Interview Month: Collectors Interview #4: Lou

Fourth collector in our interview month is our new friend and also new contributor Lou Ciccone from New York, USA. Here's a quite different perspective on collecting! Enjoy the interview as much as we did and check out the collection photos. They are awesome!

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 One Step Closer on the radio in 2000. I then saw LP open up for POD in NYC at the Kings of the Game tour headlined by POD. I knew then and there that LP were special. The way they played live and the songs they had fit into my life at the time. And I loved how they mixed rap with metal and a DJ. I then got a burnt CD copy of Hybrid Theory, which I believe I still have to this day, and only owned an original until a few years ago. The first item I ever purchased with LP on it must have been a t-shirt in the early 2000's.

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

I believe it's the 3 original Hybrid Theory cover art sketches done in sharpie and pencil by Mike Shinoda that I have hanging on my wall. I once saw that these existed in a LPU video I believe and was able to get lucky and hunt them down. The most valuable item I received in person is my microphone I had signed by the band during the Carnivores Show in 2014. Aside from LP items, I love their individual talents such as art from Mike & Joe. I own 5 of the FM Vinyl with one being a unique skeleton I've never seen before and I also have Mike's "Accidental Crossdresser" signed canvas, and the last signed "Follow the Leader" print.
I can honestly say that I truly appreciate everything the band and its members do, and my fondness for their collectibles grows by the day.

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?

Most people will say, and I probably agree, is the HT EP from 1999 or the shopping cart version. But since I go deeper than just band merch/items, and I'd dive into concert used items. I have yet to see anything from their first tour as Linkin Park, such as a used guitar or drumsticks. It's one thing to have a rare item that was produced by a company, but another to own an item used by the band on stage when they first came onto the scene. I also saw recently on Ebay a scrapbook that Mike had made during their 10th anniversary I believe and in there was a Hybrid Theory show card and advertisement. Those I'd love to have. 

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)?

Each year the number has been increasing for me. It started from around $100-$500 per year back in the early 2000's and now it's probably over $5000 per year, excluding years where I get VIP or m&g access to a show. I'm putting together a full collection of picks (only a few away from completion) and I'm chasing down as much Mike Shinoda or Joe Hahn art as I can get. If I had more wall-space I'd probably be buying a hell of a lot more! The way I see the things I buy is as an investment as well and definitely something I will hand down to my kids. 
I'm not big on buying mass-produced items like CD & vinyl singles or foreign media. I'm bigger on the rarer signed and show used items. 

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?

Right at this moment, Mike has a storm trooper that was drawn and painted on up for sale on Ebay. Priced around $1500 right now but since it's full size, I just don't have the room for it!
I also passed on a Mike/Brad HS yearbook and a rare copy of Mike's scrapbook he gave to close friends and family.

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?

Not really, they release a lot as it is. I don't care for the live stuff too much but do like the rarer b-sides or demos, like found on the LPU cd's. I also enjoy when other artists are brought into the mix, so more collaborations would be great.

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

I don't even know since I've been going to shows since the mid-90's. I've been to at least 10 Linkin Park shows. All my stubs have been washed away during hurricane Sandy, so I can't say for sure. My fave was my first show when they opened for POD in 2000 and my second was when I went side stage and meet & greet in the summer of 2014.
Here are some of the shows I can remember-
11/10/2000 NYC;
8/9/2001 Long Island;
2/8/2002 Long Island;
1/18/2004 Long Island;
8/15/2007 Long Island;
2/21/2008 NYC;
2/4/2011 NYC;
8/15/2012 Long Island;
8/19/2014 Long Island M&G, Side Stage.

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

Start where your interests lay and what you can afford. I'd also say start with the base- obtain all their regular CD's, download (or buy) the LPU albums, and become an LPU member. Then go on the forums and see what others collect and what interests you from there.