One man's musical odyssey
Each album marks the beginning of a new journey for collector Deryck Chapman
Deryck Chapman was eight years old when he had first heard “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul Mccartney. The sound and creativity of the song captivated him, and he was determined to acquire a copy. “That was the first record I actually searched out and bought myself.”
That first record was the start of an obsession. Over 4,000 LPS, 500 45s, and 100 boxed sets later, vinyl has become a very significant part of Deryck’s life. And the path of discovery this has taken him on has been quite an education.
At the age of 13 he sat in his Middle River bedroom with the latest copy of the music magazine Creem, the publication responsible for giving early exposure to many of the iconic bands and singers of the day, like Lou Reed, Roxy Music, and David Bowie. It was 1981. Finding avant-garde music shops in rural Nova Scotia with the latest records and publications was a challenge. Nevertheless, he had found a shop in Margaree that stocked it.
While perusing his magazine, Chapman came across an article about legendary Blues singer Muddy Waters and a recent impromptu performance he had with The Rolling Stones. Known as The Father of the Blues, Waters was singing in a Chicago night club the same week The Rolling Stones were in town for a three-night stop on their American Stadium Tour. Being a prime musical influence for Stones’ frontman, Mick Jagger and the boys came to see Waters perfom at the Checkboard Lounge. Before Waters finished singing “Baby Please Don’t Go,” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart were on stage performing along with him. Sitting in his bedroom in Middle River, Chapman imagined himself on that stage too. A video of the performance has since surfaced on Youtube and can be seen at tinyurl.com/bru5jao.
Throughout his childhood, Deryck had listened to the music his parents played, as well as the current popular tunes Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, as well as many easily forgettable singles by bands like KISS, Sweet, and Cheap Trick.
For Deryck, music was about more than a catchy tune or a banal lyric. For him, it was a way into a life that existed beyond his usual experiences.
“It’s like travel. It’s the opportunity to meet new and different people. And most of all, it is about learning.”
This passion for learning has steered Deryck toward interests beyond the music. A 1969 album by Deep Purple was an early addition to Deryck’s collection. The cover art is “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by 15th century Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch. Hidden amongst the grotesque and mythical creatures painted by Bosch is a picture of the band. This record was a stepping stone into the world of art and painting and exploring the biographies of artists such as Dali, Bruegel, Rauschenburg, and Jasper Johns.
Reading about Waters and Jagger singing together lead Deryck to research the origins of The Blues. From there, he learned about slavery and the struggle for Black Civil Rights. And seeing a video of David Bowie sing for the first time became a stepping stone into the fashion industry and critical thinking.
“Through his songs, behavior, and dress, Bowie questioned notions of sexual identity,” a concept Deryck says was new to him at the time.
The desire to collect grew from albums and singles to musical memorabilia, such as books, posters, photographs, ticket stubs, and magazines. His most prized music-related find is a mint copy of the first ever issue of Rolling Stone magazine, published November 9th, 1967.
To this day, the collection continues to grow and is now housed in its own dedicated room in the house Deryck shares with his wife, Penny, and their daughter, Jade. In the off-time from his job at the Bell Museum, Deryck continues to travel and experience life through music.
“It’s artists like The Beatles, Brian Wilson, Velvet Underground, Charlie Parker, and Louis Armstrong that transcend influences to create a new and unique musical language.”
Deryck Chapman is seen amongst his vast vinyl record and music memorabilia collection. Photo by George Smith.
Chapman's most prized possession in his collection is a mint copy of the first ever issue of Rolling Stone magazine, published November 9th, 1967.