The record collection got divided up after he disappeared.The collection, each piece with its own clear plastic sleeve, lived in a closet with wooden sliding doors. It was small, seventy-five LP’s and a few dozen singles but packed with the unknown.
“You wanna hear some culture?” the collection’s curator would say, flashing his smiley-face grin, before dropping a black platter under the diamond needle and then gently lowering the clear plastic dust cover. Garbled, tinny anger burst forth. I listened while poring over the sleeves.
For a twelve-year old Pink Floyd fan in the early eighties, it was like an unheard subterranean culture cracked open wide in that messy suburban room full of gig posters, Mad magazines and music, music, music.
The albums (other than Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind hidden at the back) were so unusual as to not seem like records at all but more like placards. Each stark cover, whether made-up of cut-up stock photos, primitive drawings or merely a spraypaint-ready logo, carried blunt words - Wargasm, The Blood, The Freeze, Flex Your Head, Articles of Faith. The first album in the box ,with its bloody Christmas image, always stopped me.
Since the curator was a lender, I eventually wedged the unrelenting fury of that album, Give Thanks by Chicago's Articles of Faith, into my knapsack.
Give Thanks starts with a scream and a drum explosion. Than it gets mad, as “I Objectify” proves. If anything, the acoustic track “Every Man for Himself” intensifies the unrelenting attack on American Excess. Next, however non-chronologically, came the "What We Want is Free” 7"which unleashed a gut-churning fury that does not fade with time.boomp3.com
I followed singer/songwriter/guitarist Vic Bondi through the anguished and punishing AOF swan song, In This Life. Then Vic quieted down till 1989’s Words and Days by his next band Jones Very (with Jeff Goddard on bass and James Van Braemar on drums). Words and Days has sparse packaging but is packed full of Vic’s raspy howl and electric and acoustic guitars that join the screaming chorus. “Yesterday in the Western World” is the fist-waver, “Desperation Bends” the ballad, “Jesus…I” the tense builder and "Cut' will do just that - listen with caution because the intensity is relentless.
As for me, I will hear no more culture from the curator because he ended his own life but what he played – stayed. For that, I’ll give thanks and continue to curate.