Q&A With Record Collector Geoffrey Weiss


In the world of vinyl collection there are pretty much two different types of collectors or “record heads”. First, there’s the guy who keeps all their records hermetically sealed under lock and key, not for anyone else to enjoy but themselves. The other kind of collectors are people who enjoy sharing their records and turning people on to music they have never heard before. These are the kind of people who insist on letting you borrow their records and tell you something like “You gotta hear this, I know you’ll love it”. One collector who embodies these latter characteristics is our good friend Geoffrey Weiss. Geoffrey has had a long career in the music industry and is probably the most musically knowable person we know. In addition to Geoffrey’s wealth of experience and knowledgeable, he is also the owner of one of the greatest record collections in the world. Geoffrey has collaborated with us on numerous projects and has also lent us tons of ephemera. He was the first to tell us about Ray Stinnett, which led to our release of Stinnett’s A Fire Somewhere. He is such an awesome dude, we can’t thank him enough! I recently checked in with Geoffrey for a quick Q&A and this is what he had to say.

1. What are you up to these day?

I’m enjoying my first non-corporate time in decades, managing a brilliant young artist/songwriter writer named Dylan Gardner and playing records every day.

2. You have had a very extensive career in music and have worked at a lot of great places with tons of great artist. Would you mind sharing one of your most memorable stories with us?

I worked at Warner Bros (where I was privileged to collaborate on campaigns with great labels like Sire, 4AD, American, Capricorn, Reprise, Luaka Bop…), as well as A&M, and Hollywood. Early in my career, I worked at a small LA indie called Big Time, where I A&R’d Redd Kross’ Neurotica album. They had amazing attitude, lyrics, and shows, but I wasn’t sure if they had enough songs for the album. Jeff McDonald (the visionary primary songwriter) assured me he had plenty, but the demos they gave me had a few too many songs from their previous records for me to feel confident. Guitarist Robert Hecker had this fantastic fragment called “Love is You” which 50 seconds long. Robert was alarmingly thin, and seemed to only eat every few days when someone else was buying. I offered him 50 dollars to get “Love is You” to 2 minutes, thinking that perhaps that would really motivate him. It worked, and he wrote a bridge, and we wound up 2:31 of that song. The great demos for that album have yet to be legitimately released…

3. We have been to your place a few times and every time we go we’re blown away by the enormous record collection you have. How many records do you have? What led you to start collecting records? Growing up was there someone or something that sparked your interest in collecting?

31,000 in the database, which is just LP’s and 45′s. Probably 25,000 CD’s, and another 25,000 I haven’t gotten to inputting yet. That’s a guess, I’m not going to count them. I’ve been a fan of records since before I could walk, but CREEM magazine and the Ramones got me obsessed with uncovering every detail I could about the energy of 1976/77, Chocolate Soup for Diabetics was my window into UK 60′s obscurities, Grandmaster Flash’s Adventures on the Wheels of Steel was my hip-hop awakening, Parliament’s Up for the Down Stroke was my cut-out bin epiphany. The Beatles more than anything. You know that buzzy feeling when you hear something amazing for the first time? I always wanted more of that.

4. You told us a story once about how a LA fire almost burnt down your house and you only had time to grab 10 records. What were those records?

Black Monk Time, Philosophy of the World, Odessey and Oracle, Leave Home, She’s Gone (Dovers), Dancing In Your Head, Pink Flag, Black Snake Diamond Role, God Save the Queen, Rocking Chair Album.

5. This is not really a music related question, but your a big foody and have introduced us to some of our favorite restaurants including Snow’s BBQ, Guisados and Golden State. What are some of you favorite spots for burgers, sushi, Mexican, Thaifood, veggie and desert ?

Apple Pan, Kimagure, La Casitas Mexicana, Gratitude, and I’m excited for Top Round, though it just opened yesterday. The peanut butter cookies at McCalls may be the best dessert I’ve actually tasted in Los Angeles.

6. Thank you Geoffrey for taking time to do this Q&A with me, but before I go I gotta ask what your listening to these days?

Today, I was listening to The East New York Ensemble, Dear Eloise (new Chinese band, though I love the Hollies), Blank Realm, and The Loud Family.