Category Archives: My First Record

Mike Park

My First Record with Mike Park

In 1985 I discovered a punk band from Reno, NV called 7 Seconds.

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A skater friend of mine dubbed me a copy of the album The Crew. This became my soundtrack for the next 27 years.

This was an album that changed my entire perspective on the power lyrics can have through music. I thought punk was about wanting a Pepsi, Anarchy Burgers, and TV parties. 7 Seconds brought an entirely new dimension to the plate. Singing about feminist rights, anti-racist action, and of staying young until you die.

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It was the opposite of what mainstream ’80s media portrayed punk to be.

Many hours have been spent skateboarding to this album and I still find myself playing it loud whilst working away in the garage. When I was 25 years old, my old band got to open for 7 Seconds and I was lucky enough to exchange numbers with the singer. And now almost 20 years later, I’ve released two solo albums for Kevin Seconds, and I still pinch myself that I’m working with one of my idols.

The music and message of The Crew are still as relative today as they were nearly 30 years ago. The music made me want to be a positive force in life, and for that I am forever grateful.

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Check out Mike Park’s latest venture, the kindie label Fun Fun Records, whose roster includes members of Skankin’ Pickle, the Bouncing Souls, and the Groovie Ghoulies.

My First Record with Molly Ledford of Lunch Money: ‘Meet the Beatles!’

One night, when I was seven years old, my father blasted Meet the Beatles! from his stereo. I think it was some kind of mistake. Maybe he thought he had his fancy, chunky headphones plugged in. We were in bed and it was LOUD. And irresistible. “I want to hold your ha-a-a-a-and!” I ran to the living room, unknowingly joining that classic mob. Yet another girl completely, almost tearfully, enthralled by the early Beatles.

My father did woodworking as a hobby and had built himself a little corner of shelves to house his stereo equipment and records. Receivers glowed with backlit needles dancing in VU meters, and the whole thing looked downright scientific. I knew that records were to be handled reverently by the edges, and, furthermore, that the little, lesser, player in my room was deemed not fit for my parents’ collection. How was I going to get my hands on this record and play it to my heart’s content?

One Saturday morning a few months later, my neighbors had a garage sale and I wandered curiously over with a little change in my pocket. There, in a box of records inexplicably separated from their jackets (who were these barbarians living next door?), I found their copy of Meet the Beatles! Twenty-five cents later, it was mine.

I took that record home and, in the privacy of my room, I could play it over and over. It was terribly scratched, but I could deal with that. To this day, I expect those songs to skip the way I listened to them hundreds of times. “All My Loving.” “Hold Me Tight.” “It Won’t Be Long.” It was the Beatles as America first knew them — all pop perfection, yet raw and rollicking too. It was adult love but fun and vague, and I spent many hours staring at their faces on my parents’ copy, reading the liner notes and listening along to my own scratchy record.

My parents’ Beatles selection bookended the band: they had Meet the Beatles! and Abbey Road. The summer I turned ten, having started guitar lessons, I bought myself a book of Beatles songs with easy chords. I became a one-girl Beatles cover band (again, in the privacy of my room), picking out the melodies of so many unfamiliar-to-me Beatles songs and doing my best to sing them. There I was, guessing at French for “Michelle” or puzzling through the delivery of the verses on “Give Peace a Chance.” A little bittersweet? As the years went by, I would be fascinated each time I finally heard the real recording of one of these songs and got to see how close or far off I had been. Still, that book got me started on something that would become a core part of my identity. I was someone who liked to sing and play.

My parents’ copy of Meet The Beatles! now hangs in a record frame on my own living room wall. It was never really theirs to begin with. My aunt’s name is written in careful cursive in the top left corner. A few years ago at a rare family reunion, I mentioned the record to the original owner, thinking she might like to hear how much it had meant to me. Her face lit up and she looked over at my other aunt. Suddenly they were telling me about how they had watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. How they had taken pictures of the television screen with their camera in excitement. And how they had snuck out of the house that night and walked to the record store to buy that album. It’s kind of a magical record that way.

Lunch Money‘s marvelous new album, Spicy Kidis out now — sample some tunes at the band’s website!

My First Record with Recess Monkey: Van Halen, “Jump”

First off. Love that this is talking about “records.” I have so many fond memories of being in my basement with full access to my dad’s collection of LP’s and 45s. I loved the giant sleeves and artwork, the act of getting the record out and putting the arm down on one of my favorite tunes.

One of my earliest faves was the Dukes of Hazzard theme song by Waylon Jennings. A greatest hits collection from the Beach Boys introduced me to “Heroes and Villians” and I played Sha Na Na’s Greatest Hits just as many times as “I Get Around” and “California Girls.”

I must say though, the most striking memory of all is driving to Record Revolution in the Valley Forge Shopping Mall with my Dad to pick up my very own copy of Van Halen’s 1984. Fueled entirely by my love of “Jump,” seen countless times on MTV, where I would parade around the house with a broom, jumping on and off the couch, we picked up the amazing collection of songs. I’ll never forget my father’s face as he first set eyes upon the chain smoking angel on the cover. I’d give up so much just to be able to ask him about that day now.

On one of my last trips into Record Revolution, on a whim I bought a few used CDs that looked interesting. Didn’t know a whole lot about the artists at the time: Cake, A Man Called E and Zumpano. Well, everybody knows Cake now, but what a treat to realize later I had the early recordings for such great acts like Eels and the New Pornographers.

Just not the same with iTunes and YouTube.

Okay. I vow this weekend to head to Sonic Boom and do some good old fashioned browsing and buying.

And purchase an actual record for a friend.

Recess Monkey’s new album, In Tents!, is out now — read our interview with the band here, and relive “Jump” below.