Interview with Prof D
[Conducted in July 2010]
Little is known about this low-key, super collector who we have learned has built one of the most impressive collections out there. Here at Beastiemania, we got an opportunity to meet with Prof D to learn the history of his collecting ways and how he has made a name for himself as being one of the top collectors in the world. We even coaxed one of our ex-staff members out of retirement to do this interview. Here is Beastienut's chat with Prof D...
Let's begin with the usual introduction (age, location, etc)
Age 35. Born in Tennessee but raised and still residing in Pittsburgh, PA.
How did the name Professor D come about?
Well, I have my Masters in math education and I taught several years and both the high school and college levels. So, I WAS a professor. But the name really came when my friend Jim asked me to join his hip hop group, The D-Boiz. I needed a cool hip hop name and that’s the best that I could come up with.
[Prof D is the first person starting from the left]
When and what made you first get in to the Beastie Boys?
I’ve been into the Beasties since 1986. I was in the 6th grade when Licensed To Ill came out. All of the boys in my class loved the Beastie Boys and we would sing Paul Revere all the time. All the girls in our class were into Bon Jovi and Slippery When Wet and would sing Living on a Prayer all the time. So, it caused quite a division of the sexes!
I really started collecting around Check Your Head and Ill Communication. Back then it was mostly singles so that I could hear all the various remixes and B-sides. That was the golden age for B-Sides and remixes! It was also around that time that a lot of bootleg CDs were being released so I have many of those because that used to be the only way to get copies of live shows.
Why do you collect? Does your girlfriend understand and appreciate your compulsive collecting habits?
I mainly collect because the Beasties are the best band ever and because I am just a slightly bit obsessive compulsive. Luckily, my girlfriend is very understanding of my collection. She mostly just laughs about it.
What are the stats on your music collection (CD and Vinyl count)?
My best count right now is:
Plus tons of things that I only have in MP3, like live shows and some MMM mixes and such.
- Beastie Boys: 261 records, 316 CDs, 14 Video/DVDs
- BS2000: 7 records, 12 CDs
- Mix Master Mike: 16 records, 30 CDs
- Luscious Jackson: 41 records, 80 CDs, 1 DVD
- Other remixes/guest appearances/side projects: 27 records, 28 CDs
Do you collect bootleg CDs/vinyl or just official releases?
I’ve stayed away from bootleg vinyl for now. I still have a bunch of bootleg CDs, mostly live shows that were all the rage in the mid 90s. Once I have EVERYTHING else, maybe I’ll loop back and try to get all the bootlegs.
Are you a completionist collector who has to have every CD and record from every country
Very much so! You don’t end up with nearly 1000 assorted items otherwise!
It looks like you have your whole music collection shown and listed on your personal website. Care to give your website a plug and maybe a little history behind it?
Yes, everyone can view my collection at http://www.spring-garden-vfc.com/beastie/. My want list is on there too in case anybody wants to help me out! Aside from show vinyl and test pressings, I only need 12 more Beastie records!
The Beastie portion of the website is actually a hidden, but probably more popular, portion of a web site that I designed and maintain for our local fire department. Being the webmaster gave me the flexibility to make "liberal" use of the website resources. LOL!
What are some of your most personal prized music items from your collection?
There’s really too many to name. In many ways, each one is special in some way. But a few would have to be the few show vinyls that I own, the numerous test pressings, the Country Mike records (especially the red vinyl), The Young & The Useless, and any of the numbered limited editions like the Sounds of Science box set and The In Sound From Way Out.
Two of the more unique records that I own are both LTI records. The 7x7" French version includes 7 records with 1 track on each side. And I love the Spanish "joke" record because it just strikes me as something they did just to mess with people.
Is there any elusive music item(s) out there that you’re determined to find and get your hands on no matter what it takes?
The rest of the show vinyls that I don’t have yet. Hint, hint. Hahaha!
How many hours a week do you spend searching for items you need? Are your searches strictly limited to the internet, or do you scour your local record store bins looking for things?
Not as much as you might think. I do a daily search for new items on Ebay and every few weeks I’ll expand my search to other web sites, like Discogs or EIL, etc. The local record stores are pretty useless to me at this point, at least for the remaining stuff that I need.
How many hours a week do you spend on your collection just idolizing, cataloging what you have, etc.?
I’m pretty good about updating my tracking spreadsheet and my website whenever I get a new item or when I notice something new that was discovered and posted on Beastiemania. I think that I’ve been able to spend a lot of time a while ago that now allows me to spend minimal time on upkeep.
Do you collect side projects?
As I mentioned earlier, I do collect BS2000, Mix Master Mike, and Luscious Jackson. I also collect DFL, Country Mike, Hell House, Young & Useless, etc. Basically anything where one of the main 3 Beasties was a member. Recently, I’ve also been trying to add guest appearances and remixes to my collection.
Besides music, I understand you have quite a beastie merchandise collection. Can you elaborate with some of your more extraordinary items?
Yes, I do. Some of my favorites are the Beastie action figures, the Sasquatch figure, Cey Adams designed shoes, Hey Ladies cowbell, To The 5 Boroughs skateboard, and Paul’s Boutique RIAA award.
Of course, my favorite item is a custom piece that I put together after meeting the Boys in Las Vegas for the $2 Bill Show. It is a photo of all my friends with the Beasties, the cover of Paul’s Boutique signed by all of them (including Mixmaster Mike), and a backstage pass. I had it all matted and framed.
Do you collect any other items such as clothing, posters, videos, etc.?
Not really. I have a few ticket stubs and other little stuff but that’s about it.
How do you store or display your collection? Do you have it out for all to see or stored away in a dark closet?
I purchased a glass display case at IKEA with four shelves that I use to display most of my "nicer" memorabilia items. I have all my CDs on a CD rack that has run out of room so now I’ve been stacking things on top until I find somewhere else to put them. I have two shelves of a bookshelf dedicated to my records.
Not to name any names, but I understand the top two ranked beastie collectors in the world have recently thrown in the towel from collecting. Do you feel their legacy will forever be remembered? I’m just kidding. Do you feel their recent retirement will be an advantage to you and other collectors when it comes to buying on EBay or anywhere else for that matter? Where you able to pick up any of their items they were selling? During the time when they collected, how did their presence inspire you, or uninspire you?
I’ll name names! I have been VERY fortunate to get in touch with Beastienut and Astrobboy at exactly the right time. While it’s sad to see them leave the fold so to speak, it has created a tremendous opportunity for me and other collectors. I will say that they are two of the nicest people I have ever met and were very willing to work out deals for big chunks of their respective collections. Without their help I wouldn’t have anywhere near the collection that I have now.
I’m sure you’ve thought about it before and we would like to know too, how does it feel to be one of the top collectors in the world?
I actually feel like I’ve been able to fly under the radar in many ways. I know that I am not as well known as many other collectors out there, although this interview may change that! I am proud to say that I’m definitely in the top 10 as far as Beastie collectors though. How many people can say that they are the top 10 in the world at anything? Pretty cool!
With recent hardcore collectors quitting and the poor economy, what are your thoughts on the beastie collecting community in general right now? Do you see a decline in collectors buying or them not having interest anymore?
I think Beastie collecting always goes through phases. When we’re in between records then collecting is always a little slow. But based on the amount that I’ve paid for some items on Ebay recently, there are still enough hardcore collectors out there!
Who are your main collecting competitors these days? Do you communicate with them for trading and selling purposes?
I guess Big Fat Love is my main competition these days. But, it’s all friendly, at least from my end. I’m waiting for him to "retire" too. I know there are several items of his that I would love to get. Hahaha!
What are your thoughts on the lull/ down time with new music coming from the band?
Any Beastie Boys fan should be used to years between albums. Heck, it was SIX YEARS between Hello Nasty and To The 5 Boroughs (sorry but the Anthology doesn’t count as an album). It’s only been 3 years since The Mix-Up. That’s pretty standard for the boys. I’m fine with the delay as long as it gives Yauch time to recover so they can keep putting out music for the next 20 years.
Any final thoughts or words of wisdom you’d care to share?
Always remember Futterman’s Rule: When two are served, you may begin to eat!