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Packrats


Eric Iverson

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I was just posting about old GP back issues, since I have about 35 years worth of them, and never throw them out. It's not a complete collection, and not in perfect condition. I was even dumb enough to clip out an article or two instead of copying it.. not lately, of course.

 

The point being, I guess I'm a packrat. Not to a pathological degree, like Homer and Langley Collyer (google it if you're curious - it's an interesting story) - I do throw out books sometimes to make room for new ones - mostly at my wife's insistence. I (almost) never throw out a cassette or CD, on the theory I might want to hear it one day, and I do sometimes just rummage through my collection and listen to something recorded 20 years ago...

 

Do any of the rest of you suffer from the packrat mentality?

 

 

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A couple of months ago I took a four foot high pile of GP, Guitar for the Practicing Musician, and a bunch of other similar mags to my monthly jam and left them for the fellas to have. They were mostly in mint shape, as I read them and dumped them into storage boxes. They got a big kick out of a 'gear' and an 'amp' issues of GP from the 80s. I had a Downbeat with Hendrix and Clapton from 1970. Promo from Woodstock. Dedicated Beatles mags from as far back as 1964. and bunches of guitar books.... the Beach Boys from their "409" days, sheet music for the Strawberry Alarm Clock and other bands of that era, the Monkees.... all fun stuff, all junk that I have carried around since it was new. It was very freeing to toss it all out.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I had almost every issue of GP between August 1983 and April or May 2009, before the house-fire we had...

bet them boys burned up real good....

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I had almost every issue of GP between August 1983 and April or May 2009, before the house-fire we had...

bet them boys burned up real good....

 

Actually, FWIW, they were done in by the smoke, fire-hoses, and the boots of firemen.

 

But, yeah, I'm definitely a packrat. Aren't all guitarists?

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Yeah, but with the living spaces in Japan that`s a good way to end up sleeping on your favorite guitarists`s picture. I`ve had to get over it somewhat, especially since some types of items can`t be thrown away-you have to pay someone to come and get them. I`ve got a desktop computer that I would love to donate to some computer-eating bacteria.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Do any of the rest of you suffer from the packrat mentality?

 

 

I'm a 3rd generation packrat. My fraternal grandparents kept EVERYTHING (its that Depression-era mentality), and my parents are both collectors of various and sundry items.

 

Me? I've distilled all of that behavior into collecting collections.

 

Every once in a while, though, I make a concerted effort to let go. At one time, I had all but the first 6 issues of OMNI magazine. Trashed 'em- there was no resale value.

 

Currently, my family just finished a whole house renovation. Everyone who went through the process of packing and moving their own assorted "carp" got ticked off at themselves.

 

As of this point, I've got 24+ longboxes of comic books (taking up the space of a small car) that just need to be cataloged before we donate them to charity, and I've already donated at least a carload of clothes this year.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I can't seem to get rid of guitars. Even ones in less than "playing shape". I have an old Fender acoustic that has no strings, screwed up peg head and screwed up bridge laying around somewhere. One day that may end up as a wall decoration. I have a Peavey T-60 in pieces that hopefully one day will find itself reassembled. Oh I also have a lot of GP's. Not a complete collection but I think I started the subscription back in the mid 80's.

 

My wife is a "reformed" packrat. She wouldn't even throw out the empty Cool Whip bowls. She got that from her grandparents who kept EVERYTHING. Now, she at least throws things out every now and a gain.

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My grandparents- again, with that Depression era mentality- even kept the styrofoam trays their hamburger meat cam on. They'd wash them and use them for sandwich trays.

 

Think about that.

 

At any rate, I've always been concerned about my "collectionist"* tendencies, and every time I read about or hear about a hoarder, I get a twinge.

 

And yes, I've been watching that A&E series, "Hoarders."

 

*Besides the comics, other collections include: music (LPs/cassettes/CDs), coins, sci-fi/fantasy novels, role-playing games, guitars, seashells, and turtles.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Our family had a farm in Covington, LA, that was like that, eventually lost to a fire.

 

The one thing that I can recall was a "closet" full of books. According to my Dad- who had spent many Summers there as a youth- they were mostly old Westerns- like Louis L'Amour first print softcovers.

 

Damn.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I know two kinds of guys:

 

1) guys who have a lot of stuff laying around

 

2) guys who have a lot of meticulously-arranged stuff laying around

 

There was an article somewhere, I think in a mag my girl gets called Real Simple that's dedicated to simplifying stuff in stylishly arranged chick ways, where a guy tried to explain why men hold onto things that women don't think they need. His conclusion: it goes back to the difference between the sexes and the way they value senses. Women will keep pictures to commemorate a significant personal event. A guy will keep the t-shirt he wore to commemorate it. Women will keep a letter from an ex-boyfriend, or something that reminds her of something the guy did for her. A guy will keep pictures of his exes, because he wants to remember what they looked like. A guy will keep things he used long ago because they're a reminder that he did those things, and will keep things he hasn't used yet because he could use them in the future. A man's self-image is defined by what he's done, what he's doing and what he could do if he wanted, the stuff he holds onto fits into that... women can find that hard to understand. But - he pointed out - they should think about the guys they've known who don't have a lot of stuff, the guys who aren't held down by closets and garages of stuff from the past and future... and how those guys usually never let anybody else start moving their stuff in, either.

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Yep, I suffer from this disease somewhat. I got it from my dad. :P;)

 

There's some shelf space in my kitchen dedicated to food containers that come from the local Chinese restaurants. I do keep them fairly well arranged, but I recently threw a lot of 'em out onto the recycling bin.

 

I still have most of my cassettes. I have more of these than I do vinyl records. My CD collection's still growing, and I rip ones from the local libraries.

 

I have a few containers full of rubber bands.

 

I still use a VHS hifi VCR. I know that I'll be forced to get a DVR in the near future, but I can't justify getting one for now, as I really don't watch too much TV. Heck, I'm only getting around now to possibly scoring a LCD HDTV set for Christmas. I also don't really need a DVR as sites like Fancast and Hulu stream plenty of old movies online, and the on demand section in the Verizon FiOS lineup has plenty of videos.

 

Speaking of which, I bought $20 worth of VHS movies (about 35 movies, I think...) from when the National Warehouse Liquidators store in my area closed last January. I've only watched a third of them.

 

As far as guitars, I have a grand total of six. That's not counting the seven or so that I might get from my dad someday. So... at least that stable's small for now.

 

My Guitar Player magazine collection is about 15 or 16 years long, starting from about 1994. If GP ever comes out with a DVD/BluRay disc set or a portable hard drive archive of issues, I'd consider buying it and then I'd donate my collection to a library... maybe, heh.

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Well you know, there are some things that you can transfer the content to another medium but it`s not the same. An acquaintance of mine, Johnny Asia

(a few of the folks here are familiar with his music) gave me a cassette of some of his music with a personal dedication written on it. I still have quite a few cassettes too, most of the important things have been transferred to CD-R but not Johnny`s tape, at least not yet. Even if I do that I would keep the cassette. Same with books, I have some out-of-print editions that, they can put them all on some kind of e-format, fine-I`m still keeping the hardcovers.

One of my most annoying life issues is, that I still have some important items at my parent`s place in the U.S., like most of my guitars. Sometimes I speak to them on the phone and they tell me "Don`t worry, we didn`t throw anything out, we just cleaned up some things. " Every time I hear that word `cleaned` I think, yeah, like as in two bullets to the head. I know I should be watching over my things, my mom especially goes through a room like a sandblaster. Already a large box of essential DVDs is MIA. It`s got me majorly on edge, like as I`m typing this. Not sure what to do about it but knowing New York, the neighbors are probaly telling them, "why don`t yoo just call a Gawbage truck".

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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"Gawbage truck" haha...

 

I understand where you're coming from. I have one demo tape from a band that I used to help out in live shows (around 1993). It was signed by one of the guitarists, Chris Moore. The band nearly got a deal with A&M Records, but that never happened. He later became a devotee of Islam, and apparently stopped playing guitar for a long time. Not sure if he's back on it these days.

 

In some ways, though, I'm kind of glad that I don't have a DVR. It'd suck too much free time away, and right now I don't have a lot of it, as I've decided to go back to college to upgrade my computer/electronic skills.

 

As far as books... lately I've been taking advantage of some of the digital audio books that my library offers online. Great stuff to listen to while I'm on the bus, or doing the dishes. I still get the printed material occasionally.

 

I'll probably save some money someday and hire a professional firm to digitize all my cassettes, records, and VHS tapes. Certainly a lot easier than doing it on my own. The only thing I'd need to do is organize everything before it's tackled, so they don't mess up the job.

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I see no reason to digitize my cassettes and vinyl albums as long as I have a working cassette player and turntable; or my videocassettes as long as I have a working VCR.

And I still like to read actual paper books.. is my creeping senility showing?

Seriously, I think it's good for technology to advance. Just please remember that some of us can't afford to replace everything we have in earlier technologies, so please don't totally discontinue the media to play them on!

Of course, no matter what, I can always read the paper books!

 

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I see no reason to digitize my cassettes and vinyl albums as long as I have a working cassette player and turntable; or my videocassettes as long as I have a working VCR.

And I still like to read actual paper books.. is my creeping senility showing?

Seriously, I think it's good for technology to advance. Just please remember that some of us can't afford to replace everything we have in earlier technologies, so please don't totally discontinue the media to play them on!

Of course, no matter what, I can always read the paper books!

 

That's why I said probably. ;)

 

I may never get around to it. As long as there's some demand, some smaller indie stores or pawn shops (eek) should always have the analog gear on sale. They are generally easier to fix than their digital counterparts.

 

I could always go to J&R or some second hand store and buy some backup machines to put in storage for a rainy day. I do take good care of my media anyway. I have 25+ year old tapes that still play well.

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I haven't digitized anything, personaly... I just pay the cost of one cd per month to subscribe to a streaming site that has virtually anything you can think of. I have computers at home and work to stream it over, and an iPhone to stream it in the car or wherever i happen to be. I don't want to even bother with managing digital files... let them live somewhere else in the cloud and just let me access them. I'll gladly pay to help maintain the library.

 

I have come to embrace the digital reader things, not because they're new and nifty, but just because they're convenient and I fill up houses with books and magazines.

 

By the way, you guys should check out Wolfgangsvault.com, a great free concert audio archive with a lot of classic concerts (a lot from the old King Biscuit Flower Hour radio series I used to tape and collect as a kid. Their new iPhone app is awesome.

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Personally, I, too, have a working turntable and cassette deck...and only recently got rid of a defunct reel-to-reel.

 

And I LOVE paper books.

 

I am, however, seriously considering getting a high-quality e-reader of some kind (leaning towards the top-of-the-line Sony)for convenient access to certain books & periodicals I wish to tote around...but not necessarily archive.

 

From what I understand, there is even sheet music available for them...

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Yes. There is even a program that will allow you to bring up sheet music on your music stand. That would be lovely, so I wouldn't have to lug heavy binders of sheet music around... except that there are glitches in all digital programs. And if they crash, and you need to play a song you haven't played or heard in years....... well, I've had to fake it before....
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When I started to do pretty well in the studio, I used it as an excuse to buy some really high quality gear for the studio. Then I used it as an excuse to buy every guitar and amp that I was not allowed to get when I was 15.

 

When I left the studio, I left 99% of the stuff there. I wanted to get back to writing, so I rented the cool bachelor pad in the city, and moved out of my 3 story home. The bachelor pad was 1200 square feet, so it held a lot of stuff. But not near what I had collected in the house. So a lot of stuff had to go.

 

Then the Rock 'N'Roll GirlFriend and I got married, combining two households worth of stuff. So more stuff had to go.

 

Now we're moving again, and this time we are really "throwing it all away". And I bet that we till fill a moving truck.

 

But I am down to four or five amps, a dozen guitars, 8 preamps, and about 30 microphones. I got rid of the keyboards. I got rid of 99% of my books. Lost all the magazines I had been carting around, some since the 1960s. ("Beatles verses Dave Clark Five! Which is YOUR Favorite!!???")

 

I digitized the CD collection and got rid of most of the CDs. That turned out to be a big space saver but a PITA, as I still have not found a player that works as well as reaching out, grabbing a CD, and putting it into the CD player. (taking recommendations....)

 

I sold all but about 100 albums. I have not played an album since 1988. Debbie plays hers all the time. I bought a turntable with a USB port to transfer the albums, but I never did it. (a new needle for my table was more than the whole new USB turntable with software.)

 

And all that crap that you think might be valuable some day? Yeah, everyone else thinks so, too. I didn't get anything for my Beatles mags, my old Guitar Players, my music books, 35 years of rock and roll memorabilia, or Debbies collection of Pittsburgh Wheaties sports boxes. That junk is junk.

 

Point is, all of those things that you might use? Yeah, some day you MIGHT use them. But is it worth hauling them around for 40 years?

 

We cleaned out Debbies Dads house after he passed away. Being a military man for his whole life, he didn't have much in the way of possessions. We donated the furniture to AmVets, gave a few keepsakes to the relatives. But what impressed me the most was that he had a small collection of pictures and papers that had more meaning to us, and I assume, to him, than all the junk I've been dragging around for my whole life. I have his Air Corp toolbox from WWII with his unit insignia painted on the side, and a box full of photos and papers. When we think of him or miss him or just want the comfort of feeling him around, that box full of photos and papers means more to us than a warehouse full of personal flotsam and jetsam would mean. He brought back from Asia a wooden carving of two people kissing, and this sits on my chest of drawers to watch over us.

 

 

In the long run, what we own does not define us, and what we leave behind that will help to keep our memories alive in the hearts and minds of those who matter to us are the little things... a keychain or a pen knife, a favorite pipe, or that picture of you with that silly Halloween costume....

 

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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You got it, Bill...

 

My dad passed away a few years ago and part of his large house had been used as a warehouse for a business he had, full of small appliances, household items, books, even brand new sealed movies and music (on VHS and cassette and cd and vinyl). I didn't know much about how long it had been since it had been profitable, but we couldn't give any of it away... a few garage sales in a neighboring small town got rid of the stuff that could be considered necessities but the books, movies and music sat in my garage... I tried to donate them to the library and they said they would only accept the cds. I tried to donate them to the charitable organizations and they were finicky, too. I tried to donate them to retirement homes (most of the stuff fell into the classic era) and they thought I was crazy. I didn't want to send boxes of all this stuff, still shrinkwrapped, to the landfill. Eventually, I drove a couple of hours away to a small town library who seemed happy to have anything donated. So they now maybe have 20 copies of some big band cassettes to loan out.

 

I myself have lost three times the vinyl I have at the moment. About a third of my vinyl collection came from the local college radio station, who a few years ago decided to throw away almost all of their records, and cds, because they'd installed a hard drive system. Some of the djs called me to go through the boxes before they went into the dumpster. Honestly, the only reason I grabbed the stuff that I did then was because it was independent stuff, a lot of it self-released, that may never see release in the digital format for whatever reasons... it kind of hurt my feelings that the only copies of some of these artists work in the city could be thrown away. My personal Farenheit 151 moment.

 

I noticed recently that Marty Willson-Piper, guitarist for The Church, has just declared the collection of music, books, magazines and instruments he's amassed as a sort of library or something, based in an apartment in England. I might be shipping him some stuff in the future.

 

http://www.myspace.com/indeepmusicarchiveuk

 

http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/91/l_5465ea9717fffdeb2038f8fe9644034c.jpg

http://c4.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/16/l_025139cfb564490aa893241273c9dd93.jpg

 

But I realize that with the invention of the printing press there were people bemoaning the death of the tradition of hand-transcribed copies made in monasteries... that something beautiful and special and important was being lost. And, of course, with the advent of written language someone lamented the death of the tradition of oral storytelling. Etc.

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I have a couple paths that get you safely through the basement between piles of sports and camping gear and things that are likely growing! All my teeth and every one my kids lost and every thing they ever made or gave me. Every National Geographic since I was born and everything I ever bought and didn't destroy.

Uneaten bread crusts, jars I may put nuts and bolts in when I buy them, cottage cheese tubs I may grow plants in, hangers I could possibly need for shirts I haven't yet picked out and ....

 

naw... I 'm fine.

I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.

 

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I used to keep them but I've moved around too much.

More lately I'd just copy or notate info & drop 'em off at music stores.

 

Here's a tip fro some looking to collect info: many libraries (like my local) hold back issues for a while, then purge their collections of periodicals after some time.

The head of the periodicals department here contacts me & I get my pick of Downbeat, Keyboard, etc., often as low as $.25 each.

 

FWIW, Eric, I've noticed your input in several older issues I've culled through recently.

The "Reader's Lesson" (or whatever it was called concurrently) on chordal extensions for ending songs was great but my fave was the letter you sent in a few years back asking why, "if Arnold S. could be governor of Cali, you, Eric (The Bold) Iverson, couldn't be on the cover ?" !!

Is that why you hold onto them ? :laugh:

d=halfnote
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In the vain hope of being on the cover one day? I hadn't thought about that in YEARS! LOL.

 

I WAS very proud (and surprised) that my chords for ending songs were included). I just sent it in for the hell of it, not expecting much of anything. If someone enjoyed it, great! I love my fellow musicians, especially guitarists.... and

 

Lord please help me not a bro' to spurn

Because what little I know took me years to learn!

 

Thanks for noticing!

Eric the Plectrosaur (or is it "the Bold"?? LOL)

 

 

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