Ever since I started the Record Collector series on the site about two years ago or so, people have asked me to highlight certain high-profile musicians from the hardcore scene. At the top of that list was Agnostic Front's Roger Miret. His vinyl collection is deep and filled with records that he's picked up throughout his life in the hardcore community. While many of the titles in his personal library are highly sought after by collectors throughout the world, that's not what Roger cherishes about them.
"Record collecting for me was purely for the love of the music and it had a deep connection to my life and these bands," the Agnostic Front vocalist tells No Echo. "I dislike collectors that really hold no connection and only collect for monetary reasons. It’s always been a passion and if you know me, my life, my way!"
My good friend and former bandmate, Andrew Orlando, is friends with Roger and was recently invited over to the singer's Arizona home to hang and talk records for No Echo. This happened last week and Andrew sent me the transcription of their vinyl-related conversation for use on the site.
So, it's with great honor that I present to you No Echo's Record Collector featuring Roger Miret. —Carlos Ramirez (No Echo)
How did you get into collecting records?
For me, it was never a part of collecting. It was about getting the music and the only way to do it was to picking up these 7”s! I didn’t really get into collecting; I love this music and everything about punk and hardcore punk. It was everything I needed and the only way to get it was to pick up these seven inches. There was no Internet, we didn’t have anything to download. We had to go to the record stores and listen to see if we loved it and then go see our friends' bands play and see what bands were thanked. It was different back then. There was never a point in my life where I’d say I’m collecting records. That happened later on for me. Don’t forget, being in a touring band, I was getting the shit for nothing. All that Revelation stuff I showed you, that was handed to me from my friends' bands Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side, Warzone. All that stuff that was handed to me. Pretty much a lot of the collection was. Other bands like Infest, Uniform Choice, Insted, Youth of Today, all those bands were my friends. We would just give each other records.
Nobody thought about collecting back then. Those aspects of it though were probably a few people. We weren’t aware of it. I would hoard records, accidentally. If I had a Mob record or Abused record, I would get two or three because I knew I would play the shit out of it. I would always want one that sounded good. For a while I had like three or four of a lot of records and then I decided to streamline it. I kept all my un-played stuff and sold my played stuff. And then I was able to fill in some of the stuff I had lost. I had a big fire where I lost some stuff and that’s why I keep stuff in different rooms. If I had kept everything together I would have lost everything.
Most of my collecting—I would say—came from friends and there’s nothing better than that.
I mean yeah, I would go to all the NYC stores like Free Being, Venus, Bleecker Bobs, Rat Cage or 171A to see what’s new. I would read about bands in Maximum Rocknroll and that’s how I heard about Koro. I walked into Venus one day and they had 5 copies. Stuff like that and you would hear about stuff and listen and go “Oh, this is cool” and then pick up it, you would never imagine what these things would turn in to.
Eventually, later on in life, I didn’t even know I had three different color sleeves of that Minor Threat Filler, I just knew I had a bunch of records. Recently, in the last 5 years, I started to put everything in order and making it nice. I invested in nice sleeves like you see. Then, it was my birthday and my wife asked me what I wanted so I posted that I needed a Filler yellow sleeve and next thing you know I had it. But, collecting nowadays is really difficult. Anybody that wants to collect is in for a hard time [laughs].
What was the first record that you valued and cared about?
It would have to be probably Horror Business, I think when I got my first color vinyl, and it was something special. I have a purple Earth A.D. that cost me 9 bucks, it still has the price sticker on it. And it was weird because it happened to be purple and when I got a color one, it felt like I got a present in a Cracker Jack box, it just felt unique. I didn’t know all the Horror Business were yellow back then, I just knew I had something special. I wish I would have got one of those black Horror Business, really rare. Rare as hell record and I think there was only 15 copies made, which Henry Rollins probably had ten of them! He’s a huge Misfits fan. But the color ones I felt were special it’s really weird I never thought about doing anything color when it came to AF.
What was the first record you bought with your own money?
I think it was the second Ramones record. Also a Led Zeppelin record, the fourth one. There was a fast song on it and I loved it. Also, Never Mind the Bollocks with the pink back cover. I got that from an old-school punk guy named Spacely. He was an old punk guy in the NY scene at Max’s days. Unfortunately, he got hooked on junk and drugs. They made a movie about him called Gringo; you might be able to find it. I remember when the movie came out they had a big portrait of him on St. Marks Place and he said, “Hey Roger, look there’s me”. He would go on binges and sell his records and I remember buying that Sex Pistols with the pink back for 5 bucks. He had a couple of first Clash UK ones I got too, really cheap like 5 bucks each.
Talk to me about the early days in NYC and how you got some of your records?
Buying records back then. First of all, there wasn’t much. We each had our own records. I remember selling United Blood for 2 bucks on the street. People didn’t even know what the band sounded like and I would go up to people on the street and say “here, but this for $2” [laughs]. Back then, we were living on the streets and how we made some money. Backs then the record stores were amazing the shows were amazing. Noise the Show was amazing, Max’s. That how we found out about music, shows and other things. When I joined the Psychos, I went into 171A and saw a flyer “Bass player wanted, Psychos” I said that sounds interesting and that’s how I joined. Those were the days back then, you know?
Tell me about pressing United Blood yourselves and talk about the variants.
Well, United Blood is an interesting story because we weren’t going to press it ourselves, it was slated to be released on Mob Records. I have a flyer somewhere that says "Coming soon on Mob Records: Agnostic Front United Blood". We decided at the last minute because it was so inexpensive, Vinnie just said let’s do it ourselves. We made a distribution deal with Jack Flanagan (The Mob, Mob Records) where he bought 200 copies for distribution from us and because he bought those as an advance from us it really paid for the whole recording. We kept the 300 copies for us.
It was like “Ok, we can do this ourselves, we don’t need anybody to do it” And then we gave like 100 to Rat Cage to sell and Dave did a different insert variant. I have the original United Blood insert that I’ll show you. There was the different insert that Dave did on his own and Dave was selling them at Rat Cage or at the CB’s shows. Then he went on to do Victim In Pain and that’s a whole different story on its own.
The second issue of United Blood was done while I was incarcerated because we needed some money for my legal funds. There were only 500 of those too. There are two red vinyl and one blue. Not even all of them are even numbered, they are all mixed up. Trust me, I was in prison and I knew nothing about it. I have a bunch of unnumbered ones. Like I said, I wasn’t in charge of it. But then I realized later there are two different matrixes. I only found out when [Roger's ex-wife] Amy [Keim] gave me all of my stuff back that she had. I got the United Blood reels back that I didn’t even realize she had. There were two test pressings from the 1989 press, one has a small hole and one has the big hole, and it turns out the small hole one is from the extra red pressing and the big hole was for the blue. It’s the same pressing plant but it’s weird that the holes were different but Amy probably picked them.
How do you feel about the prices of United Blood these days?
I mean, it’s crazy. It all went nuts. If I would have known I would have kept every single one. Not long ago they were still in the $3-400 range and I thought that was a lot too. All of a sudden now they are over $2000 sometimes. I mean look at Chung King, how much does that thing go for? Like $6000? Look at the Fix Vengeance 7” on Touch and Go, that’s one I would love to have and I’m missing it. It’s out of reach. A pink Legacy of Brutality also, that’s out of reach for me.
Speaking of that, tell me about your Misfits collection, it’s legendary…
There are three bands that I’m big on collecting. My own of course, which is the biggest part of my collection for valid reasons. I’ve got everything from reels to acetates to test pressings and everything and that’s the only thing where I’m into test pressings. I don’t collect them from other bands. I always was into what the band presented, the whole package.
I want to see the art, so I think test presses are pretty freaking boring, so I don’t really care about them. But, with the Misfits, you see, I lived in NJ before I was even part of the NYHC scene, and I always loved the Misfits. It was theatrical and just awesome. In a horrible-great way, it was like a controlled train wreck. Glenn controlled it. It was loud and crazy aggression and that was one band I always loved.
Then, the other would be Minor Threat. I have always loved Minor Threat. All the Mutha Records stuff, I got from the bands when we played with them, like Fatal Rage. We played with almost all those bands. We were all bridge and tunnel, so we would all see each other at the A7 club or Patrick’s in NJ. It was the same with the Misfits.
How do you find records these days?
Through friends. I’ve got a couple of things on my want list but they are out of reach. If something was to pop I have ammunition and it’s good to keep ammunition. You have to move if something like an upgrade pops up. I’ve been focusing on little upgrades like a better sleeve and if I see something that’s a good upgrade at a good price, I may go for it because I know I could sell the other one for the same price as the other one. It’s very picky, you have to know what you are looking for. But then it became hard to get some bootlegs of AF stuff.
All I ever ask if something was bootlegged is to send me one because then I have to go hunt it down. I only need one AF boot 7” (one with only 50 pieces made) and I also need one LP to complete my AF collection of everything AF listed on Discogs. There are 281 variants of AF records on Discogs. Some of these boots are hard to get.
One of the rarest AF record variants, if not the absolute rarest would be that One Voice mispress! I’m sure people lost jobs over that one [laughs]. In 1992, when One Voice was released, I had heard these weird rumors about a Johnny Winter And LP that plays One Voice completely, packaged sleeve/labels and all as a re-release Johnny Winter And LP! The minute I heard about this the hunt was on! I had to see and hear it! It turns out that a complete Johnny Winters fan in the UK purchased it brand new and figured it was a hell of a fuck up but kept it! When I contacted him and told him I was the singer of the band that actually plays on that record and would love it for my personal collection he replied he would consider!
Probably one of the biggest fuck ups in the record industry! What I heard was that of course every Johnny Winter fan pretty much freaked out when listening to it! Imagine their surprise [laughs]. They returned them to the stores and the stores returned them to distributers who replaced them with correct copies and the mispress were mostly destroyed! I think they must have been pressed simultaneously, side by side, because they do have the One Voice matrix numbers and incorrectly labeled, sleeved, and shrink wrapped! So, finding one of these will be your needle in the haystack! A sure prize record collectors ultra rare find!
Watch some video shot by Roger on his iPhone of the record below:
What is your prized record in your collection?
I would say all the Misfits stuff. I love all my color Earth A.D.s. I love them just because they are on color. The green Earth A.D. would go for $5000 easily and all of those, even the clear vinyl are up there. Of course, Cough/Cool is a prized possession. Bad Brains Pay to Cum is a prized possession.
Mark Thruthe and The Liars is a really big prized possession. There’s a couple with very few made like Mary Monday, I think there was only 100 of those. I like a lot of female-fronted punk bands, I’m really big on that. I would also say my Necros Sex Drive, that’s a big one. That’s not one I had all along, it’s one I had to acquire later on and it took a lot of shifting and moving to get it but I really always wanted it.
What is your white whale record, or Top 3 wants?
The Fix Vengeance 7”; Pink Legacy of Brutality, and if I had to pick one more, I would say The Nothing, a NY punk band. It’s very hard to find and I would love to get my hands on one. Another one I’d like to get is the Necros IQ 32 7” “Skatepark” sleeve version.
What is the most you ever paid for a record?
I made some pretty crazy moves to get that Necros Sex Drive 7” and the value was right. It was more than anyone would want to pay but thankfully I had stuff to move, if you got ammunition and you’re locked and loaded, you can find them.
What is your favorite thing about being in the scene and collecting records?
I’ll be honest with you, I’m more of a music enthusiast than a collector and I just love the music. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what I love it’s everything about me. I’m not a big fan of a lot of record collectors. There are a lot of good people out there. But, Poison Idea said it best that "Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes" and ever since that record, it kept getting worse. And if you notice, I’m never really posting my stuff besides maybe the United Blood dedicated from Raybeez or that yellow Filler that I needed. I like watching and following other collectors to see what they got. I still like going to record stores.
What frustrates you about collecting?
Values of some of the stuff now. There’s something on eBay right now I’d like to have and I know the guy, he’s a standup guy from Europe it wasn’t even his record and I said let me get shot before it gets crazy and out of control but it is what it is. I can’t complain, my own first record is going crazy now.
How much longer do you plan on collecting?
You can never be done! I did a thing about two or three years ago where I streamlined everything down and some of the stuff I sold I have since re-bought! I always felt lucky when I got something back I regretted. I would kick myself and say, “What was I thinking?” One of my biggest regrets is getting rid of that Warzone Lower East Side Crew “Aborted” press. Out of everything, I regret that the most. Should have never ever done it.
As someone that has been actively involved in collecting hardcore and punk from the early days, what do you see for the future of collecting records?
Everything’s got a bubble.
Do you think the value bubble will burst?
Hopefully not because we are sitting on stuff that any way you put it I love it. Do I need to have 30 something copies of Walk Among Us? Do I need to have 16 copies of Earth A.D.? No, but I just love to have and I know that here is monetary value in it you know, so it’s kind of good for the future. But, when you think about it, it’s only our generation of people that love this type of music with the exception of a band like the Misfits, which I’ve always felt they are always going to be in history because of what they did with theatrics. They are the punk rock KISS. Ramones, Misfits, Minor Threat, they will always be sought after.
These smaller bands with only one record, there’s a time and a place. I love these records for what they are worth to me and that might not be the same value for someone else.
What is in your collection that might surprise the No Echo readers?
Ok, there’s a couple. The Sister Nancy record, I’ve had that since 1983. I love that record. Anything The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees-related. That would probably it for surprises.
You can follow both Roger's personal account and Agnostic Front's Instagram pages. If you haven't watched it already, No Echo cannot recommend the Agnostic Front documentary, The Godfathers of Hardcore, enough. It's an superb film that does a beautiful job of telling the band's story.
If you're shopping for vinyl, CD, and cassette hardcore titles, head to No Echo's partner store, Reverb LP, to see what they have available. Every purchase you make helps No Echo with site costs.
Tagged: agnostic front