A view of Gordon's Analog Poodle Studio

From: [email protected]
To: Gordon Raphael
Date: Tue, Mar 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Subject: And so it begins…

Hi Gordon,

So tell me, what were your earliest days of music fandom like? Was it instant obsession? What images/sounds do you remember being compelled by…and what were the earliest records you put down money for?

Talk soon!

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From: Gordon Raphael
To: [email protected]
Date: Wed, Apr 2, 2012 at 2:47 AM
Subject: And so it begins…

With a rocket shaped transistor radio underneath my pillow at night and two epic rock records in the family home, I was thrilled to purchase my very first vinyl album at K-mart where Pat O’Day the local DJ at KJR radio was signing and selling a compilation of current songs, put out by his radio station!

This began a truly lifelong obsession with looking at purchasing and collecting vinyl records. I have thousands of them at home in Berlin and in my music studio, and ‘remote’ piles of them various cities that I travel to. When I recently re-organized my supply in Berlin, I noticed that sometimes there are three and four copies of the ones I like best.

I have the impression that when I first started going to actual record stores and looking at the new releases of rock music, I could actually keep up with all the releases and noticed which ones were new that week. It was very reassuring and exciting to be able to scan through the entire rock catalog and notice which records were new simply from seeing the art work on the covers.

Within a year I’d already switched to KOL AM and was listening to a new format on FM radio that featured longer songs and whole album sides, it was here that I heard The Beatles’ White Album for the first time on KISW. At that point my record buying was directed by songs I heard on the radio that especially resonated with me and sometimes records that had dazzling cover artwork or imagination stirring band names. Records such as Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica I purchased immediately because the cover art was so weird and the musicians looked like complete freak-a-zoids from outer space!

I remember distinctly going to buy Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon because of a song or two I’d heard on the radio and being stopped dead in my tracks when I flipped through the record racks and saw David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs for sale. As a testament to the kind of sheltered life I’d led, never before had I considered the possibility of a boys face resembling that of a girl’s! This seems strange in hindsight because I love the idea of long-haired men in bell-bottom jeans messing with the perceptions of the older generation, but suffice it to say, at that tender age I certainly did not want rock ‘n roll to “go that way”! Two years later of course, I changed my official religion to that of David Bowie and wore red painted high-heeled boots, lipstick eyeliner and froofy women’s jackets that I scored at Goodwill!

Always resounding from deep within my heart…


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—Gordon Raphael is a former music-loving kid from Seattle, Washington, who grew up to be in some bands (including Grunge rockers Sky Cries Mary), and then moved to New York to produce great records for some very influential bands. His most renowned works are the first three releases from American rockers, The Strokes.

Gordon is currently based in Berlin and continues to produce albums for international recording artists. This is the third exchange in an ongoing correspondence between Gordon and Talk Rock To Me’s, April Robinson.

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