• Thinking back on vinyl and musing aloud about the wisdom of making a CD.

I’m 47. I grew up buying some serious poundage of vinyl and CDs. But I never bought cassettes. They were the same price as vinyl and I thought they were shitty—shitty in their essence in that they cost the same as vinyl, yet sounded like shit, held up like shit and and had shit for cover art. I made my own cassettes, thank you, and my source was my vinyl, which I stored in special inner sleeves and carefully cleaned before each playing with my Discwasher and spun on my Harman Kardon turntable fitted with a Shure cartridge. I even sought out the best vinyl, working nights once in a loading dock where I drove a forklift and unloaded tractor trailers in order to save enough for a box set of Beatles albums pressed in Japan on virgin vinyl. Or maybe they were by Mobile Fidelity Labs, I don’t remember (can you believe that?). I say all this to show that I a product of my time. And my time has passed.

Nowadays, vinyl, cassettes and CDs are all relics in various stages of decline. Vinyl is all but gone, so out of date it’s coming back into vogue a bit; cassettes have gone the way of the dinosaurs and will stay that way and deservedly so. And CD’s? They are past their prime and will die out forever just like cassettes in probably the next 5 to 10 years. Digital files rule and will continue to do so, on local drives, in mobile devices and in the cloud.

And yet, as I prepare to release my album, vinyl and CDs are very much in my plans. Why the hell would this be so? Why would I knowingly spend money on dead and dying formats? First and foremost, I think it’s because I can. I mean, when I was a kid, I wanted desperately to make a real, honest-to-god vinyl record but there was no way. I would have had to be signed and no record company in their right mind would have signed me. By the mid-80s, CDs were rapidly pushing vinyl out of record stores, but my odds of making a real CD were no better than my odds of making vinyl had been. Now? Any idiot can make a real CD, including me, and now that I can, I will. I have to get it out of my system. When I croak — centuries from now! — making a physical album is something I damn well want to have done.

The other big reason I want to make a CD and possibly press some vinyl is that to this day music and physical media go together for me. When I listen to music and hold the CD case/art in my hands the experience is just more complete. I’m sure that this is not so for today’s youth, nor should it be. Times change. But I’m not today’s youth. Hell, to a teen, I am old, a grandfather’s age to people born of young parents. And besides, I’m making this album mostly for me. Sure, having CDs on hand to give out to friends and family and the occasional stranger will be nice, but mainly I want to be able to put my own music on a shelf the way I did my old music. I want it to be where I can see it, pick it up, show it off, muse over it.

To misquote Pete, “I want to pick up my CD and play.”