Back when I dealt in books and records, every Saturday morning, at the crack of dawn, I drove from Silver Lake to the beach, going to yard sales. I had a set route. First, I’d circle the reservoir, then go through Los Felix via Franklin Ave, wind my way through Hollywood, the Fairfax District and WeHo. Then I’d race down to the 10 and head to Venice and Santa Monica. It was a lot of driving and a lot of double-parking. But I became proficient at looking for the “tells” of a good yard sale. After a while, it became a science, a second nature…
One Saturday, around 2pm, I was heading back to Silver Lake from the westside, somewhere in the east part of Santa Monica, when I saw a yard sale sign. Even though it was late in the day (after 1pm, all the good stuff is gone), I thought, What the hell. One last stop before I get on the freeway. So I followed the arrows and pulled up in front of a lawn covered in boxes overflowing with junk. As I perused their wares, I noticed a stack of CMJ magazines from the eighties and about 100 Warrant Cherry Pie tapes. Since this is LA, I assumed somebody from the music industry was getting rid of their crap. In a box on a table were a bunch of 45s. I started flipping through, saw some Kinks, cool. A Wang Chung, meh. Men At Work, okay. Then a Judas Priest picture disc. Sweet. Then an Iron Maiden picture disc. Awesome. Then, I almost broke out in a sweat when I saw the holy grail of Motley Crue records: The first 45, “Stick To Your Guns,” released by their management company. I looked around. “How much are the 45s?” I asked aloud, unsure who was running the sale. A lady asked another lady who asked another lady who told me, “25 cents.” My heart was racing now. “Okay,” I said casually and kept flipping through the 45s. More eighties pop. And… What! Could it be? Another copy of “Stick To Your Guns?” Holy crap! I tried to stay calm. Two copies of a 45 that was limited to 1000 copies back in 1981? What are the odds?! Deep breathes… I kept flipping. And then… towards the end of the box, I came across this little puppy:
Yes, that is all their signatures, with dates from 1981 and Nikki Sixx’s, “Heavy Metal Kicks Ass.” I paid the two dollars or whatever my total came to and got the hell out of there fast, hit the freeway, going, “holycrap…holycrap…holycrap…” all the way back home.
Like most records and books I scored during that time, these wound up on eBay. My rationale for selling the first was that I couldn’t be stingy. I had three, while rabid Motley Crue fans had none. And besides, I wasn’t much of a fan anymore. It only had sentimental value to me. So I listed it and got $700.
The second I listed because of finances and got about 6 something. The signed one I held on to for a long time… I always figured I would sell it to finance a 45 for my own band or something, which would have been the ultimate justification. But then, in 2008, I was getting married, and I really wanted a bespoke suit like Nick Cave. And even though everybody was freaking out about the economy, and eBay sales were in the crapper, I threw it on the auction block. For ten days it hovered around $400, but during the final nerve-wracking 45 seconds, it closed at $1500.