The Westminster Public Library is a very alive and thriving place. There is everything from clubs to art displays. English instructor, Tino Gomez, has been collecting vinyl records for more than thirty years. He has a select few out of his collection, which comprises approximately four thousand records, on display for the month of October that contains everything from Buddy Holly to Cyndi Lauper to Diana Ross. I recently sat down with him to discuss this beautiful display of his
There are four parts to the exhibition. The first part, located at the Library’s entrance, is themed on the early years of rock n’ roll and contains releases from the stars of the 1950s such as Elvis Presley and Richie Valens, giants of the 60s such as Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, 70s punk like the Clash, and heavy metal monsters of the 80s such as Iron Maiden. The exhibit covers approximately a forty- year time frame, which is no easy task, especially for a genre as diverse as rock n’ roll. One of my personal favorite albums in this collection is definitly Iron Maiden’s Powerslave.
One of heavy metal’s biggest accomplishments out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) scene that persisted from the late 1970’s through the mid-1980’s is undoubtedly Iron Maiden. The band consists of the six man crew of vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, guitarists Dave Murray, Janick Gers, and Adrian Smith, and drummer Nicko McBrain. Beginning with the release of Iron Maiden on April 14th, 1980, this group rose to have international fame and recognition as one of heavy metal’s finest examples. Their fifth release, Powerslave, was released on September 3rd, 1984, and is notable for its ancient Egyptian theme on the cover art. There were two singles from that album, “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “Aces High”, and the album itself made it to number 21 on the BillBoard 200 in the United States the year it was released. They also embarked on their longest world tour to date, “The World Slavery Tour”, after its release.
Iron Maiden – Powerslave
The second part of the display can be found deeper inside of the library and is dedicated to the roots of hip hop/rap music. It contains classics from artists such as James Brown, Funkadelic, Diana Ross, and Curtis Mayfield. One record in particular that I find to be interesting is the single “Renegades of Funk” by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force. Released in 1983, the song wasn’t included in a full-length album until 1986’s Planet Rock: The Album. It was included as a radio track in the video game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, it has been included in TV dramas such as Miami Vice, and was even covered by the legendary Rage Against the Machine.
The third portion of the display is representative of the “compromise” Tino and his wife have, considering they only have one stereo and she too collects these records. One key piece of this section is Captain Beefheart’s 1967 debut release, Safe as Milk. Being an early rock/blues/psychedelic artist, the label the band was on at the time of proposing this material in 1966 decided to drop them after hearing the song “Electricity” and deeming it “too negative”. They then turned to Bob Krasnow of Kama Sutra Records, who recruited them for the company’s then new subsidiary label, Buddah.
The fourth and final portion of the display is a few albums that Gomez couldn’t help but include, and couldn’t bring himself to exclude. Or, as he would put it “a run off of what I couldn’t fit in other places”. One of the albums contained within this portion is KISS’s 1976 release, Rock N’ Roll All Over, which was given to him in the second grade. Another important piece in this segment is Pink Floyd’s eleventh studio album, The Wall. Released at the end of November in 1979, this double album would become to be one of the most influential records of all time. The Rolling Stone placed The Wall as number 87 on the list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time in a special 2003 issue, and the band won a Grammy in 1980 for the “Best Engineered Non-Classical Album”.
It was difficult to choose between some of the albums in this collection that I’ve written about, as I too am a huge addict of music and a junkie for collector’s items. There are nearly thirty records in all, and I have only elaborated on a handful. This display will be up at least throughout the rest of the month of October, so I would highly advise you to go check it out for yourself while it is still there!