Calin (Musician)

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In this offering, we are very pleased to get up close and personal with Calin, live bassist and violist on record for the San Diego, California based death metal band Putrescine.

The first record I ever bought with my own money was…

We’re going back to 1995 for the first part of my answer to this question. I remember that “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “1979” had been playing practically nonstop on the Alternative radio station, and I had to get a copy of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I begged my parents for a ride to a music store, and they finally relented so that I could buy a copy. I’m also not sure how or why I had money at the time, but I remember being so excited to take it home and listen to it on CD. No one I knew had a CD player in their car, and I was still a few years away from having a portable CD player, so I literally had to wait to get home to listen to it. I remember the 20 minutes it took to get home was agonizing.

If we’re talking vinyl, I bought a copy of Static Age by The Misfits on vinyl in 2002. I grew up in Central Florida, which is absolutely the cultural wasteland you imagine it is when you think of places like Orlando and the Kennedy Space Center. It’s a conservative little shithole that offers the world almost nothing of value and, as a result, has almost nothing cool. I did get lucky, however, when a punk rock store opened near our band’s practice space. I remember that we used to practice for a few hours, head over to the store and grab new music, shirts, whatever, and then go back to practice some more. (Also, I wish I was still 17 and had free time. I remember that being pretty cool.) On one of these trips, I got super into a conversation with the owner about vinyl and how punk was made for vinyl. I like to think he really believed this and wasn’t just trying to sell records to a kid, but whether he truly believed it or not he was right. There’s something about putting a record on the turntable that makes it more of an experience than listening to a CD or MP3. I ended up finding a used turntable at a garage sale for $20 and that same day I drove up to the store and grabbed Static Age. I would love to say I still have that same record, but it has sadly been lost to the sands of time.

The record that made me want to make music was…

I have been making music for as long as I can remember. I started playing the flute in early elementary school, and I picked up the viola and bass a couple years later in fourth or fifth grade. My mom worked at the school that I went to for elementary school, so I was always there hours before school started. Some mornings were fun and I would play wallball with all the other miscreants whose parents dropped them off hours before school started, but what was more likely is I would sit around and try not to be too visible lest people fuck with me for the crime of looking girly. (Stay classy Florida children.)

As a result, I signed up for literally every before school activity. I was in the orchestra program from the moment I was old enough. I was even in the chorus program in elementary school, because I could sing pretty damn well in fifth and sixth grade. Sadly, this is a gift I lost when my voice changed a couple years later, and I never really practiced being on pitch after that. Unless I’m shrieking or growling I’m not much use these days.

I think the album that made me realize that I could start a band, play songs, and play live was Ramones Mania. Not only did I love The Ramones from the moment I heard them, but I loved that my friends and I could play pretty much all of their songs with a tiny bit of practice. (Also, to go back to an earlier point, I can sing Ramones songs with very little trouble!) I don’t think we consciously decided to form a band, but I was friends with two guitarists, and I would play bass with them. We kept our ear to the ground and eventually found a drummer to play with us. It all started with songs like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” and “Commando.”

The record I’ve played more than any other is…

I’m trying to decide whether it’s The Cure’s Disintegration or Circle Takes the Square’s As the Roots Undo. I’ve played both more times than I can count, and I mention them both when I’m discussing favorite albums, but I’m going to guess that because it’s less than half the length of Disintegration, the honor goes to Circle Takes the Square – As the Roots Undo. I don’t remember how I even discovered this band, but I was going through a serious Orchid phase in 2004, and I somehow came across this album, which was the “big” screamo album at the time. I bought a CD without hearing a single note, and I’m so glad I ended up taking a chance on it, because it is magical. Of course, I now own several copies of it on vinyl, including one that I got signed by the band on one of their trips through Southern California.

The record that always makes me feel good is…

The one that I reach for on really hard day’s at work or when life feels overwhelming is Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues by Strung Out. At some point in the last decade or so, this became the album that epitomizes working through struggle for me. It doesn’t hurt that it’s uptempo and filled to the brim with amazing songs, but some of the lyrics hit just right when you’re having a rough time. They distill the bittersweet agony of existence down into some particularly choice phrases, and there’s just enough melody in there without it being overbearing and cloying. This is one of the very few albums I can listen to over and over without needing to change it.

The record I turn to when I’m feeling down is…

This is another one where I have two answers. If I’m feeling down and I want to turn it around, you already know my answer is Strung Out’s Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues. It has helped me through many rough days and shitty times.

If I’m feeling down and I need to feel down for a little while I have a couple of possibilities. Anything by The Cure will work, but I’m particularly fond of Pornography, which is fantastic when I am almost too depressed to move. The other choice is The World Won’t Listen by The Smiths. This is a collection of singles, so it’s probably cheating, but whatever. It has “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” as well as over 20 more unforgettable sad songs, including “Asleep” which might win the award for most morose Smiths tune. Morrissey may be an idiot, but The Smiths are very good depression music.

The record with my favorite cover art is…

This one is easy – Alcest’s Écailles de Lune. I’ve been in love with that album art since the album first came out, and I was pining after a vinyl copy. Now that I have both a blue and white swirl version and a picture disc I love it even more. This is probably not something I need to convince most vinyl fans, but having the big album covers and (often) the posters is beyond cool.

The strangest LP I own is…

Before the pandemic, I was a frequent shopper at Amoeba in Hollywood. One of my favorite things about Amoeba is that they often have bootlegs and unofficial releases. One day I was browsing through The Cure’s section, and I came upon a bootleg live show with absolutely no additional information about it. It literally just said “The Cure, Live,” so I took a chance on it. I”m not sure what it is, but it’s not that. The first track is a Cure song, albeit not a live version, but the rest of it is just weird noises. I have no idea how someone conned Amoeba into believing this was a Live Cure bootleg, but it’s definitely not. I would be mad, but I think I traded in some old CDs for it, so it’s not that big of a deal. I still laugh every time I’m flipping through records and I come across it.

The rarest LP I own is…

I’m a little stumped by this one, and Discogs isn’t helping me as much as it normally does. There are a few possible answers to this question, I suppose.

In terms of the rarest single item, that would probably go to the Smiths complete box set. It includes Johnny Marr’s remaster of all the albums on CD, vinyl, DVD, and even includes all of the 7” singles. It’s fantastic, and while I’m sure some purists don’t appreciate the remaster, I do. They made all of the albums sound fantastic, and I love being able to see the original 7” format of a lot of their most popular songs. I just looked one up while I was writing this and it’s currently selling on eBay for $2000. This is a whole box set, though, and isn’t comparable to a rare single LP.

In terms of the rarest single LP I own, that’s a toss-up between a couple of records. The first one is Sing the Sorrow by AFI. This, honestly, shouldn’t be a rarity. I have no idea why this hasn’t gotten a repress at some point, but as of right now there was only a single pressing on translucent red vinyl in 2003. Since this is the album that brought in a ton of new people to AFI, it’s not terribly shocking that it ended up being so rare. The lowest price I could find for it is on Discogs, and it’s going for $450 USD at the moment. Yeesh.

The last LP I bought was…

I’ve been so bad at keeping up with music the last year or so, but according to bandcamp it was The Funeral Pyre by Kvaen. I don’t think I’ve bought a single album in 2021, which has to be some kind of record for me.

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Putrescine’s latest album, The Fading Flame, was released on March 26, 2021. Available from Putrescine’s Bandcamp as a digital download. Vinyl, cd and cassette versions available from Tridroid Records.


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