• Record Collector: Mike Garrido

    Two weeks before Mike Garrido’s last birthday he had a conversation with his girlfriend. It wasn’t a particularly striking chat, but the two discussed which handful of records, out of all the records in the world, they’d spend some real money on.

    "I told her one of the few records I'd lay out a lot of money for is Caetano Veloso’s self-titled record,’” He told us about that chat. He went on to explain that the 1968 album by the Brazilian musician was pressed in Brazil, and finding original copies—especially in America—is the equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack. 

    “I don’t even know when the first time I heard the album. It feels like it’s always been living in my brain,” he says of the record that changed his life.

    When his birthday arrived, he opened the package his girlfriend had handed him. It was Caetano Veloso. An original copy. The only one in America that he’s seen.

    “They’re very hard to come by so I never even conceived of holding one, let alone owning one,” Mike shares. “And getting the record as a gift, it’s such bizarre experience. Usually, you go out, find it and bring it home, so to open up a package and have it sitting in my lap was really, really special.” 

    Out of Mike’s extensive record collection (which totals around 2,000), this Caetano Veloso one might be his favorite. There are others that are special: Dark’s Round The Edges, Gram Parson’s Grievous Angel, his mother’s first copy of Black Sabbath’s first LP—each one has a little bit of history, he says, and that’s part of what makes record collecting so fun. That's part of the reason he’s continued to do it for over 17 years.

    Mike shows us some of his favorite records shops in Austin to bolster his collection and talks extensively about the pile up he's accumulated so far in life. Read our interview with him below and be sure to check out the lineup for UO Live in Austin, March 16 through March 19th here.
    Photos by Becca Morris 

    When did you start collecting records?
    I started collecting when I was in high school. I was basically a bedroom DJ and I started collecting any weird things I could find. I’d go to flea markets and, like so many other collections, it got completely out of hand. 

    Do you have any super memorable aspects of your collection?
    There's this record called Demian by a Texas band from the early ‘70s. My friend in Austin is another huge record collector; his collection is probably about four to five times the size of mine. He was like “Here, you’d probably really like this record.” He puts it on and it’s pretty glam, kind of T-Rex-y but kind of stoner metal-y. It's this great record and I was like, “Wow, I’ve never heard of this before. Is it pretty rare?” And he’s like “Yeah, it’s like $80 if you find it, but you’re probably not going to find it.” Then two weeks later, I was the Austin Record Convention and on the way out I stopped at one last guy. He had a copy of Demian and I talked him down to ten bucks. I sent my friend a picture of it and I was like “Hey, I scored a copy of Demian!” And he very angrily texted me back “How much did you pay for it?” I said I got it for ten bucks and he was furious.

    You have this knowledge of the bands and the music you collect. Is that just as much a part of your collection as the music itself? 
    I love the process. I’ll watch a music documentary even if I don’t like the band because the story of why things sound the way they do is always really interesting to me. If I really like something, I want to know all about it. 99 times out of 100 it’s a pretty fun story. That’s one of the reasons why I collect records: You get to live in a museum of shit that you like. And it’s always fun to share those things with other people. 

    Your taste seems to be super varied.
    I have a pretty wide variety of stuff. One of my favorite musical artists ever is this guy named Cal Tjader. He’s a vibraphone player and he released like 180 albums over his lifetime. There’s nothing Rock 'n' Roll about that guy! It’s Latin vibraphone jazz music and it’s one of my favorite things to listen to—especially when I’m cooking. 

    You took us to Breakaway Records. Tell us about the significance of that shop. 
    It’s my favorite [record shop] in the whole city. There are probably four very, very good record stores in Austin, but Breakaway is my favorite because it’s not very big but it’s dense, and they have a really good 45 section.  I love to collect 45's because they tend to be a little bit weirder. The guys that work there are all really great and love to talk to you. They’re not like your typical record store guy like, “Oh, you’re buying that?” There’s no condescension when you bring something up to the counter. 

    And then you bring the records home into your cool house. Is the way you decorate your home just another aspect of your collection and personality?
    There’s so much fricking stuff everywhere! I think it’s really important to surround yourself with stuff you feel like looking at. When someone comes over, Katie, my girlfriend, often has to slow me down or stop me completely. They’ll walk into the living room and be like, “Oh, what’s this?” and I’ll be like, “Oh, this is an original MC5 poster from the show at the Grande Ballroom. The Grande Ballroom was where most touring bands would play when they would play in Detroit. And the MC5 was one of the house bands, so they’d open for Cream and Buffalo Springfield and stuff like that. Next to it is…” and I can talk forever about this shit. That’s four square feet of our living room wall. I can go on forever. It’s fun to share things with people that are really exciting to you.  

    I have a photograph of this guy named Wayne Kramer and he was the lead guitarist in this band called the MC5 and the MC5 is my favorite band ever. They were a band from Detroit from the late ‘60s into the early ‘70s. A friend of mine who owned a guitar shop, he was at the show in New York in 1970. He took this picture of Wayne playing guitar and lost the negative. He has one print of it and he gave it to me because he knows they’re my favorite band. It’s a one-of-a-kind print of one of my favorite guitar players of all time and it’s hanging up on my wall and I can talk for an hour and a half about why that’s special for me.

    Shop Vinyl