Dominic Davi

Today we're starting a new regular weekend feature at Punknews: Collector's Corner! Inspired by an old feature that used to run at Vinyl Collective years ago, Collector's Corner will be a feature that talks to musicians, DJs, label owners, artists, and fans about their record collections. (And by "record," we mean vinyl, CD, tape, etc… we're not prejudiced!)

We kick off the feature with an interview with Dominic Davi! Dominic is a punk rock champion! He started the kick ass pop-punk band Tsunami Bomb and toured with them all over the world. Now, he's a record label don, working on the inside at both Alternative Tentacles and Kung Fu Records! Did you like the last World/Inferno Friendship Society record or the latest Circle Jerks reissue? Dominic had a hand in that. (What must it be like to have both Jello Biafra and Joe Escalante as bosses?!) On top of that, he's got a new band called Crash & Attack who are currently working on their first full length. You can read our interview with Dom about his collection below.

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What is your earliest memory of hearing a record?
Music has always been a huge part of my household. Probably one of my father's old blues albums? He is a huge fan of Mississippi Delta Blues…so that was always playing. Could have been one of my mom's Beach Boys albums, she was a surfer girl from Laguna Beach, so that was on a lot then too. When I was really young, one of my friends gave me the Beastie Boys "License To Ill" LP and once I had that, I listened to it non-stop. One side, flip, next side, flip, repeat. My little brother says that album became the soundtrack to his childhood, it was for me.

What was the first record that you bought with your own money?
I had been given a number of albums, and my parents had a big collection…so it was either Nirvana "Nevermind" or Skankin' Pickle "Skankin' Pickle Fever". I hadn't needed to buy one until that time.

Why do you collect records?
The music is of course huge, but being an artist, it's hard not to love vinyl. The art is so huge and up front. It becomes so important and I'm such a huge fan of album artwork. I guess really it's all parts of it combined. I just love music and I love art….albums art the best combination of those things.

What is the crown jewel of your collection?
My Nana recently gave me her entire swing and big band collection. Including my Nano's records from when he owned a jukebox business (which I didn't know he had). The records are, for lack of a better word, incredible. That they were HER records when she was young (and in great condition) make it all the more valuable to me. The irony is that the only reason no one else in the family wanted it, is because they thought it was junk. It's actually kind of worth a lot. She knew I would appreciate it…she was right.

What is your most exciting story wherein you tracked down a record that you wanted?
For me, it's less the chase, and more the stories behind it. I doubt I would have a story that would sound exciting to other collectors, but I have more fond memories connected to records themselves, then what I did to get it. One fond memory is from when in the dead of summer, in Arizona, on the Warped Tour, the members of Thrice gave me a copy of their limited edition colored vinyl copy of their then soon to be released album, The Artist In The Ambulance. I was so stoked, but we had 3 weeks of tour left! It was sooo hot, and our van didn't have a very good air conditioner. I went to EXTREME lengths to keep that record safe, I think I even tried ice packs. In the end, it did get a slight warp to it…but still plays perfect. It's hard for me to not look at that record and not remember those days of my band playing shows with Thrice and how we were all friends, the Warped Tour back then, and those terrible southern summers.

Another story was being a kid of about 15 and being taken to the Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco to see a punk show by my friend who could drive. One band played in the middle of the set, and I thought they were so amazing! I was so blown away by them I went up and talked to the singer when he was hanging out by the merch booth. I told him it was my first time seeing then and how blown away I was. The singer was super nice and we talked for a while. When he found out I didn't have any money, he ended up giving me a bunch of stickers and pins, and a copy of a limited edition live 7" they had put out. It was Blake from Jawbreaker and I still have that 7"…and it's still awesome.

There's the old adage "You never regret records that you buy, but you always regret the one's you *don't* buy". What record got away from you?
You know…nothing that other collectors will care about, but occasionally I have seen some truly incredible punk bands out there, that never went anywhere, at least in terms of nationally famous. There are a few bands, who even though no one knows about them, they were just so incredible…but then they were gone. Maybe they had a burned CD…or a 7"…and I never managed to get a copy. You know, those ignored geniuses that come and go, under everyone's noses. Those I miss. Some bands I can't even remember their names. Some I have a few things by but I wish I had more. Like Petaluma's The Conspiracy or Stockton's The Lobstrocities. Amazing bands only a few people care about…or even knew, but should have been huge. I wish I had grabbed some of those albums when I had the chance. Instead of thinking they would be around forever.

But, is there any record that you *do* regret buying?
No…but there are ones that I regret being given..ha! For every one "unknown" genius group that comes and goes like I mentioned above, there are thousands of terrible bands that I just wish I didn't have, but I have such a hard time throwing those things away. Every record is some bands dream. Like something they worked so hard to make. Even if I don't like it…it seems so disrespectful to trash it. Then again….I've heard some pretty terrible records.

How precious are your records- That is, do you play them regularly, or do you keep them safe and locked away?
Play them as often as possible. Sometimes due to convenience sake, I rely too heavily on my digital library or Spotify. I really do love the moments I put on a LP on the record player and just kick back listening to it and looking at the album art. I need to do that more (spoken while eyeing his record player).

Is medium itself (vinyl, CD, mp3) important to you? Why?
Not as much to some. I just like hearing music…thankfully my ear isn't so snobby, and I hope I never get that way. I can still appreciate any level of recording as long as I can hear everything. I have no preference really, but I only "collect" vinyl.

What's your white whale record?
Hmmm…I am really not sure. You know what….I do know. I wish I owned a copy of AFI's 7" "Eddie Picnic's All Wet". First, I was at that stupid show and I didn't bother to get one, cause I'm dumb and I figured I would get one later. THAT didn't happen. Second, I grew up with Eddie, so that makes that record even more humorous because I know the guy and I do know why he was all wet. It's like $200 now. I could have picked it up for $3. Stupid.

Do you have a favorite record shop?
I'm loving 1-2-3-4 Go Records in Oakland. They do it right. Everyone I've ever sent there has fallen in love with that place. They do it right. Check it out if you are in town.