Interview Month: Collectors Interview #2: Curt

Second collector we would like to introduce is our good friend Curt from London, UK. His collection is not as big as Brennans BUT he has some awesome items in his possesion and a cool story to tell!

1. First question is the most common question in LP fanbase: the beginning. What or who got You into Linkin Park? Was it a video you saw or a friend who gave You a copy of LP's Hybrid Theory? That brings the 1A question: What was the first item related to LP you've purchased?

I first heard about Linkin Park in 2006 via a very old friend of mine called Oles who I had met on an online gaming forum. We used to speak most days after school on MSN messenger and we used to send each other music on YouTube that we liked so we could fill our MP3 players. He sent me copies of songs from Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the first being Pushing Me Away and Numb. I proceeded to download their albums a few tracks at a time over the course of a few weeks. I spent the best part of my teenage years listening to Hybrid Theory, Reanimation and Meteora as a way of coping with depression. I have a very fond attachment to those three albums. A little fun and embarrassing fact, I had downloaded Reanimation with the track numbers in the completely wrong order - it took until 2009 to realise and correct the numbers in my iTunes library! The first physical items I bought were far later, probably around 2009 when I brought Hybrid Theory and Meteora in a 2 for £10 deal in HMV (those were the days). I started collecting shortly after this period by accident if I am honest. I decided to buy the rest of LP’s albums a few at a time and thought I would check eBay for better prices. I stumbled upon the numbered single of Crawling and I bought it, followed by the In The End numbered single and the rest is as they say, history.

2. What is the most valuable item you currently have?

A lot of people who collect understand that items are valued at what people will pay. The two items in my collection that I believe would sell for the most amount of money is my signed Hybrid Theory 12” which is a first press gatefold and secondly my Reanimation RIAA platinum award plaque. I also have an original Grey Daze t-shirt which I imagine would fetch quite a lot of money. The most valuable however is for sentimental reasons. My Hybrid Theory first press means so much to me. I made a promise to myself in 2007 to get a copy of Hybrid Theory signed by the band after seeing LP TV episodes of the band doing Meet & Greets in the USA. I was selected for a meet and greet at my first tour show at London last November. Having that album signed was really very special and I proudly hang it on my wall at home. Mission accomplished!


3. What, in your opinion, is the so called holy grail of LP collectors? HT EP 1999? SDaHF Cassette? Or maybe some limited signed item? Please explain why?

This is a hard question to answer as it really depends on what kind of collector you are. If you want rare, Shopping Cart Xero is probably the Holy Grail of all items. I personally prefer different items that are unique and therefore more special. Something I always wish I bought was Joe’s “Tasty gas station breaks from the orient” sample vinyl. Everyone who knows me as a Linkin Park collector also knows I am also a vinyl collector with over 400 individual 12” records in my collection. This to me is the Holy Grail. Tasty Gas is the actual disk that Joe would have used to perform shows with his decks. I would have loved to have the chance to stick it on my 1210s at home and pretend to be ‘Mista Hanh’.

4. Roughly, how much do you spend on LP per year? Few people have already asked here and there, and they would like to know how do you run your budget just to afford some old and some new stuff (when a new album drops in example) along with regular life (hah)?

Back in 2010-2013 I spent quite a fortune collecting items. I had a new job and had a good income for the first time in my life. The exact amount I’m not sure but probably in the region of thousands of £ per year. Since 2013 anyone who watches my YouTube collection updates will know I regularly complain about the prices of items and my collecting has tapered off year over year. These days I probably spend a maximum of a few hundred a year. I tend to save my money and when big ticket items come up I can afford to buy them without having to feel so guilty about buying them. Back when I spent a lot of money, I used to get around 6 – 12 packages in the mail a week, every week!!  This year I have found some really nice items to add to my collection by collecting with this restricted budget. A signed copy of the Glorious Excess book for instance which was not exactly cheap, or my copy of Mikes Welcome vinyl which with import costs worked out around an eye watering sum of £150. Although these spends are few and far between, it has certainly made my collection and collecting experience more interesting and rewarding!

5. Based on Your current collection, is there any item (apart from the holy grail list) You wanted to get but still didn't due to any reasons?

I missed the opportunity to buy a 99’ HTEP two months ago for about £50. The buyer did not realise its value (I had confirmed it was genuine) and by the time I read the email from my source the item had already sold while I slept!! I also really wanted to buy the ATS deluxe vinyl package. I couldn’t afford to pay £100 for it when it was released and now the price has gone up by too much to really justify the purchase. I only want it for the special edition vinyl (go figure). I also really wanted to start a Japanese release collection as they are my absolute favourite releases apart from vinyls. I have had my Japanese copy of Reanimation signed at the LPCxM&G with the band in Rybnik in Poland which is awesome! Unfortunately the Japanese releases are not only hard to find, but also quite expensive due to import costs into the UK from countries outside Europe. Unless you really spend a lot of time looking or have good contacts in Japan this is quite prohibitive, I have held back for the time being.

6. After so many years of collecting, is there anything You'd like LP to release more often or from time to time? In example different single versions, CD+DVD albums WITH making of? Live releases? Or maybe limited editions?

Vinyls. I like how LP have jumped onto the vinyl band wagon in reecent years which makes sense. The sales of 12” records in the UK have gone up by about 117% in the last year alone! I would really hope for a Reanimation reissue on 12”sometime soon. I love playing that record as it sounds SO good on vinyl. The astronomical cost and scarcity of the second hand copies makes me hesitant to play it and reduce the disk quality… to expand on that point - it cost me over £120 to import a VG+ grade copy from Japan in 2014. Speaking to Lorenzo in August however, he hinted at a Record Store Day release in 2016 which would be very welcome.

7. Another common question: how many concerts have you been to? Which one is Your favourite so far? Why?

My tour friends will call me a baby as I have only been to 4 starting in 2014! To be honest all of them were great and the set lists were pretty similar as they all encompass The Hunting Party tour cycle:

·         Donnington, Download Festival – 14th June 2014

·         London, O2 Arena – 23rd November 2014

·         London, O2 Arena – 24th November 2014

·         Rybnik, Stadion Miejski- 25th August 2015

·         London, Scala – 8th September 2015 (Fort Minor)

Download Festival was incredible. I will never forget the moment Mike came on the stage to the opening beat of Papercut shouting ‘Get the fuck up!” and the WHOLE 60,000 strong crowd surging forward so much so you could lift your feet off the floor and float. I still get goosebumps from that show and I couldn’t have had a better set list for my first show! Mike’s Fort Minor show at Scala in London, was a dream come true for a massive FM fan like me. It is well known that I love FM as much as if not a little more than LP! Rybnik was also incredible, seeing my friends from around the world that this community of collectors has provided is kickass! However the best show (Mike who runs this site will agree) will have to be the London show on 24th November last year. Getting on stage with Mike and Bart with the band during Bleed It Out, nothing will ever, EVER top that.

8. Last but not least, what can You tell to people just starting their collections? Any hints for beginners?

Same thing I say to everyone. Patience. Your collection might not be that big now – but we all had to start somewhere and it certainly grows fast! I collected by one rule which was not to spend money on items if they were overpriced. It’s partly the reason why I don’t collect as much nowadays as I stick to the rule like gospel. Patience however, there are certainly deals for everyone to find… but only if your fast enough!

Check out Curt's yearly update on youtube.