Music Lovers Series: Anthony Montalbano

The Vinyl Writer Music Lover Series is dedicated to featuring the members of our collective Facebook music communities: Vinyl Addicts, Cassette Addicts, CD Addicts and Women Who Love Vinyl. Community matters, and each person in our Music and Vinyl Communities contributes in some way to the positive, welcoming vibes. In many online music groups, certain topics are immediately banned or considered taboo, such as discussing equipment, critiquing Record Store Day, supporting big box stores versus indie shops, and even choosing streaming services over physical media. This interview series serves to peel back those restrictions and instead offers a welcoming platform to hear each individual perspective, as the thoughts and perspectives of the consumers of music should always have a seat at the table. It’s my pleasure to introduce you today to one of our Vinyl Writer columnists, Anthony Montalbano.

People call me Anthony (please don’t call me Tony!). I’m a 33 year old baker for a very ungrateful franchise in Hickory, NC.

Angela:
What are your musical origins, and what got you into music in the first place? What drives you to love music? What does music mean to you? Is music something you enjoy alone or with others?

Anthony:
I wouldn’t say I have any origins but my brother did kind of push me along into new music other than what my parents listened to. At one point, music was just noise to me; incoherent babbling that needed to be translated and now it’s something I can sit down to and enjoy and try to think of a song’s meaning even if I don’t understand its lyrics. Definitely enjoy alone since I have no one to listen with.

Angela:
Do you collect any combo of CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, vinyl, or are you all digital? Why do you prefer the formats that you collect or enjoy? Do you have your original collections, or are you restarting them now? Where do you like to shop for music?

Anthony:
I collect vinyl and cassettes. I like the feel of physical ownership that you can’t get with digital. Digital at work, physical at home. I just love the clunky process of playing vinyl and cassettes: the noises, the tactile feedback, the artwork etc. I shop at local record stores, online and retail stores. I’ve only been collecting for about 4 years.

Angela:
Tells us a story about an interesting or meaningful experience you’ve had along the way in collecting and enjoying music.

Anthony:
I drove to Atlanta for New Found Glory’s 25th anniversary tour, picked up a concert exclusive vinyl and somehow ended up with my arms around some girl’s waist with the vinyl in the front being held by each hand and if I let go, it would’ve dropped, so I spent around about an hour lovingly embracing a complete stranger so I didn’t damage a record.

Angela:
What are some albums that mean to most to you? If there are too many to name, then who are some of your favorite artists or music genres? Are there genres that you don’t listen to? Are there artists or genres that you’re into now that you weren’t always a fan of?

Anthony:
I’m still trying to learn how to decipher music further than what you hear on the surface but bands like Rise Against do a well enough job of being able to mix the meanings of songs so you can take it at face value or dive deep into their lyrics. Their albums The Sufferer and the Witness is probably the album that means most to me because of the song “Survive.” I refuse to listen to country music.

Angela:
What types of equipment do you use to enjoy music? Do you listen to music in other environments, or only at home? Do you have a listening space dedicated to your music collection or for listening to music?

Anthony:
I used to have a dedicated space to listen in that has all my wall flags, posters and autographs but I’ve since moved my stuff into the living room. Just your typical vintage setup: old Marantz receiver, old Panasonic tape deck and a couple nice vintage speakers.

Angela:
What are your thoughts on Record Store Day? Some people love RSD, and some people aren’t big fans. What has been your perspective and experience with RSD as a consumer?

Anthony:
I’ve participated twice, and I didn’t care for it; too hectic, time limits on browsing and only a certain amount of people in at a time, so you can wait hours in line and they may not even have what you want. RSD is just a cash grab for scalpers these days and the industry either doesn’t care or can’t do anything about it. You either waste time hoping the store will have what you want or pay 4-10 times more on eBay.

Angela:
Do you subscribe to any music subscription services like Vinyl Me Please, Vinyl Moon etc? What has your experience been with these services? If you don’t subscribe to any services, are there any particular reasons you haven’t?

Anthony:
No, they’re too expensive.

Angela:
Some people feel that big box stores are killing the indie record shop. Some music fans only shop local, while others only shop online. Most probably do a mix of both. Which is it for you? How do you feel about supporting big box stores like Amazon, Target and Walmart for music purchases versus supporting indie music shops?

Anthony:
I live in a small town where we only just recently got a record store but they don’t deal in new stock, so I do a mix of big box, online and local.

Angela:
Some people feel that there is a quality control issue with some new vinyl. What are your thoughts on this? Have you had any bad experiences in purchasing new vinyl? What have you done about it? Have these experiences changed your purchasing patterns with certain labels?

Anthony:
No issues here. If there is, it’s due to package handlers not caring about “fragile” stickers.

Angela:
Most of us as music lovers use some sort of a streaming service. It’s been a hot topic conversation in music that artists aren’t being fairly compensated for their streams. What streaming services do you use, and has this knowledge of unfair artist compensation impacted your decision to use the service(s)?

Anthony:
I use Tidal because it comes with my phone plan. It’s alright; it’s mostly geared towards Hip Hop and R&B, but it’s free.

Angela:
As music fans, a lot of us love to go to concerts and listen to live music. Do you love live music? What do you love about it, or not enjoy about it? As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, what do you miss most about live music? Do you tend to buy physical music or merch at live shows? Have there been any awesome physical music or merch that you’ve purchased at live shows that means a lot to you? If so, tell us about it!

Anthony:
I really only started regularly going to and enjoying live shows a few years ago and even less time collecting merch. I try to go for wall flags and concert exclusive vinyl and autographs.

Angela:
What advice would you have for new music collectors? What are some mistakes you’ve made along the way that others can avoid? What are your future plans for your music collection?

Anthony:
Don’t give into FOMO. Buy what you enjoy or think will enjoy. I don’t want to go through my collection and ask myself, “Why the fuck did I buy this?” I want to be able to close my eyes and randomly pick an album knowing that I’ll enjoy it, rather than putting it back on the shelf.

Angela:
Please share with us your favorite song lyrics, or a quote that you love.

Anthony:
“How we survive is what makes us who we are”

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of the Music Lovers Series by Angela Daly here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/music-lover-series-archives/

Published by Angela Daly

Angela Daly has always been passionate about both music and writing. She grew up in Queens, NY, USA, and immediately felt at home in the local Rock and Hardcore music scenes as a young teen. Angela works as a Registered Nurse in Cardiovascular Research by day, and as a freelance journalist in music and public health by night. When she’s not busy drinking chai lattes, trying to pet every animal she encounters and attempting to save the world, Angela dedicates her time to educating her friends and family about health and music, one article at a time! Angela has been a Board Member of Nurses Who Vaccinate since 2012. She is also the admin of several groups on Facebook dedicated to music, vinyl collecting and public health. Angela lives on Long Island, NY with her husband Andrew, their four fat cats Oliver, Patrick, Charlie and Kevin, and more than 4,700 vinyl albums (plus several hundreds tapes and CDs) which span every wall and inch of their one-bedroom apartment. She enjoys all things science, painting, crafting, doing puzzles, forgoing human social plans to spend more time with her cats, and singing the wrong lyrics with strong conviction to her favorite tracks.

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