RECORD STORE TALES #911: The Pros and Cons of Rediscovery
Ever have an artist that you like listening to, but have neglected for many years? It happens. Maybe they appeal to you only when you’re in certain moods, or you have forgotten why you originally liked them. Or perhaps the albums got buried in a corner and you forgot about them. There are numerous reasons why any serious music fan might not have heard an artist they like in a long time.
Whatever your reasons are, I assume they are good ones. When I neglect an artist for a long period of time, I blame it on the haphazard way I’ve ripped my CDs to my digital library. An ongoing project due to the thousands of albums in the house (and more arriving every week), I have not done it alphabetically. I tried doing it that way, but it was tremendously monotonous, so I resumed “ripping what I feel like” instead. And if I didn’t feel like listening to somebody, I didn’t rip it, and often forgot about it.
I’ll give you an example: Joe Satriani. Recently I was in the mood to listen to all-instrumental music for a day. I went to my Satriani folder and only found five discs inside. I knew I had more, but for whatever reason, they never made it onto my hard drive. I had guesses as to why. They were albums I wasn’t as familiar with. I obviously ripped the familiar stuff that I wanted to hear rather than the stuff I needed to spend time with and grow into.
“I forgot about this song,” I mumbled during “Up in the Sky” from Crystal Planet. I remember buying that CD. It was 1998 and I was living with T-Rev, and I was excited about new Satch. I wanted to touch base with my instrumental roots that began when I bought Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare back in the summer of 1990. I also made sure we carried Satch in-store. It sold well enough for us, but I remember being underwhelmed listening to it. I couldn’t distinguish a lot of the songs, and I found it a bit overlong. I guess I rarely revisited it for those reasons.
Getting out Crystal Planet again, I might not have been wrong, but there are some cool songs buried within. The title track has a really cool rhythmic, metallic riff. “House Full of Bullets” For ballads, “Love Thing” is pretty sweet. There is good stuff here that I missed out on for a few years due to neglect.
Other artists that I have recently dove back into include Steve Vai and Jethro Tull. Undeniably, two more challenging artists. Their music is not designed for simplicity. I’ve always found Vai’s Fire Garden difficult to digest. A single disc, it was originally intended to be a double, but still contains the same music because Steve discovered it would all fit on a modern CD. It’s dense. As such, it never made it onto the hard drive. Until now. Same with Tull’s A Passion Play.
There’s a negative side to this rediscovery as well.
Upon playing these old Satriani, Tull and Vai albums once more, I started looking up their discographies. Reading about the albums I had, and the ones I didn’t have.
“Oh!” I exclaimed. “Satriani has a box of all his studio albums plus a bonus disc!”
“There’s a Thick As A Brick deluxe box now!”
“I still need to get an original vinyl Flex-Able Leftovers to get all the tracks!”
Don’t worry. I didn’t order all that stuff. The only purchase I made was an RSD reissue of Satriani’s first self-titled EP. Original copies go for $500, but I found a reasonably priced RSD copy. It was within budget so that’s on its way. And that’s it. I didn’t go hog wild.