Liner Notes with John Anderson of Reverberation Vinyl

Liner Notes is a new feature on Record Crates United where we explore the taste and music collections of some of our favorite people. For our first entry in this series, we gave our questionnaire to the great John Anderson of Reverberation Vinyl. 


John Anderson is the owner of and creative spirit behind Reverberation Vinyl, one of the great temples of underground music of the Midwest.

Situated in Bloomington, IL, Reverberation is a record store that all heads must make a pilgrimage to someday, as it specializes in a multitude of niche and outré genres, including far-out soundtracks, international sounds and just about every strand of psychedelic music that you can think of.

The live events that Anderson has booked through his store are also the stuff of legend. Reverberation hosted numerous RCU favorites over the years including Wet Tuna, Les Filles de Illighadad and Simply Saucer (and in the case of April 10th of last year, Garcia Peoples, Sunburned Hand of The Man, Dire Wolves, Bill Mackay and Elkhorn all on the same night!)

The store’s eclectic stock and concerts are entirely representative of Anderson’s superbly wide-ranging taste, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just check out his answers to our questions:

RCU: What was the last song that you listened to?

JA: Virtual Surfer/Dolphins by Mike Cooper! Literally just finished that
side of the record:

RCU: What was the last album you were obsessed with?

JA: Urban Fossickated Octave by Million Brazilians, and Ape On Sunday
by White Manna…continuously returning to both the last couple

RCU: Which artist do you most want to listen to on a Friday night?

JA: Well, back when you could discern a Friday from a Tuesday, and
assuming I’m drinking beer or something, probably Guided By Voices.
Second best drinking music to The Pogues. But GBV should probably
reign, as The Pogues are somewhat seasonal to most. Right up there
with those two, Strapping Fieldhands.

RCU: Which artist do you most want to listen to on a Sunday morning?

JA: Its super corny to choose any sort of jazz, makes me flash on this Ben
Sidran jazz show that was on VH1 Sunday mornings when I was a
teenager… but that’s a common reach for me. I can say honestly my #1
Sunday morning record of all time is Lula Cortes/Lailson’s Satwa
I’ve sat in the sun on a cool April morning while listening to that
one more times than I can count. Ideal zone.

RCU: What record do you wish more people knew about?

JA: Any of the underground stuff from the last 20 years or so, because
that’s my favorite (trying to wake folks to that stuff is pretty much
-the store- as a day to day experience), but its also mind boggling
how many are unaware of say, The Beach Boys’ Carl & The Passions: So
Tough or The Flame record that Carl Wilson produced on Brother, stuff
like that. Huge band, but many don’t look deeper than the hits, and
even then just Pet Sounds or something, but those early 70s Beach Boys
records (Holland, Surf’s Up, etc) are as good or better as
anything by The Band or whoever at that time. Not critical darlings
until much further down the road, and still don’t get respect because
of the full stop ignoramus that is Mike Love. The ’72-’73 Beach Boys
lineup of Carl, Dennis, Al, Blondie Chaplin, Ricky Fataar & Mike was
incredible. The official live record is great, and cheap, but go scope
the boots for more zones. Also Mike Nesmith’s Tantamount To
Treason… the lesser-seen stepchild to The First National Band
records, which have been reissued and are fairly well known now.
Nobody ever talks about that one, and its a slightly more bent/weird
version of those FNB albums, super duper fine, ahead of its time.

RCU: What’s your favorite album to drive to?

JA: Probably something rockoid or krauty, but the records I remember
driving to the most are Hope Sandoval’s Bavarian Fruit Bread and The
La’s album, simply because I found super cheap copies on CD while in
the bay area years ago. We had a rental car and were scooting up and
down the coast for a week or so… I found both of those at Amoeba the
first day, and one or the other of them soundtracked that entire trip.
Best $6 I’ve ever spent on CDs. Can’t hear either of them without
thinking of northern California.

RCU: If you could pull a Groundhog Day and relive one concert that you’ve
previously attended over and over again, what would it be?

JA: Well, as a taper, get to do that fairly often, but I would love to go
back and do Bardo Pond at Austin Psych Fest in 2014, early evening on
the river stage (’twas a sight to behold, the band plowing through the
entirety of the then new Peace On Venus in full, low sun while the
river was in slo-mo-flow behind them)… I was stuck in a bad spot,
especially for taping, in a hard to get out of corner surrounded by
talkers. Put me in a bummer zone at the time. If I had it to do over
again, I’d have made certain I was down front for the full sonic
pummel, but I got the chance to do that a couple years later in
Chicago, and was able to redeem that experience with one of the best
recordings I’ve ever made. Had an incredible experience earlier that
day, Mind Over Mirrors was the first set of the day on the river
stage, and there were maybe 30 people scattered around listening… an
insistent cool morning wind fouled my recording a bit, but made for an
unforgettable spiritual-physical trip for those 40 minutes.

RCU: Which artist, living or dead, do you wish you could have a
conversation with at a bar over drinks?

JA: Stacy Sutherland of the Elevators. Perfect blend of utter and complete
head who lived and died for our psychedelic sins vs down to earth good
old boy who was probably cool as all hell… he had all the stories!
Or Bert Jansch. Or Danny Thompson. Or Daevid Allen. I’d like to say I
wouldn’t be intimidated by Miles, but I’d totally risk getting punched
in the mouth to talk about the ’73-’75 band with him.

RCU: What’s the music doc/concert film that you’ve probably seen the most?

JA: Probably Pink Floyd at Pompeii or Gimme Shelter. I remember getting
into Pink Floyd heavy when I was a kid, and I was playing Momentary
Lapse Of Reason (taped from the library’s copy, thank you)… my Dad
heard it, and without saying anything, went to the video store,
knocked on my door and handed me Live At Pompeii. Gimme Shelter was
the ultimate though, I still watch it once or twice a year, without
fail. As an 80s kid, it was the perfect antidote to the hippy/boomer
Woodstock zones that I never connected with. I remember seeing the
Freedom Rock compilation TV commercials (incessant in ’87 or
whenever that was) and seeing that as the corny end product of the
Woodstock generation… “well, turn it up maaaan!Gimme Shelter was
violent and scary and real, and the last time the Stones were caught
doing anything that wasn’t orchestrated, organized and maxed for
profit by Nick Dagger. Ugly as it is, G.S. is more reflective of the
world that followed.

RCU: If we blasted a follow up to the Voyager 2 gold record into space, and
you could chose just one song to put on it, what would it be?

JA: “Born To Go” by Hawkwind. Or the first Anne Briggs record. Ask me
again tomorrow.

You can visit Reverberation Vinyl at 1302 N Main St, Bloomington, IL, for curbside pickup during the pandemic and be sure to follow the shop on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram @Reverberationvinyl. 


blog header 2

If you like what you’re reading, please help keep RCU thriving. You can show your support by becoming a Patron at our Patreon account or you can make a donation to our PayPal account below.

Every little bit helps!



Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: