, Anthrax, King Diamond, etc., at these places. Also, Titus Oaks was a cool spot. 

Photo: Andrew Orlando

Did the close proximity of NYC have an influence on you? If so, how?

I lived too far from NYC in my early years, but listening to the few underground metal and punk radio shows shaped me a lot. Once I was a teenager and getting to go to L’amour and The Ritz for thrash metal shows, and then some months later finding the NYHC scene, it was life changing. 

Photo: Andrew Orlando

Name your Top 10 Long Island records.

Goddamn, dude! This is hard off top of my head and in no order:

  • Twisted Sister, Under the Blade
  • Nihilistics, LP
  • Crumbsuckers, Life of Dreams
  • Insanity Defense, Pilgrim State LP
  • Krakdown, 7"
  • Winter, Into Darkness
  • Ludichrist, Immaculate Deception
  • Silent Majority, Life of a Spectator
  • Mind Over Matter, Automanipulation
  • Sorrow, Forgotten Sunrise EP
  • Honorable mention: Zebra, s/t LP
Photo: Andrew Orlando

What is that one record you have never found and it still drives you nuts?

I don't obsess at all over records any more, but I do have to get the Negative Approach 7", eventually.

What are your Top 5 wants on your list?

Negative Approach 7", the 2 Minor Threat 7's , and I need some Misfits 7"s.

What is the most you ever paid for a record?

I don’t usually pay much for records as I have different priorities these days, but I did pay $500 for the Urban Waste 7" in mint condition. I’d just gotten paid a lot and it was there and I said fuck it and went for it, but I never do anything like that.

Photo: Mark Yoshitomi

Is there a record you sold, that you totally regret?

In about 1989, I was dirt poor and sold about 20 old records to a local metalhead, which I didn’t want to but I needed money to go to CBGB's every week, etc., and sold obscure stuff like Griffin, Running Wild, Necronomicon, and Gravedigger. I wrote them all down and few years later when I had decent job I re-bought them all. 

Name a record or records you can’t live without.

The first 6 Sabbath records, Mercyful Fate - Melissa, Slayer- Show No Mercy, Agnostic Front- Victim in Pain, Reagan Youth- Youth Anthems for the New Order, SSD- Get It Away, the P.E.A.C.E./WAR compilation, Adam and the Ants - Dirk Wears White Socks original press with different songs, Still Little Fingers - Inflammable Material, Eyehategod - In the Name of Suffering, and Swans - Greed. There are tons more but these opened me up to different styles of music so are extra important to me. I could go on for days.

You are a prominent seller at record fairs in the NYC area. Tell me about that scene, the good and bad. 

I sell only at Vinyl Revolution shows, which is my friend Mike from Slipped Disc's shows, and his shows are always great as for the others.... some of the other shows are good and some are depressing. Everything that is amazing and pathetic about record collecting all under one roof is on display [laughs]. There is an unhealthy obsession IMO that I don’t want to have that permeates some of these people and these shows that I try not to fall into. 

Photo: Mark Yoshitomi

Has working in a record store shaped your buying habits?

Working in a record store oddly has chilled out my buying of crazy rare records as I came to terms that I’m there to work so I kind of disconnect the two. When you see records 24/7, for me, it makes me less obsessed with buying. Thankfully, I work in a cool store with people I consider friends and have mostly similar tastes in music so that helps a lot. I don’t belong in the “REAL WORLD," so it’s a good place for me right now. 

What do you foresee for the future of vinyl and collecting?

Well, vinyl is definitely a trend at the moment and that fire the other day at the Apollo Masters pressing plant will short term slow down the production of records a lot and may be even be a long-term problem, which can potentially change everything from the popularity of vinyl to how it is made. In today's culture of rapid change, the trend could disappear with it but collecting will survive for a long time. If the younger generation doesn’t embrace it, then it'll slowly become like comic books and baseball cards, but for now I think its solid.

Will the prices ever come down on the big rarities like Misfits, early Revelation, NYHC, Dischord, etc?

Probably not only because of the scarcity of the original presses and they'll always be a core group of lunatics who have to have them. But as records get pressed 12x over 30 years, the reissues will probably stay where they are as the music is easy enough to get, for the most part.

Do you think our generation will age out of collecting rare vinyl? Do you have an exit strategy?

I don't think our generation will age out cause if they are still in it now that'll probably not change unless they have a financial emergency of some sort. As for my exit strategy, it's probably completely different than anyone else's and has more to do with the state of the world than with music trends, so ill keep it to myself [laughs]. But if/when the time comes, I’ll adapt and do what I have to do.

Photo: Mark Yoshitomi

I first met you at shows on Long Island but knew of you from the CBGB’s matinees, where I would tell my friend “That guy is nuts for having hair that long.” You were always at every show, often times with a bag of records. Do you miss the NYC record stores of the late '80s and which ones were your favorites?

The later '80s was an amazing time in NYC. The culture of the city was raw and edgy and full of life. I loved going to Sounds, It’s Only Rock 'n’ Roll, Some Records, Bleecker Bobs, and then in the '90s, Venus and Generation. Having long hair at those shows was a serious risk for sure as the scene was very violentm especially toward longhairs back then. I started going to hardcore shows in 1986 and very few people looked like me and I’d go with a ragtag collection of crossover type guys, crusty punks and/or skinheads. It was intimidating but it never stopped me from going and I got accepted within it eventually when almost nobody else who had long hair did.

I was different and I was very ingrained inside the scene even if my hair was long and dressed more punk/dirtbag and less typical metal. The ones who got fucked up usually were a bunch of dudes who looked like they came from the Exodus “Toxic Waltz” video and thought everything was a big dumb party and that made you a target.

The hardcore scene was angrier, protective from outsiders and irrational all at the same time which made it exciting and dangerous but also wasn't mature enough to let people be who they naturally were and who may have actually just loved the music.

Since it was also lifestyle based, I get it and I didn't like most of those metal people too, but they were mostly harmless and for a scene who felt "crucified" for the way they looked the irony wasn’t lost on me that they'd beat up people who they decided didn’t look right so I see it from both sides. 

What is something in your collection that might shock the No Echo readers?

Take your pick —every Partridge Family record? The 85-90 Johnny Cash records I own? Every Cat Stevens record. One final comment: some of the best records in the world cost no more than $10. Appreciate them for what they are musically and not just how rare they are. Of course, it’s cool to find and have rare records but the music gets lost sometimes and that’s at the end of the day what got me into records was loving music, so I try to maintain that approach to it.

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Tagged: record collector

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