Last Collector Standing: Rhea Frankel and Roy DeRousse's (Literal) Prog-Rock Love Affair, Part Two

(This is part two of this week's Last Collector Standing column, featuring Rhea Frankel and Roy DeRousse. The prog-rock fans met at a Yes show and eventually married, a story we told yesterday. Read that here.)

Last Collector Standing: Rhea Frankel and Roy DeRousse's (Literal) Prog-Rock Love Affair, Part Two
Jon Scorfina

What are some other prize pieces in your collection? Rhea Frankel: King Crimson's Discipline album. I got all four of the band members to sign it. I'm really happy about that. Robert Fripp, the guitarist, doesn't normally sign autographs. He did an in-store appearance when one of his albums was coming out. So I brought this, and he was the last person to sign it. I'm really happy about that, because it is one of my all time favorite albums.

I worked at WXPN, which is a college station but is run professionally. When King Crimson came to Philadelphia, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin came to the station to do an interview. I got to meet both of them, and got pictures with them. That's when they signed my Discipline LP.

Roy DeRousse: One of the holy grails of my collecting was by a guy named Greenslade. He had a band actually by that name. He put out this solo album called...

Frankel: Pentatuch of the Cosmogony

DeRousse: I can't even pronounce it! This was a sort of a deluxe production. It's a combined album, artwork and story. The package has two LPs in it, and the story with artwork. It was conceived as a whole. You simply could not find this anywhere. I subscribed to a collector's magazine called Goldmine. I use to pore through the ads in that when I got an issue. I got a lot of stuff in the mail that way.

It took me a long time to find it. It was also one of the more expensive things I've bought. I think it was about 50 bucks when I finally got it. Then the sad thing happened. I lived in a different condo by myself before Rhea and I got together and it was flooded. So I lost part of my record collection and this was one of them. [Rhea] wanted to do something really nice for me and she did. She found another copy of it.

Frankel: I learned a really good lesson. I found it on eBay and started having a bidding war. Thankfully, I lost because it was well over one hundred dollars at that point. I ended up doing a search with a lot of online record stores, and found a record store in England that had a copy of it.

DeRousse: I've got a sub-genre of collecting shaped-picture disc. This one by Cutting Crew is called Buzzsaw (the vinyl is shaped like an actually buzzsaw and comes with a warning "not to be used as a frisbee!"). Normally, I buy things for the music first and for art second, but I saw this in a record store and it was like $3.00. It was so cool. I did like the song, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight."

Frankel: They were a one-hit wonder.

DeRousse: You could get hurt on this one. [Laughs]

Where did you find the unique piece of furniture to display your LPs? Frankel: I'm wondering how many of the record collectors you've talked to are women. That's probably part of it. When I moved in, Roy had these metal shelving units and cardboard boxes. Each cardboard box would hold 50 or so records. That's how the records were displayed. It was kind of ugly.

I wanted to do something like a bookcase where we could display them [instead of having them in cardboard boxes]. We tried to find bookcases that were sturdy enough, but we weren't really getting anywhere. We were on vacation in Chicago and there was this store called Room and Board that does modern style furniture. [What we have] was a thing called the Matrix. I don't think they even have it in their catalog anymore. When we were in the store they had record albums on the display and that's probable what gave us the idea.

DeRousse: Most people who would buy that unit would use it to show vases or pottery or pictures. It works out beautifully for records.

Frankel: People who have come by [our apartment] have even thought it was just a built-in shelving unit. Like it just short of belonged there. I think it fits really well.

How long of a life span do you think progressive rock has in its future? Frankel: The scene now is really small compared to bands that used to put out albums and get radio airplay and play big venues. The festivals we're talking about bring in 1,000 people. There are a lot of people now who are doing it on a DIY basis.

DeRousse: I think there are a sizable number of people who still enjoy the music. To me it's all a matter of exposure. Back in the '70s a lot of these progressive bands were mainstream. The problem today is, how do they hear it? Without the Internet it would have died out probably in the '90s. I think progressive music will be around for quite awhile.

Frankel: If it weren't for the music, I'd be living by myself in Philadelphia. [Laughs]

About The Author

Jon Scorfina

Jon Scorfina is a freelance writer for the Riverfront Times. Between 2010 and 2011, he wrote the weekly column "Last Collector Standing," which explored collecting physical media in the digital age. He continues to write pop culture related cover stories and features for the Riverfront Times.
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