I finally found a storage solution for my CD collection!

It’s taken a long time but I finally found a solution to my storage/display problem for my CD collection. I have been searching for a storage solution for my collection since we moved into our house on Halloween 2006 and I have been met with dead ends. Back in our old apartment, we had high ceilings and I was able to use these beautiful wood cases from Bostonwood: a 900 CD case and two 750 CD cases. I posted updates on the state of my collection on May 9, 2007 and then again two months later on July 7, 2007.

This is the finished product — five Atlantic 448 CD cases without the doors.


The cases are only about 42-43 inches high and where the wall ends and the ceiling begins is just under 48 inches. The problem was getting cases I liked that fit the height restrictions and were economical. My wife and I found these at Best Buy on clearance for $53. Atlantic still makes them, Best Buy just doesn’t carry them anymore.

You might notice a little room at the bottom of each case. I did that for CDs I’m going to file in the near future. Nothing is worse than filing something in the letter “B” section and having to move every row in 5 cases over one space! The capacity is 2240 CDs and I estimate that I have about 2200 in there now taking into account the room I left.

The problem is that I’m going to need at least two more of these cases because I have three Rubbermaid containers in the other room that are filled with CDs and a growing pile on my desk!


This project will never be done! Head over to the Heavy Metal Addiction Flickr page for more pictures of my collection, click the link or scroll down the page and look for the pictures at the bottom of the sidebar.

The search is over…..

As many of you already know, I had some extremely bad luck losing a brand new CD close to two weeks ago. The CD in question?

Night Sun - Mournin’ (1972)

Night Sun – Mournin’ (1972)

I won the CD for around $35 on Ebay on March 3rd. Around the same time, I went on a little shopping spree at the local record stores. Add a few more Ebay discs, some promos, and a house in need of some straightening…..I lost the Night Sun album.

My memory was very clear: I opened the envelope at my dining room table, looked at the disc, and put it on the top of the new pile. I also remember looking at it late at night after work at my desk in my Music room. After a few days, I hadn’t seen it. It vanished! I noticed Wednesday March 12th in the early morning.

In 24 hours, I turned my house upside down looking for it. I checked and cleaned every room methodically: every drawer, shelf, cushion, and crevice. I dug through a week’s worth of trash. I checked the cars, the garage…..hell, I even went through the basement! I took the dog out and used her keen sense of smell to check the front and back yards. My wife thinks I’m crazy to begin with so she took pity on me and went through the garbage again. She remembers my “special” CD coming in the mail so she knew I was disappointed. She didn’t find the disc either. My two daughters kept bringing me CDs from my collection in the hopes that the one they brought would be the missing one and that they would collect the $10 reward I posted on the fridge. Nothing…..

On Tuesday morning, I decided that the CD was in the trash and that it had travelled to its final resting place at the Johnston Landfill with that morning’s garbage pickup. I determined the experience as a valuable lesson, one I would never repeat. The only place I didn’t check was work. My last gasp of hope came Wednesday night when I stopped all production and took my 15 person crew and tore apart my backroom, my primary work area. It was the only place it could be! Sure, I got weird looks from my crew as I barked out specific search instructions but they all looked carefully. Nothing…..

So what is so important about this specific CD? Aside from the $35, nothing really. It was the point that it was purchased and lost by my own hand.

Is the CD that good? Not sure, I never got a chance to listen to it.

How did I hear about the album? I read about it in a book on ’70s Hard Rock & Heavy Metal a few years ago. Add a little research and it was just one of those albums I wanted to find and listen to.

Fast forward to Saturday and I’m trying to relax by listening to my new Heavy Load – Death Or Glory (1982) CD. My wife comes upstairs, sees the Heavy Load album and says, “Found it!”. Of course, I know where THAT album is because I’m listening to it but she tells me that it’s the CD she remembers being the “special” CD that came in the mail. I told her not to bust my chops, that I had made peace with the situation, and I would acquire the Night Sun album again someday.

Happy Easter! While the kids went on their Easter egg hunt around the house and in the yards, my wife handed me the stack of mail that I never opened Saturday afternoon. Among the bills and junk is a small package from Florida that’s obviously a CD. It had to be a promo from a band I’ve talked to so I open it…..


Of course, my wife is standing right there and she is speechless. I’m speechless. The dog is speechless. After going crazy for about a week looking for this CD, digging through trash and spring cleaning/organizing the entire house, it arrives in the mail.

I swear that I had it in my hands, that I had looked at the disc and the liner notes but I was mistaken. The disc I thought was Night Sun was probably Heavy Load and I was so preoccupied with Night Sun that I convinced myself I had it. Needless to say, I apologized to my wife a lot today…..

…..but I would do it all over again if I had to!

What I just got in the mail – Tank box set!

Just when I thought I was finally back on track with listening to music and writing reviews, something always happens. This time it’s what I just received in today’s mail:

Tank box set (2007)

Tank – The Filth Hounds Of Hades: Dogs Of War (1981-2002) box set – (2007)

This is one big box set: all Tank’s albums (8) remastered in digipaks with bonus tracks, Live Bootleg DVD, 60 page booklet and limited edition to 1000 copies.

A big thanks to Clint over at MVD Audio/Visual for getting me on the list to review this massive set from Metal Mind Productions.

Now I have to set some time aside to get through this and I still haven’t listened to the new CDs I’ve bought lately! Look for a review…..well, eventually!

For more info: Tank & Metal Mind

Making the List: My project for 2008

I have a lot of CDs but I have no idea how many I actually have. I probably own somewhere between 2500 and 3500 but not having an actual count, and inventory, bothers me. I’m a very anal person when it comes to my music collection, so much so that even my wife thinks I’m crazy!

As many of you have read before, I bought a house and moved in on Halloween 2006. When I was in my apartment, I had three beautiful wood CD cases that showcased my collection. Those cases didn’t fit in my new master bedroom (low ceilings) so they lie on the floor and keep things organized to a point. Before that, my collection resided in the moving boxes.

Everything is organized meticulously so I know where everything is but sometimes the mind fails and I forget what I actually have. The last few times I’ve gone out on CD hunts, I’ve brought my Want List but I didn’t have a “master list” of what I own. I can spend hours in a record store finding hidden treasure but sometimes I forget if I have some of the things I’m finding. I used to have a list that I made in 1998 using Microsoft Works, I updated it everytime I acquired a new album. Unfortunately, that list was deleted and I would have to start from scratch, an ominous task with thousands of albums and so little free time. Nontheless, I have decided to make a “master list” of my collection.

Late in 2006, I purchased the Collectorz Music Collector software and I actually started putting CDs into the database. I’m up to 256, a small fraction of what I have! So I have decided to make this my project for 2008 and my hope is that I will be able to post a full and complete list here at Heavy Metal Addiction.

I’m wondering how many readers out there have done the same thing. How many of you have a list of what albums are in your collection? For those who know how many, let’s hear those totals!

My CD collection is organized! Sort of…..

I couldn’t take it anymore so I decided that I would sit down and organize my CD collection. It took a few hours to take everything out of the banana boxes from the move in October but I got it done.

Please check out the latest pictures of my collection at my Flickr! page.

When I file my CDs I follow the strictest of rules:

  1. KISS CDs come first. They are my favorite band so they have top billing. Then…..
  2. Alphabetical by artist/band
  3. Chronological by album within the artist/band
  4. Reissues/re-releases are filed by the year they were re-done, not the original release year

If you looked at the pictures, you saw 1950 CDs. These are all my regular CDs except for my KISS CDs which are still in a box by themselves. My box sets, soundtracks, compilations, and live bootlegs are all still in boxes as well.

When I total everything I do not include the bootlegs so I still guess-timate my collection at around 2500. That includes all the CDs pictured, the KISS CDs in a box, the soundtracks and compilations, the box sets and the pile on my desk that keeps growing.

I’m hoping that my wife and I will get this room painted on my vacation in August and then I can invest in more of the IKEA Benno shelves and hang them. I’m probably going to need about twenty more to get it all up on the walls.

The current state of my collection

My collection in boxes - 5/9/07

Here’s my collection in all it’s splendor! I think the Chiquita Banana boxes add a tropical accent to the display.

Seriously, what your looking at is my CD collection still in boxes from our move to the new house this past Halloween. We are in room two of the master bedroom, this serves as the “entertainment room” for my wife and I. In the far corner are a couple of Rubbermaid containers and smaller boxes that hold CDs and DVDs. The boxes on the floor were organized alphabetical by band and chronological within the band. Unfortunately, there is a bit of chaos as I pull things out to listen to. The long table has two of my new IKEA brand Benno CD Shelves blocking my shelf stereo and the famous “pile” of CDs and DVDs that I need to get to.

New shelving

These are the new shelves I bought at IKEA. The plan is to hang these on the wall, below the ceiling slant, and have a nice new display. The top shelf holds 110 CDs, the bottom 100 CDs. If I remove the four middle dividers from the shelf, I get the 10 extra CDs in there. Each shelf cost $30, I bought three. I have roughly 2500 CDs, so I need 22 more shelves ($660). I’ve done the research and this is the most affordable way to go.

The current pile

This is a close-up of my pile. There are 42 CDs to listen to and 11 DVDs to watch. The first stack are CDs I haven’t touched. The second stack are CDs I’ve listened to but are still new albums so they are in my rotation. The CDs outside these two stacks are ones I’m listening to and will be heading to the banana boxes soon. The DVD pile contains the 3 different versions of KISS – KISSology Vol.1, Iron Maiden – Death On The Road, Iced Earth – Alive In Athens, and a few more from Kamelot, Rainbow, Helix and more.

So there you have it…..my collection. It’s more impressive when it’s organized and in the original cases I have in storage in the basement. For now, the banana boxes will do.

Storage issues

It’s been five months since we moved into our new house and my CD and DVD collection is still in boxes and Rubbermaid containers. I have access to my full collection but they just aren’t displayed properly.

At our old apartment, the CDs were stored in these really nice unfinished wood cases by Bostonwood in Boston, MA. I have two that hold 750 CDs and one that holds 900 and they are still sitting in the basement. The wife and I took over the second floor double bedroom but the ceilings are too low and they slope on the sides. The previous owners re-did this part of the house (formerly the attic) for their two boys but they took no consideration for large media collections, LOL! The bottom line is that the cases just don’t fit against any wall due to the slopes.

So I’ve been searching…..and searching…..and searching for a solution. Money isn’t tight but it needs to be used wisely so the ultra-expensive cabinets aren’t part of the solution. Nice dream though! One idea my wife had was to cut the tops off the cases I have. The highest I can go on any wall with the slope is 38″ so I would need to take off three shelves off the 750s and five off the 900. I have a problem with that because I spent about $400 total for all three cases over the years, I’d hate to see them ruined. It’s the most practical and economic solution but I’m resistant. I’m also not a handy kind of guy so doing it on my own requires a ton of work and learning on the fly. I’m more inclined to pay someone to do it but that money could be spent on a new shelving system and I could sell the ones I have.

Aside from the normal Google search of “media shelving” and “CD storage”, my main resource has been Living With Music. My friend Volkher Hofmann has a very useful section on Storage & Display that has many unique ideas. Two features I’ve been researching today are the Ikea Ivar shelving and Boltz. Boltz CD Racks are very nice but still pricey. I’m also not sure if they are sturdy with all of that weight on those pointy slim “feet”, I’m nervous about them with two small kids and a dog. The IVAR system looks like the way to go, especially when you see Volkher’s pictures of his system. This is exactly what I need.

If I’m right, I will need six shelves and two side units to make one set 29″H, 33″W, 12″D. Total cost will be around $52 per unit. Capacity would be 400 CDs per unit.

Cross your fingers…..all I need is the wife’s OK!

Taking a step back…..to listen

I don’t drink, smoke, get high or gamble. Sounds like a boring life to some people. But everyone has a vice, everyone has that one thing that they absolutely have to do to maintain a happy life. My vice is collecting music.

I’ve been a Rock/Metal fan since I got my first KISS cassette when I was 5. A few years later, at about 9, I started collecting music. I started with cassettes, and a few vinyl, and moved on to CDs. Right now, my collection stands at around 2500 CDs. I’m not really even sure if that’s correct, it may be more. Everything I had on other formats, I’ve been able to replace with CDs. Collecting is the one thing I do but it becomes obsessive.

I probably spend around $40 a week on music. I used to blow $50-$75 (or more) before my wife and I had kids. I’m lucky to have a job that pays well so I can afford to buy CDs after the family, home, and bills are taken care of. I try to spend that money wisely, squeezing every penny to get as many CDs as possible. I still get a thrill when I buy a new album by one of my favorite bands, or when I uncover that elusive album in a bargain bin in the back of a hole-in-the-wall record store. I get the rush when I’m watching a CD on Ebay and I place my bid with 10 seconds to go…..sniping the CD from the high bidder who thought they were the lucky winner (yeah, I’m THAT guy!).

I unwrap each one, check for imperfections if it’s used, and list it on my cataloging software (Collectorz). I then re-order the growing pile of discs at my desk so the new albums don’t get lost in the shuffle. They end up getting lost anyway because I then prioritize the next ones I acquire and so on.

I do research. I look up bands online and make want lists. I try and complete full discographies so I can listen one right after the other and dive into a band. I like to hear the band progress, or regress, with each release. I like to hear the differences from the first album that debuted in the early ’80s to the latest offering. I do this with bands I missed back in the day, I do it now for newer bands. I read band histories/biographies, check out their websites and CD availability.

Ebay is always open so I can gauge the market. I belong to many collector’s groups, mailing lists, and message boards. I suck up as much information I can. I discuss, review, and analyze bands/albums.

After all this, what is the one thing I sometimes forget to do? I forget to listen to the music! Actually, I listen to music most of the day. Overnight at work, I get to listen to at least 6 hours of CDs from my collection. When I get home in the AM, I listen to some sportstalk radio and then I listen to CDs until my everyone comes home from either school or work.

So how do I forget to listen? I think it’s more a factor of paying closer attention to what’s playing. When I was a kid, I sat in front of the stereo glued to every word, every solo. There were no video games to distract me (the stereo and TV were in separate rooms), no Internet to surf, no work to do or car to drive. All I had to do was listen.

Wednesday is my birthday and I will turn 34. I already know that I am getting MANY gift cards to the independent CD chain in my area, Newbury Comics. I will probably come away with a few hundred dollars in gift cards to blow, which I usually do a few days later in one major shopping spree. This adds to my collection but also adds to the pile, and that adds to the ever increasing sense that I’m not listening close enough. I’m buying for quantity, for the sake of collecting. It’s a vicious cycle.

So I have resolved to stop and listen, to take more time with each band and album. Maybe cut down a little of the buying? Maybe I won’t buy that extra album when I already have 6 in my hand! I’ll give that CD one extra spin to decide whether it’s one I’ll return again or one I’ll file away and probably never play it again.

I started this past weekend: I gave the new Sammy Hagar, Riot, MSG and Metal Church more attentive listens. I’ve found some good in albums I thought were average or bad (Metal Church) and I’ve found more good in albums I thought were excellent from the first listen (MSG). I’ve decided that the new Sammy Hagar is a disappointment and the Riot I’m still going through.

Does anyone else go though all this? Or have those thousands of silver discs altered my reality?

Cassettes or tapes?

Is it a cassette or a tape?

Technically, it’s a cassette tape. With the invention of that thing called a CD, some people call them trash. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.

I’m sitting here at my desk and I just noticed that my stereo has no cassette deck. We live in a small apartment so I have a compact Phillips stereo system – 5 CD changer, tuner, USB port. I’ve had it less than a year, I bought it to replace a similar Phillips stereo that had a tape deck but an unreliable 3 CD changer that died.

Back to the cassettes…..or tapes…..

I used to buy them when I was a kid. They were the same price as a record but they were portable. You could put the tapes in your Walkman, car deck, boombox…..they were just easier. You didn’t have to worry about scratching them. The only problems were older tapes snapped or got eaten in the car deck, I could live with that, it was better than some big scratch across your favorite record.

When I moved on to buying CDs, I started to replace my cassettes. I replaced all my KISS cassettes, then Judas Priest, Maiden, and so on until I finally replaced Metallica – Ride The Lightning a couple months ago. All the cassettes were in storage and I eventually sold them all on Ebay…..all the proceeds went to the “CD fund”. Up until yesterday, I was cassette free.

I’ve been in the market for a new turntable, so I can pick up some old vinyl that never made it to CD (and probably never will), vinyl now being second in the media hierarchy. I’ve been expolring vinyl possibilities and then I found it…..I found the album I had to have even if it was just for the cover…..Predator – Easy Prey (1985, Metal Blade).

Predator - Easy Prey

That has to be one of the best ’80s covers I’ve seen in a long time. That just wouldn’t fly today. I’ve known about the band and album for a while, Jeff Prentice (guitarist/band leader) used to be on one of the Graham Bonnet forums on Yahoogroups and he talked about it a few times. (By the way, Jeff has a cool band called Outland that everyone should check out). I had to buy it so I got the cassette so I could listen in the car. Problem is I have nowhere to go that will last the tape’s length and I’m not going to sit in the driveway for 30+ minutes. Now I need a cassette deck…..

There’s a local store that we all used to go to as kids, Luke’s Record Exchange, they have a ton of old, sealed ’80s Metal cassettes for $5 each. Now I have the itch for some tapes…..just another thing to collect.

For more info on this album, click here.

Storage solutions

Storage is an important part of any collection. It is a combination of presentation, space, function, durability, flexibility, and price. I have spent the better part of the past year researching the best storage options for my growing CD collection. I’ve been putting off buying anything and the CDs I’ve been acquiring have been going into boxes and that’s killing my filing system! So I need help…..

As it stands (literally), my CD collection is housed in three 750 CD displays made by hand by Boston, MA woodworkers, Bostonwood. These display cases have been my only storage option for the price = $125 each. They do the job and they take up only one small wall in our small apartment. The only drawback is that these units sometimes have a flaw in a shelf where you can’t stand the CDs up but you have to lay them down. One of my cases has this flaw on the bottom shelf. We didn’t have a shop class in high school so I wouldn’t know how to fix it. I like these cases because I can get them for a good price locally and they do the job. I’m leaning toward just buying another one.

My dream solution is Can-Am Cabinet. These cabinets are the high end of storage solutions. Steel construction, locking drawers, different colors, and you can add to the set-up. Only problem here is price, they are very expensive.

To save space, I looked into the Jewelsleeve. It’s a nice idea: remove the jewel cases from the equation and house a large collection in a small space. They have very nice cabinets to go along with the sleeves but they look like something I could buy at an office supply store cheaper. My reservations about removing the CD and artwork from the jewel case to a plastic sleeve would be justified if ANY CD of mine was ever damaged. Also, there’s no way to display the collection and the pricing is on par with Can-Am.

So where to from here? A bit of Googling and all sorts of racks, carousels, cases, and sleeves are a click away. Most of the racks/cases are similar to the ones I have now.

Volkher Hofmann at Livingwithmusic.com has written a few good articles on the subject of storage and also has some recent pictures of his collection and setup. Very nice!

So what do you all use? Can anyone help me find something?

Missing in action

I’ve been adding CDs from the pile to my CD cases and I noticed a few holes in my collection:

Metallica – Ride The Lightning
Motorhead – Ace Of Spades
AC/DC – Fly On the Wall
Dio – Intermission
Mercyful Fate – Melissa

I know, these are some good albums, what am I thinking? I had these on cassette and I’ve never replaced them with CDs. I sold all my cassettes in one shot to a cassette collector a few years ago but I kept my list of what I had. Slowly, I’ve been able to cross almost all the albums off the list that have been replaced with CDs.

Looks like I’m buying some extra CDs this weekend!

The questions of collecting.

Collecting CDs is my hobby. I enjoy it. I like the music, the album art, the thrill of the chase! Nothing is better than finding that rare CD for a few dollars, when it goes on Ebay for hundreds.

Going back 10 years ago to 1995/1996, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts had some great record shops where CDs were plentiful. Now, that scene has all but dried up. Stores closed, big chains got involved in used CDs, and the average CD buyer started to scour used racks for Ebay fodder.

The thrill of the hunt is gone…..due to the ever decreasing hunting grounds in my area. I do come across some gems to add to the collection but they are few and far between. It also becomes increasingly hard to find CDs to add to the collection as your collection grows and the stock in your area stays stagnant. New releases can still be found as long as the price is decent.

The hunt has transferred to the Internet. We all know Ebay. The mother of all used CD stores! This is where it gets tricky. I buy off Ebay a lot, I sell when I can but that goes hand in hand with hunting and finding things to sell. When on Ebay, I watch a lot of rarities. Of course, a rarity to one person may not be a rarity for another. A rarity to me may be a common CD that I haven’t seen locally for a while, to others it may be that obscure independent release by a band that never had a chance.

It’s all become big business, especially in the AOR, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal genres. Old albums get reissued, remastered, bootlegged, etc. Original CD pressings of certain albums go for big bucks, as do Japanese pressings. There are albums that were never released on CD that are coming out of Russia and Greece that are bootlegs, digitized from vinyl or cassette. There are CDs that were made by bands independently from the 80s and 90s that go for hundreds, if not thousands, on Ebay. These are being bootlegged as well.

Old band members get involved in the Ebay selling. It’s not uncommon for a band to have old stock lying around in someone’s garage and they whip the CDs, one at a time, for $100 a pop. Collectors find members from now defunct bands and try to buy any copies of the CDs they may have, then they turn them into Ebay profits.

Do I fault the Ebay sellers? Nope. They are doing business the American way, why shouldn’t they profit from their ingenuity? It’s all Capitalism, baby! It just makes it harder for the smaller fish.

So what do you do?

Do you buy the original CD, the original pressing from decades past?
Do you buy the official reissue or remaster with bonus tracks?
Do you buy the bootlegged copy?
Do you buy the vinyl or cassette, hopefully insuring that you have the original press if it was never on CD?

These are serious questions that need serious answers. Almost forgot…..

Which band’s CDs do you purchase?

Truth be told, I want it all. I like old bands, new bands, and bands I’ve never heard of. I want to have all the old Rainbow albums on CD, I want all the Alice Cooper albums on CD, and I’d love to find an original copy of Rock Boulevard or Stage Dolls – Commandos lying in a dusty bin in the back of a pawn shop.

I guess it’s all about preference. I have a small collection compared to some and a large collection compared to others. Do I spend my hard earned cash and fill in those holes in my Rainbow collection or do I pull that $40-50 together and go after Kick Axe – Vices that was re-released on CD in 2000 on Sony Rewind but is now out of print (OOP)? Do I buy those 3 Queen CDs I need to complete my Queen collection or do I take that $25 and buy that UFO Japanese import from 2002 of Lights Out? Do I suck it up and save the hundreds it will take to buy that original copy of Rock Boulevard (if it ever comes up on Ebay again) and forget about the more “common” or available bands out there?

When you work hard for your money, you spend it carefully and wisely. So the question really is:

How do you collect?