Thursday, June 3, 2010

Last Collector Standing: Doug Morgan on Dr. Jockenstein, Digging for Vinyl with DJ Premier and His Love of Hip-Hop

Posted By on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 5:36 PM

click to enlarge Doug Morgan's record collection, which includes this Telly Savalas gem - JON SCORFINA
  • Jon Scorfina
  • Doug Morgan's record collection, which includes this Telly Savalas gem

DJ Doug Morgan is the host of The Record Sto' (formerly the Underworld) every Thursday at 2 p.m. on KDHX. Morgan stores his mammoth personal collection -- the largest profiled in this column yet -- in his University City house, which he bought from Vintage Vinyl owner Tom "Papa" Ray. Between dealing with a minor flood in his basement (thankfully, no records were badly damaged) we conversed over "Rapper's Delight," the late Dr. Jockenstein's Roll Call radio show and digging for vinyl with Gang Starr's DJ Premier.

Last Collector Standing: What's the craziest experience you've ever had collecting records? Doug Morgan: First of all, I don't actually consider myself a collector in the technical sense. I just like music a lot, all different genres. I'm always digging, hunting and picking up stuff.

I've actively been buying records since I was four. My stepdad, he was a big music buff, would let me pick out a 45 every Friday on payday. The bug bit me, and I've never stopped.

Do you remember the first record you bought when you were four? Absolutely. It was The Jackson 5, "ABC."

click to enlarge Jackson_5_ABC_1970_FrontBlog.jpg

Do you still have it? No, I don't have it anymore.

Do you remember what might have happened to it? No, I was four. [Laughs. ] Probably broke it, scratch it, lost it.

Could you elaborate on what your first experience of collecting music was like? My first grass-cutting jobs, my first snow-shoveling jobs, my first real jobs were actually just to buy records. I didn't want to work, but I needed the money to get the records. I had more records than the average kid by the time I was in my early teens.

One of my cooler experiences collecting was [when] I was in New Orleans on a trip. Probably the largest portion of my collection, at least in volume, is hip-hop twelve-inches. I've been buying forever, and I used to be a lot more active of a collector because I was DJing a lot more. This is pre-Internet, when you just couldn't go online and download anything you wanted at any time. You couldn't go on eBay and buy it. You had to get out there and go find it. You had to be in the trenches, so to speak.

I was doing some digging and found this cool old record store. There was no organization in the place whatsoever. There was this 90-year old guy sitting behind the counter and I'd go, "Where's your 'blah blah blah' section?" He just kind of pointed at the entire record store.

Gang Starr, featuring DJ Premier and the late Guru
  • Gang Starr, featuring DJ Premier and the late Guru

I was on the hunt for rare twelve-inches, and I thought I had found a patch. This place was completely dust covered. Mold out the butt. I'm sneezing the whole time and I'm crawling on my hands and knees going through these dirty piles of records on the floor. I literally almost bump head to head into one of my DJ idols, which was DJ Premier from Gang Starr.

He's got a world-renowned collection, and he's an avid digger himself. That's pretty cool.

I said, "Oh my God, DJ Premier." He basically smiled at me and did the shh motion.

Back in the day, if you found a good digging spot you didn't talk about it. You didn't want anyone to find out about it. You wanted to take your time and pillage at your own pace.

That's really awesome! Do you remember anything you came home with? I didn't find tons. The clerk was really crotchety. He had no idea what he had but he just assumed that I had money. I guess DJ Premier had been going there, and he definitely had money because he was famous at the time. So he was trying to charge these exorbitant amounts for these mediocre, b-grade catches. Nothing I was completely frothing over. I walked away from that trip pretty empty-handed.

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