An Interview with Frank Landry of Channel 33 RPM

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Channel 33 RPM viewers

A big part of why I do what I do (writing about music, art, vinyl) is because I enjoy being part of the Vinyl Community (VC). For me, there are many facets of the VC. You’ve got Facebook groups, subreddits and all that goes along with that. Another major component of the VC are the YouTubers. When I was first restarting my record collection years back, it was these YouTubers that fueled my interest and many of my buying habits at the time. Beyond that, they helped me learn. One of the earliest channels I remember watching was Channel 33 RPM.

Channel 33 RPM coincidentally started up right around the the time I was beginning to rebuild my record collection, so I have been with the channel since nearly the beginning. Through the years, I’ve watched the channel and its host, Frank Landry, evolve and grow, and I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in that. You may ask- why? It’s not my channel. Why should I care? The answer is simple. Over the years, Frank has taught me a lot through his videos and informative, journalist style. Frank is a good-natured everyman, and it is very obvious that he genuinely cares about the VC. More so, he takes a lot of pride in what he does. His professional, educational and fun style have always suited me. For these reasons, I still watch his videos each week, to this day. That is something I know will never change. Frank and Channel 33 RPM were a big part of my vinyl reboot, for that reason the channel will always be close to my heart.

It’s my pleasure to have Frank Landry “with us” today. Frank and his channel deserve all of our support, and so I urge you to here over to Channel 33 RMP and subscribe today. You can find the link to the channel here. You can also head to the channel’s official website and grab some awesome merch. The link to the website can be found here. So, with that, let’s get to it. Enjoy this one, and as Frank would say, “Keep on spinnin’.”

Andrew:
Frank, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us here. Tell us about your back story. How did you get into records?

Frank:
I was a child of the 80s (born in 73). Back then, that is how we listened to music. It was records and tapes. I switched to CDs in the 1990s as my main music medium, but never got rid of my record collection (though it didn’t get a lot of love for a period of time). In 2009, my wife bought me a re-issue of KISS Alive! for Father’s Day, and that re-ignited my interest in vinyl.

Andrew:
You’ve been running the Channel 33 RPM channel for some time now, and I have to say – I’m a big fan. Tell us how that started? What gave you the idea, and how did it become what it is today?

Frank:
Thank you. When I started Channel 33 RPM in 2014, it was to occupy my time. My wife was working evenings, so I needed something to do after the kids went to bed (I needed to stay home with them). I decided to pull out my video camera and try shooting some vids. I was inspired by some Vinyl Community videos I had seen at the time. I thought this would be a great outlet for me, not only to talk about music, but to connect with other like-minded people, and to flex some creativity. In a previous life I was a newspaper reporter, covering politics for a major chain of Canadian papers. I missed having that sort of creative outlet, and a platform to share my work. I left journalism in 2011, after working as a print reporter for 12 years.

As far as how did it become what it is today…I just kept plugging away, week after week. As time went on, I challenged myself to see if I could create a brand, which I think I have done. I try to continually improve my videos. The old ones are a bit cringey to watch nowadays, but I have left them up. I don’t have the largest channel out there, but I have fun doing it. I hope that comes through. At the end of the day, I suppose I really produce videos to entertain myself.

Andrew:
One of the things I enjoy about your channel is the emphasis on Metal and Hard Rock. Not too many channels focus on Metal, and it’s cool see it gets its due. Tell us what got you into those genres, and why you think it’s important that we focus on them as well?

Frank:
The first record I ever bought with my own money was Quiet Riot’s Metal Health back in ’83 or 84. I saved up my allowance, and my parents brought me to a downtown department store to pick it up. I have always loved loud, guitar-based Rock music, and the whole community around that. That said, I try to keep the topics on my channel broad enough, so even if someone isn’t into hard rock or metal, they will enjoy it (hopefully).

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Andrew:
I’m kind of piggy backing onto my last questions here. You’ve got great taste in music, and I can personally say I’ve discovered a lot of cool music through your channel. How has your musical taste evolved over the years to where it is today?

Frank:
Thank you. I have also been accused of having horrible taste in music, haha. I was laughing with a friend the other day, because I realized I have not evolved much since I was a teenager. I still dress the same (T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, when not at work), and listen to the same music. I just don’t have the long hair anymore. I kid…kind of…I do believe it is important to constantly be on the lookout for new music. Life would be pretty boring if you listened to the same albums all your life. Luckily, there is still a ton of great music being made today, both by heritage acts, and new artists. And it is easier to access than ever. Over the years, my taste has also expanded beyond the traditional Metal and Hard Rock. I love Blues, I dig some Country, and I have recently delved into the world of Jazz. I also know every word to every song on Katy Perry’s Prism album. I blame my kids for that one.

Andrew:
More recently, you started to feature your wife, Sheri in more videos. I love those videos! Was Sheri super into it at first, or did she learn to love vinyl?

Frank:
Sheri has made several cameo appearances over the years, but yes, she only became a regular in the last year or so. I kind of have to coax her to get in front of the camera, but once we start rolling, she gets into it. She loves music, more so than vinyl specifically.

Andrew:
In watching your channel over the years, I’ve come to learn that you’re very honest when it comes to the state of the industry. Whether its pressing quality, RSD issues, or price gouging, you’re always very informative and honest. Why do you feel that’s important?

Frank:
Thank you. I think you can love something, like music, or vinyl in particular, yet still look at it with a critical eye. There is no reason why we should accept sub-par record pressings, for example. This is a big one for me. We are paying a premium price for what has become a premium product. We should be getting what we pay for. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some record plants are pushing albums out so quickly, that quality control has fallen by the wayside. We are getting warped and scuffed up records, straight out of the sleeve, and paying upwards of $30 for them. This is unacceptable. As record collectors, we all need to speak out on these issues. This means returning flawed records, contacting record labels and posting about it on social media. If we don’t, then nothing will ever change.

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Andrew:
Is there anything within the industry that you would like to see change for the better? What improvements would you like to see that you feel would be beneficial to all of us within the vinyl community?

Frank
As noted above, quality control with some (not all) new record pressings is a big issue lately. This needs to be addressed. A few years ago, people felt the issue would be resolved as new record pressing plants came online. Unfortunately, this does not appear to have helped. If anything, QC has gotten worse. And, unfortunately, prices have continued to climb.

Andrew:
Shifting gears here, in 2015 (I believe) you started selling some awesome shirts as well. What drove you to do that, and what are you looking to do with it in the future? Will we see other Channel 33 RPM related merch at some point?

Frank:
Truthfully, I started producing vinyl-related shirts because I wanted some cool ones to wear myself. I thought I would try selling some, just to see what happens. It turns out other people dug them as well. I have literally sold hundreds over the years, all around the world. It is so cool when someone in Miami, or Sydney, Australia, or somewhere in Europe, sends over a picture of themselves wearing a Channel 33 RPM tee. I love it. I change my designs around all the time too, to try and keep things fresh and new. For example, I have a COVID-related shirt for sale right now (COVID sucks, vinyl doesn’t), and have just launched a Cobra Kai-themed one. People can check them out at channel33rpm.bigcartel.com.

Andrew:
One of the cool things about your channel is that you also focus on vintage gear, and some new gear as well. Were you always something of a gearhead, or is it a side effect of your vinyl habit?

Frank:
I have always loved tinkering with electronics and playing around with technology. I wish I knew more about electronics, but I know enough to kinda get by (like how to set up a turntable, and how to clean pots, etc).

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Andrew:
I know this is a broad question, and many of us who watch your videos will know this, but for those who might be new, who are some of your favorite artists? What’s your favorite genre, and why?

Frank:
I love good old-fashioned, loud Rock music. That has always been No. 1, for as long as I can remember. My favourite artists include Black Sabbath, KISS, Alice Cooper, Van Halen and Judas Priest. For whatever reason, this is the music that spoke to me.

Andrew:
We know you collect records, but beyond the collecting, what do records mean to you? More so, what does music mean to you in general?

Frank:
Well, music is life. I listen all the time. Records are just one medium to do that. I still love CDs, I listen to tapes, and I stream regularly. Music can bring you back to a time and place long ago. It can inspire. It can help you relax. It can make you happy, or angry.

In terms of records, specifically, it is an experience. I love the ritual of taking out a record and putting it on the turntable, and I love the huge soundstage the medium can offer. Vintage records I view almost as historical artifacts. Every vintage record has a story behind it. Sometimes we will never know what it is.


Andrew:
What are some albums you don’t have, but hope to find one day? Are there any albums you’ve given up that you wish you hadn’t? Are you like some of us who purge records only to rebuy them again?

Frank:
Well, many of the records I want, I have given up on ever getting, just because of the price. Like Van Halen’s Balance, for example. It is selling for more than I believe it is worth. I kick myself to this day because 3 or 4 years ago I saw a copy of Balance, still sealed, at a record store for CDN$50, and passed on it. Now they go for many times that. I can’t think of any albums I have purged that I regret getting rid of.

Channel 33 RPM - YouTube


Andrew:
On the subject of purging, we recently saw you purge a whole bunch of records from your collection. Any regrets there? What lead you to make that choice

Frank:
No regrets. I just realized I had more albums than time to listen to them. I used the first part of the COVID-19 shutdown to go through my record collection, and I pulled out the albums I had not listened to in some time. I gave those ones a spin. Many I realized I would not listen to again. It was those ones I sold. Hopefully, they went to homes where they will be appreciated. I used the money to buy a Technics SL-1200 MK2 turntable, which I have wanted forever, and to take my family on a mini-holiday. So it worked out well.


Andrew:
You’re up in Canada. What’s the record scene like there? I’ve shopped in Halifax, but never anywhere else. What are some of your favorite shops?

Frank:
It’s a large country, so I hesitate to comment on the national record scene. There are regional differences, many of which I am not aware of. I can say one issue facing every Canadian record collector is the rising cost of vinyl. I believe prices are going up faster here than the U.S. I believe that is because of the weaker Canadian dollar. It is costing more to import items, including records.

Some of my favourite shops are:

Andrew:
Once COVID-19 calms down, what does the future hold for Channel 33 RPM? What’s next?

Frank:
There is no grand scheme. I just take it one week at a time. I will keep doing videos as long as I am having fun doing it. I think part of the reason I have avoided burnout is because I take breaks. I take a month off every summer. And I usually take January off. I always come back fresh and inspired. 


Andrew:
What drives you? What inspires you most?

Big question…no easy answer…

Andrew:
Is there anything else you want all of us here at Vinyl Writer as well as the general record consuming public to know?

Frank:
I just want to thank everyone for their support and interest. I start every episode by saying, “Welcome back to Channel 33 RPM – YOUR channel for vinyl, gear and more.”  I truly mean that. I do videos to entertain myself. But I believe this channel is about more than me. It belongs to the viewers. It is their channel for vinyl, gear and more. I’m just the talking head who babbles on about records and music once or twice a week.

THE FUTURE of Channel 33 RPM - YouTube

Interested in checking out Channel 33 RPM? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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