We interviewed Guenter Herke, a prolific seller of Discogs and mastermind behind eccentric label Slowboy Records. His shop in Düsseldorf, also called Slowboy Records, is a treasure trove of rare and in-demand vinyl. We caught up on the inspiration behind his label, that one time Henry Rollins dropped by the shop after closing, and a record he could never possibly sell. A collector for nearly three decades, Guenter has some great stories to share!
What is your role, can you give us a bit of background on yourself?
My name is Guenter Herke. I have been collecting records for about 27 years. Selling records has been my main job for 15 of those years. I am the owner of Slowboy Records in Düsseldorf, Germany, and the Discogs shop minty-vinyl. I also run a small label called Slowboy Records.
Can you tell us a bit about Slowboy Records and its history?
We later we opened a record store. Included was an art-gallery with music-related art and a concert-space in front. After more than 80 exhibitions and concerts in 12 years we closed.
Later, I reopened a new/smaller shop inside the 69m2 concept store, where I also have my working space and my archive.
What made you decide to start your own label, and can you tell us a bit more about the label?
A huge influence was/is Tim Kerr from the Big Boys, an old 1980’s texas punk legend. We re-released their first lp Where is my Towel?. It was originally self-released in 1979 and has a DIY against all odds spirit, a silkscreened and hand-painted cover and very clever punk music. We have tried to mostly follow that path in a straight line.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Listening to music all day.
What was your most unexpected find in recent years?
Finding a 1950’s Sun Ra record at a small record fair near the end of the day. It wasn’t in the 1€ bin, but it was fairly priced and made my day.
If we were digging through your personal collection, what would we find?
Is there a record that you would never sell? Which one and why?
What is your best memory about record selling?
When Henry Rollins walked in a day after we closed our old store and spent a lot of time and even some money. It was the perfect finish for a nice time we had. He is such a nice guy to meet and I was so impressed with his musical knowledge and sense of humor. He patiently answered all of my questions :-)
What is your favorite record shop to visit and why?
In Germany: Black Plastic in Dortmund. You can find everything here: from cheap to expensive, from jazz to metal. It is always worth a visit when you are around.
In the Netherlands: Vinylspot in Rotterdam. It is the best shop for jazz, but also nearly all other genres.
Lex has always a huge selection of rarities.
How do you see the future for record shops?
I think, if you are able to offer the right records for the right price and combine your record shop with a good internet-presence it can work.
What is your number one tip for buyers and/or sellers on Discogs?
Be respectful, patient and friendly. There is always a solution if there is a problem.
Anything else you would like us to know?
I hope that Discogs will never be sold to a company like Amazon or eBay.