Vintage Phoenix Q&A: Arizona's Unofficial Music Historian John Dixon
RP: I can't bear it.
JD: We're old farts. Dinosaurs, you and I.
RP: Some artists are putting out their albums on vinyl.
JD: It's a fad. It's less than 1 percent of the pressing. Some of these young bands think of vinyl as a novelty, so they're making 1,000 vinyl 45s before they put their new CD out. It's not the same.
RP: You've taken collecting to a whole new level: You don't just collect the records; you collect the master tapes, and the publishing rights, of music by Arizona artists.
JD: And the unsold overstock! I just bought 400 copies of 40-year-old records by Dick and Libby Halleman. I've got 40 copies of "Pizza Sure is Good" on 45.
But, yeah. I own the publishing and reproduction rights for a lot of old Arizona music. I get these tracks onto TV shows like Mad Men, and the songs are making more money now than when they were first pressed. I don't own any hits, but I have songs that sound like hits. If there's family left, I pay royalties to them. It's a way to keep Arizona music alive.
RP: What happens to all this stuff when you're gone?
JD: I'm a founding member of the Arizona Music Hall of Fame, and I'm still hoping my archive will be a part of that. In the meantime, the Musical Instrument Museum came along, and so luckily some of my stuff is out there. And I've continued to devote myself to the collecting, and getting the music out there in new CDs.
RP: You're always referred to as the "Unofficial Arizona Music Historian." What will it take to make you official?
JD: A proclamation from Jan Brewer? I don't know! It doesn't make any difference to me. I laugh at my unofficial-ness. In fact, I kind of like it. I'm just a kid from Tempe, but I've been so blessed to get to do what I do.
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